#87 Taxes: How to Avoid an Audit, Get a Refund, and Don't Panic

Do you dread filing your taxes? We simplify the process and break it down into simple steps so you can avoid costly mistakes and even an audit. You might even get back hundreds of dollars in refunds.

Our guest on this podcast is certified tax accountant, Janice Hayman, who calls herself a "tax therapist" for many of her clients. We learn which tax credits and deductions millions of taxpayers miss when they file their returns. Why dealing with the Internal Revenue Service is often a lot easier and less intimidating than many people fear. And how to avoid falling for the most common tax scams.

This show is being released at the start of the 2016 tax-filing season. Now is the time to start collecting all those W2s, 1099s and other forms you will need to ensure that you are ready before the April 15th deadline.

Solutions

  • Paperwork is crucial. Download your documents and keep them on a flash drive.
  • Keep good records of (earned and unearned) income, mortgage payments, business expenses, and brokerage accounts. If you are paying for tuition you can file a 1099T, and if you work from home keep a record of how much time you spend working from home because you could get a deduction for using a home office.
  • Assume that you could be the victim of identity theft or a tax scam. The IRS will only communicate with you by certified or regular mail. Government tax authorities will not use phone calls or email unless you have previously communicated about a specific case.
  • The IRS website (www.irs.gov) is a surprisingly useful source of information about filing taxes. The site has free tax prep software for most taxpayers. However, consider using a certified accountant if you itemize your deductions, because the tax code is very complex. Popular software programs can be confusing and may not tell you about all of deductions that you may be entitled to claim. 
  • Low and moderate-income earners don't miss out on the earned income tax credit. You could qualify for a large refund on your 2016 taxes.
  • If you are looking for additional sources, the irs.gov site does provide a link to the Internal Revenue Code, maintained by Cornell University Law School. You can also read the  "Tax Code, Regulations and Official Guidance.” On the IRS website. This will take you to a page where you can research the internal revenue code.  

If you have any questions contact a professional or the IRS.