Post by Eeliffee Garcia
It’s not uncommon to marrying into debt. For example; past due student loans, child support or back taxes from your spouse can affect your tax refund. The IRS will garish a refund on a joint return to pay off any pending balances.
But don’t worry, there are some options available to protect your portion of the refund as a spouse.
Option 1: INJURED SPOUSE RELIEF
This option will protect the portion of your refund if you file IRS Form 8379, “Injured Spouse Allocation”. You can either file the form along with your joint tax return to prevent the initial IRS garnishment or file it after the IRS advises you that they have withheld your refund.
Two of the most important things NEEDED to qualify for this option is:
- Must report income from the same tax year that is being filed
- Must have had taxes withheld from your employer or have overpaid estimated tax payments if self-employed.
WARNING: If you live in a community property state like TEXAS, then the IRS may consider your spouse’s past debt obligations as yours relying on state law. It is important to consult with a tax professional to see where you stand.
Option 2: MARRIED FILING SEPARATE
This is another good option for married couples but with less advantages. This tax filing option is available and should be used instead as filing as single. It’s not a good idea to be switching from single to married and then back to single. You’ll make things worse. The options you should be using is called “married filing separate”.
With this option, you’re basically separating all your income and taxes from that of your spouse. Consequently, IRS won’t garnish any of your tax refund to satisfy your spouse’s debt.
PROS: Avoid liability that is not yours
CON: Certain tax credits won’t be available unless filing jointly.
More information can be found with the IRS.
If you need assistance with your business finances or taxes feel free in contacting me at Business Solution Center | Eeliffee@bsctexas.net | 956-466-4503 in Brownsville Texas.
Bookkeepers or accountants are vital to a growing business. The expertise of these professionals will help you make important business decisions but most importantly, will keep your business tax complaint.
In my experience, I’ve seen “professionals” do costly errors when it comes to payroll reports and eventually annual tax returns. It’s not fair for their clients.
I recommend the following steps when seeking out a bookkeeper or accountant:
1. REFERENCES. Make a list of recommendations from local businesses. Don’t be afraid to ask around. Remember, “word of mouth” is a better reference technique than reading “The Best, the best choice, or rated the best” on their websites.
2. QUALIFICATIONS. Taxes are a business priority. Verify that the bookkeeper or accountant can represent you before the IRS or state agency in tax matters involving audits, collections or appeals. If you opt for a bookkeeper make sure the bookkeeper keeps up with continued education and has an “Enrolled Agent” license; that’s a federal tax practitioner license which places them in the game with CPAs and attorneys. In Texas if you hire an “Accountant” the accountant must be CPA licensed by the Texas State Board of Accountancy. If your bookkeeper is not a licensed “EA” be sure to seek a CPA firm for quarterly reviews or annual reviews and tax return preparation.
3. ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Don’t you just hate not knowing what someone else is talking about? Accounting is a technical field with a total language of its own. Seek out a professional who can speak to you in plain English. Understanding concepts and certain process and procedures are very important for a business owner.
4. VALUES. Honesty, work ethic, user friendly are some of the important values for a professional to have. The bookkeeper or accountant must always communicate, even if its bad news. If there is something crucial to be discussed, it must be on a timely manner.
5. ASK QUESTIONS. You won’t get punished or ridiculed for asking! Before contracting any professional make sure you write down a list of questions you think are important. Some people like to “leave it to the expert” and don’t mind knowing a little more about the process. And remember, there is always that “additional fee” for something you didn’t think would be charged. So, ask for a detailed fee schedule.
If you need assistance with your business finances or taxes feel free in contacting us at Business Solution Center | Eeliffee@bsctexas.net | 956-466-4503 in Brownsville Texas.