Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
The other day, Bill Porter of Pride Tax Preparation told me that he was able to electronically file a tax return with attachments. Hip hip hooray! Tax pros have been waiting for this development for a long time.
What does this mean for you? It means that you, too, may now e-file with attachments—if your software provider offers this service. Most of the major companies do, but ask to be certain.
What can you attach to an e-filed tax return?
All attachments are related to the checkboxes on Form 8453—the transmittal form that lists the attachments in your tax return.
For the average person, attachments may include vehicle donations and other non-cash charitable contributions over $500, a signed release from an ex-spouse allowing you to claim your child as a dependent, or a long list of securities sales generating your capital gains and losses. If you have anything other than these transactions involved in your tax filing, get a tax pro involved.
In fact, if your securities sales cover several pages, consider asking your tax pro to run your brokerage report through a new product by the folks at NetBasis.com, called the 8949 Verifier. This software will compute the correct gains or losses for your 2012 activity. It’s new and somewhat experimental, so if your tax pro isn’t familiar with it, don’t hesitate to contact NetBasis.com for help.
When should you file on paper?
If anything needs an explanation, especially a detailed explanation, file on paper. For example, imagine that you’ve opened a savings or investment account in your name, but other friends or family members also own it. To split the earnings among your crowd, you will pick up the full income on your tax return, then deduct the others’ shares with a note saying “SEE STATEMENT XYZ ATTACHED.” On that statement, you can explain why some of those earnings are not yours. List all of the owners, including each person’s name, address, and Social Security number. Of course, you also could just issue a 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, or 1099-B, or file a partnership tax return.
Other instances include disclosures, especially when you’re not absolutely certain you’re computing something or doing something correctly. When you make a major error on your tax return that causes the tax or income to be reduced by 25 percent or more, the IRS can audit you for six years. However, if you provide enough detail in your explanation that the IRS should have known to ask questions right away, the courts will prevent the IRS from auditing after three years.
When should you use a tax pro?
Seek out a tax pro:
Any time you’re facing something that you don’t really understand, invest in the advice of a good tax pro (see my previous article, Six Tax Resolutions for the New Year). We’re here to help. Really.
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com , where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including the new edition of Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.