5 Things You Need to Know Before Filing Your Taxes

Migrant Resources

5 Things You Need to Know Before Filing Your Taxes

“There is no ‘little tax question’”

Kenneth Omoruyi plays the saxophone, is a father of triplets, runs a successful accountancy and tax business, has a Master’s degree, and is a champion for minorities in his industry. In other words, he’s the type of person you should take advice from when dealing with the IRS. 

One of the first things Kenneth realized when he first arrived in the US was that he had to “unlearn” things they consider “normal” in Nigeria, his homeland.

“Certain jokes can sound humorous in Nigeria but can be offensive here in the US,” he explains. 

A support network of relatives, his then-girlfriend [now his wife], and the church where he played the saxophone gave him the tools and the motivation he needed to adapt to his new life in the US.

And he did adapt. Big time.

His accountancy and tax business, Zanda Tax, has eleven branches [ten in Houston, one in Dallas], where they serve primarily Hispanic customers. It is a minority-owned/minority-oriented firm with very competitive fees compared to the “big guns” in the business.

“We can do for a taxpayer what most other firms could not do,” Kenneth says proudly. 

Apart from his business success, he is also a Director of the Houston CPA Society, which has contributed to giving minorities a voice in a predominantly white industry.

Kenneth explains, “There are less than 3% black CPAs in America.”

Here are the five things Kenneth advise you to bear in mind before filing your taxes: 

1. December 31st is the most important day in the calendar

This is the date on which the IRS “closes and resets.” So, anything you should do to avoid paying in excess or to receive a significant tax-return, it has to be done before the end of the year. “By January/February would be too late,” warns Kenneth.

2. Make sure you have all the necessary documents

If you work for an employer, most likely they are either going to give you a W2 or a 1099. You will also need your ID, your SSN, a prior-year tax return, and any information on your dependents. “Do not forget to bring those dependents’ IDs or birth certificates and SSNs,” he reminds.

3. Keep track of your earning and expenses

You must pay special attention to your earnings if you are an independent contractor, plumber, or a handyman, someone that works for him or herself. “When you are able to provide that documentation we can help you draft your accounting then prepare your tax return.”

4. Understand the difference between personal and business tax

Personal tax is what you should pay in taxes over the income you received as a person. Your business is a legal entity on its own. So, even if a company is solely owned and run by you, the IRS considers it a separate legal entity.

5. “There is no ‘little tax question’”

Codes and regulations change all the time, and they depend significantly on individual circumstances.

“So I would say it is taxpayer specific,” Kenneth explains, which is why his main advice is to always seek help from professionals. 

In sum, do your due diligence, file your taxes on time, provide as much backup documentation as you can, and always work with a certified CPA. Remember that it might take up to 21 business days to get a refund. In some cases, it takes even longer if the IRS decides to audit your claim. 

You can contact the offices of Zanda Tax through their webpage or their toll-free number 1-844-94-ZANDA.

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