In October of 2008 I received notice from the IRS that a tax audit was being done on my 2006 tax year filing. After you get a notice like this from the IRS you then set up an appointment to see the tax examiner who will be handling your case. My appointment was scheduled for November at the Deerfield Beach IRS office in Florida and I was told which documents to bring for the auditor to look at. I had not reported my entire income on the Form 1040 and that is what had triggered the examination. I would not have had to face this situation if I had not totally relied on TurboTax without checking things adequately. If you have to face an ordeal like this, remember that the IRS wants your money, not your excuses.
The IRS sent my adjusted tax return in January of 2009 and told me that I owed more than $20,000 dollars in unpaid taxes. That did not even include the 8 percent interest on top of a $3,200 dollar penalty. When I read that I began to feel very desperate.
I had been seeing these TV commercials for a company called American Tax Relief which had very well known people selling the idea that this company could help you reduce any tax liability you might have. I called the number on the screen and spoke with one of their slick sales people whose name was Bill. I told him my story and he confidently assured me that his company could greatly reduce my tax liabilities. What a relief! In order to get their service started, and also get the IRS off of me, they faxed me a power of attorney that I was supposed to sign and return to them. I gave them my bank account number and all the necessary information to handle the one-time 3,900 dollar fee. I told them to go ahead and fax me the paperwork and I agreed to the service.
Even though I had already agreed to hire them, I began to have second thoughts and went online to see if there were any complaints against American Tax Relief. I was really surprised to find hundreds of complaints against them. You can visit www.ConsumerComplaints.com to see it for yourself. The Better Business Bureau has given them an “F” rating in Southern California. After I read the complaints I put an immediate stop payment on the telephone check that I had given to American Tax Relief. Then I got a call from Bill who wanted to know why my fax of the power of attorney had not reached them. I let him know that I no longer wanted their service and that put an end to that situation.
The time has come and gone to file federal taxes and even if you haven’t yet filed with the IRS, it is still possible that backs taxes be filed for your benefit.
Obviously, it’s best to pay off IRS back taxes as quickly as you can. The current approach of the government is to allow each tax payer to file their returns voluntarily. However, this doesn’t mean that payment of those taxes isn’t mandatory. While participating in the voluntary filing of taxes, on time or otherwise, the tax payer has the option of applying a number of deductions and Earned Income Credit to their paperwork. If you do not participate in voluntary filing, the IRS has the option to file for you, and without any exemptions or qualified deductions. This means that the substitute return filed can hit your finances twice as hard. The estimated amount is probably going to be higher than the return you would’ve filed yourself. The IRS may then put liens on any property you own, or levys on your financial accounts and even wages until the amount owed is paid off.
When paying IRS back taxes, any form of credit card and loans are accepted, and you may even negotiate an installment account with them. When considering your options, the IRS recommends a bank loan or credit card payment, as the installment plan will usually end up costing more. The limit is three years to file IRS back taxes, starting from the day they were due to receive refunds. After this three year limit, your refunds will expire, so it is a good idea to file as soon as you can. Any refunds owed to you can even be used as payments toward IRS back taxes you may owe.
Not all of the IRS back taxes require payment. It is understood that sometimes people are late simply because of life occurrences or because they assumed they would owe money and then find out they don’t. Whatever the case, it is important to file all back taxes with the IRS quickly. Remember that the processing of back taxes doesn’t take place at every IRS location, so know the address where you need to send your returns or you may receive further penalties and interest in a mail delay. If you happen to have an official IRS notice about your back taxes, send your return to the address listed on that notice for fastest processing. The website www.irs.gov has prior instructions and forms dating as long ago as 1990, and the information on where to mail returns.
Filing taxes is always a fairly tiring experience, but uncertainty does not need to cause a delay in your filing. The IRS offers assistance for low to moderate income households via a Volunteer Income Tx Assistance Program. Also, all tax payers over the age of 60 can find help with a Tax Counseling for Elderly program. These two programs are of course free for anyone who qualifies, and offer you IRS tax filing training. This way, you can avoid filing IRS back taxes completely.
Tax deductions are a great way to save money on regular purchases within certain categories. The standard deduction alone saved some 85 million American’s a little over 0.5 trillion dollars in 2009. But the real way to claim deductions is by filing a Schedule A along with your 1040 long form. Categories of deductions available on the Schedule A include Medical, Taxes, Charity, Education, Mortgage and Causalities.
