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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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April 3, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 3, 1997
 

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Senior Issues Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, April 3, 1997 23 Reid Proviaes Free Tax Tips for Seniors By Pete Peters The headline says it all. Unfortunately, for many of us, the information comes a little too late. April 15 is too close for comfort. But, as the saying 5t goes, better late than never. This is indeed true for senior citizens who have not prepared their tax statements for 1996. Many folks who must file tax returns wait until the last minute to do so and this particular col- umn is aimed at them. There are many questions that arise when this time of year comes around. Do you have all , your receipts? Do you have all your receipts? Do you know what deductions you are allowed to claim? Do you know what your filing status is? Do you know what forms you need? Do you have someone to assist you in filing your tax return? Will you have a refund or must you fork over a payment? You only have until Tuesday, April 15, to oblige the Internal Revenue Service in fulfilling its dastardly deed. The information Sen. Harry Reid has assembled through the Senate Special Committee on Aging is geared to protect senior citizens from overpayment of income taxes. "After consulting with the Internal Revenue Service," Reid begins his text, "the Committee has included a checklist for itemized deductions such as medical and dental expenses; a standard deduction table; and information about how to ask the IRS for help." I, personally, wish I had this text in my possession before I went to see my taxman. I am now positive that I should have been able to claim more deductions than he allowed me. Reid' s paper, entitled"Protecting Older Americans Against the Overpayment of Income Taxes," does not apply to my situation entirely, but it certainly enlightens me in other areas. "Many seniors live on fixed incomes," Reid's newsletter from Washington states. "They cannot afford to pay one dime more than they owe on their taxes. In fact, as we have seen with California's attempts to collect the outlawed source tax, many seniors end up paying too much on their taxes because they don't have all the facts or because the forms are confusing and don't clearly spell out their rights." That is why Sen. Reid said he wrote the Taxpayers Bill of Rights--to put taxpayers on a more even footing with the tax collectors. "I am committed to making sure that seniors do not get lost in the maze of the IRS bureaucracy," Reid's statement continues. "Many seniors are prime targets for overpayment of taxes because they are afraid of losing their benefits if they challenge the IRS." According to Reid, and I'm sure he's right, these free pamphlets will help seniors understand their rights and avoid costly mistakes on their returns. The four-page pamphlets are available at all of Reid' s state offices or by calling: (702) 47443041 in Las Vegas; (702) 686- 5750 in Reno; (702) 882-RIED in Carson City; or 1-202-224- 3542 in Washington, DC. If you' re not sure whether or not you have to file income tax, Reid's paper defines all. For instance, if you're single and under the age of 65, then you must have earned t gross amount of $6,550 in 1996 before filing. If you're single, 65 or older, your gross earnings must have been $7,500. Reid breaks down the categories for those Married Filing joint returns, married filing separate returns; heads of house- holds; and qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. But, Reid cautions, even if your income is less than the amount he indicates in those categories, you must file a return if you owe any tax on an IRA or a qualified retirement plan; if you were self-employed and had net earnings of $400; or if you owe Social Security and Medicare taxes on tips. These are just a few examples. Several tax forms are described for various filing statuses as well as Social Security Benefits and exemptions that are allowed. There are miscellaneous deductions to consider as well as tax credits, such as dependent care expenses, credit for the elderly or the disabled and earned income credit. The standard deduction table is the meat and potatoes of Sen. Reid's pamphlets. It simply reduces the need for many taxpayers to itemize their deductions. If, by chance, you haven't filed your 1996 income tax yet and want to delay it in order to get Reid' s pamphlet first, it may behoove you to do so. You may receive an automatic four-month extension of time to file by using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of time to file U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. If you extend your filing due date, you should estimate your tax for 1996 and send the payment with Form 4868. You will owe interest on any underpayment of tax. Oh, if I only had to do it over .... Pete Peters, a veteran award-winning journalist and hotel- casino publisist, has retired to the Pahrump community and has joined the Pahrump Valley Gazette as a senior columnist. Pete welcomes any input on senior activities here. He will also share some experiences with you as well. KIDS MEALS S1.99 10" SUB S3.65 Phone Orders Welcome 727-4300 Hours 10 am to 7 pm Hwy 160 Valley View Plaza VALLEY DENTAL GROUP 1420 E. State Highway 372 89o41 72 7-661 5 THE TONOPAH ROTARY CLUB PRESENTS TI-IE 8"/'11 ANNUAL OWBOY POETRY aATIIZlUlIG Featuring Master of Ceremonies John Tyson - XOLO Tit llano With Poets D.W. 8.tm. "Two Jmp,, llama , LLer,y Ilsuos Jmme 8mit,,h . Friday & Saturday - APRIL TONOPAH CONVENTION CENTER 6:OO P.M. COCKTAILS 8t HORS D'OEUVRES 7:00 P.M. POETRY Trid& April 11 7:OO P.M. r Amateur Contests r Cowboy Poetry & Cowboy Singing r Western Art 7 READING 800t00rdLy, April lIB 8:00 P.II. r Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres 7:30 P.M. r r Cowboy poets Amateur Contest Winners HOTEL & CASINO (Official Cowboy Poetry Headquarters) Proceeds Used For |noz, msLtion, Tiakets 00011 A. 00'riol (7Ore)48m-8087 i iiii to Host the Annual Kids Fishing Derby