Jackson Hewitt Alerts Taxpayers of Fall Deadlines and Recent Tax Law Changes

October 15 is Final Deadline For Filing a 2008 Tax Return

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Sept. 14 // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- Jackson Hewitt Tax Service says now is the time to get smart about fast-approaching deadlines and recent changes to tax law. Most pressing is the October 15 extension deadline for filing a 2008 tax return. And then there are the tax laws that have been recently introduced or modified that can help taxpayers take advantage of a range of new credits and deductions that may benefit them when filing a 2009 tax return.

Taxpayers that filed for an extension for a 2008 tax return (using Form 4868) on or before April 15, 2009, must complete and file their taxes by October 15, 2009, in order to meet the deadline.

"Remember, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay," explained Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt. "If you have a balance due, you will have penalty and interest to pay, which has been accumulating on that balance since April 15. However, if you filed for an extension, you will not be charged a late filing penalty as long as you submit your tax return by October 15."

In addition to the upcoming extension deadline, Steber highlighted four additional tax considerations to keep top of mind between now and year's end:

  • First Time Homebuyer Credit: If you purchased, or plan to purchase, your first home between December 31, 2008 and December 1, 2009, you can claim a refundable credit of 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $8,000 ($4,000 if married and filing separately) on your 2009 return. If you have already filed your 2008 income tax return before you purchased your home, you can claim the credit by amending your 2008 tax return, or you can wait and claim the credit when you file your 2009 tax return. This credit does not have to be repaid unless you sell the home within 36 months.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: On February 17, 2009, the President signed into law a bill that provided significant changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit, most notably an additional amount of credit for three or more qualifying children, higher income thresholds and the total dollar amount of each credit type. This means more American taxpayers may be able to claim the credit.
  • Unemployed or Looking for a Job in 2009?: Please note, for tax year 2009, only the first $2,400 of unemployment compensation is excluded from tax. All unemployment compensation beyond the first $2,400 is taxable. Take stock now to avoid a surprise financial hit during tax season. Also, many taxpayers also forget to keep track of the miles they drive, parking fees or tolls, employment agency fees, resume fees, long distance calls and other fees associated with job hunting. If you itemize on your tax return, you may be able to claim these job hunting expenses as a miscellaneous deduction.
  • Get organized now: It's never too early to start planning for filing an annual tax return. Start storing important receipts and paperwork that may help you when you file, such as proof of payment for home improvements, medical expenses and items donated to charity. Keeping tax-related documentation in a shoe box, folder or dedicated drawer in a safe, easy-to-access location can mean less scrambling during tax time - and potentially more money in your pocket.

Many Jackson Hewitt offices are open year-round to assist taxpayers with tax planning and preparation.

About Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (NYSE: JTX), with approximately 6,600 franchised and company-owned offices throughout the United States during the 2009 tax season, is an industry leader providing full service individual federal and state income tax return preparation. Most offices are independently owned and operated. Jackson Hewitt is based in Parsippany, New Jersey.

SOURCE Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.


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