Just over a month to go; tax deadline approaches!

The corporate tax deadline is just about a week away.  That will mark just over one month until the individual tax deadline.  The deadline is April 18th this year because of Emancipation Day, a local holiday in Washington DC. Have you submitted your tax information to your accountant yet?  If not, here are some tips to help you make sure you get everything done right and on time.

1. Did you start a new business in 2010?  Our firm automatically files extensions for any of our clients that have not filed by the 15th.  But if you have started a new business and haven’t told us about it yet, we won’t know to file an extension.  The IRS has about doubled late filing penalties this year so pay attention.

2. Save future time and trouble with a new S Corp by getting your accountant the proper paperwork showing that your S Corp status has been accepted.  If not, we can file the S Corp election with the return and use one of the IRS’ revenue procedures to get the late filing accepted.

3. For Florida companies, make sure you file your corporate annual report at sunbiz.org by May 1st.  Florida no longer waives the $400 late fee if you don’t file on time.

4. An extension will extend your time to file, but not your time to pay.  If you think you might owe money this year, don’t wait to get us as much information as possible so that we can have you make an estimated tax payment before April 18th.

5. Turbotax may be great for doing a 1040-EZ at 11pm on April 18th.  But if you are having your return prepared by a professional, waiting until the last minute is never a good idea.

6. If you don’t have any source documents, we can get wage and income information transcripts from the IRS but it will not be ready until June at the earliest.  If you are missing a K-1 and don’t expect to receive it at all, we have procedures available to file the return without it, but will have to wait until the extension deadline in October.  In either of these cases, the return will have to be amended.

7. Speaking of income reported to the IRS, avoid the temptation to ignore that 1099 you received this year, or leave out things like bank interest or dividends that may seem insignificant to you.  Companies report this income information to the IRS and it is matched by computer to what you file.  If you choose not to file altogether, the IRS may choose to file for you.  The IRS is the worst tax accountant you could have when it comes to finding deductions and credits.

8. Ask questions.  The tax law is constantly changing.  Things that were not deductible in 2009 might be for 2010.  If you think something might be deductible, or maybe should be deductible, it never hurts to ask your accountant.

9. If the IRS audits your mileage claim, they will want to see a mileage log.  They also don’t just want to see business and personal mileage.  The IRS is looking for commuting mileage as well.  Self employed individuals may think they have no commuting miles, but the IRS disagrees.  The IRS defines commuting miles as the miles from your home to your first destination of the day and from your last stop back home at night.

10.  Have you filed, but not received your refund yet?  The good news is that you can easily check the status of your refund here.  At Chamberlain & Associates, we are constantly checking the status of our e-filed clients to ensure that their return has been processed and accepted by the IRS.  But occasionally issues will arise even after the e-file process is complete that could take the IRS over a month to notify the client about.  If it has been more than two weeks and you have not received your refund, let us know and we will contact the IRS on your behalf.

And as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call.  That’s what we are here for!