This is the time of the year when tips for surviving the 2015 tax return process are written by a variety of tax writers. They tell you to contribute to charity, sell your loser stock to take a loss and other ideas.
Actually now is the time to evaluate your income and expenses for the year. Start looking how you spent your money.
For most people finding out your income is easy. Employers, banks, brokers, etc. will send you statements. Please keep track of them.
Try to remember whom you might have worked for or the bank you might have gotten angry with and moved your account from early in the year.
Tracking expenses might be harder. Did you throw out your bank statements or credit card statements? If you start now, you have time to get replacements.
Check your calendar for dates of business trips or trips for medical purposes. Then review your mileage logs or reconstruct them.
Remember medical expenses include insurance paid with post-tax dollars, pharmacy costs (get from pharmacy), medical co-pays and any other costs you can medically justify.
Add up the numbers before you say there isn’t enough.
This year you will be required to report on your health insurance, even if you do not have enough taxable income to otherwise file.
Talk to your tax professional, scan IRS material or buy a current tax manual to increase your tax knowledge. Look at the return as a balance sheet and enjoy completing it.
The IRS will let you know if you forgot to include an income, but it is up to you to report expenses or deductions.
Do you owe the IRS (U.S. Treasury) money? If so, Congress is after you again. Under the FAST (or Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act of 2015, the IRS is once again required to use private debt collectors to go after certain debtors.
The last time private debt collectors were used, it cost the Federal government more than $50 million more than was collected.
In the meantime, Congress has not passed a budget or worked on the expiring provisions in the IRS codes.
Virginia Moryadas is a tax preparation professional in Bluffton.