It is the middle of the tax season, and starting of the next Monday, February 14th, the IRS will start accepting the tax returns for the year 2010. Many people try to minimize their tax liability, and sometimes the methods used are questionable, to say the least.
I wrote not too long ago about how to prepare your return efficiently and without paying too much. So what mistakes you most certainly don’t want to make?
If you’re using software, like the Turbo Tax Software (available on Amazon.com) and the H&R Block At Home (also available on Amazon), you’re probably covered. The programs have a built-in interview workflow, and as long as you’re answering all the questions honestly and provide the correct info – you should be fine.
If, however, you’re trying to fill out the forms on your own, or pay someone to fill the forms for you, make sure you’re not making any bad choices. It doesn’t take a CPA or a lawyer to know that if something sounds too good to be true – then it probably is. If someone suggests you to file a “zero return”, or says that “you don’t have to pay taxes on your income”, or claims that “tax payment is voluntary” or “IRS is unconstitutional” – they’re trying to convince you to break the law. Look at the links at the end of the article for the official IRS publications on the issue. Some of the claims (that people were ready to go to court with) are totally ridiculous even for an uneducated person like me. Claiming that one is a citizen of a state, but not of the USA? Claiming that IRS is a criminal organization? Claiming that the 16th amendment (which is the legal basis for the income tax) has never been ratified (has been, more than 200 years ago)? Ridiculous.
So be careful, don’t let criminal minds tell you funny stories. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. When in doubt – get a second opinion from a respectable professional. It will be you who is in trouble if the reports you file are incorrect.
Your Little Advisor