Jim, I have just determined that I will owe money to the IRS. Can I file an extension and buy myself a few months to pay my tax bill?
You can file an extension to get more time to file your return, but this is NOT an extension for more time to pay what you owe. If you owe money that you can not pay, you will need to file IRS form 9465 to request a payment plan arrangement.
I was just hit with a penalty for not having in place health insurance. I was also told that this penalty will be even more next year. A friend told me that I could opt out of Obamacare and instead go with Christian Medical Sharing, how does this work?
Yes, Christians can become exempt from the insurance mandate and penalty if they join a qualifying medical expense sharing program. You must file IRS form 8965 to claim this exemption. More information about Christian medical expense sharing. If you sign up for Christian medical sharing now, it won't alleviate any penalties for tax year 2014. It is important to do something, however, as the penalties in 2015 will be substantially more (double for many people). More details on penalties.
I filed my tax return, but the IRS has responded that someone else has already filed using my Social Security number. What should I do?
The IRS has a procedure in place that can take from several weeks to several months to resolve a situation like this. One way to add a layer of protection to future tax years is to request a PIN from the IRS. Much like the PIN you use for your bank account, it would prevent anyone from filing under your Social Security number without it.
I received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They said I had a back tax debt, but I am not convinced that they are an IRS employee. What can I do to verify what they are telling me?
There are a significant number of telemarketing scams involving fake IRS agents. The tip-off to the scam is that the individual will demand immediate payment through some kind of unorthodox means. Commonly the victim is told to buy a cash card or even send a payment through Western Union. The IRS would not make such unusual payment demands. Secondly, you can call the IRS directly and inquire of your status with them at 800-829-1040.
What are some of the things to look out for to be sure I have not made a mistake when filing my tax return?
The three most common mistakes made by individuals preparing their own return are mistakes entering Social Security numbers, not including all of their income (especially from 1099 and W-2's), and forgetting to sign the return (If you file electronically you won't need to sign your return). It also makes sense not to be in too much of a rush. I would suggest taking a day or two and looking over your return just to be sure you have not missed anything. A small mistake can lead to big headaches, so take some extra time to do a careful review.
Helping you make the most of God's Money!