ETX tax experts give advice for starting returns - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX tax experts give advice for starting returns


If there's one thing we're all financially required to do, it's pay those taxes.

Today is January 31st, the day you're supposed to receive all those tax forms -- the W-2s, the 1099s and such -- if you haven't already.

And some local experts gave us their advice for what each person should be doing now, at the end of January, to start preparing for his or her own taxes.

"First of all, gather all your income documents, your W-2s, your 1099s from interest and dividends, 1099s from side jobs," said Debbie Wallis, an H&R Block franchisee in East Texas. "Also, make sure you get documents for credits and adjustments, such as student loan interest, child care expenses, that kind of thing, to make sure you pay the lowest tax liability."

Tyler CPA Ray McKinney says a lot of people, especially those whose income is primarily reported on a W-2 form, can file their taxes online without a lot of help from a professional. But he says as your financial situation becomes more complicated, you should start to seek out help.

"It's when you get to the things that have tax provisions associated with them, like owning a home has certain tax advantages. If you're in school, there are some tax advantages there. Those are the type of things that make things a little more complicated, especially when you start getting to investments, if you own stock, those type of things," said McKinney, a partner at Gollob Morgan Peddy CP in Tyler.

And McKinney warns people who are self-employed or earn income from odd jobs to keep tabs of what they earn and set aside money to pay taxes, since you probably haven't been withholding much from your paychecks. Also, he recommends starting your tax returns early.

"Otherwise, if you procrastinate and you're there on April 15th or April the 10th and you're trying to file a tax return, and all of a sudden you find out you owe $8,000 or $10,000, you don't have much wiggle room to come up with that," McKinney said.

And as for standard tax advice?

"I would say that tracking your refund, e-filing is a good idea, keeping your information all together, stay on top of things, do it quickly, you don't want surprises. You don't want surprises on April 15th," McKinney said.

The IRS is moving to an e-file system, which you've already been doing or had the option of doing if you've filed with an online tax service or with a CPA.

But if you've never done that before and would like to learn how, just head on over to the IRS website ( and you'll find out how.

You can also track your return on their website as well to see when you'll be getting any refund you may be expecting.

And some services, like local H&R Block offices, allow taxpayers to come in and ask experts the questions you may need to ask before April 15th.

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