It’s that time of year again – you will soon begin to gather information to prepare your taxes. You may want to keep in mind a few things to make the process run more smoothly.
First, be sure that you have documentation for everything that you claim on your tax return, especially charitable contributions. The IRS is especially watchful for non-cash contributions to charities, such as clothing, furniture, cars, etc. Be sure you claim the correct amount. If you have someone prepare your return for you, be sure to check behind them to make sure they have used accurate numbers. They can make mistakes, and the IRS will hold you responsible for the return, since you are the taxpayer.
In case of an error that results in more taxes and possible penalties, the paid preparer may take responsibility for the penalties and interest if the error is their fault, but you are still responsible for the tax. Ask them in advance what their policy is.
In addition to checking the numbers, make sure your name, address, and social security number are correct on the return. If you prepare your return yourself, you will find some helpful publications on the IRS website to guide you through some areas, such as charitable giving, business expenses, etc. Just go to www.irs.gov, click on “Publications” and then type in the subject.
If possible, file your return early. That way, if you owe taxes, you have time to save up to pay, since they are not due until April 15. If you are getting a refund, filing early means you get your refund earlier.
Finally, remember that owing taxes means you made money last year, which gives you a reason to thank God for your blessings!