While the global economy continues to showcase signs of considerable growth and diversification, personal debt remains a huge issue in developed countries throughout the world. This is a key legacy of the Great Recession, during which time numerous citizens defaulted on their financial agreements and triggered additional, interest-related debt. Tax debt is another key consideration for citizens in the modern age, especially when you consider the rising number of freelancers, independent contractors and part-time financial traders who are active in 2014. This demographic is ultimately responsible for conducting its own tax assessments and calculating repayments, and many have found themselves impacted by a fundamental lack of knowledge and awareness. It is important that you look to reduce your tax debt quickly, while also keeping a level head and avoiding such issues in the future. Consider the following steps towards achieving these goals.
1. Understand the nature of your debt and identify key resources.
Before you can start to diminish your tax debt, it is first important to understand its nature. Just as there are multiple tax laws and codes, so too there are several different types of debt and methods of potential repayment. Understanding the full extent and structure of your debt is crucial, as from there you can determine the best and most expeditious resolution. If you are looking for a place to start, consider contacting your country’s revenue and customs regulatory body or an independent website for more impartial advice.
2. Create a clearly defined plan of action.
Once you have researched your debt liability and all viable resolutions, you can begin to create a clearly defined plan of action. This can include one or several points, so long as they are relevant to your debt and help you to move towards a resolution. It is crucial that your plan includes maintaining open lines of communication with the governing tax authority, as this enables you to discuss your options and agree on an amicable solution. Whether this involves making estimated quarterly repayments while your case is being investigated further, requesting a payment extension or scheduling installments, you will at least be able to create a foundation from which your tax debt can be diminished.
3. Ensure that your plan is practical and manageable over Time
Once you have established a plan that is agreeable with the governing tax authorities, the next step is to ensure that this is manageable over time. Execution is critical, as even the most detailed and proactive plan of repayment is meaningless unless it can be sustained. So even if you have managed to negotiate an amicable installment plan to settle your tax debt, for example, you must carefully analyze your income and existing repayments to ensure that this is viable. The same principle applies if you commit to making estimated quarterly repayments, while anyone who requests an extension must guarantee that they can meet the full cost of their debt and any affiliated interest within the specified time frame.
4. Seek help from a tax debt professional before executing your plan.
When dealing with a governing tax body such as the IRS or HMRC, it is absolutely imperative that you deal in precise fact and meet deadlines without fail. Even though authorities such as the IRS remain flexible and are willing to allow payment extensions of up-to 120 days, for example, the failure to repay within this time frame will be met with a far more serious response. Given the need to comply with tax legislation and ensure that you make repayments according to exact terms of your agreement, it may be worth seeking advice from a tax debt professional before your finalize and execute your plan. While this may require an initial investment, it will potentially help you to reduce the cost of your repayments and make longer-term tax savings.
5. Learn from previous mistakes and change your behavior for the future.
On this note, it is also important that you look to learn from your mistakes and ensure that you do not incur future tax liability. Acquiring knowledge is key, so you should also look to review individual income streams and how your earnings are structured in relation to tax. If you are someone who looks to boost your income though financial trading and speculation, for example, you may want to consider considering investing in derivatives that are free from capital gains tax. In the UK and similar European countries, any earnings generated through activities such as currency trading are ineligible for taxation, as these practices are categorized as informed gambling. So long as this is not your sole or primary source of income and you are able to access a real-time price chart while trading, it is therefore possible to maximize your earnings without falling foul of tax legislation.
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