Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't go it alone!

SL Tribune is reporting on a tax mistake that took four years to resolve and hundreds of dollars in interest and penalties.

Last fall, the a Tooele couple agreed to pay $3,178 that the commission said they owed in capital-gains taxes after selling a small rental property. The state tacked on an additional $449 in interest.

The couple made an error in calculating their capital gains on their 2005 return.

The two are now retired and living on a fixed income.

On Jan. 20, the couple received a letter from the Tax Commission declaring they owed another $421.76 -- and warned that if they didn't pay in two weeks, a lien would be placed on their house.

Dee Talbot, the director of State Taxpayers Services, a division of the Tax Commission, said he recalculated that penalty and eventually lowered it to $116.

Is it over?

If they had paid the tax and then appealed, they would have saved the second penalty, Talbot explained.

The Taxpayer Services director noted that to avoid such misunderstandings, the state offers on-line tutorials and free tax advice for anyone who needs help filling out tax forms.

Help calculating taxes
The Utah Taxpayer Service offers on-line tutorials at Utah Tax Commission.

Taxpayers can call for assistance in filing tax forms at 801-297-2200.

And don't forget the AARP Tax-Aide sites starting February 1st. These sites are for middle and low-income taxpayers and they in several places in the state and all over they country. There are 13 sites in the Salt Lake area alone. Info here.

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