Tip of the Month for March 2002
We Can Work It Out
“Life is very short and there’s no tiiiiime for fussing and fighting my friend.” Beatles fans may recognize the lyrics without the music. And it may have taken a while, but the IRS is catching the spirit. If the taxes you owe are in excess of what you have the ability to pay, or if you have the money to pay your tax bill but doing so would cause a hardship, the IRS is willing to work out a plan.
This is done through the IRS “Offer In Compromise” program. This program was initially set up to deal with persons who were unable to pay the full amount of their tax bill. It allows for strapped taxpayers to offer to settle with the IRS for less that 100 cents on the dollar.
But due to a recent revisions, the IRS will now work with people who do have the money to pay their tax bill, but if they did so, would cause a hardship. For instance, if an elderly person on a fixed income had to empty their savings to cover the whole bill. Or if someone was having to care for a chronically ill family member and would not be able to meet ordinary living expenses.
For details (and there are plenty), see IRS Form 656. And if you’re really serious about this, a good place to start is right here.
Hey Mister Postman Wait and See, If There’s A Letter, A Letter For Me...
Actually, it should be “from me” if you’re mailing your return in. We thought we’d give you a few mailing tips for you’re your own safety:
First we strongly recommend that you don’t file so close to the wire. But if you have no other choice, your return (or extension request) must be postmarked by 11:59 pm, April 15th. Just dropping it an a mailbox by midnight doesn’t count. That one’s easy.
If you have a private meter, the IRS does not recognize the date affixed with the postage as a valid post mark date. It is possible to date the envelope by April 15th and actually drop it in the mailbox later.
Let’s ask the obvious: Did you put enough postage on the envelope? Wouldn’t it be embarrassing for your spouse to find the envelope returned for lack of postage? Preserve domestic harmony. If you’re not sure, slap some more stamps on there.
If you’re the finicky, meticulous type, and you want proof that the IRS actually got your return, certified mail is accepted. Let not the last step trip you up, keep on dancing.
Time, Time, Time Is On My Side, Yes It Is...
If you really need another 30 days to pay your IRS bill, there is a loophole you can use. The IRS will give you another 30 days to pay your bill if you ask them to figure your tax return. Is it worth the risk? Maybe. You have to make less than $100,000 per year and you cannot itemize deduction. For the complete details (there’s always details), or you just like reading IRS publications, click on this: IRS Publication 967 ("The IRS Will Figure Your Tax.").
Don’t Worry, Be Happy...
Nothing here about the IRS. Just good advice: Enjoy life.