Race to file taxes begins

By Marc Strauss

Race to file taxes begins

January 30, 2013 Updated Jan 30, 2013 at 11:31 PM CDT


PEORIA, Ill. -- Wednesday, January 30 is the first day people can file their taxes.

If you're expecting a refund you're probably anxious to get it. If not, you might wait a while before filing.

Rusty Hall used to wrestle with doing his own taxes every year, but now he uses a professional tax service.

"I feel if I come in here its professionally done and I don't have to be afraid of making mistakes or whatever," explained Hall. "I had a couple of different things going on so I just wanted to make sure it was done properly."

However, William Sharpe, the president of Total Income Tax in Peoria says this year, because of the drawn-out fiscal cliff drama and the uncertainty that created, it was a little harder for tax preparers to get prepared.

"The IRS, rather than issuing a tax table, they just decided to hold off until the decisions were made," said Sharpe.

That means tax forms and instructions went out late. Sharpe says his office had to scramble to be ready to meet with about thousand eager filers this first week alone.  He advises people who do their own taxes to make sure they're up to speed on any changes and deductions and credits that could help them keep more of their hard earned money.

"The last several years there's been a very generous credit for higher education expenses," said Sharpe. "A lot of times people overlook that and it can increase your refund several thousand dollars."

Roughly 70 percent of tax filers do so electronically.  Many of them use software purchased online or through retailers. That makes tax time a numbers crunching game for them, too.

"In a day, 30 or 40 units of tax preparation software," said Joe Janusz, manager at Office Max. "It's not inconceivable to have that happen."

As for filing your state tax forms there are several options, including free online at http://tax.illinois.gov. You can also download and print state tax forms at the site.

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