January 17th, 2010 10:29 PM by Korene L Clopine-Seaman
It's that time again...time to start gathering all of that dreaded documentation to send to good old Uncle Sam! Recent stats say the IRS audited 1 out of every 97 returns last year, so it pays to be careful. And even though this may seem like a very painful process, taking just a few simple steps right now will make your tax filing far easier and more accurate.
Keep it together. Make a quick list of all the documents or statements that were needed to complete your return last year - or call your tax planning professional for a checklist. Use this as a checklist to make sure you have a good start on the documents you may need this year. As you receive tax documents in the mail, grab your checklist, and mark the item as received. Then, keep all of the tax documents together in a large file or envelope marked "2007 TAXES."
Do the math. According to the IRS, the most common mistake on tax returns is bad math—from transposed numbers to downright incorrect data. And with one form leading to the other, those errors can make a huge impact. So even if you use tax software, you're not off the hook--since they only add the info YOU put in. Double-check entries carefully.
Every last cent. The IRS receives copies of your Form 1099 earnings each tax season. So, they know how much you make in interest and dividend income, and they will use that info to double-check your filing information. Make sure you collect all your earnings statements and document them on your return.
Sign on the line. It sounds almost silly, but forgetting to sign a return is actually a fairly common oversight. And the IRS won't process a return that doesn't have a signature. So, make sure you sign to avoid resubmitting your paperwork and possibly paying late-filing fees.
Remember, there isn't a lot of room for error when you're dealing with the IRS. A slight miscalculation could mean the difference between getting a return and writing a check--or worse, paying a penalty. It pays to work with a tax professional. If you need a referral, contact me - I'm happy to help!
DID YOU KNOW...THAT THE FED AUDITS 1.03% OF PERSONAL RETURNS? AND IF YOUR INCOME IS IN THE RANGE OF $100K TO $1 MILLION - THAT PERCENTAGE GOES UP TO 1.77%?