By startingpoint January 23, 2014

TAX RETURNS 101-What every man should know about filing their tax returns.

Aside from the regular holiday hoopla, there are several things a man can look forward to at the end of each year. That’s your in-laws, spending a lot of money during Christmas, Black Friday (if you’re that kind of person-or your spouse is), and the dreaded tax season. While we can’t control how long your in-laws stay, one thing is for sure-tax season doesn’t have to be so dreaded. Some get scared about filing their taxes simply because they don’t understand them. And although they would like to, fail to ask questions at the risk of seeming ignorant. However, rather you seem a little unknowing and ask questions now than pay the hefty IRS price later.

To start, be sure to keep great records. Recording your financial expenses, pay stubs, and receipts are all great ways to prepare for the tax season and ensure that you get the most out of your refund, and possibly avoid an audit.

Jason Turner, a fifteen year tax specialist, recommends hiring a tax professional if you’re unsure of what to do or how to file.

“The average person has many questions about how to file, so I think it’s often best to hire someone that can help you get them most out of your refund.”

If you’re a high income-tax payer such as a small business owner, remember to find out what tax rules may or may not be and make sure you follow them. Many deductions and credit that were allowed in the previous year may still apply for the current year or they could have changed – but never speculate, always ask first. First year business owners may want to hire a tax advisor just in case, to help avoid any first tax mistakes.

For those of you who have dependent college students, Colleges issue each student a tuition statement known as a 1098-T. This form is then used to file taxes and receive any additional tax credits. The same applies for you men who are college students, those with and without jobs. You can still be eligible for a tax refund, even if you didn’t earn a lot of money.

Speaking of dependents, keep in mind that your spouse is not one. When you’re married, it’s the both of you who sign your name on the dotted tax line, so you’re both held responsible. By signing, you are acknowledging that you fully understand and agree with what is being filed. On the other hand, whatever tax liability either of you had before you were married-still only belongs to that person.  Should you be so fortunate to have a spouse with tax “issues,” it is possible to split the refund-should you have one coming to you. But with financial woes being a number one reason couples get divorced, as a married couple you should be discussing your finances with one another anyway. Early preparation such as discussing each other’s withholding information and tax expectations can help you not to run into issues when it’s tax time.

If you owe the IRS from a mistake made from a previous year and suspect you have an audit coming to you, call them! Many men twitch at the idea of getting into trouble or not receiving their refund for a mistake made from filing incorrectly, or perhaps not even filing at all from previous years. However, the IRS prefers that you contact them before filing again. It’s possible to get set up on a payment plan to start paying them back. By doing this you not only set the record straight, but you also can be eligible to still receive your full refund during the upcoming tax season.

Regardless of who you are, unless you fall under a certain income bracket, you need to file your taxes. If you’re still getting things together, don’t fret. Contact the IRS and apply for an extension. That goes for individuals as well as business owners.

Of course it seems easy enough to hire a CPA or Tax Practitioner and just provide all the information they ask for to file your taxes accurately, but you still need to have a good understanding of your income tax situation in all aspects. So whether you hire someone to do them for you or decide to do them yourself, it still helps to know what is going on and why. Knowing what to do in advance whether you’re married, single, or a student can help you to avoid issues…and a pounding headache in the future.