IRS Helpful Tools
The Internal Revenue Service is an agency that many people love to dislike. It is understandable that when we work for a living and then must pay a portion of that money to the government, it does not make us very happy. Writing this article is intended to present a slightly more favorable view of the IRS. I would like to start by reminding you of four important facts about the IRS.
- The IRS is a tax collection and enforcement branch of the Federal Government. It is the legislature who passes the laws that they exist to enforce. And keep in mind that they are tax laws. If you are unhappy with these laws, then your state Senators and Representatives are the ones you should be addressing your letters to.
- The purpose of collecting taxes is to fund government programs that provide a myriad of human services, from medical and social programs, to roads and national parks and other items too numerous to mention. All these government programs are important to a significant portion of the U.S. population, and would not exist without funding.
- Your votes count and your voice counts. Many people complain but do nothing to be of community service or to promote or oppose specific programs. And those that do act need to realize that in our country, peaceful gatherings are positive, but violence is not, and important men in history like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi have demonstrated that massive change can take place through peaceful protest. Hatred and violence should never be a part of this, as we would be harming our fellow citizens.
- The IRS is sincerely trying to provide information that is easy to access, and helpful in understanding tax laws, filing procedures, etc. The remainder of this article will be dedicated to a few suggestions on how to best navigate a very complex system that must consider as many of the individual filing circumstances as is humanly possible.
As we have said before, filing of taxes is a little like a tug-o-war, and the IRS policy is that if you follow the rules, you will be able to maximize deductions and keep more money. Here are three suggestions to help you in your filing tug-o-war.
- Although not provided by the IRS, your best tool in dealing with taxes is your professional financial team. This should consist of a tax accountant, bookkeeper, and you. You are the one who acts with your business, so you must keep records and receipts, pass them along to your bookkeeper or tax accountant, and consult with them regularly to plan your tax year, your expenditures, your deductions, etc. They have much greater knowledge than most business owners about their field and can save enough to justify using them. Work together with them to plan, and then to work your plan.
- The IRS.gov website has search functions and information sections related to all filing forms and other common questions that are asked. Although you may be working with an accountant, questions will inevitably arise, and it is often more convenient to look something up there rather than trying to place a call or schedule an appointment with your tax accountant.
- The IRS has a YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcWZOFh3l-1LC7UvhdCXxQg that offers a wide variety of videos. Often it is a bit challenging to try to gain a new understanding by reading an online answer to a question, so the IRS has created many videos, where you can watch and listen. I find these to be a little easier to interpret than a question-and-answer file. And they also have YouTube videos in other languages and in American Sign Language, so use the link at the bottom of this article to go to the IRS Tax Tips that reference their videos.
- Since I mentioned the IRS Tax Tips, you may want to subscribe to these Tax Tips and receive emails with suggestions that are helpful to taxpayers. If you wish to subscribe, open the resource link at the bottom, and find the link to subscribe to Tax Tips.
There are many things that we can find in life to be negative about, but I have found that the most successful people in life understand that life has many ups and downs, that we can and should find the good in everything and take the challenges in stride and as growth experiences. Doing this is the mark of a real leader, and it is the leaders that create the greatest amount of good in our world. Those qualities are essential for entrepreneurs and people in business.