City Social Magazine

MAR-APR 2017

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Page 12 of 59

          13 PREPARING TO FILE YOUR RETURN: April 15 is closing in on all of us individual taxpayers. The annual task of filing your tax return can be facilitated by following BBB's suggestions: • Get organized. Begin by locating your copy of last year's return to determine what you'll need. Obtain a blank return, along with any additional schedules or information you need. Make sure you have the W-2 form from your employer(s) and other documentation. • Use IRS resources for assistance. You can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or visit the web site at www. • Double check your return before sending it in. Make sure you've signed the form—something many taxpayers forget to do. • File a return, even if you think you cannot pay. Some people do not file because they think they cannot afford to pay taxes—when, in fact, they have a refund coming. If you do owe taxes, but are short on funds, you may be able to arrange payment with the IRS. • File for an extension when you need to. You will, however, still have to pay the anticipated tax. TAX PREPARERS: With new changes that occur in the tax laws every year, many of us fear our inability to complete the forms and to meet the IRS deadline. To cope with these concerns, many consumers turn to a tax preparer for assistance. If you plan to hire someone to prepare your tax returns, the Better Business Bureau offers the following advice: • Consider what type of services you need and how much can you afford to pay • If your return is routine, but you want the convenience of having a professional prepare it, a tax service may be for you. These companies have many locations and may be open nights and weekends, often helping customers on a first come/first serve basis. They also have set fee schedules. • When your return is complicated, you may want to hire more expert help. CPAs, tax attorneys and enrolled agents all have specialized training and can represent you before the IRS in case of an audit. • Interview the potential preparer. • Does the preparer have the appropriate training, experience and credentials to prepare your return? Make sure the preparer has the expertise required to meet your needs and confirm their continued training in current tax law changes. • Ask about the preparer's methods—manual or computer. Will he/she be available year round? • Be sure to get an estimate for the fees prior to authorizing the work. • Always read any agreement or contract before signing. • Some firms advertise a "speedy" refund. Be sure to evaluate the cost of those services. Electronic filing may bring you a quicker refund, but usually there is an extra fee involved for this service. • Some of the firms advertising a "speedy" refund may involve a loan in which you pay interest—often very high—as an up-front fee. Is the quick refund worth these extra fees? • Check with your BBB for a reliabili- ty report on the firm. Go to geaux- to read such a review. By Julie Stalls Tax Time Is Here: Are You Ready? AT A GLANCE WHO: Better Business Bureau of South Central, Inc. WHERE: 748 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5526 Serving: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupe, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton, West Feliciana Telephones: 346-5BBB (346-5222) 346-1029 FAX 346-8343 BBB Accreditation (Information) Website: WHAT: A Non-Profit Corporation . . . Supported by BBB Businesses and Professionals . . . Dedicated to Business Self-Regulation . . . Through High Ethical Standards in Advertising and Selling Practices. WHY: To Limit Government Regulation of Business . . . To Safeguard Consumer Spending . . . To Provide Services Not Elsewhere Available to Businesses and Consumers HOW: Through BBB Services and Programs, including: •  Business  Reliability  Reviews •  Reviews  on Soliciting Organizations •  Business /Customer  Dispute Resolution •  Binding  Arbitration •  Business /Consumer Alerts and Warnings •  Advertising Review •  Business /Consumer Education •  Business  Networking Events •  Douglas Manship, Sr. Ethics In Business Annual Award

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