ETX accountants offer tax tips for 2012 returns - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

ETX accountants offer tax tips for 2012 returns

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It's that dreaded time of year again for everyone - Wednesday is the first day you can file your 2012 federal income tax returns.

Tyler accountant Ray McKinney, a partner at Gollob, Morgan, & Peddy, says there's been a lot of confusion about this year's income tax returns thanks to the recent news about the fiscal cliff.

"The fiscal cliff really primarily relates to 2013 taxes, so that's next year's tax return that you'll be filing at this time next year. So I think it's important to distinguish between that and what's going on now," said McKinney.

McKinney says not much has changed since last year, but that the fiscal cliff legislation did extend some deductions, like the educator expense deduction and the mortgage insurance premium deduction.

"If you filed your return last year, you prepared your own return or had it prepared, the process is going to be very similar this year," he said.

H&R Block Franchisee Debbie Wallis says some people making under $20,000 aren't required to file income taxes, but that this year, because of the Affordable Care Act, everyone should file.

"Starting in October the health care exchanges open. Everyone's required to have health insurance. If they don't, they're going to pay a penalty on their next year's tax return," Wallis said. "The IRS is going to use the 2012 tax return to determine whether the taxpayer qualifies for a subsidy or not. So they need to file to make sure that they qualify, for one, and get the benefit of it."

But the fiscal cliff legislation did affect the date the IRS will accept your tax return.

"Because this legislation kicked in so late, the IRS has had a problem getting up to speed as far as getting your forms updated and getting their software updated so they can accept tax returns," said McKinney. "As a matter of fact, they have made it so you can't actually file your return until January the 30th."

The accountants say that even though most people will be able to file their taxes starting Wednesday, there are still a few forms that aren't ready. They recommend you check the IRS website to make sure you have everything you need to file.

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