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Savvy New Year's Resolutions IRS Hopes You Won't Keep

forbes.com | December 31, 2013

Making and keeping New Year’s resolutions is tough. Yet some resolutions about taxes aren’t hard to keep and could fatten your wallet in 2014. They could even have a spillover effect into the future. Here are 9 to consider:

1. I Will Read Tax Documents Before Signing. Don’t Robo-Sign Tax Returns. You sign tax returns under the penalties of perjury, so be careful.

2. I Will Pay Attention to Each Form 1099. It’s almost time for these little tax reports to show up in your mail, so get ready. Each one bears your Social Security Number and will be matched to your tax return. Pay attention to them—the IRS sure does.

3. I Will Consider Taxes Before Signing Agreements. Leases, purchase agreements, settlement agreements, employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, and more. You name it, they have tax consequences. They needn’t be mega-transactions for the tax dollars to be significant. Consider taxes before signing, since that’s when you can still affect changes.

4. I Will Defer Income and Taxes. Timing matters. A fundamental idea of tax planning is to defer income into the future, delay paying taxes when possible, and to accelerate deductions. Tax payments should normally not be prepaid. There are situations in which it’s appropriate to break this resolution, but keep it as a general rule.

5. I Will Keep Good Records. Few people like keeping tax records, and playing catch up is the worst. Keep a copy of each signed contract, lease, invoice and receipt, checks, and the like. Good records make tax compliance and tax controversies vastly easier.

6. I Won’t Fight Over Pennies. We all like to be right, but consider whether it makes sense to argue over small amounts with the IRS. Everyone has a different threshold for what amount is inconsequential. Don’t invest time when inconsequential money is at stake. In some cases you can risk other issues arising.

7. I’ll Deal With Notices Promptly. Many tax lawyers and accountants make more money because clients tend not to deal with things promptly. Often, tax professionals could achieve a better result if they were brought in earlier. For example, if you fail to respond to an IRS 90 day letter, it’s no longer possible to go to Tax Court. Instead, you’ll need to file a refund claim and then go to District Court or Claims Court.

8. I Will Keep Proof of Filing/Mailing. If timing is important—and it usually is—keep proof of mailing. If you need to be able to prove you mailed or filed something, send it certified, FedEx or other approved provider that proves timely mailing and receipt.

9. I Will Run Numbers. Just because you can claim a deduction doesn’t mean you should. There may be no way to know if you’re getting a tax benefit from a deduction without running numbers, whether you do your own return or have a preparer. Running multiple scenarios is especially helpful with AMT.

Whatever resolutions you make, have a great year.


Back to December 2013 Archive

CFLA was founded by the Nation's Leading Foreclosure Defense Attorneys back in 2007 to serve the Foreclosure Defense Industry and fight pervasive Bank Fraud. Since opening our virtual doors, CFLA has rapidly expanded to become the premier online legal destination for small businesses and consumers. But as the company continues to grow, we're careful to hold true to our original vision. For us, putting the law within reach of millions of people is more than just a novel idea—it's the founding principle, just ask Andrew P. Lehman, J.D.. With convenient locations in Houston and Los Angeles, you can contact Our National Account Specialist and General Manager / Member Damion W. Emholtz at 888-758-2352 for a free Mortgage Fraud Analysis or to obtain samples of work product, including cutting edge Bloomberg Securitization Audits, Litigation Support, Quiet Title Packages, and for more information about our Nationally Accredited and U.S. Department of Education Approved "Mortgage Securitization Analyst Training Certification" Classes (3 days) 24 hours for approved CLE & MCLE Credit (Now Available Online).

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