Getting helpful information about your taxes can be a real pain in the…you know. It seems that nearly everyone involved has an agenda: the IRS wants you to pay the most money, your accountant wants to bill you by the second, and your friends just want to tell you about how great their accountant is. It’s a mess and it’s even worse when you’re struggling at getting past tax information out of people.
But there’s a solution you may have already stumbled on for getting past tax information: the internet.
Ok, ok, let’s address the elephant in the room: how do I know the site where I am getting past tax information from is reputable? How do I know it’s not a con or a scam? You have to ask these questions or else, well, you might get conned or scammed.
There’s no hard or fast rule for making sure you’re getting past tax information that’s correct, there are only guidelines:
- Check the credentials. Who is the person who’s running the website? Are they are reputable company? Are they an accountant? Are they just some guy? Do they even have a name? Is there contact information (like a physical address)? Make sure that the person or site you’re getting past tax information from is real, even if they use a pseudonym. Read a few posts. Check for factual errors.
- Ask around. Check out what other sites or forums or blogs are saying about the resource you found. Do people seem to like them? Do people hate it? Is someone reporting them for unfair practices? Moreover, if they have a product attached to the site, does the product have good reviews? Are people recommending it? Few people are getting past tax information from a site that isn’t attached to a product or service–just make sure that product or service is legitimate first!
Which brings us to the final guideline…
- Don’t be afraid to pay. Don’t throw your money at something that screams “scam!” But if the free information you’re finding is getting you nowhere fast, considering paying for it. Sometimes getting past tax information is like pulling teeth unless you’re willing to spend some money to talk to some tax experts. It’s not ideal, and you should follow the steps above to make sure the organization is on the up and up, but often the good companies keep the best help (and information) behind closed walls. And getting past tax information–particularly good information–can be critical to your financial well-being. So don’t skimp when it matters.
Getting past tax information is harder than just “regular” tax information–but it’s worth it. Past taxes are some of the most important (and overlooked) taxes you’ll have (or owe!) and it’s important to make sure you have the best advice and the most knowledge before you start filing those past tax returns.