Tax Trap #5 -- Ignoring The IRS (and the 5 best ways to contact them!)
We all love to criticize the IRS, don't we? And I'm just as guilty as anyone. It's easy to ridicule a huge organization of government bureaucrats who often seem to be Public Enemy #1.
Our negative attitude toward the IRS can lead to a strong desire to just ignore it altogether. But self-employed people who ignore the IRS do so at their own peril.
So when it comes to providing free information about taxes, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. The IRS does provide some excellent resources to help us make the best of a potentially bad situation.
If you need tax assistance and prefer not to pay for it, do not overlook these five ways to obtain help from the IRS:
1. The Internet
There's a wealth of information just for small business owners and self-employed people at: http://www.irs.gov/smallbiz
Here you'll find everything from how to obtain a federal business tax ID to a free 6-session streaming video presentation of the "IRS Small Business Workshop." Also known as the Small Business Self-Employed Online Classroom, you can access this directly at: www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=97726,00.html
If you prefer to attend an IRS small business workshop in person, check here to see what's available in your state: www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99202,00.html
Need tax forms and/or their instructions? Look no further than the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html
Here you'll find a boatload of links to every tax form imaginable, available as downloadable PDF files or in fill-in format. All form instructions can also be downloaded.
The IRS has many free publications that explain virtually every major (and many minor) tax topics in great detail. Sure, IRS "pubs" are not always written in the most entertaining style, but, hey, remember the price. http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/lists/0,,id=97819,00.html
2. Telephone Hotlines.
Special toll-free numbers exist for the following:
-- To order forms & pubs: 800-829-3676 (in case you'd like to receive a paper copy via snail-mail)
-- To ask business tax questions: 800-829-4933
-- To ask personal tax questions: 800-829-1040 Use common sense when phoning the IRS: to avoid long wait times, don't call on Monday morning. And no matter when you call, be prepared! Write out your questions beforehand and have all relevant documentation in front of you, as well as a favorite book or magazine to read during the inevitable wait time. Stay calm; don't yell; treat the IRS employee like a human being and he/she will likely return the favor.
-- Need help with long-standing problems: 877-777-4778
-- Prerecorded messages on 140 topics: 800-829-4477
3. TaxFax Service.
You can receive most IRS forms instructions via fax by calling 703-368-9694 from your fax machine.
4. CD-ROM for Small Business.
This is known as "The Small Business Resource Guide CD-ROM", aka Publication 3207. It includes all the tax forms and publications needed to run a small business. Call 800-829-3676 to request a free copy.
5. Walk-In Offices.
Need some face-to-face tax help? For a complete list of IRS offices in all 50 states, including hours of operation and contact info, check out: http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts
Wayne M. Davies is author of 3 tax-slashing eBooks for the self-employed, available separately or as a 3-volume set, "The Ultimate Small Business Tax Reduction Guide". http://www.YouSaveOnTaxes.com/ultimate-guide
To get your free copy of Wayne's 25-page report, "How To Instantly Double Your Deductions" visit: http://www.YouSaveOnTaxes.com
Small Businesses: Company Car Vs. Personal Mileage Reimbursement In Hurricane Katrinas Wake
With gas prices at an all time high before Hurricane Katrina left her mark on our nation, most Americans were hoping that gas prices would settle down once summer passed. But gas prices have jumped as much as 80 cents a gallon across the country once Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast and impacted all of our lives.
