H&R Block offers free Second Look® at prior year tax returns
Three years’ worth of tax returns could hold additional tax refunds from overlooked tax breaks
What is better than finding an additional tax refund on a prior year income tax return? How about finding additional money on up to three prior year returns? Given the fact the IRS won’t accept 2012 tax returns until Jan. 22, taxpayers can use the first three weeks of 2013 to go three years back to find possibly overlooked tax breaks with a Second Look®.
Starting Jan. 2 through April 30 at participating H&R Block tax offices, do-it-yourselfers or anyone who may have used someone other than H&R Block to prepare their taxes can receive a free Second Look review of their 2009, 2010 and 2011 income tax returns. This review is designed to ensure taxpayers received the maximum refund possible and to help them recover any hard-earned money that might have been left on the table.
New this year, clients can take a quick online assessment at www.hrblock.com to help them determine if they are likely to benefit from a Second Look before they even come into an office.
Clients who take the online assessment can choose to visit a local office for their Second Look review and easily can set an appointment online. They also can opt to create a My H&R Block Account and upload their tax documents ahead of time. Tax professionals then will be able to access these documents and get started on the Second Look before the client arrives at the office.
“Because the IRS provides taxpayers up to three years to file amended returns, clients can take advantage of a free Second Look by an H&R Block tax professional on one or all three years and fix past mistakes,” said Brian Brush, director of Tax Services and Solutions at H&R Block. “For many taxpayers, there is money hiding in a past tax return and it won’t find itself.”
Second Look now from comforts of home via Block Live
This may be one of the easiest ways to find extra money from the comforts of home with clients having the option to access the expertise of H&R Block for a free Second Look with Block Live instead of visiting a retail tax office. The video conferencing tool engages the taxpayer directly with a tax professional in a secure format, making it even easier to have H&R Block do a Second Look of prior year tax returns.
Unfortunately, not all tax returns are prepared accurately and some mistakes can lead to overpayment. H&R Block’s Second Look provides a professional review of the original tax return and advice on what to do if variances are found.
Second Look reviews often reveal many common tax mistakes, including:
- Missed education credits: The American Opportunity Credit was extended through 2017, allowing taxpayers to claim $2,500 for the first four years of college education for each student. The Tuition and Fees Deduction provides a reduction in taxable income of up to $4,000, and the Lifetime Learning Credit is worth up to $2,000 per return for post-secondary degree programs. These education benefits cannot be combined (for the same student) so taxpayers should work with a tax professional to choose the one that is most beneficial.
- Inaccurate filing status: It is very important to accurately assess filing status as it impacts the value of some credits and deductions available. For some families, changing their filing status to married filing jointly from the often less beneficial married filing separate status can make them eligible for more tax breaks and ultimately a larger tax refund.
- Overlooked Earned Income Tax Credit: Low-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, depending on marital status and family size. For example, a married couple with three children may qualify for the maximum credit of $5,891. As a frequently overlooked tax credit, only 20 percent of those eligible claim this credit.
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