Fact Finder: Tackling taxes in 2012

Tax season is upon us once again.

As you prepare your taxes, there are a few things you are going to want to keep in mind.

For starters, tax rates have not changed from last year.

Congress extended them through 2012.

Something to note; this is the last year you can cash in on a home energy credit.

Congress has allowed one more year for people to take advantage of that credit if they have not taken advantage in the last five years. It is now $500...but last chance, said Larry Flynn, Bay Business Services Inc.

If you have been busy swiping that credit card this year, you could be in for some changes as well.

Businesses and individuals are going to be responsible for reporting high-volume activity.

If businesses have had, or persons for that matter, had significant activity in their merchant credit card account|if they had more than $20,000 in merchant activity and 200 transactions|they are going to get a form this year that will show the activity they had, said Flynn.

There is some good news for business owners.

Lawmakers have increased tax breaks to encourage businesses to hire disabled veterans.

It is an important change as more and more Americans return home from overseas.

Qualified disabled veterans...there is always a credit out there for employers who would hire them...well now they have beefed it up. It is now for qualified veterans who have been unemployed for as little as four weeks and then there is even a greater credit if they have been unemployed for six months and you hire them|so employers should be very aware of that. Flynn said.

A final thought for those of you who have your taxes done by a professional.

Don TMt be afraid to ask questions.

Flynn said deductions can be easily overlooked.

The best way to take advantage of all the deductions is just don't assume that the tax preparer knows| you should end the interview or preparation with...hey is there anything I could have done to save some taxes?