Even if you try to avoid tax audit red flags to avoid the attention of the IRS, the fact is that around 1% of all US taxpayers will be audited each year. While the IRS will usually only audit your tax return if they think they have found a glaring mistake and can collect money/penalties from you, sometimes the simplest error can produce a letter or a visit from the tax man. But just because you are being audited doesn’t mean you have to be scared to prepare your information and present it when asked! There are three different kinds of audits, including a correspondence audit, a field audit, and an office audit, and all will have different requirements for you to fulfill depending on the circumstances. So here are some tips for what to do if you are audited by the IRS:
Remember when I wrote about downsizing my apartment to save money? And then I moved again soon thereafter? I know, I know – it seems like I am always moving around. And truth be told, I am; I have already moved three times in the past three years. 2011 will almost definitely see me move once more, as I have decided that my trial experience of living in California again isn’t worth what I would have to do in order to afford it and live comfortably the way I want to live. Everything in California is more expensive than almost everywhere else I would ever consider living: gasoline, groceries, utility bills, taxes, car registration fees, home rents, etc. – the list goes on and on. Sure, the weather can’t be beat, but when you have to work extra long hours just to make rent, well, it’s not worth it to me. I know it’s counter to the “American Dream” to not really care about making a lot of money or buying a big house, but those things just don’t interest me. I would much rather live a life of my own choosing on my own terms, and to do that requires me to live somewhere a lot cheaper than California. So 2011 will see me moving back to where I originally went to escape it all – New Mexico.
There truly is no sane way to go about buying a new mattress for your home. You would think it wouldn’t be that difficult of a process, seeing as how mattresses are advertised for sale almost everywhere on every single day, but the truth is that it can be a very arduous process. I am betting that you see those ads on TV or in the paper which claim that “We’ll beat any advertised price or your mattress is FREEEEE!”, right? Well, guess what – your mattress will never, ever be free. Ever. Why? Because almost every retail store which sells mattresses has their own name for the same mattress as other stores. So Store X will call their mattress “Sleepytime” and Store Y will call theirs “Snoredom”, but the mattress is probably the same model from the same manufacturer. By coming up with their own name for the mattresses, it makes it much harder for you, the consumer, to shop around and compare — never mind get a mattress for free because of a higher advertised price. So, how would you go about finding a good deal on a mattress if you cannot comparison shop?
I write just one lonely paper check per month. My landlord is the lucky recipient of said paper check, and I write him this paper check because I usually hand it to him in person. I could have my bank, Charles Schwab, send out a check each month to him without me even having to do anything, but I like the act of paying the man directly for his house, as he worked really hard on fixing it up before I moved in. All of my other monthly bills, from Charter Cable to AT&T to my local utility companies, are charged directly and automatically to my Amtrak Rewards credit card each month, and I have four automatic payments sent to the card each week which pay off the total of my bills for the month. This method helps me out in several different ways:
As many long-time readers of any of my sites may know, I have been self-employed for about 5 years now. I left corporate America to strike out on my own, and I hope to never ever look back. Sure my income is a pittance compared to the money I was making working for “The Man”, and I definitely don’t live anywhere near as care-free as I used to, but I have many reasons why this is perfectly fine with me and is a trade I consider totally worth it.