Tax Considerations for 2013 Tax Filing Season
March 12, 2013
Strayer University Business Professor Shares Tips for Filing Taxes Properly and Promptly
WASHINGTON – March 12, 2013 – More than 147 million individual tax returns will be filed this year, with approximately three-quarters of those resulting in a refund, according to the IRS. Some Americans, however, wait to file their taxes or may have trouble navigating the tax system or understanding new tax codes. Understanding a few basic tax principles and the common mistakes that can delay a refund are critical for filing taxes properly and promptly.
“One of the first decisions to make when filing your taxes is whether you will use do-it-yourself tax preparation software or hire a tax adviser or service,” says Chester Galloway, a professor of finance and business law at Strayer University. “There are pros and cons of each option, and it is up to every individual to determine what is best for their unique situation.”
Some factors to consider include:
- Cost – On the front end, a tax professional may be more expensive than purchasing software or even using a free online program. However, a tax professional may be able to find additional savings and may prevent the cost and time of having to fix an incorrectly filed return.
- Confidentiality – Some people may be worried about having to share private information with an unfamiliar tax adviser. “There is a certain amount of trust you must have when sharing personal information, such as salary and major donations, with someone you don’t know,” said Galloway. “If this is a concern, in general, you should work with certified or licensed tax professionals, who operate under codes of ethics that protect their clients’ integrity and confidentiality.”
- Complexity – Business owners, rental property owners, and individuals with special circumstances such as bankruptcy or complex stocks may consider hiring a professional to help them navigate related tax codes, which can be complicated or confusing.
“There are a number of exemptions that were raised and deductions that were extended for the 2013 tax filing season, such as the child tax credit, deductions for K-12 educator’s expenses, 401(k) plan contribution limits, and others” said Galloway. “Before filing, individuals should read more about these, as well as review any new state-specific tax laws from their state’s tax agency. If they have questions, they should seek the advice of a tax professional. Being informed could mean more money in your pocket.”
Galloway also says that being uninformed about tax law changes can lead to delays in preparing taxes and receiving a refund. In addition, once a tax return has been submitted, human error – such as providing incorrect contact information – can lead to refund delays.
“This year, we’re in a unique situation because the tax filing season was delayed by two weeks,” he says. “Tax advisers and software companies have had to rework paperwork and systems to account for the changes that were made during the New Year’s Day fiscal cliff vote. The risk for human error is increased when there are major changes such as these, so whether you prepare your own taxes or hire a professional, everyone should review their returns with a critical eye before filing.”
Galloway is a professor of finance and business law at Strayer University, where he teaches financial reporting and tax policy. He has extensive legal training in partnership taxation, corporate taxation, and real estate taxation. Prior to Strayer University, Galloway served as a real estate lawyer in Philadelphia and developed a bankruptcy and commercial litigation practice for a New Jersey firm.
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About Strayer University
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been in operation since 1892. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, economics, information systems, information technology, human resource management, education, health services administration, public administration, management and criminal justice to working adult students at 100 campuses in 24 states and Washington, D.C., as well as worldwide via the Internet. Strayer University also offers an executive MBA online through its Jack Welch Management Institute. For more information, visit www.strayer.edu or call 1-888-4-STRAYER (888-478-7293).