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WORDS FROM WASHINGTON

Tax season tips for Central Washington residents

It's tax season again and every April I'm reminded just how complicated our nation's tax code is. This year, Americans will hand over more of their hard earned tax dollars to the federal government than any other year in our history.

Yet, Democrats in Congress still believe we aren't paying enough and continue their push to dramatically raise our taxes.

However, there is some good news for Washington taxpayers. Last year, I voted to prevent a tax rate increase on all Americans and, this past January, my colleagues and I again voted to permanently prevent raising taxes on 99 percent of taxpayers.

The President eventually signed that compromise deal into law, but it was far from perfect. There is much more that needs to be done to simplify the tax code and give American families and job creators the certainty of knowing what their tax bill will be year-to-year so that they can plan ahead, save and invest.

I've long supported efforts to eliminate our current tax system and replace it with one that is simpler, fairer and consistent.

Americans deserve to keep more of their hard earned money and they deserve a tax code that is easy to understand. That is why in March, I voted for the House-passed budget, which provides a blueprint to reform our broken tax code by lowering tax rates, closing loopholes and putting hard working taxpayers ahead of special interests.

A competitive tax system will grow our economy, allow our small businesses to create new jobs and enable private sector growth. I will continue to push for tax reforms that achieve these goals this Congress.

As the April 15 tax filing deadline fast approaches, here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare your taxes this year:

...The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Taxpayer Assistance Center, located in Yakima, may be able to assist you with questions or concerns regarding your tax return. You can also call toll-free 1-800-829-1040 to speak with an IRS representative on the phone.

...The IRS does not contact taxpayers by e-mail. Therefore, do not answer an e-mail that appears to have been sent by the IRS.

...If you choose to hire a professional tax preparer, choose wisely. Ask questions and make sure you understand and are comfortable with the accuracy of your tax returns as you are ultimately responsible.

...File for an extension, if you are unable to file by April 15.

...Always save a copy of your tax return.

For more information about filing, tax forms, answers to frequently asked questions or to track the status of your tax refund, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

- U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents

Washington State's

Fourth Congressional District.

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