Asheboro, NC -- The deadline to file your taxes might not be until April 15, but tax professionals say you ought to start preparing your return now.
Ryan Dodson from Liberty Tax Service in Asheboro says now is the time to get all your documents together. He said you'd be surprised by how many people forget a W-2, or a document like a mortgage interest statement. An amended return, Dodson said, will slow down your refund.
It also isn't good enough to just say you donated a bag of clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, he said. If you're itemizing charitable donations like those, Dodson says you need to have an idea of exactly what was in that bag and how much those clothes were worth.
Not surprisingly, Dodson recommends having a professional prepare your taxes for you. Most people don't change the oil in their car themselves, and he says the same concept of expertise applies here. So if you're looking for a deal on tax preparation, ask if there are discounts for veterans, public servants or teachers. Some tax services might also throw in some instant cash back to try to make paying for preparation more palatable.
If you are going to do your taxes on your own, Dodson says there aren't many significant changes to tax laws for this year.
But we've connected you to some IRS resources here.
Despite the fiscal cliff crisis, Dodson says if your income and living situation stayed the same in 2012, the amount you either owe the government or will be getting back from the IRS should be about the same.
How long you'll have to wait to see a refund, however, is different. If you count on a refund to pay some bill, plan ahead now because the IRS won't start accepting returns until Jan. 30 -- more than a week later than normal. Most refunds will be sent within 21 days of the return being accepted, Dodson said, which is about a week longer than in the past.
But just because processing is delayed doesn't mean you can't have your taxes prepared now.
"We've had folks [who] we've finished their tax returns for over two weeks now," Dodson said. "We're just waiting for the IRS to say, 'OK, you can send them to us now.' Once they say that, they're good to go. And they're going to be the ones in the front of the line."
Even though the process will be slower on the government's end of things, you won't get any more time to do your part. This year's tax deadline is still April 15.
WFMY News 2