As we are celebrate 2016, we are all quickly reminded that it is tax time. Once again, it is important that you stay diligent in making sure that your tax preparer is reflecting accurate information on your tax return. BEWARE of tax preparers promising you a large tax refund without reviewing your income. It is important for you to understand that if you allow a tax preparer to file a tax return for you and you sign it either physically or electronically you have done so under penalty of perjury. So… what does it mean if a return is filed using false information to get you a LARGE tax refund? It means that you could pay fines of $5,000 (or 100% of the unpaid taxes) to $250,000 and/or spend up to three years in jail if you are found guilty of filing a false tax return.
Before Signing a Tax Return
- Are you married? If so, the filing status of head of household CANNOT be used.
- Are the dependents REALLY your dependents? You cannot claim a dependent just because no one else is claiming the person on a tax return. To claim a dependent, the dependent must be a qualified child or qualified relative which requires you being able to prove certain criteria. If you are not sure whether you can claim a dependent, you can click here or use an online tax preparation service provider approved by the IRS.
- Has all your income been reported? A common error is failing to report income from 1099’s.
- You cannot claim Earned Income Tax Credit, if you are filing “married filing separately”.
If you owe tax liabilities, contact your local Bond & Botes office for a free consultation to discuss your options in paying those liabilities.
Mary Pool is a shareholder of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. She has represented thousands of clients over her more than 11 years working in the bankruptcy field. Read her full bio here.