Don’t Be Afraid of the IRS

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I’ve always been told that death and taxes are the two guarantees in life. Just the correlation of the two things though has made me fearful of taxes. I’ve been the type of person who waited weeks (or months) to get started on taxes. I have been known to procrastinate up until the very last minute. I have even been one of those “crazy” people you see on the news on April 15 who had to drive to the downtown post office to make sure my Form 1040 was filed on time. (Thank goodness for e-filing now!)

Times have changed since I learned how to take control of my finances in the last few years. I know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not another name for the Boogey Man. If I am educated, prepared with my business and personal expenses throughout the year, and use professional help when necessary, I know that tax season does not have to be an ordeal. It can actually be a nice way to review the past year and strategize for the next one. I know that many people have IRS tax questions. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid of the IRS.

1. The IRS might be giving you money. So often we focus on the idea that we might have to pay the IRS come tax time. But in reality, about 45% percent of Americans will get a tax refund according to CNNMoney.

2. The IRS does not want to put you in jail. The irrational fear many people have is that if they make a mistake, have not filed in years, or have not paid past due balances, that the IRS will show up one day and throw them in jail. While there can be criminal offenses when it comes to taxes, the IRS would rather someone is working (and therefore earning money) to pay off their debt, rather than throw them in prison. However, don’t put your head in the sand. If you can’t pay or have other hardships, make sure you contact the IRS directly.

3. The IRS is actually helping you get organized financially. Many of us do not have a full picture of our finances and find it fearful to look at our big financial picture. But, thanks to the IRS, we get to do this every spring. Using financial websites like Manilla.com can help you stay organized throughout the year and be prepared once the tax man comes calling.

While filing my taxes is not exactly on my “favorite things to do” list, I can see it now as a necessary step in being a productive citizen and a full-fledged adult. Sometimes it is scarier to think about doing something, than it is to actually do it. Just go ahead and get it over with sooner than later. You’ll be glad you did!

Maria Smith is an on the go “stay at home” mother of four kids under the age of 7. In her pre-baby life she was a TV producer at The Oprah Winfrey Show.  She loves writing, traveling, and finding fun things and places for moms to do, have and go. Maria has been featured as an expert on ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, HLN, and in Ladies Home Journal, Women’s Day, and The Nest. Maria blogs at MamaliciousMaria.com and is a freelance writer for several parenting, health and wellness, and travel websites.

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