There are a few things that you can do throughout the year that may help you get through tax time with less stress. First, organize your documents and keep them organized throughout the year. Search the internet for free websites that give you organization suggestions. Some of them even have templates to help you put your tax records in order. Consider a good software program like Microsoft Money which has a 90-day free trial.
If you itemize your deductions, and you certainly should itemize if you are self-employed, keep all your receipts in an expandable folder that can be organized by month, alphabetically, or any way that you want to organize it. If you are ever audited, you will lose the deductions you claimed that cannot be verified by a receipt. If you make cash donations, IRS has a formula that calculates how much you can deduct, but, as with any other deduction, you must have a receipt in order to claim the deduction. Be sure your receipts have the name, date, address, amount, purpose, type, value, and any other information pertinent to the validity of the deduction.
Unless you are really knowledgeable in accounting and tax law, a good CPA is well worth the money. The tax laws are constantly changing, and the average person cannot keep up with the changes let alone understand them. Remember that you should always make the best use of your resources, and that includes using your talents for those things that you do well and outsourcing those things that someone else can do better.
There is no absolutely certain way to avoid an audit, but people say that certain things increase the likelihood of an audit. For example, make sure there are no math errors in your tax return. If there are inaccurate calculations, the IRS will have to take a second, more careful look at your return. Once IRS is looking more closely at your return, there may be red flags that could lead to an audit. It is best to do the math correctly so that IRS never has to take a closer look at your return.
There are blogs and websites for almost any topic, and doing a little research will help you be better educated and less stressed. Don’t forget that your local library has many book about income taxes and tax returns. You may also want to look into Turbo-Tax, Microsoft TaxSaver, or one of the other good tax software. Even if you hire a CPA, you will save yourself time and money by being well-prepared and by understanding the process.
IRS also has telephone help lines that can be really helpful. The IRS website at www.irs. gov is also very helpful and easy to use. It is alright to contact IRS and ask questions. You are not any more or less likely to be audited if you contact IRS and ask your questions. As previously stated, you are more likely to be audited if you make errors on your tax return. These are just a few basic suggestions that can help make tax-time less stressful for you.
Jo Ann Joy, Esq. , MBA, CEO Copyright 2006 Indigo Business Solutions. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jo Ann Joy is the CEO and owner of Indigo Business Solutions, a legal and business consulting firm. Indigo Business Solutions is a “one stop shop" for small businesses. We differ from other business consulting firms, because we offer comprehensive legal and business counseling. We can offer most of the professional services that a business requires. We work with our clients to develop strategies that create value and competitive advantage.
Jo Ann has a law degree, an MBA, and a degree in Economics, but she is not a traditional attorney. Rather, she is a strategic business attorney who works closely with clients to create and implement strategies that will greatly improve their performance and chance of success. Her background includes commercial and real estate law, accounting, financial planning, mortgages, marketing, product development, banking, and business strategies. She ran a successful business for 10 years, and she has written and given presentations on many different legal and business subjects.
You may contact Jo Ann by phone at (602) 663-7007, by fax at (602) 324-7582, by email at joannjoy@Indigo Business Solutions.net, and by mail at 2313 East Ocotillo Rd. , Phoenix, AZ 85016. You may request free copies of her other Ezines or purchase her E-books on the website.
For more information about these and other important business topics and for legal consultation, please visit our website at http://www.IndigoBusinessSolutions.net
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