None of us gets out of filing our taxes and dealing with the IRS – it’s one of life’s certainties. Taxes can be complicated and intimidating, so here are five expert personal tax tips to make them a little easier to manage.
1. Never ignore the IRS
People who ignore the IRS do so at their peril. If you don’t file or pay your taxes, or do either of these after the stipulated deadlines, you could face hefty penalties and the IRS can seize assets. If you receive any communication from the IRS, pointing out any errors or missed deadlines, respond immediately. The worst thing you can do is ignore it.
2. “Bunch” your deductions
To ensure you can take the maximum deductions applicable in a particular year, you can “bunch” them together. What this means is that you time your deductible expenses into the same calendar year. You can achieve this by moving forward certain deductions from the current year into the next, assuming that you meet the thresholds for the current year.
3. Max out your retirement plan contributions
Whatever you are paying into your 401k or other tax-deferred retirement scheme, do your best to increase your payments if you can. The money you pay into these accounts reduces your tax liability. You won’t have to pay taxes on it until you withdraw it. This excellent saving incentive is also a great way to lower your tax bill.
4. Be careful of tax scams
If you start getting phone calls or emails claiming to be from the IRS or the U.S. Treasury, do not respond to them. It is quite common for scammers to try these tactics as tax season approaches. Be careful not to fall into their trap. Don’t worry though; it’s pretty easy once you know that the two government institutions will never contact you in this way; they will only reach out to you by mail when necessary.
5. Get the help of a certified public accountant
Tax laws and procedures seem to get more complicated by the year. Even if you successfully manage to file your own taxes, you may very well not be getting the full benefits of the various deductions and tax breaks that might be available to you. Get the help of a professional when it comes to filing your taxes. It takes the burden off your shoulders, ensures that it gets done correctly, and may help you get more money back into your pocket.