Taxes

Tax day is next week! Need some help?

April 3, 2013 at 3:40 PM ET

There’s no need to panic – yet – but you’d better get going if you want to get your tax return done on time. During a TODAY Money web chat on Wednesday, Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service answered a variety of questions on this subject.

Where do you start? Steber said to get organized and gather your documents and records, such as W2 wage statement, 1099 interest/dividend forms and mortgage data.

Mark Steber: Best practice – EMBRACE technology: websites like IRS.gov. Locate that prior year’s tax return - a great place to get started. And finally get help as you need it. Do NOT rush to get it all done and leave off a tax credit or deduction JUST to get finished

Bob B: What are the biggest changes in the code for this year?

Mark Steber: Tax returns for 2012 are not tremendously different than last year, but there were changes all the same. Many were for statutory things like: mileage rates, amounts for standard deductions and the like.

But for some specifics for 2012: the extension of the expired provisions - educator expenses deduction, tuition and fees deduction and sales tax deduction AND the permanent extension of the increased AMT exemption

More common for taxpayers than tax law changes are LIFE CHANGES... more common and more likely to create tax benefits: back to school for taxpayer or family member, new dependent like taking care of a parent, displace or laid off or start new small business ALL have big tax benefits. Look to LIFE CHANGES for real tax savings.

Here are two NBC News stories you might find helpful:

My story on 7 Money-Saving Tips for Last-Minute Filers and Sharon Epperson's column about what to do if you can't pay your tax bill.

Read the rest of the Q & A below:


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