The taxman commeth… ON MONDAY!

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

It’s not often that I find a crime story in my email inbox that reminds me of something I need to do. However, today was one of those days.

There it was, a news release from Attorney General Luther Strange with the headline, “AG announces arrest of former State House employee for failing to file tax returns and pay income taxes.”

YIKES! Taxes are due next Monday. YIKES! I haven’t started. YIKES! I am married this year and don’t know how that affects me. YIKES! I think I have an education credit for grad school.

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My stomach flipped and my brain went into panic mode. This year, when my taxes are a little more complicated than usual, I forgot all about filing them.

Granted, my forgetting does not equal the aforementioned State House employee not paying taxes on more than a half million dollars over four years.

I’ll admit, I’m lucky. Although I am a words girl with a mother who was an English major, my two uncles are number savvy. Allen is a CPA and Mike is a banker.

Thank goodness. They are both handy men to know.

I placed a call to Uncle Allen and my new hubby and I are on track to a somewhat headache-free night of filling out our forms thanks to his advice.

However, if you don’t happen to have an accountant on speed dial, there are ways you can file your taxes with relative ease.

Take a gander at Click on the first link under “Hot Topics” that is labeled “Free File: File your return for free.”

That link takes you to a page that is full of helpful hints and a whole list of companies that allow you to fill in the blanks on their website. Filing is fairly simple and usually free. A click at the end sends your return straight to the IRS versus having to get to a post office and make sure a return is postmarked by the end of the day on Monday.

If you are more of a pen and paper person, you can print out tax tables and forms from the IRS site and mail in your return that way.

Have questions about any credits or deductions you may have? There’s a link on the IRS website about those, too. From education to adoption credits, you can find the answers there.

If all is lost, take your W-2s to a tax professional. There is a nominal charge, but the money is well spent to ease your mind about all the Ts to cross and Is to dot. Have you seen how many pages there are in the tax code?

In many cases, professional preparation can also yield a bigger payout if you are owed a refund.

The bad news is the clock is ticking and we’ve only got until Monday to file our taxes. The good news is, we have a whole year to relax before the next tax return is due.