Whether you owe the IRS money or are expecting a refund this year, accuracy is everything when filling out those tax returns. It doesn’t matter the reason for the mistake, the IRS will make things extremely difficult for you to make things right. Fines, interest charges, and possibly an audit, all possible if the IRS feels something does not add up with your tax return.
1. Submitting All the Supporting Documents
Preparing your taxes involves taking numbers from one document and correctly placing it on the IRS tax form. Your W-2 form has a wealth of information on it that needs to be placed on your tax return properly, because if the number is wrong or the math is incorrect, it will just cause all the further calculations to be wrong. One little error on line 4 could be a huge mistake by the time the calculation on line 33 are completed. Even after you have entered the numbers on the tax form, it is important to read carefully which documents must be submitted with the return. Many of the tax documents you receive in the mail will come in triplicate form, meaning you keep copies but must also submit one with your tax return.
Take the time to read your take return carefully, and if it asks for supporting documents, staple them to the appropriate area. Many filers expend so much time and energy on getting the numbers right, that when they are ready to file they forget to attach those documents and then require the IRS to investigate the case with more attention.
2. Making Certain You Understand the Health Care Rules
Whether you have had health insurance all year or only a portion of the year, one area that gets flagged most by the IRS is the health care section. Regardless your situation, it is important you fill out this section accurately or you risk more than just a penalty and fine. There are a number of online tax preparation tools that simply ask about the heath coverage but gloss over the fact you must fill out a form to prove you were covered or a fine is withdrawn from your return. If you had adequate coverage, then you will receive a tax form 1095-A from the health care provider. The information needs to be input onto your tax return, and calculations need to be made that affect your return.
There are a number of websites that can walk you through this process, or you can visit the IRS website for a step-by-step guide on where and how to fill out the health care information. The IRS does not accept excuses for not having coverage, so ignoring the section of your return will only result in you paying heavily for it this year, and even more in consequent years you are not covered.
3. Help is a Phone Call Away Locally Too
The IRS does not discriminate when your tax return is flagged. If you made a miscalculation or neglected a section of the return, the automated system will notify an officer of the IRS to go over your return more closely. Not only may you get a letter in the mail concerning a visit from the IRS, they may audit your return and require you to come to their headquarters near your home for an investigation into your finances. Rather than deal with the pain associated with an audit, the best thing that you can do today is ask for professional help while filing the tax return. The IRS has numerous guides on their website to answer all your questions.
There are a number of local tax specialists who offer help for free at the library during tax time, as well as agencies who will prepare your taxes for a small fee that include audit protection.
It doesn’t matter how little or how much you earn, you tax return will be looked at for accuracy, and one mistake will result in delays and possibly a visit from a representative of the IRS. Keep these three things in mind and you will be in the best position to not have to deal directly with the IRS.