Top 10 Checklist to Avoid Getting Penalized This Tax Season

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Tax season is here and we would all like to avoid getting any penalties. BOSS has gathered a top 10 checklist of the most essential points in avoiding getting penalized this tax season.

Tax time can be quite demanding when you consider the paperwork that must be filed, the numbers that must be triple-checked, and the money that needs to be ready to go to the IRS. This tax season, don’t get caught making an all-too common mistake on your forms, as any one of these small blunders can lead to various penalties, additional fees, and a huge headache.

1.    Avoid missing the deadline. If you do miss it, file for an extension right away. This is free and pretty simple, and it will give you a few more months to file your taxes. Remember that corporate taxes (both filing and fees) are due on March 16th while personal taxes are due on April 15th.

2.    Pay your estimated taxes, even if you missed the deadline. Whether you’re granted a filing extension or not, any money you owe needs to be paid by the original due date. While filing late will still result in a penalty and some consequences, you may be able to avoid additional penalties and fees by making an estimated payment before the due date.

3.    Avoid underpayment. Harsh penalties can be enforced for underpayment, so having a professional estimate your taxes owed and being on top of your payments from the beginning are vital.

4.    Triple check your math. If you’re filing your taxes yourself, or even if you’re having one of your company’s accountants do it, check over the numbers and calculations a couple times. Mistakes in your math and errors on your forms can delay the IRS from processing your return and could even result in an audit.

5.    Include every necessary form. All of your W-2s, 1099s, and the like should be included in your tax preparation, as even leaving out something small can result in large and negative implications.

6.    Keep records and receipts of everything. If you correctly claimed a particular deduction or expense on your tax return but have no way of proving it, you could be penalized for negligence and disregard of the rules and regulations. You must have records to support every claim you make on your taxes. Businesses, in particular, should have thorough records of all incomes and expenses from the entire year.

7.    Be specific about your giving. If you’re giving money to a charity, whether as an individual or within your business, make sure that charity has tax-exempt status before you claim it on your taxes. If you’re giving clothing or other goods, you need a detailed receipt of the items, their condition, and their value to make it a legitimate donation in the eyes of the IRS.

8.    Claim the correct filing status. Even if you had a baby, got married or bought a house at the start of the New Year, your filing status and all deductions are only based on the previous year. Your status on December 31 of last year is the status you must claim on your taxes. Additionally, businesses should ensure that they are registered as an appropriate business entity (corporation, LLC, sole proprietor, etc.) and are filing as such.

9.    Check your typing or handwriting. If you are typing your return, be sure that you don’t mistype anything. An incorrect social security number, FEIN, or dollar amount can create a huge ordeal for you. Likewise, if you are hand writing your forms, make sure your print is legible, particularly the numbers, to avoid penalties, confusion, and frustration.

10.    Sign and date all forms. An unsigned or undated form is viewed as incomplete and invalid to the IRS. By the time you find out that your form was not processed, you could face penalties for filing and/or paying late. Be sure that you (and your spouse, if applicable) sign and date the form before submitting it to the IRS for review.

The best way to avoid these common mistakes and their harsh penalties is by hiring an experienced tax preparation expert. You, and even your tax team, are more than capable of making any one of these common mistakes, and not properly handling them can be detrimental as shown here The professionals at Back Office Support Solutions are highly trained and ready to help you prepare your tax forms this year. Don’t let a small error be a source of frustration for months to come—trust the tax professionals at Back Office Support Solutions to complete your tax preparation with precision and expertise. Give us a call today at 619-363-3009 or visit to learn more.

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Michelle Devereux
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since: 12/2013
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