The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is offering up some tax tips as the filing deadline approaches. This year’s tax filing deadline is April 17, and Secretary Richard Chandler is encouraging people to move to E-File their tax returns. “15 years ago, about half of returns were e-filed. Now it’s up to 85 percent. But for those who haven’t tried it, we really want to encourage them to do it.” Chandler says the programs make calculating your taxes much simpler, and can often find extra refunds or deductions you might not have known about.
People who might need further help with filing their taxes can take advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, Program. Chandler says that program is run by local community groups and works to help people who might not otherwise be able to complete their taxes. “If you’re a low-income individual, if you’re in the military, if you’re a senior citizen, if you’re a person with disabilities, you can go to one of those sites and get help filing your taxes.”
The VITA sites can help with filling most of the forms that people encounter when completing their returns, including 1040 forms and many of the tax credits that people are eligible for.
Chandler does also caution residents that scammers are stepping up their efforts to trick people as the filing deadline approaches. Those scam calls will use high pressure scare tactics to try to dupe people. “They ask for confidential information, or they ask for payment to be sent. We want to emphasise that we do not call people from the Department of Revenue. We contact people by mail or email.” If you get one of these calls, simply hang up and move on with your day.
Chandler also notes that changes to state policy have lowered the tax burden for Wisconsin residents. “Wisconsin’s total local income tax burdens is now actually below the national average.” He says that means the state now boasts a much more competitive environment when it comes to attracting new residents and new businesses.