Expect Massive Delays in Processing Your Tax Return This Year

Every year, the IRS seems to get just a little farther behind in getting tax refunds back to people. Throw in the processing of Economic Impact Payments and you’ve got yourself a royal mess. In January, the Treasury Department warned taxpayers to expect massive delays in processing of your tax returns this year. That’s just great, right? But…relax! Below we offer some tips on how to get your cash back as soon as possible.

Expect Massive Delays in Processing Your Tax Return This Year. An image of the red and white John A. Cochran, Esquire business card and some tax forms.
You can probably expect massive delays in processing your tax return this year.
File ASAP

The early bird gets the refund faster. If you put your return in the queue earlier, there will be fewer returns ahead of yours to process. Keep your files organized and ready to go. If you haven’t gotten organized yet, make it a priority. The IRS is still saying they’ll strive to process refunds within 21 days of receipt. And that theoretically can happen for you if you file your return early and don’t raise any red flags.

File Electronically

To expedite your tax refund process, move away from paper submission. Filing paper returns requires time-intensive, manual processing. To ensure a smoother process, file electronically with direct deposit to avoid delays in process, receiving refunds, or notices from the IRS. More than 90% of 160 million people who file taxes submit their returns electronically. You can also check the status of your refund on the IRS’s Where’s My Refund? page.

Have Documentation for Everything

Whether you file a simple W-2 each year or a complicated small business owner return, have documentation for everything. Have your documentation saved electronically for easy access should you be asked to provide proof of anything in your submission. Any questionable numbers will increase your odds of an audit. Make sure the numbers match on the forms before you submit your return. Anything you’re unsure about leads into our next recommendation…

Don’t Guess, Ask an Expert

Even if you think you have a simple preparation process, rules change all the time. If you can’t easily locate an answer to your question, don’t just guess at what to do. Take the time to ask an expert. Even the big online processing companies have an option to connect with a CPA. The small fee for a consultation could end up saving you thousands in the long run. If you have an especially complex situation, your best bet is to enlist the help of an experienced tax attorney.

Expect Massive Delays in Processing Your Tax return This Year. An image of the John A. Cochran, Esq. re business card with scrabble pieces written out CPA and Tax Law.
Exercise Patience

Fun fact: the IRS has been running with the same number of staff since the 1970s, despite the American population increasing by 60% since then. Nearly 75% of American taxpayers expect a refund each year, so you’re not alone. Many people count on their tax return to fund vacations or use it pay down debt. However, depending on those refund checks coming in by a certain time can backfire on you. As of December 31, 2021, six million people were still waiting for the IRS to process their 2020 returns. As frustrating as this delay is, there’s nothing you can do. ​

In conclusion, we hope this blog, Expect Massive Delays in Processing Your Tax Return This Year helps with your tax preparation plans. Need help getting your taxes ready or have a question? Our experienced tax professionals can help you minimize any taxes you owe and ensure you comply with all applicable laws. Complete our online form or call us today at 724-216-5180 to learn more.

Prepare for the Inevitable Upcoming Tax Season

Every year right between Christmas and New Year’s people start dreading tax season. That shoe box or receipt drawer may not close all the way anymore. Maybe you just found the statement for quarterly tax estimates (from June) in another pile of papers. Likewise, maybe your resolution list from January 2021 just resurfaced that included “stay on top of taxes” on the list. You already know that when you prepare for the inevitable upcoming tax season, it will suck so much less. So, let’s get started!

Prepare for the Inevitable Upcoming Tax Season. Image of red and white John A. Cochran, Esq letter head with money in background.
Get Out Ahead of Crunch Time

Rather than pouring yourself another cup of cheer and making tax preparations next year’s problem, face it head on. You can pour that cup of cheer if you’d like. However, digging in now will make Future You so much less stressed come tax time.

Picture yourself the evening of April 14, 2022, what do you see yourself doing? Do you see yourself furiously adding up totals? Trying to find random tax documentations? Or would you rather have plans to join your buddies for a well-deserved thirsty Thursday at the local watering hole?

Get Organized

Most tax experts will say it matters less how you organize your paperwork but more that you actually do it. So long as you have materials in order so that you can produce documentation requested for tax purposes, you’re good. You will save money in preparation fees.

If you don’t currently have a system or experience exasperated looks from your tax professional each year, ask yourself why. Perhaps your current system or lack thereof could use a tune up? Rely on the advice of experts on how to create or improve on your current techniques. You’ll make everyone’s lives easier.

