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The Biggest Withholding Tax Mistake You Could Make This Year

February 7, 2019

Crumpled Paper from Withholding Tax Mistake

If you're one of the 30 million people who didn't withhold enough taxes in 2018, you may have a not-so-pleasant surprise this tax season.

Check for these five qualities to make sure your tax pro is qualified and the best for you.

It’s a mistake that 21 percent of taxpayers could have made this year. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law in Dec. 2017, some people may owe more to the IRS this year than ever before depending on their tax bracket and filing situation. Why? They may have made a major tax withholding mistake.

While the Treasury Department and the IRS updated their withholding tables to offer a guideline to how much income taxes need to be deducted from your paycheck, some people did not change their tax withholding amounts accordingly. And if you’re one of these people, you’ll have an unfortunate surprise ahead of you come filing time.

Here’s what you need to know about withholding tax:

What is it?

Withholding tax is when your employer takes taxes directly out of your paychecks to send to the IRS and any state tax authorities for you. Employers do this in an attempt to leave you even with any tax collectors by the end of the year. If more tax is withheld than necessary, you’ll end up with a tax refund when you file your taxes.

When it comes to refunds, giving the government what is essentially an interest-free loan isn’t ideal. Still, it’s better than what happens if not enough tax is withheld.

What happens if I didn’t withhold enough taxes?

If you’re part of the 30 million people who didn’t withhold enough taxes in 2018, you may be in for a not-so-pleasant surprise when you go to file. If you didn’t withhold enough taxes, you’ll end up owing a big tax debt when you file your taxes (and potentially getting slammed with an underpayment penalty).

Tax bill too big for you to pay immediately? Don’t worry – there’s always options available to you. You can work with a tax professional to figure out a way to pay that will work for your unique situation.

Is there anything I can do to fix it now?

Unfortunately, you can’t change your withholdings for 2018 now that the year is over and done.

However, this is the perfect opportunity for you to update your withholdings for 2019. Since the withholding table has no foreseeable updates in the near future, you should make time with your tax preparer to review your withholdings.  You can also use the IRS’s handy withholding calculator to check your tax withholding. If you need to make changes, update your W-4 form and give this updated version to your employer.

Performing a paycheck checkup now will help you ensure you’re paying the right amount in taxes throughout the year. Take some time to check your tax withholdings now to ensure you’re not left with a hefty tax bill (or an unnecessarily hefty tax refund) come filing time in 2020. If you need help figuring it out, give us a call. Our tax prep experts are always here to help you file timely tax returns to optimize tax breaks and avoid mistakes the first time.

Where’s My Tax Refund?

May 1, 2018

dog looking for tax refund in sand

The IRS typically issues your tax refund within 21 days of filing your return.

Check for these five qualities to make sure your tax pro is qualified and the best for you.

An estimated 80 percent of Americans will get a tax refund this year. But where is yours?

The IRS typically issues your tax refund within 21 days of filing your return. There may be discrepancies on your return, which can tack on additional IRS review time. If there are errors that cannot be addressed by the IRS, they will ask you to correct the return and file again.

Checking the Status of Your Tax Refund

Like your Amazon package or fitness tracker steps, you can track the progress of your tax refund online. Use the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool after at least 72 hours after e-filing your return. If you filed a paper return, you can check your refund status within three to four weeks after mailing it in.

To check your refund status on “Where’s My Refund?” you’ll need the following information handy:

The IRS updates tax refund information once a day, so check back tomorrow.

With the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, you can:

  • Verify that your return has reached the IRS
  • Confirm that it’s being processed
  • See the approximate date when your refund will reach you (including direct deposits).
  • Get an alert if you provided an incorrect address, which prevents the delivery of your refund. 

If you do not receive your refund within 28 days from the date of filing your return, use the tool to begin a tax refund trace. There are links included to guide you through the resolution process.

Tax refunds may mean that you’ve overpaid the IRS this year, but it’s a sweet moment when your deposit hits. We’re giving you the go-ahead to treat yo’self. 

 

Still got tax problems? We can help. Call us at 877-588-1098.

