Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What if I can’t pay my taxes?

The IRS offers some guidance for when you can't pay your taxes. But I'm not seeing anything new here:

Don’t panic. If you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe by the April deadline, you should still file your return by the deadline and pay as much as you can to avoid penalties and interest. You also should contact the IRS to discuss your payment options at 1-800-829-1040. The agency may be able to provide some relief such as a short-term extension to pay, an installment agreement or an offer in compromise. In some cases, the agency may be able to waive penalties. However, the agency is unable to waive interest charges which accrue on unpaid tax bills. For more information, see The Collection Process and Tax Payment Options. The Form 1040 Instructions also provide guidance on filing and paying your taxes

Same as it's always been. If you can't pay then prove it. We'll see how lenient they are and if the message gets to the front line.

Otherwise, I'm more impressed with their tips for choosing a tax professional to prepare your tax return:

Be cautious of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.

Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund.

Use a reputable tax professional who signs the tax return and provides a copy.

Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return months, or even years, after the return has been filed.

Check the person’s credentials. Only attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Other return preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they actually prepared.

Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics.

Ask friends and family whether they know anyone who has used the tax professional and whether they were satisfied with the service they received.

Our firm meets those criteria, and more!

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