Check Your Information

Double check that all your information on file with the IRS is correct, including direct deposit information for refunds. Even something as simple as an address change can get forgotten during a busy year.

Closely examine everything from dependent information to retirement and investment accounts to income streams. This year remember to check Economic Impact Payments and Child Tax Credit Updates, too, if applicable. Spotting differences now can avoid potential problems after filing.

Ask Questions and Get Clarifications Early

Do some early research to see if you need to file differently or can add new deductions. Whether you work with an accountant or use a self-service tax filing tool, ask follow-up questions from the experts.

Get clarification on changes in tax deductions early in the season so you have time to do something about them. Finding out about a new deduction does no good if you didn’t save the proof necessary to claim it.

Nervous about this upcoming tax season? How will you prepare for the inevitable upcoming tax season? Relax! Our experienced tax professionals can help you minimize any taxes you owe and ensure you comply with all applicable laws. We help our clients avoid legal issues with their taxes while providing peace of mind. Complete our online form or call us today at 724-216-5180 to learn more.

John A. Cochran, Esq logo in black and white. Prepare for the Inevitable Upcoming Tax Season.

Making Charitable Donations Part of Your Estate Plan

As you create an estate plan ( yes, you need one ), consider how your assets will be divided upon your death. Most people don’t consider charitable donations as a way to minimize estate/inheritance taxes. However, did you know that making charitable donations part of your estate plan could lessen the tax burden for your heirs? Read on to learn more.

Making charitable donations part of your estate plan. Estate planning law books on a white background.
Why Designate Charitable Donations in Estate Plans?

For example, some people decide they don’t want to leave all their assets to their children or other beneficiaries. Likewise, others don’t have beneficiaries to leave their assets to but want to ensure their estate contributes to a lasting legacy.

For anyone passionate about a specific cause, making charitable donations part of your estate plan may be the right choice for you. Leaving funds or other assets to a designated charity could make the most impact. Tax-exempt charities are set up to maximize the effectiveness of gifts they receive, planned or otherwise.

Any funds given to a recognized public charity are not taxable. While this may decrease the overall amount any named beneficiaries receive, most people appreciate the sentiment during their grieving period. Making charitable donations part of your estate plan may be a good choice.

What Charities Count?

Any charity recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) can receive tax-exempt donations as part of an estate plan. These include charitable organizations, churches and religious organizations, private foundations, and other non-profits.

In addition, depending on the size of your gift, you should contact the charity to inform them of your plans. They may need time to prepare for a large gift (over $10,000). They can also provide basic information to list in the estate plan to streamline the process. If you do name other beneficiaries in your estate plan, you should probably let them know your plans, too. This can minimize hurt feelings and contested wills upon your death.

Making charitable donations part of your estate plan. Typewriter image with estate tax, PA Inheritance tax, and estate planning written out.
How to Get Started.

There are a number of ways to plan gift to charities, foundations, or others as part of your estate plan. Estate/inheritance tax rules seem to change every year. So, your estate attorney can work with your designated charities to determine which options make the most sense for everyone. By making your wishes clear in your estate plan, you leave little room for misinterpretation. You can minimize additional work for your heirs and maximize their tax benefits while supporting organizations important to you.

In conclusion, are you not sure how to name a charity in your estate plan? RELAX! Our estate planning experts can walk you through options. Each will fit your unique circumstances. We help with will preparation, trust creation and administration, probate administration, and more. Call us today at 724-216-5180 or complete the online form to schedule a free consultation.

Reminders on Tax Preparations for the Year of COVID

The effects of the global pandemic and economic crisis will be felt for years to come. But this year, finalizing year-end accounting for businesses has special challenges in 2020. Special considerations, losses, business closing, and accounting for government relief programs will likely amplify the usual stressors of tax season. Before getting started on the particular aspects for businesses this year, it helps for taxpayers to cover the basics. So, below we offer a list of basic reminders on tax preparations for the year of COVID.

a photo of someone doing taxes
Confirm Records of All Business Expenses

Maybe you legitimately paid for a new business computer but cannot find the paper trail. You can usually replace missing receipts with a bit of research. Reviewing credit card statements or order histories from the store can provide proof of purchase. Also avoid claiming untraceable income to family members, lavish gifts, and other expenses outsized for the level of income generated.

