Why Do I Need Help with Back Taxes…I Did Everything Right, Didn’t I?
Did you? That’s always the question isn’t it…the $64,000 question? And, let’s hope that little oversight on your income or overstatement on your deductions doesn’t end up coming close to that amount, much less surpass it.
“There’s just one thing I can’t figure out…my income tax!” – Nat King Cole
The great tax debate over income tax, past or present, is destined to be with us as long as the Internal Revenue Service is governed by its current rules and regulations. Correct (financial) reporting and accurate (deduction) analysis form the foundation for trouble free living, at least as far as the IRS is concerned. It is not their direct intent to complicate your life, so why give them reason to do so?
Do they purposely make comprehending the tax code as complicated as it can possibly be? It would be hard to get them to admit there is, indeed, a few people sitting around a table in a secluded office room somewhere, spending serious time coming up with convoluted ways of translating a simple accounting formula into a tangled web of mathematical tabulations. But, it certainly seems a reasonable conclusion.
It is not hard to imagine that being the case when faced with the very unpleasant reality of having to make sense of why the IRS is asking you about tax returns dating back several years. It was hard enough understanding them at the time, much less being expected to clarify specific items years later… items which you paid good money to a so called professional tax preparer for the exact purpose of accurately summarizing your taxes for you.
Or, you could be one of a fading breed of noble thinking, strong willed taxpayers who firmly believe the ability to properly prepare a tax return is, or certainly should be, within the grasp of every American. If only that was as easy as it sounds. Perhaps some day it will be.
The hard truth is, in the eyes of the IRS an individual or corporate taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the correctly filing of a tax return. Fortunately, as a result of an increase in the number of taxpayers utilizing tax preparation companies and software programs, greater oversight is being administered over this emerging aspect of the financial services industry to better facilitate a reduction in the amount of incorrect returns being filed.
Unfortunately, the burden of adherence to the rules and regulations of the tax code falls squarely on a taxpayer’s shoulders, which means it behooves everybody, as time consuming as it may be while doing so, to go the extra mile at tax time. Fully examining your return will go a long way in helping you avoid a surprise call by the IRS…years after the initial filing.
Here’s a good rule of thumb when preparing your return yourself or having someone do it for you – get it right the first time! If a question arises (in your mind) about the validity of an income or deduction entry during the original preparation, it is not going to be any easier to answer down the road, especially while an IRS agent is waiting on the other end of the line for a response.
If you desire clear sailing in life with regard to the IRS, then be clear about your financial situation the first time…hopefully, before tax day!
Written By: Tom The Tax Adviser!