Now that tax season is over, the natural reaction of most people is to shove all their financial data in a box
and be thankful they don’t have to look at it again for another 11 months.

But every tax filer, before they decide to ignore their taxes for the rest of the year, should ask themselves
this question: How did that go?

Were you satisfied with the process? Was it as uncomplicated as it could have been? Did you reduce
your tax burden as much as you should have? Were you pleased with your preparer and did they give
you the kind of individualized attention you wanted?

The process of filing taxes is never going to be something you will get excited about and look forward to,
but if you didn’t get the kind of personalized treatment from your tax preparer that you think you deserve,
maybe the thing to do now is find someone who is going to walk you through this process, help you ease
the burden as much as possible, and make the process as pain free as it’s going to get.

Whether you handled your taxes yourself, trusted software to do it for you, or worked with someone who
viewed your situation like another piece on their conveyor belt, now is the time to reflect on how you can
ease the frustration of tax season in the future.

If you get started working with a tax professional now, you make sure that you are taking advantage of
every legal means to reduce the amount you’ll pay in taxes next year.

If you know that this year you will be getting married, divorced or remarried, you can plan how these life
changes will affect your tax status. The exemptions claimed on your W-4 may need to be adjusted to
prevent an unexpected tax bill. If you are going through a divorce, discussing the tax ramifications of
dependents, alimony, childcare or division of property before signing anything is extremely helpful.
Divorce decrees often contain wording that has a different tax result than what was intended. Call on your
tax professional for a review.

A change in family size with the birth or adoption of a child can also affect your tax return. And, as children
get older, you may lose certain credits.

A career change is another life change that might affect your tax situation. If you have pension
opportunities that you are not sure about or excludable benefits such as cafeteria plans and dependent
care benefits to choose from, your tax professional can help you evaluate your options. A career change
might also increase income, shifting you into a higher tax bracket or changing the work-related deductions
available, making a change in withholding a possibility.

And, if you find yourself in financial trouble, bankruptcy may be the option you choose. If so, there are tax
implications you should be aware of and options that may be available, so contact your tax professional.
Time is of the essence if you are in a bankruptcy situation.

Did your company present you with an early retirement proposal or are you considering an early
retirement? This event definitely changes your life and your tax situation! It’s better to discuss the options
before you act rather than face a large tax bill because you didn’t. Know the tax implications of your
decision: check with your tax professional to make sure you are not triggering an early withdrawal penalty
or causing Social Security to be taxable.

Of course, it’s important that you’re speaking with someone knowledgeable who can be trusted. The
person doing your taxes should be registered with IRS, have passed testing on taxation, and be required
to complete continuing education to keep up with the ever-changing tax code. Enrolled agents are
licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, must report continuing education credits to IRS in order to
maintain their licenses and are bound by a code of ethics.

Both Marcia Hall and Tonya Maiseroulle of North Georgia Accounting Solutions are enrolled agents,
registered with the IRS, tested on taxation, and they keep up to date with the tax code.

Last, but not least, if you receive a letter from the IRS, give us a call! Do not ignore it or toss it in a drawer
hoping it will disappear. Putting off action only creates more letters and possibly, larger penalties.
The key word is communication: keep your tax professional informed of any changes in your life because
they may change your tax situation.

Enrolled agents are America’s tax experts. They are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who
specialize in taxation and also have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.

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