Annual Tax Filing Starts Today - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Annual Tax Filing Starts Today

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You probably don't enjoy tax returns, but Julie Smith loves how the rules always change to keep things interesting. Which brings us to…what's new this year? The Liberty Tax Service told us, "A little bit more paperwork. It can be a little bit of a hassle for some of our clients." What do people need to do…what do they need to bring…what will save them a lot of time and hassle? She says, "Just be prepared as early as possible."

Julie expects IRS Form 8867 to be the big stumbling block this year. The Earned Income Credit now requires proof of residency for children. She told us, "They are now requiring us as tax preparers to actually see documentation that the children have lived with the taxpayers."

For a first filing day, it was pretty dead at Liberty Tax on Peckham. Julie says it's always like this the first day…too many W-2's are still waiting to be sent. Across town at Evans Nelson and Company, tax accountant Tim Nelson had some free time too. What was Tim Nelson's reason for choosing tax preparation for a career? He told us he loves helping people. That's why you'll find dozens of You Tube videos with his free advice. One begins, "Hi, this is Tim Nelson, Reno's best CPA, talking about some of the most commonly overlooked tax deductions..."

Tim has another change many people won't like: the late passage of the fiscal cliff deal not only delayed tax filing, but many forms are still not ready. Some folks will have to wait because certain forms won't be ready for about a month. "For example, a lot of our people who have rental properties or small businesses with depreciation...depreciation is one of the forms they said won't be available until the third week of February."

But on the plus side, the IRS is expanding their online refund tracker, where you can track your refund like you would a package from UPS. It's not offered to folks who still mail in their returns. The refund tracker is offered only to the e-filers. It's one of the perks the IRS is using to boost e-filing, which is fast and free for many people…and you get your refunds back quicker. Liberty's Julie Smith says "5 days is the fastest I've seen a full refund come back from the IRS. Most I've seen come through in 6 to 10 days."

At Tim's firm, we watched as Anita Honea e-filed her first customer's return…in just 9 seconds. That first refund should be coming back in as little as 7 days. That's the fun part, for everyone. As Tim Nelson said, "Oh its fantastic, absolutely. I like to joke that we put the 'fun' in refund."

Despite the slow start, Liberty Tax Service is offering off-hours tax preparation by appointment, and H & R Block has expanded their office hours from now through February 8th. And if you've already done your taxes, e-filing is now available on the IRS website:

-written by John Potter

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