How to Avoid Tax Problems

Avoiding paying taxes isn’t an option. However, avoiding tax problems is, if you follow a few simple suggestions.


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    Organize your tax records. You can reduce your preparation time significantly if you organize your records and receipts. Good organization can also help you monitor the progress of your business, prepare your financial statements, identify the source of receipts, keep track of deductible expenses and support items reported on your return.
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    Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare your tax returns. Procrastinate could be a killer. If you wait, you may get in a rush and make some mistakes you wouldn’t normally make. This also avoids applying for an extension. If you think your return is going to be complicated, get help along the way.
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    Use to download tax forms, instructions, tax law information and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also use the IRS Withholding Calculator to ensure you don’t have too much or too little income tax withheld from your pay.
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    Take advantage of free tax assistance. The IRS offers recorded messages on hundreds of tax topics through its TeleTax service at 1-800-829-4477. It also offers federal tax forms and publications at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Many post offices and libraries carry the most widely requested forms and instructions. The IRS also staffs a Tax Help Line for Individuals at 1-800-829-1040.
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    Use IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers and Volunteer Programs. The IRS has more than 400 Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide to assist taxpayers face-to-face with issues or questions that cannot be handled online or over the phone. Go to to find the local office nearest to you.
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    Use electronic refund options. You can speed up the refund process by having your refund deposited directly into your bank account by the IRS. This also reduces the chance of your refund being lost in the mail or even stolen. You can also check on the status of a refund by going to and clicking on the “Where’s My Refund?” link on the home page.
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    File electronically. According to the IRS, the IRS e-file is the fastest and most accurate way to file a tax return. It is also the fastest way to receive a refund.
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    Double-check math and data entries. Review your return for possible math errors and make sure the names and Social Security or other identification numbers are correct and legible.
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    Don’t panic if immediate payment is not an option. If you owe the IRS and you cannot pay the amount in full, you can apply for an Installment Agreement and suggest your own monthly payment amount and due date. You also have various options for paying the IRS with a credit card.
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    Request an extension of time to file if necessary. If you cannot file your return by the April deadline, you can request a four-month extension to August 15. An extension of time to file, however, is not an extension of time to pay. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if at least 90 percent of the total tax due has not been paid by April 15.


  • Keep your records and documents in a place that is convenient for you, whether it be a box, a file cabinet or a manila envelop.
  • Utilize the IRS website

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Categories: Taxes and Fees