The Atlanta Lawyer April 2018 - Page 12

Tax Tips Tameka E. Lester Georgia State University of Law Clinical Assistant Professor/Associate Director tlester@gsu.edu Most taxpayers don’t start think- ing about their tax return until the beginning of the year; how- ever, ideally you should be think- ing about tax planning all year. In addition to saving you time dur- ing filing season, planning for tax season throughout the year can also save you money by allowing you to properly claim credits, de- ductions, and expenses you are entitled to. Here are a few points to consider when thinking through tax-related consequences. Different Tax Returns There are several different types 12 April 2018 of tax returns, and depending on your circumstances you may need to complete more than one return: Individual Tax Return Most individuals have a yearly fil- ing requirements. Whether some- one has to complete an individual tax return will depend on their income (both the amount of in- come and type of income), filing status, and age. If you have a filing requirement, you must report all your taxable income to the IRS. In addition, the IRS allows individu- als to claim certain deductions and credits to minimize the amount of income they are actually taxed on. Each credit and deduction has its own requirements and restric- tions, so it is important to look at them separately to see if you quali- fy. Some deductions, such as those governing charitable donations, medical and dental expenses, and unreimbursed employee related expenses require you to give an accounting of the total amount you paid during the year. In order to ensure accurate records, the best practice is to keep all your receipts and organize them on a regular basis. The more organized you keep your records, the easier it will be to prepare for the filing season or address any concerns the IRS may raise in an audit or examination. Business Tax Returns In addition to their individual tax returns, business owners must re- port business income and expens- es on a business return. There are many different options available to business owners when deciding how to structure a business. Each business structure has different