4 Reasons People Get Into Trouble With the IRS
You don't want to mess with the Internal Revenue Service. One small mix-up when handling your finances can cost you big.
For example, in recent years the IRS has increased its filing of levies, liens and wage garnishments. In fact, in 2004 alone, approximately 2.5 million levies were filed.
The experts at JK Harris & Co., one of the nation's largest tax resolution firms, offer this list of common ways people get into trouble with the IRS.
1. Filing too many exemptions. An exemption gives you a major tax deduction, and some taxpayers can't resist the temptation to report more exemptions than they're entitled.
You can only claim exemptions for yourself, a spouse and for all "dependents." Dependents have to meet specific criteria, however, so make sure you follow the IRS guidelines so that you don't mistakenly file an extra exemption.
2. Being unaware of taxes levied for early withdrawal from certain retirement plans. If you withdraw from a retirement fund such as a 401(k) or IRA before you're 59 1/2, you may face a 10 percent federal penalty on your investments, as well as a state penalty and an income tax on the money withdrawn.
3. Not paying enough taxes when self-employed. Many people who own their own businesses don't know how much they have to pay in taxes. The tax structure for a self-employed person - what to pay, how to pay and what can be deducted - is decidedly complex, so it's easy to become confused.
4. Not paying taxes on winnings. It is necessary to report all gambling winnings, including winnings from lotteries, casinos and horse races, as income.
For people who are in trouble with the IRS, there are various programs available that can provide debt relief if a taxpayer qualifies. JK Harris helps its clients determine if they meet the requirements for one of these IRS programs. Its staff includes former IRS agents, certified public accountants, attorneys, enrolled agents and other experts that offer tax services, financial planning, small business services and other assistance.
Loans for Self-Employed
One of the most fundamental details that all banks will look for in all loan applicants is a steady, dependable income. The amount of this income will decide how much the applicant will be granted. If there were no dependable income, then on the face of it, it would appear to a lender’s calculation, that the loan amount should be zero. This is the traditional method of calculating personal loans.
Self Employed Business Loans
Business loans are calculated on a different basis. They do not need to show guaranteed income. In fact to do so would be impossible for most business. So banks came up with an alternative way of calculating business credit worthiness. This involved assessing past earnings, assets, debt and liabilities. A similar model is now in place for self-employed loan applicants. Instead of showing them evidence of your salary, you can instead show the bank what business you’re in, how much you’ve been earning and for how long, how the business is likely to continue and current debts and liabilities. All of this information will then go into assessing your income, your risk, and how much you can afford to borrow.
Difficulties Being Self Employed
There are still some difficulties involved in borrowing for the unemployed. For example, if you haven’t been in business for very long, it will again become difficult for lenders to assess your level of risk. Usually they can get a pretty accurate picture of what your earnings are going to be by looking at the amounts of previous years. If the income has been steadily increasing or decreasing, they may wish to take this trend into account but basically, they will be assuming that you continue on as you have been trading thus far. This becomes impossible if your business is very new. There will be no trading record or past earnings to rely on.
Another difficulty that you will face is that many lenders may still treat the self-employed as a greater risk than traditionally employed. It is a simple fact that new business fail more often than more established businesses. They also fail more often then lay-offs occur. So the risk may still be treated as greater and this will be indicated in the terms and interest rates you receive.
All this seems to be changing as employed people switch from job to job more frequently than before. This makes them less reliable, and the self employed are gaining a reputation as good borrowers, the rates you receive should begin to get closer and closer to those of salaried applicants.