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How to avoid tax trouble

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Updated: 4/13/2007 6:37 pm
The best way to avoid tax trouble is to accurately fill out and file your federal income tax return on time and pay any taxes that you owe. Always be as truthful as possible when reporting any information to the IRS, and save all relevant documentation for at least three years after the filing date. Fraudulent claims are criminal offenses, so double-check all figures for correctness before sending in your return, even if a professional prepared it. Your return must be postmarked by April 15 (fifteenth) to be considered on time. For years in which April 15 (fifteenth) falls on a Saturday or Sunday, returns are due on the following Monday. At this time, you must pay the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS (I-R-S), any taxes that you're liable for. If you can't pay what you owe, contact the IRS to avoid any problems. The IRS has several options for taxpayers who can't afford to pay, and paying late is always preferable to not paying at all. In fact, not paying your taxes could result in the IRS' filing criminal charges against you. The IRS is more powerful than most other types of bill collectors and can place liens or levies on your property or seize future tax-return money. Another way to avoid tax trouble is to respond to any correspondence from the IRS. Even if you dispute the claims being made, you must still contact the IRS and resolve the discrepancy. Treat all IRS employees respectfully and courteously, and oblige their requests within reason. Your treatment of an examiner could be used later in tax court when settling tax matters, so handling all IRS dealings professionally is usually in your best interest. If you're having tax trouble, consult a tax professional for more information on handling tax-related issues.
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