Only Claim Actual Business Expenses

A personal laptop you bought your kid for remote learning does not count as an actual business expense. Tempting as it sounds, you cannot justify your business improved by no longer having them borrow your computer for schoolwork. The IRS will figure out that’s not an actual business expense. Make several little ‘they’ll never notice’ claims and you could expose yourself to costly penalties. Other areas that raise red flags include claiming unusually high utility costs for a home office, or unrelated professional development. 

Procrastination Pain

Forget whatever you told yourself in school about working better under pressure by waiting until ‘later’ to do your work. When you wait until the 11th hour, you risk not having enough time to pull all your documentation together accurately. Mad scrambles fueled by adrenaline can also leave money on the table. You increase your chances of maximizing your deductions when you take time to consider all possible deductions thoughtfully.

Clueless Accounting

Going through the entire period unaware of tax liabilities spells disaster for business owners. Being blissfully unaware does not exempt you from repercussions and avoiding proper accounting will only make things worse. Aside from the shock of owed taxes when filing, you can also accrue serious penalties for filing late or underpaid quarterly estimates.

Stay on Top of IRS Correspondence

As we’ve mentioned in other blogs, if you receive a letter from the IRS, do not ignore it! We cannot stress this enough: avoiding whatever is in the correspondence, won’t make it go away. If they request additional information, provide it in a timely fashion. If they question your filing and you do nothing, they assume they’re correct  and move forward with billing. Expect them to start charging interest and late fees.

By starting at a better baseline, you can better prepare for the specifics of the 2020 tax preparations. The good news: you have enough time to find lost receipts, respond to IRS letters, and get yourself organized. You also have time to ask questions about allowable expenses and the best way to attack your unique tax situations. That’s where we can help. Contact our office at 724-216-5180 or use our online form

Basic Steps to a Tax Audit

No one likes to see that letter from the IRS “congratulating” you on being audited. Before you throw the notice aside and bury your head in your couch, read these basic steps to a tax audit. You should always consult a tax professional, and with our assistance you can get through an audit. We promise. 

1.  Read Letter and Response Time

The first basic step to a tax audit is to read the letter you receive from the IRS. The letter will outline the next steps you need to take. You generally have 30 days to respond to the notice. Responding in a timely fashion will get the ball rolling. This also means you may have a lot of work to do to get ready. It helps to have a tax professional at your side to keep you focused.

Should you decide to engage in the bury-your-head-in-the-couch tactic, the IRS foregoes giving you a chance validate your figures. They just automatically adjust your amount owed and send you a bill. That bill will undoubtedly include penalties and interest on the outstanding amount they think you owe.

2. Win Brownie Points for Being Organized

Think of this like a court case for your taxes. Get all your records together for the portions in question. Any documentation that corroborates with your tax return will help you case and make their life easier. You may save your receipts in a shoe box but sharing them that way will not help your case.

Having the requested material organized will expedite things. Plus, the easier you make going through your files for the IRS examiner, the more they will trust your documentation.


3. Leave Sideshow Material at Home

Also, only provide what they request. Trying to distract them with material from another part of your return will only accomplish two things. You will annoy the auditor with extraneous stuff or potentially make them interested in something they weren’t before. Neither of which is a good thing if you’re looking to get out of your meeting in minimal time.

4. Keep Your Original Documentation

Always make copies of supporting documentation you provide to the auditor. If for some reason production of an original document is necessary, request the auditor make copies for themselves. Do not leave your meeting without the original documents. Any material you give to the IRS, they will likely lose. Also, you should know they will not be responsible for records lost while in their possession. You, however, will need those originals for any future questions. It sucks, we know. Think of it like giving a toddler ringbearer the REAL wedding bands. 

5. Be Nice

No matter what we talk about in our office with clients, above all we tell them to be nice. IRS auditors are people, too (believe it or not). In a world steeped with negativity and quick fuses, it’s easy to forget that crappy behavior will yield crappy results. Also, you can face serious consequences if you engage in threatening or physically aggressive behavior. That’s a federal offense… and likely a highlight on the evening news. So just be nice, even if you perceive they’re acting rude, which the Service rarely does. Seriously per a famous Pennsylvanian, Ben Franklin: “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” 

These basic steps to a tax audit can help you know what to expect. However, throughout the entire process, you should know your rights as a taxpayer. The IRS mission is to provide America’s taxpayers top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities. They also pledge to enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all. An experienced tax attorney will help to ensure they uphold their mission.

Don’t go it alone. We can walk you through the basic steps of a tax audit and minimize your tax liabilities. Call John A. Cochran, Esquire, in Greensburg at 724-216-0704 or use our online form.

