The thing that usually gets people looking for back tax help is the dreaded audit. But what exactly do you do when you get audited? We have all heard the horror stories of the tax man wreaking havoc in people’s lives, so how do you prepare adequately for something like this? Luckily, aside from our fantastic guide, we also thought we would provide a few tips for those who are facing this arduous process.
First of all, do not lie. These people sniff out lies for a living, so what makes you think that you are going to get one by them? All lying does is make things worse, just like mom always said. What she did not tell you is that, if you lie, the IRS may use such unpleasant words as “fraud” when you meet with them, and then you need far more than back tax help–you need back tax representation. Speaking of meeting with the IRS, do not invite them into your house or business. Instead, go to their office and conduct the audit there. This is not because they are bad people (at least, in theory), but because you do not want to give them any more information than is necessary.
The fact that you are reading this is a good sign that you like to get prepared, and that is good, because you are going to be doing a lot of that in preparation for your audit. Contact the person who did your return and have them prepare records that justify the things they put on your return, and also to find out if they already sent you back anything. Back tax help can be as simple as having these things prepared ahead of time. However, we know that not everyone who receives an audit is going to end up in the super-organized category.
What you should never, ever, under any circumstances do, though, is ignore the tax notice. Putting your head in the sand is not going to make the tax man go away, and when your head finally pops out, Uncle Sam will be standing there with his money bags looking way more angry than before. The best back tax help we can offer is to at least do something constructive when presented with the issue at hand. In some cases that may mean hiring a tax specialist, but many times this can be resolved with just a little knowledge and elbow grease.
In either event, and in some part related to being prepared, knowing your rights is one of the most important things you can do, and falls just underneath “for the love of all that is good in the world, do not ignore the notice!” in terms of importance. Knowing your rights is one of the best back tax help tips that we can offer. If you know your rights, you have a lot more power during the audit process, even if you have representation. After all, it is hard to invoke your rights if you don’t know what they are.
The Washington Post published an article yesterday that we felt was almost exclusively a loan guide and not so much a grant guide, and was more than a little misleading. The article was titled “How to hit up Uncle Sam for small business funding.” The implication of the title is that there is more than one way to get government funding for a small business other than loans. However, the article mentions grants twice, and there is a somewhat valid reason for that: small businesses and for-profit companies do not qualify for federal grants. So, what else is there?
Well, there are loans, and there are a lot of different kinds of loans and sources that the potential start-up can use to, well, start up their business. Of course, these come with certain conditions and restrictions, but a grant guide would tell you the same ideas apply even if small businesses did qualify for grants. Whenever the government is dealing with money that it owns, you can bet that they are going to keep track and want a record of every single penny, and nothing shy of that will suffice. But, because loans are a different beast entirely, in many cases, they are actually the better choice.
The differences between grants and loans are about as different as toasters and horses. Aside from both being “things”, there is not much else they share in common. In the case of the former, everything basically stops at, “both involve the government giving money in some way.” In other words, a grant guide will be of little use to those seeking a loan. What most people do not realize is that grants are not simply “free government money.” This money comes with conditions and record-keeping that accounts for every cent given. And, contrary to popular belief, any remaining money has to be given back to the government at the end of the project (oh, and you need to provide a timeframe for when that would be).
With a loan, though, an amount is expected to be paid in specific amounts as specific times until it is paid off. It is, for all intents and purposes, like a normal loan, except, as with anything involving the government, there is more red tape and paperwork to get through. That said, though, since a grant guide is out of the question, a loan that helps you reach your goals and dreams is probably worth more than the hassle of getting through that extra stuff. Fortunately, government loans tend to not be as restrictive in regards to the bean counting as grants are, which will allow you to focus more on your business than keeping up with the paperwork.
The good news, though, is that the article did provide some good guidelines for applying for a government loan. We were just a bit miffed that it suggested there were other options when there aren’t.