Hraychuck: Maximizing Your Tax Refund

Monday, March 2nd, 2009 at 7:03 am

(Column from WI. Rep. Ann Hraychuck)

This year, many Wisconsinites will miss out on hundreds of dollars in tax return funds because the required forms were not completed.  Have you filled out all of the necessary paperwork to maximize your return this tax season?

A new credit has become available for taxable years beginning in 2008.  Individuals who previously paid both federal and state government taxes on their social security benefits will no longer be taxed by the State of Wisconsin.

If you are currently receiving social security benefits and want to estimate what your new tax payment will be after this adjustment, a 1-ES form and instructions can be acquired at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) Web site, www.revenue.wi.gov/html/taxind.html.

Another credit opportunity available that many people are not aware of is the Homestead Credit.  This credit provides real property tax relief to families that need it the most.  Although the Homestead Credit is not new to Wisconsin, over half of those eligible do not apply, generally because of the long and complicated tax forms that accompany it.  To solve this problem, a simplified one page form, or “Homestead EZ”, was created and can be obtained by contacting my office.

To qualify for the Homestead Credit, you must earn less than $24,500 and have owned a home or rented an apartment or house for all of 2008.  Additionally, those individuals must be at least 18 years of age, a legal resident of Wisconsin for all of 2008 and filed taxes independently.

If you are in the process of filing your taxes and are would like help in doing so, there are couple of resources available to you.  The AARP, for example, provides Tax-Aides in a number of locations who volunteer their time to help people with their tax forms.  For more information about the program visit the AARP Web site, www.aarp.org or contact my office to find the location nearest you.

One last resource to keep in mind is that filing your taxes online, or e-filing, can save you additional time and money.  Last year 68 percent of Wisconsin’s three million personal income returns were filed electronically.  To take advantage of this convenient alternative, visit the DOR Web site, www.dor.state.wi.us.  Here you can file electronically for free using their Free-File program and will receive your return a week later.  If this is an option you are interested in, but do not have internet access, go to your local library.

I urge everyone who is eligible for these tax credits to apply.  If you have questions or would like to receive a form, please contact my office toll free at 1-888-529-0028 or via email at .

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