Monday, June 18, 2018
Business

Tax deadline can spread panic

Okay, procrastinators. Time is running out. Tuesday is the deadline for filing your federal income tax returns.

The good news: With very few tax changes for 2013, there aren't any big head-scratchers to sort out this year. But it's still easy to trip yourself up with math errors or filing mistakes or even by forgetting to report your fantasy football winnings.

Here are some last-minute items worth noting:

DON'T PANIC, BUT DO FILE: "A lot of people panic this time of year," said California Franchise Tax Board spokeswoman Denise Azimi, either because they can't pay what they think they owe, or they don't have all of their paperwork together.

If that's you, don't avoid Tuesday's deadline. You're better off filing the return on time and paying what you can, or asking for an automatic extension. (See accompanying story.)

AVOID THE EASY ERRORS: One of the biggest mistakes, especially for those filing a paper return, is basic math. Double-check everything before you file.

If you're filing an electronic form, the math computations will be done for you. But you can still make errors by inputting the wrong Social Security number or tax-filing status (married, head of household, filing jointly, etc.) or by mistyping your bank routing number for direct deposit of a refund.

Another common error is misstating what you paid last year in estimated tax payments. And above all, don't forget to sign and date your return.

DON'T OVERLOOK TAX CREDITS: When filing, be sure to look for federal tax credits that might apply, such as home energy-efficiency improvements, college costs, child care expenses and charitable donations.

One of the commonly overlooked credits is the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, known as the EITC. Designed to help low-income working adults, it's a refundable credit, so even if you don't owe taxes, you could still get money back in your pocket. It's based on income and family size, and it can be as much as $6,000. Generally, your 2013 earned income must be below $51,567 for couples filing jointly with three children, or less than $14,340 for a single person with no children. To see whether you qualify, search for the "EITC Assistant" tool on the IRS.gov website. The average credit last year was $2,300.

FANTASY FOOTBALL INCOME?: Another source of tax return errors is not reporting all of your income, even that from an online fantasy football league.

"If you don't report the income, you can expect to hear from the IRS," said Sandra Block of Kiplinger personal finance magazine. If you received a Form 1099-MISC for casino winnings or a Form 1099-DIV for dividends, for instance, be assured that the IRS received a copy, too.

"The IRS views fantasy football in the same way it views gambling and lottery winnings, which are also taxable," said Block.

THINK TWICE ON REFUNDS: "As much as people love getting a big check from the IRS, it's not good money management," said Kiplinger's Block. "By adjusting your withholding, you can give yourself an automatic raise and use the money to pay off debt or increase your retirement savings." She recommends asking your employer to adjust your W-4 form so that you'll immediately get more take-home pay that can be allotted to savings or debts.

And, she noted, being owed a refund can make you vulnerable to fraud due to identity theft, which has been a nagging problem for the IRS.

Comments
St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents can expect their water and sanitation bills to increase between $7 and $11 starting in October.That represents an average of a 7-percent increase. Customers who use an average of 4,000 gallons a month, including reclaimed w...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

day after an electrical fire broke out in its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Ave. N, said staffers spent Monday and the weekend moving things into other warehouses.The damage from the fire at ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market is scheduled to reopen Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Avenue N said staff spent Monday and the weekend...
Published: 06/18/18
Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

ST. PETERSBURG — Edward White Hospital, closed four years ago because of declining revenues, has been sold to developer Grady Pridgen for $2.7 million.Pridgen could not be reached Monday for comment. City officials said he has submitted plans for rem...
Published: 06/18/18

Hernando Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL RECEIVES AWARD: Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill was the recipient of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals that have prevented the occurrence...
Published: 06/18/18
Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITALS RECEIVE AWARD: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Medical Center of Trinity were recipients of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals t...
Published: 06/18/18
Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

The summer reprieve in gas prices is continuing.After flirting near the $3 mark, Tampa Bay gas prices fell another six cents a gallon over the past week to an average of $2.65 for unleaded, a wide gap with the national average of $2.91 a gallon, acco...
Published: 06/18/18
Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

SAN FRANCISCO - The cold, steely arm of Fernando the Barista swirled the foam of my matcha latte, set it down gently, and waved goodbye from inside a glass case. San Francisco, 2018. Where you can get robot pizza and robot salad, and now, a robot mat...
Published: 06/16/18