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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

California Ranked as 5th Best State to Get Help With Your Taxes

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 9:11 AM

click to enlarge uncle_sam_taxes_thumb_265x334.jpg

If a sudden bout of depression came on yesterday (April 1), it's probably because you have to do your taxes soon -- for real this time.

Part of what's sparking this depression is this fact: The IRS estimates that it takes over 20 hours for the average person to file their federal and state taxes. That's two full days of work, or, to put it more bluntly, your entire next weekend.

Or you could just hire someone to do it for you. Wallethub, a social network for personal finance decisions, ranked California as the 5th best place to get help with your taxes. The company analyzed all 50 states and the District of Columbia using seven metrics, including the amount of accountants in the state and their workload.

North Dakota was no. 1 and Mississippi came in last.

Among some highlights in the report: California ranked fourth in percentage of paid returns, and 14th in the amount of accountants available in the state. That might explain why there aren't many jobs available for aspiring accountants. The state ranks 38th in the amount of accountant job openings.

Wallethub offered up some decent advice to you late filers: get free assistance for tax help by using online tutorials or pay a visit to a tax attorney or an accountant who will give you a free consultation. The IRS also offers Volunteer Income Tax Assistance(VITA), centers where tax assistance experts offer free advice to low-income people, those with disabilities, or whose second language is English. Tax Counseling for the Elderly(TCE) programs are also available throughout the city. Some are located at UC Hastings in the Haight and Career Link in Mission District.

click to enlarge WALLETHUB
  • wallethub

Philip Cary Christian, an assistant professor for the Institute for Public and Nonprofit studies at Georgia Southern University, recommended that taxpayers file early to avoid stress, although it's a little late for that.

"If someone steals your identity to file a return in your name and claim a refund, you will not be able to file your own return until the identity theft issue is resolved," Christian tells Wallethub. Luckily, California is one of four states that has regulations for independent tax preparers, so tax fraud is not as much of a concern as in other states.

Filing early not only protects you from getting your identity stolen, it will also expedite your refund. "If you are due a refund, you may have to wait up to a year to get your account cleared," Christian told Wallethub.

Oh well, you'll have another chance next year to get those taxes done early.


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Melissa Hellmann

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