This lesson covers the Refund and Amount You Owe sections of the return. After completing this lesson, you will determine if taxpayers have overpaid their tax (and may be owed a refund) or if they underpaid (and have a balance due to the government). This part of the return is a summary of the tax, credits, and payments.
Taxpayers may be entitled to a refund or owe tax. In either case, they have several choices on how to get their refund or pay the amount they owe. It is important that volunteers are familiar with those choices to better help taxpayers understand their refund and payment options. This is especially true because of the increase in the number of taxpayers coming in to VITA/TCE sites who owe tax for the first time and need guidance.
Feedback results indicate volunteers are less familiar with the procedures for payment options than the procedures for refund options. Be sure to identify the payment options available to taxpayers that are outlined in this lesson and in the Volunteer Resource Guide (Tab 12).
To complete these sections of the return, first confirm the taxpayer's answers provided on page 3 of the intake and interview sheet, regarding direct deposit or direct debit. Also, review the Volunteer Resource Guide (Tab 6 and Tab 12) which provide guidance on refunds and balance due returns.
If available, use Publication 4853 or Publication 4853(SP), bookmarks that summarize payment options. These are useful items to hand out to taxpayers at your volunteer site.