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Double-check return

(The Commercial Appeal) -- Your tax return is complete and ready to be mailed. Before sealing the envelope, make sure all information is complete and accurate.

Here are a few items to double check:

-- Sign your return. Your federal tax return is not valid unless it is signed. If you are filing a joint return, your spouse must also sign.

-- Provide a daytime phone number. This may speed the processing of your return if the IRS has questions. If you are filing a joint return, you may provide daytime phone numbers for either you or your spouse.

-- Assemble any schedules and forms behind your Form 1040/1040A in the order of the "Attachment Sequence No." shown in the upper right hand corner of the schedule or form. For supporting statements, arrange them in the same order as the schedules or forms they support and attach them last.

-- Attach a copy of Forms W-2, W-2G and 2439 to the front of Form 1040. Also attach Forms 1099-R if tax was withheld.

-- Use the coded envelope in your tax package to mail your return. If you did not receive an envelope, check the section called "Where Do You File?" inside the back cover of the tax instruction booklet. The IRS has changed the filing location for several areas to improve customer service.

-- If you owe tax, make your check or money order payable to the "United States Treasury." Write your name, address, Social Security number, daytime phone number and "2000 Form 1040" (or appropriate form number) on your payment. Then complete Form 1040-V following the instructions on that form and enclose it with your payment. Do not attach the payment to your return.

Skinny On Gift Taxes

If you give any one person gifts valued at more than $10,000 in a year, it is necessary to report the total gift to the IRS. You may even have to pay tax on the gift.

The person who receives the gift does not have to report it to the IRS or pay gift or income tax on its value.

You make a gift when you give property, including money, or the use or income from property, without receiving something of equal value in return. If you sell something at less than its value or make an interest-free or reduced-interest loan, you may be making a gift.

There are some exceptions to the tax rules on gifts. You can make the following gifts of more than $10,000 and not pay a gift tax:

-- Tuition or medical expenses you pay directly to an educational or medical institution for someone's benefit.

-- Gifts to your spouse.

-- Gifts to a political organization for its use.

-- Gifts to charities.

If you are married, both you and your spouse can give separate gifts of up to $10,000 to the same person without making a taxable gift.

For more information, get IRS Publication 950, Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes; IRS Form 709 or 709-A, United States Gift Tax Return; and Instructions for Form 709. They are available at the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov under the Forms & Pubs section. They are also available at local IRS offices or by calling (800) 829-3676.

IRS Makes House Calls

If you are unable to complete your income tax return due to a physical disability or hearing impairment, you may get help from the IRS through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) programs, or through a special TDD phone number available in both English and Spanish.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program uses IRS-trained volunteers who offer free tax assistance in public community buildings. VITA is designed for people with low or fixed incomes, non-English-speaking people, people with disabilities or special needs and the elderly.

To find a nearby VITA/TCE site, call (800) 829-1040. For information on areas of tax law that may affect people with disabilities, get IRS Publication 907, Information for Persons with Disabilities. Publications may be downloaded from www.irs.gov, or ordered by calling (800) 829-3676.

(c) 2001 The Commercial Appeal

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