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The 6 Most Basic Rules Of Tax Preparation

Dealing with kids and marriages

If you’re married or divorced be sure that you and your spouse’s last names match all social security records, because your return will be rejected if they don’t. Also, if you’re divorced with children, be sure you know who’s claiming the kids. The rule is that whoever files first will initially get the credit and if it’s not the right person, correspondence with the IRS will be required by both parties to resolve the matter. To avoid that mess, it’s something you NEED to work out beforehand.

E-filing is the way to go

If you’re doing your taxes yourself, you should save yourself some time and money by e-filing using the IRS’s Free File program. The online form populates the numbers for you so you don’t have to worry about calculating the math. The other upside is that once you submit your return, you will receive your check earlier than if you had submitted it manually.

Use the correct forms

Make sure you use your W2 forms and not a recent pay stub – there is a huge difference.

Need an extension?

Make sure you file it by April 15, unless you are living out of the country in which case you have until June 15 to file your return or file for an extension. Remember, extensions should include an approximation of the amount you owe, whether remitted or not. Failure to properly estimate your liability could lead to a rejection of your extension request and could result in late filing penalties.

Please Don’t Procrastinate

If you want your money earlier, you need to file your return earlier. The closer you file your return to the due date, the longer it will take for you to get it back.

And Don’t Pay Extra

Paying to get your return earlier is never worth it. Avoid anticipation loans or quick refunds because the cost isn’t worth having the funds a few day’s early.

Have a question? Contact Steven Meyerson. Your comments are always welcome!


Steven Meyerson

One thought on “The 6 Most Basic Rules Of Tax Preparation

  1. Avatar Jenny says:

    All very nice for many people but I don’t get an exemption or a child tax credit or head of household … because my son is a nonresident alien not living in Canada or Mexico and if I didn’t get Pro bono help (my son is autistic, gets benefits & subsidies for that and my family has set up a foreign special needs trust under forreign law involving FBAR, form 8938, form 3520, form 5471, form 709 and more. If I had to pay for tax preparation it would cost more thsn my $10,000 p.asnnual part-time salary. That’s what FATCA and PFIC have done to us. But at least my son — who would have been an American citizen if born after Sessions v. Morales-Santana (through my parents-don’t ask) aand unable to renounce —can have a local junior pension and a local junior tax soaring account (like a Roth IRS in my country).

    As an old tax lawyer-economist once told me: tax law isn’t dintended to be ”fair” but to raise money and to respond to political realities. With the $1.5 trillion deficit and the silence of former deficit hawks that l think that first part has fallen by the wayside. Whoever wrote the tax bill has a death wish for the economy, Society and — most of all — for accidental Americans like me. I don’t use IRS online I use TutboTax. Even then I have to file on paper and make pen-and-ink corrections to deal with the Totalization Agreement, to contrive to elect a Roth IRA by double taxing my income (which is too little for income tax anyway) and to rely on my family for free housing and help with my autistic child. And nobody in Washington — or anywhere in the USA where I was not born and have never lived — cares.

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