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Upcoming Tax Due Dates (September 2011)

September 15, 2011: 3rd Quarter Estimated Tax payments are due for Individuals required to pay estimated taxes.

September 15, 2011: Partnership and Corporate Income tax returns for 2010 that are on Extension are due.

October 15, 2011: Individual Income Tax returns on extension are due.

Managing Individual Tax Records

I often get the question asking how long a person should keep receipts and other supporting documents related to their tax returns. The general rule is that documents that support the amounts on your tax return should be kept for a minimum of three years after the date you file your tax return. The IRS typically has only 3 years from the date you file your return to audit a tax return but can go back longer in certain situations.

There are records that should be kept longer or indefinitely. The types of records that should be kept longer include settlement statements from purchases of property, stock transactions, IRA, business and rental property transactions. IRS Pub. 552 (Recordkeeping for Individuals)  contains additional information on what kinds of records to keep.

Filing an Amended Tax Return

Taxpayers file Form 1040X to correct a previously filed Individual income tax return and it must be filed on paper, not electronically. To claim a refund the return must be filed within three years from the date the original return was filed, or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. If more than one return will be amended, a separate 1040X should be prepared for each return and each 1040X should be mailed in a separate envelope. State income tax returns should be amended based on changes to your federal return.

Tax Deductions for Home Office Expenses

If you work out of an office in your home, and if you satisfy the strict rules that govern those deductions, you will be entitled to favorable “home office” deductions. Read more about the home office deductions

Gift Tax Returns

A gift tax return is required to be filed when you give gifts that are more than the annual exclusion (which is currenlty $13,000 for 2010 and 2011) to any one person. To report taxable gifts for 2010, Form 709-United States Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer tax return must be filed before 4/18/11.

Is your Tax Freedom Day® April 12 this year?

As determined by The Tax Foundation, the day in 2011 that average Americans work until to cover their federal, state and local tax liabilities for the year is 3 days later than it was last year. 

But, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains that the data used for the study suggests that 80% of households pay a lower tax rate than the Tax Foundations estimated “average”.

Requesting more time to file your taxes

You can use Form 4868 to request an automatic extension of time to file your individual income tax return. The automatic extension is good for 6 months and extends the due date of your tax return to October 15. To qualify for the extension you must estimate your tax liability and report your estimated tax liability on a timely filed form 4868.

You do not need to explain why you need the extension and you are not required to make a payment with form 4868,  but if you end up owing tax you will be charged interest and possibly penalties for late payment of tax.

Most States accept the Federal extension as an extension to file your state income tax return but similar to the Federal rules you should pay your estimated tax liability to avoid late payment penalties and interest.

Upcoming Tax Due Dates – April 2011

April 15th is April 18th this year: Individuals have until midnight Monday April 18th to get their tax returns filed or request for an extension of time to file with Form 4868. 

Also due Monday, April 18, 2011:

  • 1st Quarter 2011 Estimated Tax payments are due for Individuals required to pay estimated taxes.
  • IRA contributions for 2010.

April 30, 2011: Payroll tax returns for the first quarter 2011 are due.

Accountant Jokes

If you think lawyer jokes are awful just wait until you hear some jokes about accountants…….

“What do you call an accountant without a spreadsheet?”


What’s the definition of an accountant?”

             “Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.”

An Accountant after reading nursery rhymes to his young child:

             “No, son. When Little Bo Peep lost her sheep, that wouldn’t be tax deductible. But I like your thinking.”

Why did the Accountant cross the road?
To bore the people on the other side!

 What’s an extroverted accountant?
One who looks at your shoes while he’s talking to you instead of his own.

The Balloonist

A fellow has been learning to be a balloonist and takes his first solo flight. Unfortunately the wind gets up, he is blown off course and is forced to land. He is in a paddock close to a road but has no idea where he is. He sees a car coming along the road and hails it. The driver gets out and the balloonist says, “Can you tell me where I am?’.

“Yes, of course”, says the driver. “You have just landed in your balloon and with this wind you have obviously been blown off course. You are in the on Jim Hubble’s farm, 12.5 miles from Boerne. John will be plowing the paddock next week and sowing wheat. There is a bull in the paddock. It is behind you and about to attack you.”

At that moment the bull reaches the balloonist and tosses him over the fence. Luckily he is unhurt. He gets up, dusts himself off and says to the driver, “I see you’re an accountant”.

“Good Grief”, says the other man, “you’re right. How did you know that?”

“I employ accountants,” says the balloonist. “The information you gave me was detailed, precise and accurate. Most of it was useless and it arrived far too late to be of any help.”

More Tales:

     The accountant read the story of Cinderella to his 4-year-old daughter. The little girl was fascinated by the tale, especially the part where the pumpkin turns into a golden coach. “Daddy,” she asked. “When the pumpkin turned into a golden coach, would that be classed as income or a long-term capital gain?”

     A young accountant fresh out of college is interviewed by the owner of a small business. “I need someone with an accounting degree,” says the man. “But mainly, I’m looking for someone to do my worrying for me. I have lots of things to worry about, but I want someone else to worry about money matters.” “OK,” says the accountant. “How much are you offering?” “You can start at $75,000,” says the owner. “That’s a great salary!” says the young accountant. “How can a business like yours afford to pay so much?” “That,” says the man, “is your first worry.”

Where’s My Refund?

Check the status of your federal

and MN tax refunds