Looking for some extra cash? The IRS says you may not have to look farther than your W-2 from 2008. The tax agency recently reminded the public that the deadline is approaching to collect on one billion dollars of uncollected returns. Our Andrew Sorensen tells you how to cash in on it, and how to avoid missing returns in the future.
UTICA, N.Y.-- Alexander Morel operates his own barber shop, has two kids, and he used to have someone do his taxes out of their house.
"This person wasn't licensed," Morel's tax preparer and translator Ingrid Quiceno said. " [He] didn't have any type of registration, he would just prepare the return and hand it to them, never sign it, never represent them. So then Alex found himself being audit (sic) and have no representation."
Morel isn't alone in his mistakes.
The IRS said they still have over a billion dollars from over a million people who missed deductions and credits for 2008.
Many people don't know that you can still claim those within three years.
After seeing Quiceno, Morel found another $400 in his return.
There are so many forms and schedules, even in just "simple" tax filings, that it's no wonder people mess up on their taxes. One of the ways professionals say you can guard yourself against mistakes is by not doing it with paper and pen.
H&R Tax Advisor Rick Reynolds also sees people go astray with online tax programs.
"People just don't know their way around them as well as a tax professional does," he said.
There are some slip ups more common than others.
Education Credits and Earned Income Credit top the IRS' list of missed credits.
Tax preparers also find missed credits for having children and saving for retirement.
It's almost impossible to catch all of your own deductions, but what if you can't afford a tax professional? You may be better off biting the bullet.
"I'm a huge advocate for going to see a tax professional because in the long run, you are probably ending up saving money rather than losing money," Reynolds said.
Some tax professionals even provide legal counsel, and cover some costs in case of an audit.
The deadline for filings missed deductions from 2008 is April 17, after then, the funds become property of the government.
If you do take your taxes to a professional, you should also make sure they are certified by the state.
The IRS provides a comprehensive list of forms, documents, and FAQs on