Avoid Getting Swamped This Tax Season With These Handy Tips

Avoid Getting Swamped This Tax Season With These Handy Tips

For most of us, tax seasons isn’t the best part of the year. But it’s a part of the year we must endure, nonetheless. Tax season can be difficult to navigate financially at the best of times. But changes are coming this year which are different to what we’ve seen before. Here are some things you need to know about the tax year ahead.

Your Accountant Gets Swamped, The Longer You Leave It

As with most things, it’s better to do your own taxes as early as you can. In the run up to the tax deadline, your accountant will get busier and busier. Ultimately, they might not have time to service your tax return. As a result, you could end up in a heap of legal trouble and need a tax fraud attorney.

Tax accountants themselves are having to adapt to a whole raft of changes to the tax code this year. There are hundreds of extensions and deletions. And it makes the process rather difficult indeed. Because of these changes, many accountants require all the detail from their customers as early as possible. Some have set deadlines that are months in advance of the due date.

Tax Methods Are Changing

Most businesses don’t bother preparing their taxes by hand anymore. Most now use software tools instead.

Software tools, however, can be rather expensive. Some can charge up to $79.99 a month, which is probably too much for many self-employed people. The IRS does, however, offer a free tax filing system. But the system is only free if you earn less than $62,000 per year.

Prepare For Poor IRS Customer Service Levels

Everybody knows that the customer service afforded by the IRS in the 2016 tax season was appalling. According to the Washington Post, the same is likely going to be true for the 2017 season as well.

During 2015, only around 37 percent of customers had their issues dealt with by the IRS. Approximately 82 million taxpayers tried to get in touch with the IRS to resolve their customer service issues in 2015. But only 8 million got through. Average wait times were unexpectedly high at around 23 minutes per customer.

The IRS wants wait times to fall below twenty minutes. But even this level of service would still be terrible. The advice right now is to file early and raise issues with the IRS ahead of the deadline.

Audits Are Lower In Number, But Unpleasant Nonetheless

USA Today recently reported that Congress had earmarked $290 million in new funding for the IRS. This is apparently going towards better customer service, not enforcement. This means that we probably won’t see as many tax audits this year as in previous years. However, when the IRS does show up, tax audits are likely to be as unpleasant as they always were. Keep good records and read up on how to minimize your risk of an audit.


Anum Yoon is the founder and editor of Current on Currency. She loves all things personal finance, which is why you'll find her work all over the PF blogosphere.

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