Changes impacting your taxes and this year's refund from Uncle Sam

Woman handing out money

(ARA) — In the way of tax legislation, 2011 was a relatively quiet year. However, that doesn't mean there aren't tax law changes that will affect this year's tax returns.

"The changes enacted at the end of 2010 will still impact this year's and next year's federal tax returns," says TaxACT spokesperson, Jessi Dolmage. "With the debate over the federal budget and taxes unlikely to end any time soon, who knows if the soon-to-be expired tax breaks will be extended. So, take advantage of all your benefits while you still can."

Three out of four taxpayers receive a federal refund, and last year's average refund totaled $2,805. To help you maximize your refund, here are some tax law changes you should know about before filing this year's return.

With so much of your hard-earned money at stake and our complex tax law, it's no wonder a growing number of Americans use tax preparation solutions. "Trusted solutions like TaxACT navigate all the tax law changes for you to help maximize your refund, file a return that's 100 percent accurate and provide help when you need it," says Dolmage.

When choosing a tax preparation solution, especially free products, Dolmage warns you to carefully weigh your options. "TaxACT Free Federal Edition covers all 1040 returns, but other free programs are only for 1040EZ returns, sometimes referred to as 'simple returns'. The nearly nine out of 10 taxpayers who have more complex returns don't qualify for those."

For information about these and other tax law changes affecting this year's tax return, visit www.irs.gov and www.taxact.com/taxinfo. Learn more about TaxACT Free Federal Edition for both simple and complex returns at www.taxact.com.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

April 10 Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 10 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of March.

April 14 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of March.

April 15 Individuals
File a 2014 income tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6 month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by October 15.

April 15 Individuals
If you are not paying your 2015 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2015 estimated tax. Use Form 1040ES.

April 15 Household Employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,800 or more in 2014 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H - Details

April 15 Partnerships
File a 2014 calendar year return (Form 1065) - Details

April 15 Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2014 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) - Details

April 15 Corporations
Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2015 - Details

April 15 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 15 Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 15 Household employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2014 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040). If you are required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040), file Schedule H (Form 1040) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2013 or 2014 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

April 27 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of March.

April 29 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of April.

April 30 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2015. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full, you have until May 11 to file the return.

April 30 Federal unemployment tax.
Deposit the tax owed through March if more than $500.

April 30 Form 720 taxes
File Form 720 for the first quarter of 2015.

April 30 Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during March.

April 30 Heavy highway vehicle use tax
File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in March.

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