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Filing your taxes: What to know for 2014

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More than 250 people called into the WSFA 12 News Defenders Tax Action Line Tuesday afternoon. More than 250 people called into the WSFA 12 News Defenders Tax Action Line Tuesday afternoon.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

It's one of the most dreaded days on the calendar for many people every year -- the deadline to file your tax return.

Those who like to get a head start and anticipate a refund had to wait until Jan. 31 to file. It was all because of last year's government shut down.

For anyone filing there is one common mistake made year after year.

"People don't organize their information well enough. You sit down and you think I'm just going to get all of this done, but if you go ahead and organize this information throughout the year, it will keep you from missing an income item, or more importantly missing a deduction," said David Chandler with Aldridge, Borden and Company.

For many people, the best way to make sure not to miss anything on a return is to leave it to a professional. But how do you go about picking someone to do it?

"There are a couple ways to do that. The Alabama society of CPA's has a referral service on their website, and it will refer you to a cps after you give them a little criteria. If something happens on your return, or there's an issue or dispute down the road, we're the only people who can help you before the IRS," David Chandler said.

If you plan to itemize your taxes, make sure you remember all available deductions.

"You can deduct your mortgage interest, which is a big one people have. Real estate taxes on your house. Also people miss that we can deduct the taxes we pay when we re-do our car tags. If you live outside Montgomery where they charge some local taxes you can deduct those. And charitable contributions. And some miscellaneous un-reimbursed business expenses."

What if you use a home office for business? Instead of figuring out the percentage of your cable and power bills that you can deduct Chandler says "Now you can do a $5 flat times the square footage of your office. It's new for this year. I'm not sure how much it's gonna change your tax liability, but it may really decrease that amount of time it takes to gather that information."

Something else to consider: If can e-file your return, do it. Refunds get sent out in less than 21 days. People who paper file could wait six to eight weeks before seeing their refund.
Take advantage of the resources on IRS.gov and the IRS videos you can find on YouTube.

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