Expecting an Economic Impact Payment? Five Reasons to Check Again

a graphic of money depicting why if you're expecting and economic impact payment, there are five reasons to check again.

The much-anticipated economic impact payments have started rolling out across the nation. If you’re expecting an economic impact payment, you may be waiting expectantly. Americans eligible for the payment check their online banking statements like kids on Christmas looking to see if Santa came. Those receiving paper checks will have to wait weeks more.

Tens of millions of Americans will receive their payments without issue. Well, this is the federal government, we know there will be glitches and delays. Aside from the usual red tape, the CARES Act has a few loopholes that could eat into that Christmas morning miracle.

1. Child Support Arrears

Anyone who owes child support can have their checks fully or partially garnished like their wages. Note: married couples where one spouse is behind on child support from a previous relationship can see their payments garnished, too. That’s right, the current spouse could see some or all of their portion taken as well.

2. Private Collection Agencies

Currently, anyone in collections may also see those funds diminished. Debt collectors can freeze bank accounts, too. If this feels sneaky and underhanded, there are a number of senators who agree. They’re working with both the Treasury Department and states to close this loophole. But for now, it’s still perfectly legal.

3. Parents of Teens Over 16

As is true of regular tax filing, the child tax credit cuts off by at a kid’s 17th birthday. This may come as a big surprise when you’re counting heads around your dinner table. The IRS doesn’t count older teens as dependents eligible for the $500 dependent payment, regardless of how much they cost you in groceries.

4. College Students Still Claimed by Someone Else

College students under the age of 23 that are still claimed by someone else are not eligible to receive payments. Those claiming them as dependents will likewise not receive funds for claiming them as a dependent child. This is true even if the student lives on their own and has a part-time job while going to school. 

5. Disabled, Elderly or Otherwise Dependent Adults

Adults claimed by someone else for tax purposes are not eligible to receive a payment. Neither are their caretakers – including adult children – able to claim them as dependents for the $500 payment. 

The government’s economic impact payment program has additional holes, creating even more questions. The IRS is notoriously difficult to get answers from. This is especially true now with a skeleton crew pumping out unprecedented checks to tens of millions of people on antiquated computing systems. Figuring out the CARES Act and how loopholes affect your payments could require a more trained eye. If you’re expecting an economic impact check and need help, call our office at 724-216-5180 or complete our online form.

Common Tax Filing Mistakes

A graphic depicting tax filing materials


Whether you file your own taxes or work with a professional preparer, there are a few common mistakes you must avoid. Some could even delay your receipt of your funds from the CARES Act. You may laugh at these common tax filing mistakes below… unless you make them. 

Misspelled or different given names

If you ever took the SATs in high school, you may recall you got 200 points just for spelling your name right. There’s a lot more riding on spelling correctly and using your legal name now. Even if you hate your legal name, you’ll love the refund attached to it. The same goes for anyone who legally changes their name (ex: marriage, divorce, for fun). Whatever name the Social Security Administration has on file, use it on your tax paperwork.

Direct Deposit Errors

It’s more secure to request a direct deposit of a refund than having the IRS mail you a refund check and you receive your cash WEEKS earlier. However, the danger lies in making sure those digits are correct when you provide them. Errors in routing or account numbers could see your refund heading to another person’s bank account. The funds could also be returned to the IRS, delaying your receipt of your hard-earned cash. 

Side Hustles and Investment Earnings
Did you receive a 1099 for contract work last year? Guess what, you need to claim this on your taxes (yes, the IRS knows about it since the client sent a copy of your 1099 to them, too). Likewise, if you received funds from investments, you must claim this as income. If you “forget” about either of these, the IRS will remind you. Unfortunately, these reminders tend to include a penalty and interest on unreported income taxation.

Qualified Charitable Distributions

Make sure you adhere to the charitable donations guidelines posted on the IRS site. Bonus: If you’re an avid reader of my blog – and of course you are – we recently discussed a number of tax tips for filers over age 50. One of those tips offered advice for individuals who must take required minimum distributions from Traditional or Roth IRAs. By donating the full amount to charity, you exempt that income from taxation. 

With the IRS extending filing dates to July 15, you have time to ensure your information is complete and correct. Our office can help ensure you stay in good graces with the IRS. We can also find additional avenues for you to pay the lowest taxes possible while staying in compliance. To learn more, call our office at 724-216-5180 or use our online form.

