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Remember Tax Deadline Day is April 18th 2011

Tax Emancipation Day is April 15th 2011

By Dr. Gary L. Bode MSA, CPA, PC

In the 2011 tax filing season, taxpayers have until Monday, April 18 to file their 2010 tax returns and pay any tax due. Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls this year on Friday, April 15. By law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have three extra days to file this year. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until October 17 to file their 2010 tax returns.

Who Must Wait to File

For most taxpayers, the 2011 tax filing season starts on schedule. However, tax law changes enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama in December mean some people need to wait until mid to late February to file their tax returns in order to give the IRS time to reprogram its processing systems. The IRS recently announced February 14, 2011 as the start date for processing these delayed tax returns.

Some taxpayers, including those who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A, will need to wait until February 14, 2011 to file. This includes taxpayers impacted by any of three tax provisions that expired at the end of 2009 and were renewed by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 enacted December 17, 2010. Those who need to wait to file include:

  • Taxpayers Claiming Itemized Deductions on Schedule A. Itemized deductions include mortgage interest, charitable deductions, and medical and dental expenses as well as state and local taxes. In addition, itemized deductions include the state and local general sales tax deduction that was also extended and that primarily benefits people living in areas without state and local income taxes.
  • Taxpayers Claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction. This deduction for parents and students, covering up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid to a post-secondary institution, is claimed on Form 8917. However, the IRS emphasized that there will be no delays for millions of parents and students who claim other education credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit extended last month and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
  • Taxpayers Claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. This deduction is for kindergarten through grade 12 educators with out-of-pocket classroom expenses of up to $250. The educator expense deduction is claimed on Form 1040, Line 23 and Form 1040A, Line 16.


In addition to extending those tax deductions for 2010, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act also extended those deductions for 2011 and a number of other tax deductions and credits for 2011 and 2012, such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the modified Child Tax Credit. The Act also provides various job creation and investment incentives, including 100% expensing and a 2% payroll tax reduction for 2011. Those changes have no effect on the 2011 filing season.



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8 Responses

  1. IRS Announces Open House

    The IRS announced on February 23 that it is holding open houses in 100 IRS offices. The offices will be open from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm local time on Saturday, February 26 and Saturday, March 26.

    Commissioner of the IRS Doug Shulman stated, “We are opening our doors these Saturdays to help taxpayers who may not have a chance to seek assistance during the work week. If taxpayers need help preparing their tax returns or have account questions, we encourage them to visit one of our open houses.”

    Last year, 35,000 taxpayers were assisted during similar open houses. The taxpayers had questions on tax preparation and qualification for various tax deductions or benefits. The IRS indicated that 95% of the questions were resolved.

    In addition to the open houses, IRS offices in 10 cities will also offer free seminars on the 2010 tax laws. The locations of the IRS offices and seminars are available on http://www.irs.gov.

    Individuals with incomes of $49,000 or less also qualify for additional assistance. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will assist in completing returns. Those persons over age 60 qualify for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. They also can receive help in preparing their 2010 income tax returns.

    Source: Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation


  2. Tax Reform?

    The concept of tax reform has backers on both sides of the aisle, but it’s a long, complicated process.




  3. House Debates Top Tax Rates

    Both parties entered the debate this week on the appropriate top income tax rate. House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) suggested that it would be important to “jump-start” tax reform by picking a top rate. His preference for a top individual and corporate tax rate is 25%.

    Washington tax commentators noted that this low tax rate would require very substantial changes if the tax bill is revenue-neutral. That is, in order to reduce the top rate from 35% to 25%, there would be very substantial changes in all of the major tax deductions.

    Former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin commented on the 25% rate. She stated, “It’s feasible to bring rates down, but only if you get rid of a lot of – almost all of – the loopholes and special provisions.”

    The Ranking Member on the House Ways and Means Committee is Sander M. Levin (D-MI). He expressed great concern about the proposal. Levin noted, “It’s one thing to conceive a goal of a top tax rate of 25% for individuals and corporations – which would reduce revenues by $2 trillion over a decade.” But he continued that it would be very difficult to understand “how it would work” when actually modifying the tax deductions.

    House Member Jan Schakwkowsky (D-IL) was a member of the Fiscal Commission appointed by President Obama. She introduced the Fairness in Taxation Act. This bill creates high tax brackets for individuals with very large incomes. For those with incomes over $1 million per year, the tax rate would be 45%. The small number of persons with incomes over $1 billion per year would pay 49%.

    Rep. Schakwkowsky quotes a number of individuals with incomes over a million dollars per year who believe that there should be higher taxes for very-high income persons. Kathryn Myers is a millionaire from Pennsylvania. She stated, “I think very wealthy people like me should pay substantially higher taxes, since we have done exceedingly well in the last few decades.”

    Editor’s Note: Your editor and this organization do not take a specific position on the appropriate tax rates. It is important to note that reducing tax rates and keeping a new tax bill revenue-neutral will require major changes in deductions for healthcare, retirement plans, state and local taxes, mortgage interest and charitable gifts.

    Taxes Are Too Complex

    In a bipartisan statement, Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) agreed that taxes are in need of simplification.

