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City tax deadline nears

The deadline for paying 2012 city income tax is Jan. 31.

If an employer doesn’t withhold Springfield tax from your pay, or you are self-employed, you must have 90 percent of your 2012 taxes paid by Jan. 31 to avoid penalty, according to Nancy Belcher, the city’s taxation administrator.

“A lot of people think their taxes aren’t due until April 15, but that’s the filing of your return,” Belcher said. “Your tax is due as you’re earning your income. People just don’t realize that because when it’s being withheld, their employer is sending it to us periodically throughout the year. When your employer doesn’t do that, it’s up to you to send it to us during the year.”

Last year, the city collected $41,690 for underpayment of estimated tax penalties assessed on 2011 returns.

The deadline for filing an income tax return and paying off remaining tax due is April 15.

Return packets have been mailed to all individuals with an open account status, according to Belcher. All Springfield residents, regardless of income level, are expected to file. The city has no provisions for joint filing, and a return is required even if a resident is unemployed, works part-time or if income is non-taxable.

Exemption can only be given to residents age 65 or older who are totally retired or permanently disabled, have at least two consecutive years or retirement or Social Security and don’t foresee having taxable income in the future.

Retirement is not taxable for city purposes, but receiving a tax form means an account is active and needs attention. Retirees with questions should contact the tax office.

Taxpayers with only W-2 employee income can file tax returns online through the city’s website and Tax Connect. Payments can be made using a debit or credit card. A tax account number will be needed to register, which can be obtained on a return or by calling the tax office. Residents can also file previous year returns on the site.

Belcher said the city had approximately 1,000 returns prepared via the site last year, but hopes the number will increase this tax season.

“It’s wonderful,” Belcher said. “It’s a lot easier for us. We don’t have to manually enter the forms. It’s worked out very well.”

The tax office will be available to assist residents in filing returns. Taxpayers should bring all materials needed to the tax office, located inside City Hall. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 324-7357.

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