Tax season is here and making it easy for taxpayers to understand and file their taxes is a top priority for the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Providing the correct information and remembering a few simple tips will help ensure you have an error-free tax return that can be processed quickly and correctly.
NCDOR offers the following easy tips and recommendations as you prepare your taxes this year.
- Filing date - Individual income taxpayers will have until Tuesday, April 15, 2014, to file returns, extensions and submit payments due.
- Gather all your income and tax documents before you file - Filing your income tax return before you receive all W-2s and 1099s often leads to errors that require you to file an amended return once you have the correct information. Employers are required to mail W-2s and other documents by Jan.31.
- File electronically and request direct deposit for refunds -This is the most convenient, accurate and the fastest way to file your taxes. Electronic filing will identify common math errors and direct deposit to your bank account means you get your money sooner. Double check bank account and routing numbers to prevent delays in deposits. Some taxpayers may qualify for free or low-cost electronic filing. Find out how to E-file and if you qualify for low-cost filing. Some taxpayers with low-to moderate- incomes may qualify for free tax preparation through the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887 or visit the IRS website.
- File electronic federal and state returns at the same time - Failure to file both returns at the same time could require taxpayers to amend North Carolina returns if the IRS detects any errors with their federal return. The IRS will begin accepting e-filed returns on Jan. 31, 2014. The North Carolina Department of Revenue will follow the same start date.
- Check your address - Every year, thousands of refund checks are returned to the Department of Revenue because of incorrect addresses, and the law forbids the forwarding of those checks. Carefully check the mailing address you provide on your return.
- Do not file photocopies of tax forms - Use pre-printed or downloaded forms from the department’s website. Photocopies may not scan correctly and could cause delays in processing your return. Taxpayers can request forms online, download forms from the NCDOR website, or call 1-877-252-3052.
- Make checks payable to the N.C. Department of Revenue if you owe state taxes - Some taxpayers mistakenly send checks made out to the Internal Revenue Service for their state taxes. Payments may also be made on-line through our secure website. Just visit www.dornc.com and click on Electronic Services for Individuals.
- File on time regardless of ability to pay - Make sure you file on-time to avoid the automatic failure-to-file penalty of five percent per month, up to a maximum of 25% of the additional tax. You are better off filing your taxes by the April 15 deadline and contacting the department at 1-877-252-3052 to arrange a payment plan if you cannot pay all at once.
- Check to see if you claimed all the tax credits and deductions to which you are entitled and included all the additions that you are required to report.
- Use tax may be due for online or catalog purchases - Consumer use tax is due when you purchase products online or from a catalog and are not charged sales tax by the vendor. Check your receipts and report and pay any use tax directly to NCDOR on your state income tax return.
- Find and use a reputable tax preparer - Taxpayers get billed for millions of dollars in state taxes each year as a result of deliberate errors made on their returns by fraudulent tax preparers. Be wary of preparers who: claim they can obtain larger refunds than others, ask you to sign a blank tax return, base their fees on a percentage of a taxpayer's refund and who are reluctant to offer references. If you see information on your return that is wrong or confusing, you should question the preparer and if not satisfied with their response, called the NC Department of Revenue at 1-800-232-4939.
Questions, need more information or don't have access to the Internet?
If you have any questions or need more assistance, please call our Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-877-252-3052. NCDOR offers extended hours for phone service during tax season.
P.O. Box 25000, Raleigh, NC 27640-0001
An Equal Opportunity Employer