Top 5 Reasons Not to Procrastinate Filing Your Taxes (Part II)

March 16, 2018

Don't Procrastinate on Taxes

Filing your taxes early means an earlier refund and less risk.

Check for these five qualities to make sure your tax pro is qualified and the best for you.

Tax season is (quickly) coming to a close – have you filed yet?

Taxpayers have until April 17, 2018 to file their tax return, but waiting until the last minute can make post-deadline season a nightmare. Even when complying with tax laws, having less time to prepare and file the return can create serious beef with the IRS. Here are five reasons to file your taxes sooner than later this season:

  1. Prevent ID theft: Identity theft is real, and the IRS can’t shield every taxpayer from falling prey. Once a fraudulent tax return in your name reaches the IRS, they may accept it. To minimize the risk of a criminal taking your identity and money, file your return as early in the season as possible. The IRS won’t accept any other return filed in your name by scammers.
  2. Get an early tax refund: The IRS issued more than $426 billion in refunds for the 2016 fiscal year – and in this case, the early bird gets the worm. The sooner you file, the sooner you get your refund money and can spend it. Hello, new shoes.
  3. Avoid IRS penalties: If you file your tax return a few days before the April deadline, your yearly tax duty isn’t necessarily over. The IRS may send you a notice that you owe more than you paid, usually due to mistakes on your tax forms. If you have to file an amended return and miss the filing deadline, the IRS begins to charge penalties and interest on the taxes due. And learning you owe more – and then even more – is no fun.
  4. Make fewer mistakes: With adequate time to prepare and review your tax return, you minimize the chance of errors (and penalties). If you’re filing in a rush, you could miss a credit or deduction that could save you hundreds in taxes. Simple errors can also lead to an audit.
  5. Have more time for expert help: The longer you wait, the narrower your filing options become. Many of the CPAs in your area may be already booked, leaving you with fewer choices. And doing it alone can sometimes seem impossible.

Avoid the stress of late filing by working with a tax professional you trust, as soon as you can. The team at Tax Defense Network can file even the most complicated of returns, getting you the help you need in a timely manner.

Top 5 Reasons Not to Procrastinate Filing Your Taxes

February 25, 2016

Taxpayers have until April 18, 2016 to file their tax return, but delaying the process can create problems. Even when complying with tax laws, having less time to prepare and file the return can create issues with the IRS. Here are five reasons why you should not procrastinate in filing your return:

1. Tax Identity Theft

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the IRS estimated that it prevented $24.2 billion in fraudulent identity theft refunds in 2013. However, the tax agency paid out $5.8 billion in what was later determined to be fraudulent refunds.

Identity theft is real and the IRS cannot shield every taxpayer from falling prey. Once a fraudulent tax return reaches the IRS, there is a chance that it will be accepted. Therefore, to minimize the risk, taxpayers should file their returns as early in the season as possible. After your return has reached the IRS, they will not accept any other return filed in your name by scammers.

2. Early Tax Refund

Almost 75% of Americans receive a tax refund each year. By filing your return early, you can receive your refund sooner. The sooner you receive it, the earlier you can invest or spend your money.

3. Owing More Than You Paid

If you file your tax return a few days before April 18, you may believe that your yearly tax duty is over. There is always a chance, though, that you will receive an IRS notice informing you that you owe more than you paid.

Filing in haste can cause mistakes that can only be corrected by filing an amended return. If you miss the filing deadline, the IRS begins to charge penalties and interest on the taxes due.

4. Sufficient Time, Less Mistakes

With adequate time to prepare and review your tax return, you minimize the chance for errors. If you’re filing in a rush, you could miss a credit or deduction that could save you hundreds in taxes. Simple errors can also lead to an audit.

5. Availability of Return Preparers

The longer you wait, the narrower your filing options become. Many of the CPAs in your area may be already booked, leaving you with fewer choices. There may be long lines forming the closer the filing deadline gets.

To help avoid refund fraud, mistakes on your return, and unnecessary stress, it is preferable to file weeks before the filing deadline. Procrastination where taxes are concerned can cause both stress and loss of money.

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