Deductions for Medical Expenses: Medical expenses are deductible on your tax return once you clear a certain level of your income in expenses, 7.5%. For this reason it is a good ideal to group major medical procedure in the same year to allow for them to be deductible. Items such as doctor’s bills, hospital visits, operations, prescriptions, premiums, and health care for dependents are deductible.
Taxes for State and Local: The state and the local government in your area collects income taxes, that’s the bad news. The good news is that the Federal government allows to deduct these tax expenses. Check the IRS website for a list of local and state taxes that you can deduct as not all taxes are deductible. TurboTax also is a good resource for what taxes you can deduct when preparing your tax return.
Charity Donations: Donations to charitable organizations, such as churches, are deductible without limit. When you provide transportation for a charitable event you can deduct the mileage. And when you purchase a ticket to a charitable event that is more expensive than the value of the service or entertainment provided, you can deduct the difference. Keep records of all your gifts.
Education Expenses: The federal government wants to support education and therefore gives tax deductions for expenses incurred while obtaining education degrees. The rules have changed recently with ARRA (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) but generally provides $2,500 per student in deductions for education.
TurboTax – A Free step by step Tax Program
Preparing for tax season can be a challenging time for many people in the United States. The US tax code is extremely lengthy filled and with tons of small print. Since this is such an involved process many people today decide to have their taxes prepared by professionals. However, thanks to tax software programs like TurboTax they don’t have to spend extra money to have their taxes prepared correctly.
Using TurboTax’s software makes it easy for anyone to prepare their taxes themselves. This software will walk you step by step through the tax process. This unique process ensures the user that they are getting all the tax benefits they qualify for. It also ensures that the taxes they prepare are true and accurate when they are filed.
By preparing their taxes themselves using TurboTax people also save money since they aren’t paying someone else to do their taxes for them. It also gives them the convenience of being able to do their taxes at home. This can be a great time saver for a busy family. They don’t have to take time out of their busy schedule to visit a tax preparer giving them more time to focus on other needs their family may have.
Another advantage that TurboTax offers is their online tax service. Users can go to http://www.turbotax.com and register on the site for free. Again they offer a step by step process for filing out the tax forms. After answering a few questions the site will automatically determine which form is best for their particular tax needs. As each step is completed the user is asked to double check the information to make sure it’s correct, then the information is saved and they will be moved to the next step. Once everything is filled out TurboTax will calculate any refunds or payments for the user. Finally, the taxes can be filed with the IRS automatically through their site.
Anyone that uses any of the services offered by TurboTax will be impressed with the accuracy and ease of use they offer. Their services help people to save time and money as well as give them peace of mind that their taxes are being filed correctly the first time.
First Time Home Buyers Video from TurboTax
Great information from TurboTax about the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit. This tax tips video tells of the expanded and extent tax credit that provides $8,000 to first time home buyers and $6,500 to long term home owners that are purchasing a new home before April 30th. Discover the fine points of the tax law including income limits, home qualifications, and ownership responsibilities after claiming the tax credit.
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Five Tax Credits You Should Claim
If you are eligible for these five tax credits, you should claim them this year on your tax return. These credits will reduce the tax your owe directly and some can be refunded to you if you owe no taxes at all.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is for lower income earners and considers the number of children that you have when calculating the tax credit. The tax credit is refundable and can give some low income workers up to $6,000 in refundable taxes well beyond what they have paid into the tax system for the year.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides up to $3,000 in credit for expenses you paid for a dependent child’s care during the tax year or for a dependent disable spouses care. The credit is designed to allow the taxpayer to work while their loved one is being cared for.
The Child Tax Credit is available for each dependent child a tax payer has and reduces their taxes owed by $1,000.
The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit or the Saver’s Credit helps lower income employees save for retirement. If your income level qualifies you can receive this additional tax credit for contributions you have made to IRAs and 401Ks at work.
The Health Coverage Tax Credit helps to pay for health insurance premiums. The tax credit can pay up to 80% of your premiums. Complete IRS Form 8885 to claim this great credit.
Also take a look at the First Time Homebuyers Credit.