Tax Commission News Release
7 tips for filing Idaho taxes
BOISE, IDAHO — April 5, 2017 — As the April 18 income tax deadline approaches, the Idaho State Tax Commission is providing some tips to make filing taxes easier:
1. Take advantage of free tax help
Senior citizens and people with low-to-moderate income can find free help to prepare their income tax returns at tax preparation sites throughout Idaho. The free help is designed for taxpayers with simple federal and Idaho tax returns. Those who are submitting a state return only to get a grocery credit refund can also get help, as well as those filing a federal return only to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.
To find the site closest to you, go to the Tax Commission’s website, tax.idaho.gov, and click on the “Free income tax help” link under the “Quick Picks” section. The sites, sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the AARP Foundation, are listed together by county.
2. E-file your return
E-filing your return has many benefits. They include:
- The software does the math for you.
- You get a confirmation email.
- You get a faster refund than if you file by paper. It generally takes about seven to eight weeks to receive a refund when you e-file versus 10-11 weeks for a paper return.
- Using direct deposit gets the refund to you even faster.
3. See if you qualify for free e-filing of your return
The Tax Commission has partnered with software developers and the IRS to provide selected groups of taxpayers with free electronic filing of simple state and federal returns. To access the free e-filing offerings and see if you qualify for any of them, visit the Tax Commission’s website and click on the “Free individual income tax e-file--See if you qualify!” link under the “Quick Picks” section. Last year, more than 500,000 taxpayers most likely qualified for free online filing.
4. Make sure your return is complete
- Double-check your figures to make sure there are no typos. Also, confirm your Social Security numbers (SSNs). Incorrect SSNs will delay a refund.
- If you’re e-filing, make sure you list the correct Employer Identification Number (EIN) and employer’s state ID number when entering information from your W-2s. Incorrect numbers will delay a refund.
- If you’re filing by paper:
- Include all your W-2s and a complete copy of your federal return.
- Both spouses must sign if you’re filing a joint return.
5. Remember to pay use tax
Use your income tax return to pay tax on those untaxed purchases you made last year. If you didn’t pay sales tax when you bought the merchandise, you owe a 6 percent use tax if the goods were stored or used in Idaho. For example, when shoppers buy goods on the internet, by telephone, or from a mail-order catalog, sellers generally won’t charge sales tax if they’re not Idaho retailers.
Check your invoices or receipts to see whether sales tax was collected. It if wasn’t, report and pay the use tax on line 28 of Form 40 (Idaho Individual Income Tax Return) or line 48 of Form 43 (Idaho Part-Year Resident & Nonresident Income Tax Return).
6. If you’re due a refund, don’t delay filing your return
Many people don’t realize there’s an expiration date for claiming a refund. You have three years from the original due date of your income tax return (usually the April 15 following the end of the tax year). For example, to get a refund for your 2013 tax return, you must file it by April 18, 2017. After that date, no refund will be issued.
7. Final Tip: Respond to any Tax Commission letters asking for more information
All income tax returns go through identity theft fraud detection, as well as accuracy checks before any refunds are issued. After you file your return, the Tax Commission may send you letters asking you to validate your identity and that you filed a tax return or to clarify data on your return. Please respond quickly so the Tax Commission can review your information and get your refund to you as soon as possible.
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