Gardening & Living in Grand Style
What I have learned during tax season….
by Michael Johnson
Apr 07, 2016 | 1614 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The official tax season is almost over and our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is finished for the year. The VITA program is one of the most involved programs Utah State University Extension Grand County offers and we are happy we have been able to assist many in our community. It’s also always a learning experience and I would like to pass on some of what we have seen and heard to you.

Beware of scams

It’s unfortunate, but there are criminals always trying to take advantage of others through scams. This year there have been phone scams with callers impersonating IRS employees saying the IRS is planning to sue you or charge you with a criminal violation. These criminals say the only way you can stop being sued is to send them money using a prepaid debit card, money order or wire transfer.

First off, the IRS’s preferred method of contacting you will always be mailing you a letter about the problem first. Second, they will never ask you for any payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order or wire transfer, nor will they ask you for your credit card number or your bank information over the phone. These calls have been happening in our area so hopefully you didn’t fall for that and won’t in the future.

To help the IRS catch these criminals, if you receive such a call fill out an IRS impersonation scam form found at the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website www.tigta.gov, or you can call 800-366-4484. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at: www.FTC.gov.

The IRS will also never request personal information by email, text or social media and you can forward any scam emails to phishing@irs.gov. Remember, do not open any links in those emails.

What’s up with a 1099-MISC

Many in our community receive 1099-Misc tax forms that report them as independent contractors rather than employees who would receive a W-2. This makes those individuals totally responsible for payment of Social Security and FICA taxes, as well as income taxes on the amount earned. Some of those people expect this, but others are surprised to learn they aren’t considered an employee. Our suggestion is to talk to and be clear with the person or company hiring you as to whether you will be an employee or an independent contractor.

Tax information for small business owners

If you have or plan to start a small business, take some time to look over the small business forms and publications found on the irs.gov website. Some suggestions include these publications: 334-Tax Guide for Small Businesses, 535-Business Expenses, and 583-Starting a Business and Keeping Records. Admittedly, these won’t be the most captivating reading you have ever done but it will help you to better understand what records the IRS expects you to keep.

It’s important to note that everyone, not just business owners, is responsible for the accuracy of the information included on your taxes. Having accurate information will help you and/or whoever does your taxes, to do so correctly with a minimum of fuss, which should lead to an improved peace of mind.

Have your paperwork ready

Finally, to help yourself or others properly prepare your taxes make sure you have all your forms before starting. Developing a simple list is a good way to do this since it’s important you don’t forget that job you had early in the year that you only remember after your taxes were done and you happened to get another W-2 in the mail.

Thought for the day: Seen on a sign: “I hate taxes but I like roads, firemen, cops, traffic lights (except the red ones), national parks, etc. So I pay them anyway!”

Previous articles are available at The Times-Independent website, www.moabtimes.com. Have an idea you’d like Mike to consider writing about? Want more information about these topics? Call the Utah State University Extension Grand County office at 435-259-7558 or email Mike Johnson at mike.johnson@usu.edu.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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