Business

Record number of taxpayers file returns online

LYNN ? Uncle Sam’s long arms are reaching out, sending a chill over small business owners who dread the start of tax season, changes in the law, and the prospect of having to make additional payments.Peggy Riley, a spokesman for the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office in Boston, which handles processing of returns for the Northeast, said the agency is gearing up for tax season by hiring part-time employees for its facility in Andover and issuing public notices to taxpayers on how to obtain forms online, file electronically, be wary of tax-filing scams and other matters.A record number of taxpayers both nationally and in Massachusetts filed their returns electronically this year, said Riley, noting that nationwide, nearly 80 million tax returns were e-filed this year, up 9 percent from 73 million last year. Nearly 60 percent of all tax returns received by the IRS this year were electronically filed.In Massachusetts, nearly 1.9 million taxpayers e-filed their tax returns, up 9 percent from 1.7 million in 2006. Over 57 percent of all tax returns received from Massachusetts’ taxpayers this year were electronically filed.”It was another record-breaking year for e-file,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Linda E. Stiff. “Paper returns continue to drop year after year. E-file is the safe, accurate way for more and more taxpayers to quickly complete their taxes and get a refund faster.”Nationwide, more than 22.6 million returns have been e-filed by taxpayers doing their own returns, up from 20.3 million from the same period last year. More than 57.4 million returns were e-filed by tax professionals, up from nearly 52.9 million last year.Locally, more than 519,000 returns were e-filed by taxpayers doing their own returns, up from 476,000 from the same period last year. More than 1.35 million returns were e-filed by tax professionals, up from 1.2 million last year.To learn more about the IRS services, go online to www.irs.gov, a website that logged more than 196 million visits last year.Tax help is available at senior centers across the North Shore, but typically it’s limited to those filing individual returns.To help thwart the jitters among those filing commercial returns, the Homebased Businesswomen’s Network (HBN) in Danvers will host a Feb. 14 seminar entitled “Ace Your Business Tax Return.”The tax-planning workshop will be held at the Village Green restaurant on Route 1 north in Danvers at 11:30 a.m. Tax expert Mariam Klamkin of Beverly will provide information on what small business owners need to know “to turn April 15 from a day of dread into a day to celebrate,” said HBN spokesman Kate Victory.According to Victory, Klamkin prepared tax returns for her own and her spouse’s home-based businesses for many years before beginning her formal training to become a tax professional with H&R Block in 2004. She also has worked as a counselor, life coach, teacher and speaker, and serves on the HBN board.Among the questions Klamkin will ask: Does tax planning for your business feel like one of those nightmares where you’re taking an exam but you’re not prepared?The tax expert will show business owners how to reduce self-employment tax, avoid audits and penalties, and take advantage of the bonuses the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers to small business owners.To contact the HBN, go online to www.h-b-n.org.

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