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Tax season begins


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- It is time to start thinking about filing your taxes. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is officially launching the individual income tax season. State Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler says it's time to gather up your documents. 

"In addition to the w2 wages statements and the 1099 forms, people will also want their property tax receipts and the checks they written for property taxes."

Chandler says major purchases or sales need to be recorded. "If people have bought a home or engaged in a transaction like that, they should keep records related to the home price or the home sales, that kind of thing."

If you want a fast way to speed up your refund, Chandler says E-Filing your taxes is the way to go. “We strongly recommend e-filing. Over 80 percent of Wisconsin taxpayers E-Filed last year, and it's secure, it's confidential, it's convenient. The program does the math for you once you fill in the information."

Tax laws change every year, and there are new rules that may affect your taxes, and new breaks that might give you more of your money back. Chandler says programs are available to help the elderly and those in need to get free tax help. "Both programs involve volunteers who will help low to moderate income taxpayers, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, prepare their tax returns for free."

There are several new tax breaks this year, from increased tuition credits and new agriculture and manufacturing credits to a 100% subtraction of health insurance costs when your employer pays a portion of your health care.

One thing about taxes has not changed. You must file your taxes by the April 15 deadline.

What's New This Tax Season:

Here are some of the tax law changes that may impact your 2013 income tax return:·

Income tax rate reduction: Because of tax rate reductions in the last budget, taxpayers may see a bigger tax refund this year. Taxes were cut by $650 million and rates were reduced across the board with brackets being simplified from five to four.·

Medical care insurance subtraction: Increases subtraction from 45% to 100% of the amount paid by persons who are employees where the employer pays a portion of the cost of the insurance·

Child and dependent care expenses: You can now subtract $2,250 for one child (or $4,500 for more than one child) for child and dependent care expenses for qualifying children·

Tuition expenses: The amount you can claim for tuition and mandatory student fees for you, your spouse (if married and filing a joint return), and your dependent children has increased to $6,943. The phase-out amounts are adjusted for inflation beginning in 2013. The subtraction is phased-out for persons with federal adjusted gross income between $50,850 and $61,020 if single or head of household; $81,350 and $101,690 if married filing a joint return; between $40,680 and $50,850 if married filing a separate return.·

Research expense and research facilities credits: Now available to an individual, a partner of a partnership, a shareholder of a tax-option "S" corporation, and a member of a limited liability company·

Manufacturing and agriculture credit: This is the first year this credit is available and it can be claimed by individuals, corporations, and other business entities that have qualified production activities income in Wisconsin. For 2013 returns filed in 2014, the amount of the tax credit is 1.875% of the eligible qualified production income.·

Combat zone related death: A subtraction is allowed for the income of a member of the U.S. armed forces who died as a result of injuries received in a combat zone. The subtraction also applies for the year prior to the year of death if a Wisconsin income tax return had not been filed for that year.·

New Schedule S: Schedule S is to be completed by same-sex couples who file a joint federal return·

New Schedule M: Schedule M, Form 1NPR-Additions to and Subtractions from Income, must be attached to Form 1NPR when reporting any of the various additions to and subtractions from income