Tax time is right around the corner, f--kers, and it's your turn to play your part in the Democrats Tax And Spend philosophy.
Few things in life can be as a--hole-puckering --and rewarding-- as filing your state and federal income tax return. For many, the legwork can be excruciating, and worrysome. However, there is usually a payoff for the sweat and hassle, especially if you lie your ass off to increase your refund: The IRS reported that, in 2009, the average tax refund was over $2,000.00!
While great strides have been made in the efficiency of tax preparation software, Turbotax and its ilk is just a $30.00 box who can't help you once you self-tax-return-prepare yourself into a corner. Usually, its not worth the hassle.
For those who want the personal touch of an incredibly old, live human creating your tax return, without having to pay a CPA to handle it, there are quite a few tax preparation retailers who can handle it for you, at a competitive price.
There are potential pitfalls, however, that can make the ease of having someone prepare your tax return a Mongolian Clusterf--k, which is why you heed my words, dammit!
TIP #1. Have All Of Your Documentation ready.
For retail tax preparation offices, early-bird filers can be the biggest pains in the ass: Many take the first W-2 they receive in the mail and rush off to have their tax return prepared, only to find the return must be put on hold because they are missing tax documentation.
In addition to your Social Security Card and Driver's License, bringing the following documents can make the initial tax preparation appointment your one and only visit to the preparer's office, versus having to return with needed documents:
- Last years federal and state tax returns, unless they are all bullsh-t. No reason to tip your indictably felonious hand;
- All W-2's received (the pieces of paper McDonalds mails you in January, that kinda looks like a paystub, but isn't);
- All 1099's received, which are usually given to independent contractors as a record of the income they received from a particular business, or forged when an unscrupulously conniving tax preparer tried to increase your Earned Income Tax Credit by inventing wages you never earned, you f--king deadbeat. (Just kidding, Mom. I love you!!);
- All 1098's received, which details the amount of interest and mortgage-related expenses paid on a mortgage during the tax year;
- Moving expense receipts. Most moving expenses relating to an employment-necessitated move, or Witness Protection, are deductible;
- Alimony/Child Support records;
- Winnings (or, in most cases, losses) from gambling;
- Receipts for charitable giving;
- Receipts for Child Care, Adoption, and Education expenses.
TIP #2. Avoid Refund Anticipation Loans unless absolutely necessary.
In order to get a taxpayer's refund into their hands as quickly as possible, many retail tax preparers f--k over their clients with a Refund Anticipation Loan, or RAL, which is a short-term loan secured by the anticipated income tax refund. While these were handy when the IRS used computer punch cards read by a cartoon stork, who would pop his head up, look at the camera, and say, "it's a living.", and tax preparers used abacuses, a refund check from the IRS could taker months, the RAL may have worn out its welcome.
Considering how quickly the IRS can get a refund into a taxpayer's bank account via direct deposit, the cost of a RAL --when interest and the initiation fees most tax preparers charge can exceed a 250% annual percentage rate (APR)-- it may not be worth the extra expense.
In light of certain IRS policy changes that make underwriting these loans much more difficult, many banks have stopped offering RALs, even to the national tax preparation companies. This will make securing a RAL much more difficult, which is probably a good thing, because they are overpriced revenue generators.
TIP #3. Ask your Tax professional about his or her experience, especially with unusual tax situations.
You are single, with one bastard child born out of wedlock. You earn $85,000 a year blowing truckers in rest-stops, and you own rental property. Congratulations, whore. You're tax return is going to be the size of "Atlas Shrugged", and just as interesting to read.
While most of the national, "brand-name" tax preparation companies take the continued education of its tax professionals very seriously, there exists far too many unique and unusual tax situations for any tax preparer to be an expert at all of them.
Be sure you reveal to your tax preparer -- the earlier in the preparation interview, the better-- anything that would make your return more challenging: Ownership of rental property, interest in a corporation, or even income from clergy work or from a farm will present challenges that necessitates an expert in these matters.
Research your tax preparer online, ask questions of the office manager or even the administrative help in the office, and sitting down with a tax preparer capable of handling your unique situation will save embarrassment and decrease the chance of unsightly urine-stained clothing for both parties.