9 Tax Tips if You’re Over 50

A photo of a person doing their taxes: discussing 9 tax tips if you're over 50

Taxes probably rank pretty low in order of importance right now during the coronavirus pandemic. Timing when to file could work to your advantage if you have concerns about income, especially if you consider these 9 tax tips you may overlook if you’re over 50. 

If you anticipate getting a refund, adhering to the April 15 deadline will get your refund to you more quickly. If you may owe the IRS, I suggest filing as soon as you can but holding out until July 15 to pay what is due. Keep that cash longer in your pocket instead. 

When you do file, finding every possible avenue to decrease your tax liability is all the more important this year. To help, check out these lesser known tax tips for anyone age 50 and older.

1. Catch-Up Contributions to 401(k)

Contributing to your 401(k) maxes out each year for everyone. In 2019, that limit was $19,000 until the age 50. From that point on you can contribute an additional $6,000 as “catch-up” in preparations for retirement for a total annual contribution of $25,000. 

2. Catch-Up Contributions to Traditional or Roth IRAs

Likewise, if you’re age 50 or older, you can also contribute an additional $1,000 to either for a total of $7,000. The underage set can only sock away a total of $6,000. By the way, you must withdraw required minimum distribution (RMDs) by age 70.5. BUT, if you donate that amount to charity, you don’t have to pay a dime of taxes on it. However, if your 70th birthday is July 1, 2019 or later, you do not have to begin your RMD until the age of 72.

3. Health Savings Account Contributions

It’s a fact of life. The older we get, the greater the likelihood we will need increased care. HSAs provide a tax-deductible way to save for these inevitable expenses, allowing single taxpayers over the age of 55 to put away $4,500 and $8,000 for families. 

4. Drawing down Cash from 401(k) Retirement Funds

If you’re over the age of 59 ½ (yes, we start counting half-birthdays from here on out), congratulations! You’ll no longer pay a 10 percent penalty for withdrawing funds from your retirement accounts. Bonus: among various exceptions to the 10 percent penalty, if you’re over the age of 55 and leave a job, you can start receiving distributions immediately from your 401(k).

5. Lifelong learning credits

While not only for the 50+ crowd, the Lifetime Learning credit can be claimed for you or your spouse for more than four years. The credit, worth up to $2,000 annually, can be claimed for education expenses that lead to new or improved skills. Again, this credit has modified adjusted gross income restrictions, phasing out between $58,000-$68,000 for singles and $116,000-$136,000 for married couples.

6. 529 Education Plans

Similarly, grandparents can finance education costs for their grandkids and score a tax break for 529 plans. Once meant only for eligible colleges and universities, 529 plans now cover K-12 expenses for any public, private or religious institution.

7. Increase you Standard Deduction

If you’re over the age of 65, you automatically qualify for a larger standard deduction. How much? The standard deduction in 2019 for those over age 65 increased by $1,650 for single households; if you and your spouse file jointing and are both over age 65, you can add a total of $2,600. (Caveat: your standard deduction could be reduced is someone else claims you as a dependent.)

8. Medical and Dental Expenses

If your unreimbursed medical bills account for more than 10.0 percent of your adjusted gross income – and you itemize your deductions – you may be able to deduct some or all of those expenses. This also applies to buying long-term care insurance, which, depending on your age, could add up to more than $5,400.

9. Tax Credit for Elderly or Disabled Care

Finally, you may qualify for the tax credit for the Elderly or for the Disabled. To qualify, you must either be 65 or older or retired on permanent and total disability with taxable disability income. A reminder: this credit as strict income limits.

Of course, this list of tax tips provides just a sampling of the many additional perks of being a “Boomer.” The IRS helpfully offers this “simple” guide to understanding all the tax breaks for older Americans. Our office can help break down the guide for you and find additional avenues to pay the lowest taxes possible. To learn more, call our office at 724-216-5180 or use our online form.

How will taxes affect your business strategy?

If you’re a business owner, you know that every decision affects your business in myriad ways. With tax season in full swing, these aspects are likely (or should be) on the forefront of business owners’ minds. So, how will taxes affect your business strategy this year?

Informed Decisions

For example, finance and business strategies often fail to consider the role of taxes during the decision-making process. This is especially true of plans for small businesses. Effective business planning means accounting for every possible impact of a transaction on the overall health of a business. Owners must factor in all tax and non-tax costs into final decisions by reviewing their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Anyone familiar with SWOT analyses knows that the entries that populate the classic project planning quadrant for decisions have far-reaching, and often unexpected implications.

