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May 2012 Tip of the Month

Okay, You Filed Your Tax Returns.  Now what?

Now that the income tax filing deadline is in your rear-view mirror (unless we filed an extension for you), what happens after you file? We receive many post tax-filing questions such as what records do I keep and more importantly, “Where’s my Refund?” We (and the IRS) have some answers for you below.

Refund Information

You can check the status of your 2011 refund 72 hours after IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or generally 3 to 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Be sure to have a copy of your 2011 tax return available because you will need to know your filing status, the first Social Security number shown on the return, and the exact whole-dollar amount of the refund. You have a couple of options for checking on your refund:

  • Go to the “Tax Center” portion of our website at and click on “Check your Federal refund” or even the section “Check your State Refund”.
  • Call 800-829-4477~24 hours a day, seven days a week, for automated refund information
  • Call 800-829-1954 during the hours shown in your tax form instructions
  • Use IRS2Go. If you have an Apple iPhone or an Android device you can download an application to check the status of your refund.

What Records Should I Keep?

Normally, tax records should be kept for at least three years but we at Abo and Company typically suggest this be extended to seven years since there is a six year statute of limitations in certain situations. Some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRAs and business or rental property — should be kept longer. Despite the advent of computers and the possibility of storing tens of thousands of documents on a CD, most of us continue to maintain significant amounts of paper records.  Still, you should keep copies of tax returns you have filed and supporting documents as part of your records. They also may be helpful in amending already filed returns or preparing future returns.

Change of Address

If you move after you filed your return, send Form 8822, Change of Address, to the Internal Revenue Service. If you are expecting a paper refund check, you should also file a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.

What If You Made a Mistake (or you received yet another corrected 1099 after you filed)?

Errors may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you. If you discover an error on your return, you can correct your return by filing an amended return using Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

For Our New Jersey Clients: Homestead Benefit Applications

The New Jersey Division of Taxation began mailing applications for the 2011 Homestead Benefit. Applications to both senior (age 65 or older on December 31, 2011) and non-senior homeowners. The deadline for filing these applications is June 30, 2012.

Because this year's proposed State Budget limits eligibility for senior/disabled homeowners to those with New Jersey gross income of $150,000 or less, and for non-senior/non-disabled homeowners to those with New Jersey gross income of $75,000 or less, many homeowners will not receive applications.

Most eligible homeowners will receive their Homestead Benefit for 2011 as a credit on a future property tax bill instead of receiving a rebate check (or direct deposit). These homeowners can expect to receive a revised property tax bill or advice copy from their tax collector that will reflect the amount of the benefit. Those homeowners who indicate when filing that they no longer own the property or those whose principal residence was a unit in a co-op or continuing care retirement community, will have their benefit issued in the form of a check (or direct deposit).

With very few exceptions, homeowner benefit applications must be filed over the Internet or by phone. The answers to most questions can be found in the application packet. Homeowners who receive a packet should read it carefully, and if they meet the eligibility requirements, complete the worksheet in the packet prior to filing. Homeowners who have already sold the home that was their principal residence on October 1, 2011, or who plan to sell should pay particular attention to the packet instructions regarding sale of property to ensure they complete their applications correctly.

The online and automated telephone filing system (1-877-658-2972) will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the filing period.