Tax Tips

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Hear the latest tax tips, news about tax scams and information on new tax laws as the tax season draws to a close. IRS spokesman Bill Brunson along with Grant Nulle, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Revenue, will tell us more to help you with your taxes

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA "HORIZON," THERE ARE THREE EXTRA DAYS TO GET YOUR TAXES DONE THIS YEAR. ARE YOU READY? WE WILL HAVE TIPS ON FILING. AND ANDY BIGGS JOINS US IN THE STUDIO. AND WE WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO A CAMP THAT IS INSPIRING PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. THAT IS NEXT ON ARIZONA "HORIZON."
VIDEO: ARIZONA "HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS. MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.
TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA. I AM TED SIMONS. APRIL 18TH IS THE DEADLINE, WE GET THREE EXTRA DAYS, TO FILE TAXES. JOINING US WITH THE LATEST ON NEW TAX LAWS AND TIPS IS BILL BRUNSUN WITH THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE AND DR. GRANT NULLA DEPUTY DIRECTOR AT THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE. WE HAVE THREE EXTRA DAYS AND EVERYONE PROCRASTINATES.. ARE YOU SEEING IT GETTER BETTER OVER THE YEARS OR DO WE DO IT THE SAME WAY?
BILL BRUNSON: 10% OF ARIZONA RESIDENTS SUBMIT THE REQUEST TO FILE AN EXTENSION. IT IS EASY TO DO AND THERE IS NO REASON TO MAKE AN ADVANCE PAYMENT BUT IF YOU DO OWE AND MAKE A PAYMENT WITH THE REQUEST IT WILL REDUCE FUTURE INTEREST AND PENALTY THAT WILL ACCRUE. SO, THERE IS A FEW PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO PROCRASTINATE BUT WE ARE THERE TO HELP.
TED SIMONS: AND RIGHT UP TO THE DEADLINE IN ARIZONA YOU STILL SEE IT, DON'T YOU?
GRANT NULLE: WE CERTAINLY DO. -- DEADLINE -- WE HAVE SEEN ABOUT TWO MILLION RETURNED AND WE NORMALLY GET 3.2 MILLION SO THERE IS A LOT OF FOLKS THAT NEED TO FILE AND WE ARE GETTING CLOSE TO THE DEADLINE.
TED SIMONS: I AM GUESSING IT GETS BETTER THE MORE ELECTRONIC PEOPLE GO.
BILL BRUNSON: 25% OF PEOPLE WAIT UNTIL THE LAST TWO WEEKS IN APRIL TO SUBMIT RETURNS AND WE WILL HAVE ALMOST THE SAME NUMBERS THE STATE DID, AROUND THREE MILLION SUBMIT A RETURN.
TED SIMONS: GRANT, PENALTIES FOR LATE FILING AND PAYMENT? WHAT ARE THEY AS FAR AS ARIZONA IS CONCERNED?
GRANT NULLE: I CAN'T RECALL.
TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE FED'S ARE CONCERNED, PENALTIES FOR LATE FILE?
GRANT NULLE: LATE FILE IS 4.5% AND LATE PAY IS ONE HALF OF 1% COMBINATION OF 5%. IF YOU DON'T HAVE EVERYTHING TOGETHER AND YOU OWE, REQUEST THE EXTENSION AND THAT WAY YOU WILL KNOCK OFF 4.5% OF THAT PENALTY.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU REQUEST AN EXTENSION, IS IT ALL FEAR AND CLEAR?
BILL BRUNSON: YOU USED TO HAVE TO MAKE A REASONABLE ESTIMATE BUT THAT IS NO LONGER THE RULE. IT DOESN'T COST ANYBODY UP FRONT BUT IF YOU HAVE A LIABILITY IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY DOWN THE LINE BECAUSE OF THE ACCRUING PENALTY AND FILING
TED SIMONS: LATE FILING AND LATE PAYMENT, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?
GRANT NULLE: ARIZONA'S TAX CODE NEARS WHAT WE SEE WITH THE IRS. THEY ARE QUITE COMPARABLE.
TED SIMONS: IF YOU CAN'T PAY ALL AT ONCE WHAT DOES THE STATE OFFER?
GRANT NULLE: CERTAINLY THE STATE OFFERS PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS OR PAYMENT PLANS. YOU CAN CALL INTO THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND WE CAN GET YOU SET-UP. IF ANYONE THAT IS BEHIND AND THEY WANT TO MAKE A PAYMENT WE ALSO OFFER ELECTRONIC MEANS OF DOING SO. YOU CAN GONE TO OUR WEBSITE AT AVDR.GOV AND ON THE HOME PAGE THERE IS A PLACE YOU CAN MAKE A PAYMENT ONLINE. SO THAT IS ONE WAY OF HELPING ACCELERATE THAT.
TED SIMONS: WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS FOR YEARS. THERE IS AN INSTALLMENT PLAN AS FAR AS THE FED'S ARE CONCERNED.
BILL BRUNSON: YEAH, AND LET'S SAY YOU DEFAULT AND WE CAN CALL AND PUT YOU BACK IN. IT IS JUST A MATTER OF WORKING WITH THE IRS IF YOU OWE AND THERE IS VARIOUS PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS. YOU CAN MAKE A ONE-TIME PAY FROM YOUR SAVINGS OR CHECKING ACCOUNT. THERE IS A LOT OF OPTIONS AND I WOULD DIRECT EVERYBODY TO GO TO IRS.GOV TO SEE WHAT IS OUT THERE IF THEY DO OWE.
