weather icon Partly Cloudy


Need some scratch, jack, gelt, bucks, dinero, greenbacks or dough?

Whatever you call it, the Internal Revenue Service may have some for you.

The average income tax refund is running $2,740 per return for individuals, 11 percent more than last year, IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino said.

Want your refund fast? File electronically over the Internet and direct the IRS to make a deposit directly to your bank account, Tulino recommended.

People who file electronically and choose direct deposit can expect payment within seven to 10 days, according to the IRS.

For many, that eliminates the need to pay a commercial tax preparer for a high-interest loan on the expected refund, said Gil Yanuck, senior district coordinator for AARP’s Tax Aid Program and a retired aerospace manufacturer from Los Angeles.

A lot of Nevadans need cash fast, Yanuck said.

He and other volunteers help low- to middle-income taxpayers prepare tax returns, but many people are telling his team that they cannot afford necessities, such as utilities, food and medicine. Many, who are seeking government assistance for the first time, do not know where to go to apply for food stamps and welfare programs, Yanuck said.

Yanuck said his team in Carson City continues to help many return clients, but this year the team also has seen a 20 percent increase in tax assistance requests. Most of the new clients relied on paid tax preparation services last year.

Here are some things to consider while preparing tax returns for the April 15 deadline:

•The government has a new service called IRS Free-File for taxpayers with less than $56,000 in adjusted gross income. Visit irs.gov and use the portal to pick one of several tax preparation services to file your return.

Tulino warns that the company may charge a fee if the taxpayer does not access the service through the IRS Web site.

So far, 16,500 Nevada taxpayers have used Free-File this year. About 635,000 returns have been filed electronically. Tulino expects the number of returns filed over the Internet will increase from 62 percent of the 1.3 million total taxpayers in Nevada last year.

• Taxpayers with simple returns and less than $42,000 in income may get assistance through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Yanuck coordinates a similar free, tax assistance program that doesn’t have an income limit but his assistants typically recommend people with complicated returns get help from paid tax preparers. Call 1-800-829-1040 to find tax preparation centers near your home.

• Tax stimulus payments received in 2008 are not taxable, but Yanuck said his associates often can help taxpayers with changed circumstances, such as reduced income or more dependents, get additional stimulus payments.

• Low-income taxpayers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

• Full-time teachers may deduct money they spent on the classroom.

• Do not forget to claim a deduction for sales taxes if you itemize.

• Individuals who are unable to complete their tax return by April 15 may take an automatic extension until Oct. 15 with Form 4868.

Here are some factors to consider regarding income taxes for 2009:

• First-time home buyers who buy before Dec. 1 can get a 10 percent credit up to a maximum of $8,000. First-time homebuyers are taxpayers who have not owned their main residence any time over the last three years.

The government outlines provisions under which some taxpayers can apply the credit to 2008 taxes although the home was purchased this year. Individuals who bought homes last year after April 8 are entitled to a 10 percent credit, up to a maximum $7,500, but this amount must be paid back to the government at $500 a year for 15 years without interest. Income limits apply to the 2008 and 2009 homebuyer credits

• Taxpayers who buy new cars from Feb. 17 through year-end 2009 can deduct sales and excise taxes even if they do not itemize and if the purchase price is less than $49,500. The deduction is phased out for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 to $135,000 and joint filers with $250,000 to $260,000 in income. Alternatively, taxpayers who itemize can take an added sales tax deduction if they buy a new or used car. The second way for deducting sales taxes on car purchases also applies to purchases last year.

• Employers are reducing tax withholdings for workers under the Making Work Pay Credit. The credit is $400 yearly for single taxpayers and $800 for married couples filing jointly.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at jedwards@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0420.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada’s real estate industry blamed wrong enemy when bubble burst

State lawmakers approved a bill in 2015 — a decade after Las Vegas’ wild building spree — that raised barriers to pursuing lawsuits alleging shoddyconstruction. A measure now working its way through the Democratic-controlled Legislature would wipe out or change provisions of that law.

CEOs get $800K pay raise, leaving workers further behind

Pay for CEOs at S&P 500 companies rose to a median of $12 million last year, including salary, stock and other compensation, according to data analyzed by Equilar.