It’s a funny thing, what we consider luxuries in the United States.  Some people cannot live without a daily cup of Starbucks Coffee, my daughter is one, but feel that a dry cleaner is too expensive.  They own a huge television, yet watch old TV shows on their smartphone (my teenage son asked me the other day if I had ever watched “Friends” because he thinks it’s hysterical).

Closer to home, they complain about their taxes and use a free tax software system to file because having their return prepared by a firm that specializes in it is “too costly.”

In this column, we’ve often talked about the little things that anybody can do to get their monetary ducks in a row and there are thousands of so-called “experts” online doing this.  Ironically, this morning a funny thing happened – I got an email with tax tips from the IRS.

Yes.  You read that right.  Tax tips from the IRS.

That’s kind of like getting tips on betting from your bookie. Actually, though, once I sorted through the email and the assorted videos that they had included, my professional opinion is that they had put together an easy-to-understand tool that many small businesses and owners could use in conjunction with a tax professional to understand many of the most common deductions.

One of the most interesting pieces in their email was the IRS’ take on the home office deduction.  The facts in this situation are pretty telling and I understand why the IRS is looking to simplify the process – nearly 3.4 million business owners deducted nearly 10 billion dollars within the structure of the so-called “home office deduction” in 2014 and to say the language was “fuzzy” is putting it mildly.  The new rules that the IRS put in place last year were expected to make it a great deal easier on the small business owner when it comes to paperwork and documentation of a home office and honestly, the jury is still out on that.

What I really wanted to talk about this week was a much larger issue that recently came to light in a chance meeting I had with a well-known speaker. Prior to him selling his sports management business and becoming a speaker and trainer, this young man handled all the accounting for his multi-million dollar business – with a free copy of “Turbo tax.”

Yeah. I thought the same thing. When he finally took the advice of friends who knew better, guess what? He received a refund from the state of California and the IRS for over $135,000.  Anybody who has ever dealt with the State of California should stand in awe of that fact by itself!

Can you keep your own books and file your own taxes? Absolutely! Should you do it yourself? No way. Getting a professional to help, even after the fiscal year is gone is still far better than going solo. Not only can you save yourself hours of time and money, you can keep the IRS honest.

With that in mind, since every taxpayer knows that the first quarter of the year is our busiest season, I want to encourage you to schedule an appointment to see if there are any surprises – like free money – in your bookkeeping or return. If this is you, then call our office, (855) 479-2400, and schedule an appointment to save you some serious money and keep you out of the tax doghouse.

No matter how bad your books, profit, or paperwork, chances are that O’Hare Associates can clear the path for you and save you a tremendous amount of heartache and money within your tax liabilities. Take the time, take the opportunity, and call us – we’ll make that pain go away!

You’re Going to Wish You Called Us Sooner!