    Both taxwriters serve on the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). At the latest meeting of the Joint Committee, Chairman Camp stated, “There is no doubt that today’s tax code is too complex, too costly and takes too much time to comply with.” He indicated that it is now time to take a “comprehensive approach to tax reform” that will help to increase the number of jobs in America.

    Sen. Baucus agreed and stated, “Our tax code should maximize job creation and widespread economic growth. As we work together to simplify the tax code and make it more fair and competitive, we need to be armed with the data showing the impact of potential changes to the code.”

    Both taxwriters are responding to the proposal by President Obama to pass a revenue-neutral tax reform for corporations. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner testified before the House Committee on Appropriations and indicated that the White House looks forward to working with members of Congress and the business committee to design “a comprehensive, revenue-neutral reform of the corporate tax system.” The goal will be to lower tax rates by reducing federal deductions.

    Editor’s Note: Both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are embarked on a series of tax reform hearings. Sen. Baucus and Rep. Camp are striving to prepare legislation that would reform both corporate and personal taxes. The perennial problem in lowering tax rates is that when any deductions are limited, there is strong opposition. However, both leaders are seriously pursuing major reform in 2011.

    Source: Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation


  4. Tax Freedom Day is April 12th 2011

    Each year the Tax Foundation reviews the state and federal taxes paid by Americans. Based on the total taxes, it determines a “Tax Freedom day.” For the year 2011, the Tax Foundation calculates the Tax Freedom day to be April 12th.

    This Tax Freedom day is three days later than 2010, but it is nearly two weeks earlier than Tax Freedom day in 2007. There are four factors that affect the 2011 date for Tax Freedom day.

    1. The Great Recession – As America starts to recover from the recession, taxes paid are increasing more than incomes.

    2. Tax Cuts Extended – In a compromise between President Obama and House and Senate leaders, the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 were extended.

    3. Payroll Taxes – The “Make Work Pay” reduction was replaced with a 2% payroll tax cut for 2011.

    4. Estate Tax – The estate tax was repealed in 2010 (unless elected by executors), but it is reinstated in 2011 with a $5 million applicable exclusion amount and a tax rate of 35%.

    The Tax Foundation also publishes a federal budget Tax Freedom day. If the total federal expenditures as reflected by both taxes and the deficits are considered, then Tax Freedom day is May 23. This is the latest Freedom day in the past six decades and reflects the total cost of government.

    Source: Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation


  5. E-Filing Passes 100 Million Returns

    The IRS reported a surge of e-Filing the past weekend just before the tax deadline. With all of the latest returns that have been filed electronically, the IRS reported that 101 million taxpayers now used the e-Filing system resulting in 8.8% growth this year.

    The IRS noted that some taxpayers have filed for the automatic six-month extension and will need to complete their tax returns by October of 2011. The IRS will continue to permit e-Filing of returns that are on a proper extension.

    The movement toward e-Filing reflects a general increase in Internet use in America. The Pew Research Center studies the movement of Americans to the Internet. The latest statistics show that 80% of all Americans are using the Internet. Over 60% of those users now have broadband at home.

    The Pew Internet surveys also give details about online Internet usage. Over 95% of those ages 18 to 29 use the Internet. For age 30-49, the percentage is 87%. Baby boomers age 50-64 are at 78%. Finally, 42% of those over age 65 use the Internet.

    As might be expected, individuals with moderate and higher incomes are more likely to use the Internet. Over 90% of those with incomes of $50,000 are now using the Internet. College graduates use the Internet at a 96% rate. Finally the increase in e-Filing is also reflected by a movement to online banking and online giving. Total online giving in 2010 increased to nearly 8% of all charitable gifts.

    Source: Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation


  6. End of Year 2011 Already!

    Here is a brief essay on End of Year – 2011 – tax planning tips for individuals and doctors, by Michael Zhuang.




  7. 2011 Tax filing deadline extended to April 17th 2012

    April 15th is a Sunday this year, and April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia, which means taxpayers will have 2 more days to prepare their 2011 returns.



  8. Tax Season Opens New Year

    As noted above, the IRS announced that the filing date for this year will be April 17th. Normally, income tax returns are due on April 15th. But this year the 15th is a Sunday. April 16th is Emancipation Day, a holiday for the District of Columbia. Therefore, the filing date for tax returns this year will be April 17, 2012.

    IRS Commissioner Doug Schulman noted, “At the IRS, we’re working hard to make the process of filing your taxes as quick and easy as possible. Providing quality service is one of our top priorities. It not only reduces the burden on taxpayers, but also helps in filing an accurate return right from the start.”

    The IRS will start accepting eFile returns on January 17. The IRS Free File Program will also be effective on that date. Taxpayers with incomes of $57,000 or less may use the online Free File method. On http://www.irs.gov there is information about Free File and online filing of tax returns.

    Smartphone users will again have available IRS2Go, the application that lets taxpayers check on their refund. Apple iPhone users may use the App Store and Android Smartphone users may use Marketplace to download the free app. Users will appreciate the “Where’s my refund” feature of IRS2Go.

    Source: Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

    Ann Miller RN MHA


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