Having a solid tax and accounting strategy pays off.

Q: What do I do if I've lost my tax records?
A: If you have lost your W-2, get in touch with your employer and request another copy. If there isn't enough time to get one before the filing deadline, use the information from your last pay stub for the year, and fill out Form 4852 (substitute W-2 and 1099R, available from the IRS). If you've lost receipts or bills, reconstruct them as completely as you can. If additional information becomes available later, you will need to file an amended return 1040X.


Q: How long do I have to keep records of my expenses?
A: You must keep records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, this means you must keep records that support your deduction (or an item of income) for 3 years from the date you file the income tax return on which the deduction is claimed. A return filed early is considered filed on the due date. For a more complete explanation of how long to keep records, see Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records, or Publication 552 Recordkeeping for Individuals.


Q: What are considered commuting miles?
A: Commuting miles are defined as being the distance from your home to the first work related stop of your day plus the distance from your last work related stop to your home.


Q: I recently changed my last name. Which one should I use?
A: For electronic filing, the IRS matches all names and social security numbers to what is on file at the Social Security Administration. If you were married, but did not change your name with the Social Security Administration you should use the name that is on your Social Security card.


Q: Can I still claim my college student as my dependent?
A: As long as your student is under the age of 24 and a full time student, and meets the tests of dependency, they qualify to be claimed as a dependent. You can try the qualifying dependent test on the Taxpayer page by clicking on the link "claiming any of the following" to determine if the student qualifies.


Q: I paid medical bills for someone. Can I take this as a medical deduction?
A: Medical expenses paid for someone who is not a spouse or a dependent cannot be used as a medical deduction.


Q: What if I can’t pay my tax liability by the due date?
A: There are also alternative payment options to consider:
  • Request an Extension of Time to Pay — Based on the circumstances, a taxpayer could qualify for an extension of time to pay. The IRS is willing to allow extensions of time to pay in order to assist in tax debt repayment, depending on the specific situation. Taxpayers qualifying for an extension of time to pay generally will pay less in penalties and interest than if the debt were repaid through an installment agreement.
  • Apply for an Installment Agreement — The IRS may allow taxpayers to pay any remaining balance in monthly installments through an installment agreement. Taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less may apply for a payment plan electronically, or by attaching the proper tax forms to their tax return. Taxpayers must show the amount of their proposed monthly payment and the date they wish to make their payment each month. Taxpayers are required to pay interest plus a late payment penalty on the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month, after the due date that the tax is not paid.
  • Pay by Credit Card — Taxpayers can charge taxes on their American Express, MasterCard, Visa or Discover cards. To pay by credit card, taxpayers should contact one of the service providers at its telephone number or the IRS website.  The service providers charge a convenience fee based on the amount of tax the taxpayer is paying.


Q: Where is my refund?

A: The IRS has a website where you can find out the status of your refund.  They will ask for your Social Security Number, your filing status and the refund amount expected.  The website is located here: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html

The state of Arizona has a website where you can find out the status of your refund.  They will ask for your Social Security Number, Filing Status, Zip Code and Tax Year.  The website is located here: https://www.aztaxes.gov/default.aspx?target=CheckRefund

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