Tax Filing Deadline Looms; MNCPA Offers Last Minute Tips
MINNEAPOLIS, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Less than one week remains to complete and submit tax forms for both the state and federal government. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants offers these suggestions.
- Check and double check your work. The most common mistakes people make include not signing the tax return, incorrect or missing Social Security numbers, calculation errors, double counting dependents and failing to track and/or report income from tips. Sometimes, taxing authorities will catch these mistakes and send a notice, but more serious misstatements can also lead to an audit. "Being cautious and double-checking your work, will minimize potential problems later on," said Todd Koch, MNCPA member and partner with the Minnesota accounting firm of John A. Knutson & Co.
- File for an extension now if you can't make the deadline. Life happens and sometimes it's not possible to complete the state and federal tax forms on time. By requesting an extension, on or before Monday, April 18 this year, a taxpayer gets six more months to submit the completed tax returns. "Filing for an extension doesn't mean that a taxpayer can put off paying taxes," said William P. Miller, MNCPA member and a CPA in private practice. "A late filer must estimate both state and federal taxes owed and pay them by the return due date. For any part of a balance that's not paid by then, the taxpayer will be charged both interest and a late filing penalty."
- Be careful what you pitch. "The IRS generally has three years after you file your federal return during which it can begin an audit, and Minnesota has 3-1/2 years," said Robert Lynn, MNCPA member and a CPA with Charles M. Bartley, CPA, Ltd. You'll need documentation of tax benefits that you claim on a return if it's audited. Lynn recommends keeping tax returns and backup records for six to seven years, just to be on the safe side. Records of investments in securities, collectibles, real estate and other property should be kept indefinitely, so long as you own the property. The end of tax season is a good time to redouble your efforts to save receipts and improve record-keeping to make preparing taxes next year easier.
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) serves the public interest by advancing the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. MNCPA delivers on that promise by offering extensive continuing professional education and resources; advocating for members and the public with regulatory agencies and boards; and mentoring and encouraging the CPAs and business leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 1904, MNCPA's 9,400 members work in public accounting, business, industry, government and education. To locate a CPA, visit www.mncpa.org/referral.
SOURCE Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants