As you read this the 2017 tax filing season will be winding down for those who file timely without filing an extension. If you file an extension, my best advice is to get your taxes finished in May, June or July when you and your tax professional are not too busy. Don’t wait for the last minute as that is when mistakes and omissions are made by you or your tax preparer. Most people are aware of the new tax law taking effect in 2018. Hopefully you had the conversation with your tax person how that would affect you in 2018. Some people win and some lose with this tax law and it is important that you keep your eye on the ball. New tax withholding tables for payroll were applied in February and you should have seen a change in your withholding. You may have a lower tax bill for 2018 but don’t expect a big refund because of the lower withholding rates. Check your payroll stub withholding mid-year to see if enough is being withheld. If you are self-employed, or you get income from investments or sales of unusual things, make sure you are paying estimated taxes to the IRS quarterly.
If not, you will get a shock come tax season and owe a lot of money to Uncle Sam. It is much easier sending it in as smaller amounts. If you made a mistake or omitted income or deductions on your tax return, you can file an amendment to claim the missing information. These are tricky and best handled by a tax professional, but your tax software may be able to walk you through it. You only have three years to claim a refund. Tax year 2014 returns must be mailed on or before April 17, 2018. You have plenty of time to file an amendment on your 2015, 2016 and 2017 filed returns. Please be vigilant about tax scams. Remember the IRS will never call you or deposit money in your account without your specific instructions. Hang up on any callers demanding money and report it to the police. Another scam that is a perennial favorite is tax preparers taking false and fraudulent deductions on your tax return to boost your refund and bring in business. Review your tax return carefully for mistakes weather you prepared it yourself or paid a preparer. Once you sign on the dotted line, you have assumed all responsibility for the information in the return.
If you suspect your preparer made false claims or kept your refund, you can file a complaint with the IRS using form 14 157 on IRS.gov. Anita Jean is an Enrolled Agent “America’s Tax Experts”. She owns Financial Fitness in Krugerville and can be reached at 940-365-3115 or 5099 US Hwy 377 Suite 400.