Tax Filing Tips Amidst The Pandemic
Atlanta Tax Attorney Shares Helpful Tips
Transcript from the video:
Hi, I’m tax attorney Alyssa Maloof Whatley. And since it’s tax season, I just want to give you guys a few tips so that hopefully you will never need the services of a tax attorney. So, the first tip that I recommend is to make sure that you file and pay taxes on time. So filing on time means filing by April 15th, unless the government extends the deadline again, and paying by April 15th. So, if you can’t file by April 15th, you can file on extension, but people often forget that extension is not extension to pay. So the money still due on April 15th, the return is just due at a later date. So, make sure to file and pay on time. And, if you can’t file on time, then file for an extension.
The next important thing this year, with COVID, the IRS is way behind on mail. They have millions and millions of unopened letters and tax returns from last year that are sitting in service centers that have yet to be processed. So the best thing that you can do for yourself is make sure that you file electronically instead of mailing a paper return. So, again, try to find to preparer or CPA, or if you do your own return online, make sure that you file electronically and that you receive confirmation that your return was accepted. If you have to make a payment again, mailing a check to the IRS is not a good idea. It’s probably gonna sit in a service center somewhere and not be posted. I still have clients waiting on checks from ’19 to be posted. So the best bet, again, is to go on irs.gov, use direct pay. That’s the only website…well, there are a few others, but they’re all on irs.gov that you can pay through. So pay electronically. If you file an electronic return, it normally gives you an option to pay at that time as well. So don’t mail any returns or paper checks.
And then, lastly, when you’re getting a return prepared, make sure to choose a qualified tax return preparer. Or, if you’re doing it itself, make sure you take accurate steps to make sure your return is prepared correctly. So, oftentimes, people come to me and they’re like, “This is great, I’m getting a refund.” And then I look at their return and the reason they’re getting a refund is because the return is filed incorrectly. They’re claiming things that they don’t qualify for. And a lot of those times, it comes down to a Schedule C, which is a business. So if you go to a tax return preparer, and they say, “Oh, well, we added certain things, and now you’re gonna get a refund,” at the end of the day, you are responsible for signing up for that return and you will be held liable if that return is audited and they find that it’s incorrect.
So I urge everyone to make sure that you’re using someone that has experience, preferably a CPA that has a license. But if you have to go to a regular tax preparer, makes sure that they are putting everything correctly on the return, that you review your return, and if you are getting a large refund, you know why and how, and that you actually qualify. Oftentimes, you know, they’re just so excited about getting a refund, and then years later, they got audited, and they’re upset. And at the end of the day, you’re gonna be responsible. So those are just my quick tips.
Lastly, if you go to a return preparer and they are unwilling to sign your return, that’s normally not a good sign. I have many clients go to a preparer, and they’ll say, “We’ll prepare your return, but we’re not gonna sign it.” That’s normally a good indicator that that is not a good preparation service, or if they’re gonna take a portion of your refund. So, if they say, you know, the fee is 20% of your large refund, again, that starts raising the questionability of the service, and it’s not something that you wanna do.
So watch out, there are bad actors out there, but at the end of the day, the IRS is still gonna hold you responsible. So make sure that you’re taking care, that you’re filing on time, that you’re paying on time so that you don’t need someone like me to represent you in an audit or a collection situation. But if you do, always feel free to reach out. We can be reached at 404-551-5838. You can also go to our website www.atltaxlawyers.com and book your consultation online. That’s my tax tips. Stay safe out there, and don’t get caught in a scam.