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Closing out the 2017 tax year

Tax season is approaching, and it won't be long before you will start receiving the appropriate forms in the mail. You may have opted to receive your documents electronically, in which case you will want to check with your payroll office to find out when and how they will deliver these forms.

There may be many reasons why your tax preparation is complex. Complications could revolve around your income by working in more than one state or country, or perhaps you run a business, own rental property or maintain a trust. Maybe you have just gone through a divorce. In any case, you want your tax preparation to be painless and your refund to come fast.

Now is the time to prep for tax season

With the holidays just around the corner, the last thing you want to think about is probably taxes. If you are like many people, you wait until April to even look at your taxes. Maybe you are even one of those people who waits until midnight of the tax deadline to send off your returns. After all, why deal with the pain now if you can put it off for months?

This is probably especially true if you typically owe the IRS or are consistently disappointed with a lower refund than you expected. However, by planning early, you may be able to maximize the chances of a more positive tax season. In fact, you can do a few things before 2017 ends that may lower your tax bill.

Starting a business? What will your taxes look like?

Few things are more rewarding than starting your own small business. Before you open your door or go live online, you have numerous decisions to make that will affect the future success of your business. Some of those decisions will have a profound effect on what your federal taxes will look like.

The time to think about your future tax liabilities as a small business owner is now. Aiming to reduce taxable income and maximize deductions could require some strategic decisions. It may help to consider the following so that you can reduce your tax liability going forward.

Your IRS obligations know no borders

If you have an adventurous spirit, you may have decided that working overseas was the right step for you. You applied for and accepted a job outside the United States. You may have compiled a list of items you need to take with you and tasks you need to complete before you leave California.

Did you consider your taxes? The rules aren't as simple (and little is simple in the U.S. Tax Code) as when you resided and worked here in the United States. You might have thought you wouldn't have to pay taxes here once you moved. Surprise! You may still owe taxes here, and if you remain a citizen, you will still have to file a tax return.

What do you need to know about filing taxes after a divorce?

A divorce changes many things about your life, including your taxes. Whether you find yourself at the beginning, middle or end of your divorce process, it may help to gain an understanding of how being single again can affect the filing of your taxes.

The first thing you need to know involves your filing status as of Dec. 31. If you finalize your divorce by that date, or even on that date, you do not have to file as married for that tax year. Conversely, if your divorce remains in progress as of Dec. 31, you must still file as married.

What should I do about tax debt if I didn't pay the IRS in full?

Issues related to taxes are complicated, particularly for individuals who are unable to pay the full amount or did not pay the full amount at filing. While tax laws are complicated, it can be immensely helpful to know what to expect and how you should move forward in a productive manner. 

In your situation, a California tax law attorney can be your best ally. With knowledgeable guidance, you can know what you should do about your tax debt and how to handle your situation in the best possible manner. With the help of your legal ally, you may be able to find a positive resolution to your concerns regarding tax debt, penalties and the IRS.

Living abroad? U.S. ties could leave you feeling taxed

As a United States citizen living outside the country, you may have had many exhilarating experiences in your time abroad. Your new country of residence may have cultural and governmental differences that allow you to gain knowledge on the various workings of another place. However, living abroad does not completely sever your ties to your native country, especially when it comes to taxes.

If you earn an income while living abroad, the United States will still tax your income. Only the U.S. and one other country impose taxes on their citizens while those citizens live in another country. Therefore, you may wish to understand how living abroad could affect your taxes before the next filing season.

Audit appeals could give you a tax advantage

Handling taxes can make anyone anxious as finances and dealing with a government institution can both induce stress. Even if you have completed your tax forms and filed them to the best of your ability, you may still fear that the IRS will find issue with your return and conduct an audit. If you do find yourself in this situation and the results of the audit indicate that you owe more money to the government, you may wish to review the results further.

Rather than simply accepting the outcomes of the audit, you do have the option of filing for an appeal. Certain advantages and disadvantages exist relating to this approach, but with the right help, you may have the opportunity to reverse the audit decision and improve your situation.

4 frequent tax mistakes that could affect your filing

With tax season well underway, you may find yourself putting off filing your taxes because of inconvenience or confusion over how to file. Though many tax professionals offer assistance with this endeavor, you may wish to remember that anyone could make mistakes when it comes to filing your taxes. If mistakes do go overlooked, you could face considerable issues with your tax return, ranging from unaccepted filings to potential audits.

Because a simple mistake could lead to unnecessary complications, you may wish to look out for some of the most frequent errors.

Make the most of tax time for your small business

With tax season comes the annual gathering of documents and receipts. Now that you own your own business, things may be a little more complicated than when you were simply doing your personal taxes. To make matters worse, tax laws change frequently, and what worked last year may not work for your business this year.

However, change can be good. It's possible that you can shave a considerable amount off your tax bill if you claim as many deductions as possible. Of course, this means knowing about those deductions and using them to your advantage.

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