Tax Tips: The IRS answers your questions


It's common to have lots of questions about your taxes. Let's face it: The U.S. Tax Code is extremely complicated. Even as a tax preparer, there are lots of things that I don't know and have to research. So don't get upset if you ask your tax preparer a question and she or he says, "I have to look it up." That's just how it is when there are tens of thousands of pages of rules.

But the IRS has a fantastic website, believe it or not. There are zillions of questions that are answered, with a variety of publications, forms, instruction booklets, and explanatory documents. Believe it or not, the IRS really does try to help taxpayers understand their rights and responsibilities.

So as a regular old taxpayer, how can you get your questions answered? The IRS website has so much information that it can often be difficult to search for an answer to your question. But there is a Frequently Asked Questions page that addresses some of the most common questions taxpayers have, and it's really good. So start there if you're researching a tax question. Chances are you'll find at least something to help you with your tax problem.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.