TED SIMONS: THAT IS IF YOU OWE BUT CAN'T PAY THE FULL. WHAT IF YOU CAN'T PAY A DOG GONE THING?
BILL BRUNSON: WE ARE GOING TO WORK WITH THE TAXPAYER IN THE SENSE WE WILL ASK FOR FINANCIAL INFORMATION. IF WE CAN SEE THAT THEY DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY, WE WILL PUT IT IN A HOLD STATUS. NOW, NEXT YEAR, TWO YEARS DOWN THE LINE, FINANCIAL SITUATION COULD CHANGE AND WE WILL TALK TO YOU AGAIN.
TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE STATE IS CONCERNED? SAME THING?
GRANT NULLE: IT IS PRETTY COMPARABLE. OUR MISSION IS TO SERVE THE TAXPAYERS SO WE WILL WORK IN ANY WAY WAY WEEK.
TED SIMONS: PRIVATE DEBT COLLECTORS ARE NEW BEING USED?
GRANT NULLE: ABSOLUTELY. BOTH FOR THE STATE OF ARIZONA AND THE IRS IS USING IT TOO. PART OF THE REASON WE HAVE DOING IT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND THIS IS FOR INDIVIDUAL TAX INCOME PAYMENTS IS WE OPERATE IN A CONSTRAINED BUDGET AND WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR RESOURCES WE NEED TO ALLOCATE THEM MOST EFFECTIVELY AND TYPICALLY WITH INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX THERE ARE LARGER NUMBERS BUT VERY SMALL DOLLAR ACCOUNTS. IT IS NOT AS ECONOMICAL FOR US WITH OUR LIMITED RESOURCES TO REACH OUT TO THOSE TAXPAYERS AND RATHER BY PARTNERING WITH VERY WELL VETTED, PRIVATE DEBT COLLECTORS, THAT HELPS US FREE UP RESOURCES TO WORK ON OTHER TAX TYPES WHERE WE HAVE FEWER TAXPAYERS BUT LARGER DOLLAR AMOUNTS.
TED SIMONS: IRS SAME THING?
BILL BRUNSON: 2015 THERE WAS A LAW CHANGED AND CONGRESS HAD THE IRS LOOK AT ASSIGNING DEBT ITEMS TO PRIVATE INDUSTRY. THERE ARE FOUR TYPES, EXCUSE ME, FOUR BASIC COLLECTING AGENCIES THAT WILL BE CONTACTING TAXPAYERS. FIRST OFF, THE IRS IS GOING TO SEND THE INDIVIDUAL A LETTER AND IT WILL BE FOLLOWED UP BY THE PRIVATE DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY AND THEN THE PRIVATE DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY WILL CALL THAT INDIVIDUAL AND START TO WORK WITH THEM SO THEY CAN PAY THE PRIOR YEAR DEBT. MONIES WILL GO TO THE IRS. IF IT IS A PAPER CHECK OR OTHER ITEM THEN YOU WOULD WRITE ON THERE PAY TO THE ORDER OF DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY. NO MONEY GOES TO THE COLLECTORS. THERE IS A CONCERN THERE IS GOING TO BE TAX SCAMMERS THAT WILL JUMP ON THE WAGON. WHAT WE DON'T WANT IS SOMEBODY TO FALL VICTIM TO THIS ITEM. SO, MOST FOLKS KNOW IF THEY OWE AND IF THEY GET A CALL DON'T ENGAGE, HANG UP. BUT IF YOU ARE NOT SURE IF YOU OWE PRIOR YEAR TAXES YOU CAN CONTACT THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE AND THEY WILL TELL YOU THE STATUS OF YOUR ACCOUNT. FIRST, TWO LETTERS AND A PHONE CALL. THE LETTERS WILL HAVE NUMBERS YOU CAN MATCH UP TO VALIDATE THIS IS THE TRUE AND CORRECT ITEM.
TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS ADVICE, WHAT DO YOU HEAR THE MOST? WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CONCERN PEOPLE HAVE THIS TIME OF YEAR?
GRANT NULLE: SURE. WHERE IS MY REFUND IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST ONE. FOR ARIZONA, ROUGHLY TWO THIRDS OF THE 3.3 MILLION RETURNS ARE TAXPAYERS THAT ARE GETTING A REFUND. WE GET ABOUT 60,000 CALLS A MONTH AND A QUARTER OF THEM, IF NOT MORE, ARE WHERE IS MY REFUND. CONVENIENTLY ONE OF THE DEPARTMENT THINGS IS WHERE IS MY REFUND? ON THE HOME PAGE, YOU SEE BIG MOUSE, CLICK ON IT. AND YOU CAN PUT IN PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION AND YOU CAN SEE WHERE YOU ARE AT IN THE PROCESS.
TED SIMONS: BEFORE WE GET GOING, MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW? BEST TIP?
BILL BRUNSON: ELECTRONICALLY FILE. IF YOU HAVE A REFUND COMING AND CHOSE DIRECT DEPOSIT WE WILL PUT THE MONEY IN THE CHECKING OR SAVINGS 21 DAYS OR LESS. THE ELECTRONIC FILING SAVES THE GOVERNMENT MONEY. 87% OF ALL ARIZONA TAXPAYER WILL CHOOSE TO ELECTRONICALLY FILE THIS YEAR.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP, CONGRESSMAN ANDREW BIGGS JOINS US TO DISCUSS CONFLICTS IN NORTH KOREA AND SYRIAN AIRSTRIKES. JUST AHEAD.

Bill Brunson: IRS spokesman
Grant Nulle: Deputy director of the Arizona Department of Revenue

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