Whether or not Groundhog Day really means spring is just six weeks away, it definitely means the deadline to file taxes is 76 days away. Because April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, and April 16 is a legal holiday in some states, the Internal Revenue Service has set Tuesday, April 17, as the deadline for filing personal income tax returns.
Tax preparers are preparing for the rush. Jackson Hewitt opened a full-service kiosk in mid-January in the Walmart Supercenter in Eureka. They will be available at the store until the end of April. Nearby, rival H&R Block staffers expanded their hours. Both services are open seven days a week, and Block’s office is now open as long as 14 hours a day on weekdays. Jackson Hewitt teams are fighting back with a series of online offers and cross promotions with Walmart, such as a direct mail piece that earns customers a free Wal-Mart gift card for $25 in return for paid tax preparation by Jackson Hewitt's employees.
Jackson Hewitt representative Charlie Nicks said the new Hewitt facility can prepare all types of individual tax returns, no matter how simple or complicated. The company determines which form suits each taxpayer by individual interviews, examination of sources of income, and expenses. The firm offers a variety of loan programs, including Assisted Refunds and Refund Anticipation Loans, to help those who are due a refund get faster access to their money.
Again in 2012, the IRS is encouraging all taxpayers to file electronically. Jackson Hewitt will take care of the filing for its clients, either those who come into one of the offices, or use the firm’s online software.
Michael Devine, an IRS spokesman for Missouri and Kansas, said that in 2011, 90 percent of all returns filed in Missouri before April 1 had been e-filed. “E-filing is the best way to file, and it’s the most accurate,” Devine said. “You won’t miss a credit if you e-file, and if you use direct deposit, you’ll get your refund in 10 days or less.”
Nicks cautions taxpayers that there are no shortcuts to filing an accurate return. “Taxes are complicated,” he said. “There’s no one easy piece of advice I can put into a 10-second soundbite that works for everyone.” But one way to make everything go easier is to make sure you have all your income statements, including W-2 and 1099 forms, before you start, Nicks advised.
Jackson Hewitt has a complete list of what documents and information to bring to a tax preparer.
For more information on e-filing returns with the IRS, click here.