Feb. 15--It's that time of year again.
If you're not someone who waits until April 14 to beat the next day's tax filing deadline, you're probably already thinking about a possible refund.
Today's Business section will help you get started.
We're including stories with information as part of two days of guides on taxes. We also have experts available to answer questions. A free call-in program staffed by Certified Public Accountants and staff accountants is part of the program.
The Beacon Journal also will host an online chat for those who want to ask questions via computer or phone.
Our three call-in sessions this week are co-sponsored by the Beacon Journal and the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, who recruit our volunteer experts.
The sessions will be:
--Monday: 6-8 p.m.
--Wednesday: 6-8 p.m.
--Saturday: 9 a.m. to noon
Call 330-996-3644. If you get a recording, it means lines are busy, so hang up and try again. We do not check messages and are not able to return calls.
The program is designed to be a resource for questions that can be answered quickly. Accountants are not able to walk a caller through an entire return.
A live chat will be from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Go online to www.ohio.com to ask a question. We are also gathering questions ahead of time to use during the chat, so you can submit a question early by emailing me at email@example.com (Put Online Tax Question in the subject line).
If you use the social media website Twitter, you can send a tweet to me using the @blinfisherABJ handle or post a question to the Akron Beacon Journal's Facebook page.
We'll monitor those accounts in the chat to gather questions, too. We might not be able to answer all queries, but there will be a transcript of the chat and all stories will be archived online at www.ohio.com/taxes.
Beware of scams
The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that it does not send emails, texts or any type of electronic media messages or phone calls to taxpayers about their accounts or asking for any personal or financial information.
The IRS also does not send unsolicited emails to claim your refund.
"The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email about their taxes. Such messages are common phishing scams. The public should be aware that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email to alert them of pending refunds and does not ask for personal or financial information through email," the agency said in a statement.
The agency urges taxpayers receiving such messages not to release any personal information, reply, open any attachments or click on any links to avoid items that can infect their computers.
Top 10 tips
Special thanks to CPAs Doug Klein and Ed Decker, both of Akron-area firm SS&G, who have served as my advisers through the Ohio Society of CPAs for several years for our tax coverage. This year, Klein and Decker have updated what they call "Ed and Doug's Tax Tips," or a priority list for readers.
(1) Many individual tax breaks were extended last year and are still in effect for 2013 -- don't forget them.
--Deduction for certain elementary and secondary school teachers' expenses.
--An item affecting renegotiated principal residence loans.
--Mortgage insurance premiums as mortgage interest.
--Deduction for state and local general sales taxes.
--Deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses.