Thursday, January 08, 2009

IRS Presents: Top Ten Tax Time Tips

As an Enrolled Agent I received this notice today from the IRS. If I were making my own list I would simply have number 1 as ... Let Morris Armstrong do your taxes, he is after all an Enrolled Agent!

1. Gather your records…now! It’s never too early to start getting together any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks, and other documents that support an item of income or a deduction you’re taking on your return. Also, be on the lookout for W-2s and 1099s, coming soon from your employer.

2. Find your forms. Whether you file a 1040 or 1040-EZ, you can download all IRS forms and publications on our Web site, IRS.gov.

3. Do a little research. Check out Publication 17 on IRS.gov. It’s a comprehensive collection of information for taxpayers highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return. Review Pub 17 to ensure you’re taking all credits and deductions for which you’re eligible.

4. Think ahead to how you’ll file. Will you prepare your return yourself or go to a preparer? Do you qualify to file at no cost using Free File on IRS.gov? Are you eligible for free help at an IRS office or volunteer site? Will you purchase tax preparation software or file online? There are many things to consider. So, give yourself time to weigh them all and find the option that best suits your needs.

5. Take your time. Rushing to get your return filed increases the chance you will make a mistake and not catch it.

6. Double-check your return. Mistakes will slow down the processing of your return. In particular, make sure all the Social Security Numbers and math calculations are correct as these are the most common errors made by taxpayers.

7. Consider e-file. When you file electronically, the computer will handle the math calculations for you, and you will get your refund in about half the time it takes when you file a paper return.

8. Think about Direct Deposit. If you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than waiting for a check by mail.

9. Visit IRS.gov often. The official IRS Web site is a great place to find everything you’ll need to file your tax return: forms, tips, FAQs and updates on tax law changes.

10. Relax. There’s no need to panic. If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Try IRS.gov or call our customer service number at 800-829-1040.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Nine for '09

Nine for ‘09

Here are nine little thoughts that may help us get through the coming year. Some may be easier to accomplish than others but they are all aspirational. The last two may be the most important and easiest to accomplish.

• Resolve to review spending and cut by 9% where possible.

• Resolve to increase savings by 9% where possible.

• If you need to have a PhD to understand an investment concept avoid the investment.

• If you have been meaning to get a Will or update an existing one and haven’t in five years then do it now.

• While we all try to economize let’s not forget those who have less.

• Waste not, want not. A clich√©? Maybe but we realized last year how expensive commodities can become.

• Make sure that you and your family know where all the assets are. Keep an account list or updated financial plan in a safe accessible place.

• Respect and love your family

• Count your blessings. I know that I do every single day.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2009!