What Tax Filing Procrastinators Should Know - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

What Tax Filing Procrastinators Should Know

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It's the busiest week of the year for tax preparers. And for taxpayers, there are only 7 days left to file to Uncle Sam. JJ Fagan was in no rush to file this year. This time she's paying the piper…she just bought a truck using some of her IRA money. As she told us, "We didn't have the taxes taken out at the time."

JJ is not alone. Apparently, more people are paying up this time. CPA Timothy Nelson at the Reno accounting firm Evans, Nelson & Company told us, "On average, people are paying about 2% more on the same income as they had in prior years." For higher incomes, the bite is at a higher percentage.

Nelson has 1,700 clients. He says this tax season isn't fun on the other side of the desk either: "Constantly we're sending people back with homework. Non-cash deductions for example…a lot of time people don't get the list of the jeans and the blouses that they've given away."

There's also a growing problem of unlicensed, unregulated tax preparers in Nevada. Only 4 states require testing and continuing education for the hundreds of thousands of tax preparers. Nevada isn't one of them. For legitimate tax preparers like Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block, it's going to be another wild west of tax seasons. Inside the H&R Block at 4960 S. Virginia, tax advisor Richard Franklin is aware of unqualified preparers. His advice to protect yourself? "Be a good consumer. Ask them, 'what are your qualifications to do this?'"

At the Jackson Hewitt on Baring Boulevard in Sparks, manager Lorraine Braun told us how easy it is to fraudulently prepare taxes here: "The forms are available online, and you can hang a sign right out in front of your door that says, 'I do income taxes.'"

There is a lot folks like Lorraine and Richard have to know…they have to decipher the nearly 74,000-page U.S. tax code. They say beware of tax preparers who guarantee refunds. That's a real warning sign. Braun told us, "There's no way someone can promise you a refund over the phone without looking at your paperwork. Even the best tax preparers have to do a little math to see if you're getting a refund back."

But whatever you do, all the preparers and accountants we spoke with said, "get it done." Richard Franklin's tip: "Get organized, and if we can't file it we can answer questions or file an extension. We're here to help."

-written by John Potter

If you're earning less than $58,000 a year, you can have your taxes done free. If you're familiar with Turbo Tax, it's really just a version of that. We have a link to that and some late-filing tax tips from the IRS below:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Last-Minute-Filers-Avoid-Common-Errors-2014

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free

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