At least partly, taxes affect your business strategy because of the implications of a move. Whether forming a business, raising capital, expanding or divesting business, taxes have a direct impact on cash flow. Taxes can divert as much as 40 percent of a business’s pretax cash flow to the government. Planning accordingly for these implications can prevent a business owner from being caught “flat-footed” and finding themselves deep in the red with the IRS. 

Whole fields devote study to taxes and business strategy. Every business school worth its weight in saIt offers a full program on considering the taxes, accounting and financial trade-offs involved in strategic planning. I won’t attempt to surpass thought leaders like Scholes, Wolfson and company (google them); however, there’s a reason their classic text, Taxes and Business Strategy, and others after have been so popular. The complexity of the tax code, coupled with how it can impact a business’s future plans, requires expert eyes. A true analysis takes a holistic approach to decision-making. 

Tax Structure

Business owners need to consider both explicit taxes (tax dollars paid directly to taxing authorities) and implicit taxes (taxes paid indirectly as lower before-tax rates for overall return on investments). I cannot stress how important it is to have a team of experts review any business deals before finalizing them. Experts in these fields can potentially save your business tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. 

Let’s say you receive the green light for moving forward with a proposition. Your next goal should be to minimize the amount of tax revenue the IRS makes off your transaction. Certain structuring can help you lower your tax bill while staying in compliance. 

If you’re considering more complex maneuvers, you need a tax attorney to help you navigate processes. This includes converting ordinary income into capital gains that are subject to lower tax rates or completing legal moves that shift transactions and tax consequences. 

With extensive experience in tax preparation and tax law, we’ve helped our clients save thousands of dollars in federal taxes. We can help you pay the minimum amount of taxes possible while still being in compliance with federal tax law. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation discuss your specific needs, call our office at 724-216-5180 or use our online form.

Business Tax Preparation 101: 5 Tips to Make Filing Easier

a grid of with photos of taxes, money and John Cochran, who provides business tax preparation 101: 5 tips to make filing easier

Tax season can be a tough time for everyone getting ready to file their tax returns. Even with a basic W-2, there is a lot of additional paperwork that can go with filing. If you’re a business owner, the entire process gets that much more complex. Get organized to help tame the annual beast. I advise all my clients to get their stuff together as soon as possible. Consider this my Business Tax Preparation 101 course.

Need help getting started? Follow these 5 things you can do to make your life (and your tax preparer’s) easier: 

1. Get Started Now

Allow plenty of time to find all your receipts, invoices and statements. Pull everything together into one place so that when we start to go over material, you can readily pull out the correct paperwork to keep moving. Also, schedule your appointment for preparation as early as possible. Taxes aren’t (or shouldn’t be) something you cram the night before the deadline.

2. Want to Save Money? Do the Legwork

Having a CPA or tax attorney prepare your taxes is an expensive, but necessary expense for business owners. If you want to cut costs, don’t skimp on the quality of the preparer. Instead, do as much of the prep work as possible before you hand over your material. This way you only get billed for high-value hours. That means adding up your expenses and revenues BEFORE you get to the office. 

3. Ask Questions Ahead of Time

Much like adding up your receipts on your own, do research on what is considered a qualified write-off before you come to your appointment. A quick review of Business Expense Deductions on the IRS site can help. If you’re still unsure about something, call and ask your tax preparer questions ahead of time so you have all the information you need at your fingertips.

4. Former tax problems? Self-Disclose Now

I don’t like surprises. If you already owe money to the IRS, received a letter from them, or are currently under investigation, don’t try to hide this because of embarrassment. Be up front before we get started, it’ll save us both a lot of heartache (and you a lot of money) down the road. As a tax attorney, knowing you have a problem, I’d  approach your current tax responsibilities much differently – and focus on the bigger problems at hand – than I would otherwise. 

5. File for an Extension

I personally hate dragging out processes, but sometimes things happen. You may have an upcoming hearing, a large change in income on the horizon, or a very busy quarter preventing you from filing on time. There is no penalty for filing for an extension, IF you do it on time. If you fail to file, you could be facing hefty fines and penalties, compounded by interest.

With extensive experience in tax preparation and tax law, we’ve helped our clients save thousands of dollars in federal taxes. We can help you pay the minimum amount of taxes possible while still being in compliance with federal tax law. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation discuss your specific needs, call our office at 724-216-5180 or use our online form.