The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.
Okay, the headline is slightly deceiving, but only slightly. You see, a lot of people don’t realize that they have a choice about how to pay their taxes. And that’s probably a good thing, especially those who fill out their own forms every year. The simpler, the better. Mistakes can be rather costly. But if you are the sort that likes to have a bit more control over your finances, then you do have some flexibility in how you pay your taxes. Here are some of your options:
Pay as Much as You Can Throughout the Year
You know that big refund you get every year in the first quarter? The reason you get it is because you overpay throughout the year. You are giving the government an interest-free loan. Once a year, they give you back the principal overpayment. They keep the interest. Now, it’s not like you don’t get anything out of the deal. Dumping money into higher income tax is like setting up a little savings account. Every year, you can look forward to receiving a chunk of money from the government. Though it means you are paying the government a lot more than you need to, it feels like the government is paying you. Suddenly, that new computer you have been eyeing is within your grasp.
When you are filling out your tax forms for work, you have a few choices. You have both deductions and exemptions. If you list a lot of deductions, more money will be withheld from your paycheck. If you have chosen more deductions than you need to, that represents the money you get back in the form of a tax refund. That overpayment is what they are refunding. Treat your tax payments like a savings account, and it’s Christmas in Spring.
Pay as Little as You Can Throughout the Year
This is where you will want to exercise those exemptions. Are you the head of the household? Never mind what that actually means or implies. If yes, you have an exemption. Married filing jointly? Disabled? These exemptions reduce the amount of your income that can be taxed. Count more exemptions that you actually qualify for, and you will be paying in the Spring instead of celebrating. Even so, it will only be one payment. For the rest of the year, you will bring home more money each pay period. That is like giving yourself an eleven month raise.
Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be
The most elegant tax move is to receive nothing and pay nothing in April. That means you have chosen the perfect balance of deductions and exemptions. You are taking home the maximum amount of paycheck you can without owing anything later. Achieving that perfect balance often requires professional help, which is why so few people manage it.
It is best to get local CPAs and other tax specialists to help with this, as state taxes have to be factored into the equation. Tax law varies from state to state. The tax services Orlando has to offer will provide the local expertise in that market. The same is true for the services in your local area. Zeroing your tax bill is not the only reason you will want professional help:
With few exceptions, if you are a business owner, you have to pay as you go throughout the year. If you are self-employed, you are also responsible for self-employment tax covering services like social security and medicare. According to irs.gov, if you have employees, your employment taxes include:
- Social security and Medicare taxes
- Federal income tax withholding
- Federal unemployment (FUTA) tax
It is possible you could pay estimated taxes, or even quarterly taxes. You probably can’t afford the mistakes you might make by trying to DIY your taxes without a tax professional’s assistance.
Bottom line: You’re going to pay your taxes. You can pay them so that it feels like you are getting an annual bonus. Or you can pay them so that it feels like you are getting a monthly raise. Just remember, you are not stuck with your decision. Regardless of how you filled out your employment paperwork, you can make changes at any time during the year. You can save even more if you venture beyond the EZ form. Local tax professionals are standing by.