TIP #4. Pay for your f--king return up front, cheapskate. Don't have the fees withheld from your refund.
As any experienced tax preparer will agree, getting a tax client to agree to their fee is much less difficult when it is backed out of a taxpayer's refund, versus being written on the 'pay the amount of...' line of his or her personal check.
Tax preparers are generally capable of giving you an estimate of the total cost of the preparation; if they refuse, go elsewhere. And, while you always have the right to refuse to pay for the tax preparer's work, you will need to go elsewhere, and begin the process from the beginning.
Make sure you know what you are going to pay, sooner rather than later in the process. You'll need the entire refund to pay off your back child support, so you don't have to drive around, just waiting to get picked up on a divorce court bench warrant. Deadbeat.
TIP #5. Make sure your preparer guarantees their work.
You just got your tax refund: $2,500 you can spend on February's rent, the late fee from January's rent, ½ ounce of British Columbian Euphoria Unlimited bud from your friend who rents out his Medical Marijuana card on the boardwalk at Hermosa Beach, and 22" rims for your 1995 Ford Crown Victoria P71 Interceptor, bought at a police auction for $900.00.
And then, the IRS writes: "Dear Taxpayer: You screwed up. We're gonna need that refund money back. Now, d--khead. Go write us a check."
How could this happen?
Write this on a rock: Tax professionals f--k up.
Trust me on this.
And whether the f--k up is due to tax preparer senility, neglect, or because a taxpayer did not provide the proper information to the preparer, ther are instances when the envelope from the IRS contains not a refund check, but a letter informing that they will not accept your return as it was filed.
Two problems occur at this unfortunate circumstance, if there is a mistake: First, you'll need to amend your tax return. This is a straightforward process for those who are experienced preparing them, and quite a procedural nightmare to the average taxpayer.
Second, if the preparer's mistake improperly reduced your tax liability, or created a refund that wasn't owed, you are on the hook to repay the tax authority. For adjustments which increase tax liability, most times the tax authority will charge penalties and interest in addition to the amount due.
You might think that any tax prepaper worth his or her salt will guarantee their work, and that is usually the case. Except if they work at a certain national company, whose stock is trading at $2.50 a share for a reason. However, even with H&R Block... er, I mean the "national chains", their guarantee will only cover the cost of the preparation. Be sure that any guarantee will cover penalties and interest, and whatever work is needed to amend the return is at no additional cost.
The national companies usually offer for sale an extended warranty, which would pay for any additional taxes owed. This is usually at an additional charge, over and above the cost of the tax preparation, and it's a f--king ripoff, unless you need it.
This brings us to...
TIP #6. Avoid buying ancillary products.
It is likely that your tax professional's job performance is based, at least in part, on his or her ability to sell profitable ancillary products, such as the aforementioned extended warranty, bank products such as RALs, and even certificates of deposit (CDs) and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
Let's be realistic; tax prepapers usually earn as much from these add-ons as they do from their share of the actual tax preparation fee, if not more. Also, the preparers don't have the same responsibility to keep you out of bankruptcy court as, say, a financial planner. Your interests in this regard are secondary to them, at best.
That doesn't mean that these products wouldn't be in your best interest: With the IRS' savings deduction, for example, you can reduce your tax liability just by putting some money away for your retirement. However, you wouldn't visit your meth dealer for car insurance. Instead, you would go to an expert in the field, whose responsibility to you as a client extends beyond putting your money in their cash register.
And then go buy some meth.
Listen to whatever advice your tax professional has for you, then promptly forget it, because it is all scripted to make you pay them more, and then tell them to eat a bag of d--ks.
* Make sure your tax preparer signs your return. This step is required of paid tax preparers, but is often mot done, so the tax preparer doesn't have to pay the company back for the commission they earned on that flaming hunk of sh-t.
* Ensure your tax preparation company has an actual brick-and-mortar office. The biggest problem with the temporary kiosks erected in malls comes about when the IRS demands your return be amended, and your tax preparer's office has been replaced by an ice cream vendor.
* Avoid any tax preparer who has a green Block on their sign. Green blocks are unlucky; ask anyone who is a client, or works for them, or, God forbid, has 10,000 of their worthless stock options.