Small Businesses Filing Amended Federal Tax Returns to Recover Money
Small Businesses Filing Amended Federal Tax Returns to Recover Money By Darren Oliver April 15th may be gone but, but certainly not forgotten ? especially if you, like millions of small businesses, unknowingly overpaid your federal taxes and can recover money by filing an amended return. According to the IRS tax code, you have three years from the filing date for the tax year in question to file an amended return. For example, if returns for the 2003 tax year were filed on March 1, 2004, the taxpayer has until March 1, 2007 to file an amended return. This same rule also applies if the taxpayer feels they have made errors resulting in a balance. Most business owners either prepare their business taxes themselves or have a tax preparer or accountant do them. With either method, the tax liability can be calculated as higher than it actually is because of missed deductions, unrecognized changes in tax laws or just plain being given bad advice. There are a number of applicable deductions which many tax preparers often miss from home office deductions to self-employed health insurance to personal assets converted to business use. Although some deductions may seem minor, over an entire year, they can add up to thousands of dollars. Another area, which causes many businesses to overpay, is being given incorrect advice by their tax preparer or even the IRS directly. In a poll performed by Money Magazine, the average tax preparer produces an average of 480 returns between February 1 and April 15, making it difficult for each return to get the time and attention it deserves. This same poll also found there was an average discrepancy of 300% between what the tax preparers said was due and what was actually due. Furthermore, in the IRS's 2001 assessment of their own call centers, they found that 50% of the time, their representatives gave incorrect or insufficient advice. Whether a business owner does their taxes themselves and had to call the IRS for clarification on an issue or a CPA did, odds are the answer was not correct. The United States tax law is one of the most complex in the world. Not to mention, tax laws change every year and have changed tremendously in the last couple of years. Even the best tax preparer, CPA or even IRS representative can, like all humans do, easily make a mistake. In 2002 alone, 3.3 million taxpayers filed an amended return. Samuel Rowley, owner of Muffler Masters in Colorado, was able to recover $14,500 through the filing of an amended return when it was found that he overpaid FICA and payroll taxes. Another small business owner, Karen McClafflin, owner of home-based Secret Canyon Realty, was able to recover $11,000 when her tax preparer failed to include home office and automobile deductions in her past returns. Why is it that when faced with a life-threatening surgery a second opinion is immediately sought after but, when trusting thousands or millions of dollars to an individual or entity, it's done without question? Businesses must get a second opinion, whether it is done before or after the return is filed, to ensure they are not overpaying or simply to ensure their returns are accurate in all aspects. If not, they could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.
What Is Tax Law?
The federal tax code is complex. This complexity generally arises from two factors: the use of the tax code for purposes other than raising revenue, and the feedback process of amending the code.
Uncle Sam is Ready...Are You? Organizing Tips for Tax Time
Anyone who is closely related to an accountant knows that there are not four, but five seasons in a year: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and 'Tax Season.' During the other seasons, we accumulate leaves, snow, and mosquito bites. During 'Tax Season' we accumulate paper. And more paper. And if you have a small business or investments--even more paper.
Requirements To Produce Tax Information (Whats Up With That?)
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The Internet Tax Man Cometh
Q: I was contacted by the city tax collector to say that my business is scheduled to be audited to see if I owe sales tax on items purchased on the Internet. Can they really make me pay sales tax on internet purchase? I thought you could buy things online tax free? -- Charlie B.
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid Certified For Clean-Fuel Deduction
If you are environmentally conscious and purchase a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle that combines a gasoline-powered engine with alternative power methods, you are in line for a nice tax deduction.
Rearrange Your Affairs For Maximum Tax Savings
One way to maximize your business profits is by reducing your taxes. Frequently, income and other taxes could be lowered significantly if only the taxpayer were willing to plan ahead. By taking some simple steps to rearrange your affairs, you could save a fortune!
Tips and Simple Guidelines on How to Calculate Payroll Taxes
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IRS Certifies 2006 Toyota Hybrid for Clean Fuel Deduction
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What to Do If You Can?t Pay Your Taxes
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Tax Secrets - How Drew Miles Helped Me
How about a Tax Tip?
State Tax Information
All states also have their own tax system. Typically there is a tax on real estate, and there may be additional income taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes. Oil and mineral producing states often have a severance tax, which is similar to an excise tax in that tax is paid on products produced, rather than on sales. Taxes on hotel rooms are common, and politically popular because the taxpayers usually do not vote in the jurisdiction levying the tax.
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Tax Investigation - What You Need To Do
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IRS Reports Tax Gap of $300 Billion
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Small Business Tax Deductions for Year End 2004
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History Of The Federal Income Tax
The powers of Congress, and the limitations set upon those powers, are set forth in Article I of the United States Constitution. Section 8 specifies both the power to collect, "Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises," and the requirement that, "Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."
How To Get An Extension To File Your Business Tax Returns
Yes, the tax season is upon with the first filing date for some businesses being March 15, 2005. If you can't imagine getting your tax returns together by that date, you need not worry. The IRS automatically gives you an extension if your file the appropriate form. As you might expect, there are different forms for different businesses.
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