Saturday, January 31, 2015

Amid tax-filing rush, make sure to double-check your work

Tax software and electronic filing make income-tax returns easier than ever to fill out, but they have their own drawbacks.

Amid tax-filing rush, make sure to double-check your work

Last weekend tested my tax-form agility as I got my federal and state income-tax filings ready for mailing.

I used the same tax-preparation software package that I’ve been using for the last five years, and it enthusiastically told me that it detected “no errors.”

But not being the trusting sort when it comes to signing my name to legally binding documents, I read through each line of every form, schedule, and work sheet I was required to file.

And I found an error - a double-counting of a deductible expense. Plus, the software helpfully suggested I file my Pennsylvania tax forms electronically. But with some of my household income coming from another state, I knew that wasn’t so.

Thursday’s the day that once spawned huge lines inside and sometimes outside post offices as taxpayers waited to mail their tax forms. In recent years, those lines are largely gone, but the last-minute rush on April 15 isn’t. It’s being spent in front of a computer screen.

As of April 2, the IRS had received 89.97 million tax returns from individuals, about 2.5 percent less than the same time last year. About 80 percent of those returns were “e-filed,” as I did with my Form 1040.

However, the IRS expects to process 140 million returns this year, leaving about 50 million due in the final two weeks. Can you imagine if 80 percent of those taxpayers were to wait until 10 minutes before midnight to press the “send” button?

Now more than ever, don’t wait until the last minute.

Pharm to PhRMA

An AstraZeneca P.L.C. executive who works in the Wilmington area has been tapped to help with the leadership transition at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Chip Davis, vice president of corporate external relations at the maker of Nexium and Seroquel, has taken a leave of absence to become senior operating officer at the powerful, Washington-based industry association.

PhRMA president and chief executive officer Billy Tauzin announced Feb. 12 that he would step down June 30.

“I look forward to working with Billy and the great people at PhRMA to deliver on the board’s expectations and priorities,” Davis said in a statement.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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