"The Entire State of Florida is Going to Jail for Tax Evasion."
That was the headline blared by the Broward New Times in a recent article regarding the pace at which Floridians had been filing their taxes this year.
The truth is, it's not quite that serious.
Yes, filing your taxes late could result in some serious headaches and probably some penalties. Still, with the help of an experienced Miami tax lawyer, you should be able to avoid imprisonment and you may even qualify for more of a break than you think.
The majority of the 10 million taxpaying Floridians usually file their taxes far in advance of the April 15 deadline. However, about a quarter only file their returns within just two weeks of the deadline.
Even more filed later this year because of delays on budget compromises between President Barack Obama and Congress earlier this year.
Boca Raton accountants reported that they had between 25 and 30 percent more people filing this March than last year. Usually, companies said this is their slower time. That boom ended up lasting through mid-April.
But even those who scraped by in getting their returns into the Internal Revenue Service prior to the deadline may not be free-and-clear of issues.
The rush to file just before the 15th causes a lot of people to make careless mistakes. In fact, IRS representatives say filings submitted last minute are the most prone to errors.
For example, almost a third of all Floridians skip their deduction entitlement for general sales tax. There are many other deductions - that is, money in your pocket - that you could be forgoing simply because you were in a hurry to get it in on time.
Complicating matters is that there were a number of new requirements and forms this year. Form 8949 is a prime example. This form is used to report capital gain and loss transactions.
Students and parents claiming college credits or any other expenses related to higher education also had new forms. Overlooking these could have been a big hit for some families, who stand to receive up to $2,500 annually.
Another common error is failing to cite - and pay for - previous tax breaks. For instance, the First-Time Homebuyer Credit of 2008 was actually an interest-free loan that has to be paid back in annual installments over the course of 15 years. That's $500 a year that needs to be noted.
Other very widespread mistakes include:
- Social Security numbers that are either missing or incorrect;
- An incorrect calculation of taxes;
- Errors in things like your estimated tax payments, Earned Income Credit, child care credit, or taxable income;
- Simple math mistakes.
If you haven't yet filed your taxes - and you haven't yet filed for an extension - contact our Miami tax lawyers to learn more about how this might benefit you and how we can help.