I know what you are thinking. Everyone says, “I hate the IRS,” “They are idiots,” “I sat on the phone forever for nothing!” and my favorite, “Why are they going after little me for an extra $100 penalty when billionaires are complaining they do not pay enough? Can the billionaire pay my penalty?” I have heard them all; part the CPA’s job is sometimes to just listen and let your client vent. When I was doing some part time teaching, I said we needed a class on the psychology of taxes to help the CPA communicate with clients on how to deal with large payments and the IRS.
Let’s face it, you have to pay taxes in America. The object should be to do what you can to minimize your taxes, not avoid them or pay zero. Please do not listen to your friend who smiles and says he pays zero taxes. If that is the case, that means he has lost money and you want to make money. Plus, if he lost money he will probably need yours to buy his drink when you go out.
So why do I think the IRS is not that bad? The IRS has provided you with many ways to file your taxes and stay up to date on tax law changes. Here are a couple of them:
- The agency has a very good website at www.irs.gov. Everything you want to know is at this site and it is pretty easy to navigate around.
- Sign up for IRS tax tips and newswires. These are sporadic emails that come out and give a simple explanation to various questions. Some sample topics include: What are my education deductions and credits? How should I treat a home office? What is a dependent? How can I handle moving or mileage expenses? These and many other topics as well as tips for filing season come in an easy-to-read email with links to further information. To sign up, go to http://www.irs.gov/uac/Subscribe-to-IRS-Tax-Tips for tax tips or http://www.irs.gov/uac/Subscribe-to-IRS-Newswire for the newswire or many more located at http://www.irs.gov/uac/e-News-Subscriptions-2.
- The IRS2GO app will impress all your friends. This cool app is available for iPhone or Android devices. It will provide some of the latest tax information and allow you to check the status of your refund, find free tax preparation help, get tax records and stay connected. You can interact with the IRS by following them on Twitter as @IRSnews, @IRStaxpros and @IRSenEspanol. You can also watch IRS videos on YouTube, register for email updates or contact the IRS using the “Contact Us” feature.
- The IRS will help you file your returns. In addition to the usual forms mailed to you or that you can print and mail in, they may help by assisting you to find a tax professional (my favorite), free file fillable forms, e-file using commercial software, or use their Free File method. These options are located online at http://www.irs.gov/Filing.
- They recently put out a YouTube video from the Commissioner about how the IRS and their employees will approach the 2014 tax season. They actually have their own channel on YouTube to help, with many videos that may assist you with questions about your return. Sometimes it is easier to see how to do something then read how to do it, and that holds especially true with taxes.
The IRS is doing whatever they can to help you get your returns filed accurately and on time. You can still hate them but do please try to be a little nicer. They’re trying their best.
Remember, things you read here may be very specific and may not apply to you. Please always consult a tax advisor before doing anything you read here to make sure the laws are properly applied to your specific tax situation.