Accountants keep running lists of ways to audit-proof tax returns, and you should, too. For starters, avoid using any round numbers on your return. For example, if you report that you earned $45,000, instead of $47,890.26, it sends a red flag to the government that you're not keeping good records. If you manage your own tax return (or simply want to know more about tax returns), we recommend Audit-Proof Your Tax Return.
If you're self-employed, don't forget to pay your taxes quarterly -- or you're going to get penalized. The general rule of thumb is 1% per month for the portion you're late. The Internal Revenue Service says you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe taxes, including (!) the self-employment tax, of $1,000 or more when you file your return. Get educated -- and don't let late fees cut into your hard-earned income. Read more about 'Filing Requirements for Self-Employed Individuals' on the IRS website.
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