It’s All About Preparation

A few friendly tax tips from Pasadena’s tax expert

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 8:55 pm

One can never be too prepared. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, a hike in the woods, or preparing one’s taxes, preparation is the key. Pasadena’s Oscar Palmer of Palmer Tax Service would be the first to tell you that.

“The first tip that I would give anybody is to try and understand their taxes, and that means speaking and asking questions with your tax preparer,” urged Palmer.

“Be part of the process, understand the law, the credits that are being applied for you and whatever you may think you’re entitled to. I get a lot of new clients and they’d say, ‘Just do it how he/she did it.” Or ‘Do it how they did it.’ And I don’t really think they understand what the other person did.”

In the end, Palmer reminds us, “the person filing is going to be responsible for their taxable liability.” That means being aware of any changes that may have happened with your income for any given tax year.

“It’s not a bad idea mid-year or towards the end of the year to get a little sneak peek of what your taxes are going to look like,” add Palmer. While you may reserve thinking about taxes for one month out of the year only, it wouldn’t hurt to get a head start, right?

Palmer continued, “I would look at last year’s tax return as a starting point and compare it with income invoices like paycheck stubs, and use the year to date figures. Then they can project pretty accurately their taxable liability.”

People who work for companies with a Human Resources department should be able to obtain those records easily, he added.

One thing to be mindful of Palmer reminded us, is to check your filing status carefully. “If you have a family” he explained, “your status can either be single, married, head of household, or married filing separately. If there is a family household change within the year, kids getting older and beginning to work or you have a family relative now living with you, ones filing status can possibly change and thus should your tax withholdings.”

Another important consideration, of course, is the amount of your withholdings during the year, says Palmer.

“It’s what you tell your job on the W-4 form that will determine how much taxes will be taken out” said Palmer. “You could have them take out a set amount or you can have them take out a percentage based on your current situation.”

And of course, communication is key, says Palmer. “You should be in contact with your tax preparer any time you make a change on your withholdings to make sure that you are taking advantage of any credits that are available to you.”

And for those people who wish to simply prepare and file their own taxes?

Palmer laughs, “I would say that that’s fine. There are some really simple tax returns and the online market I think has taken care of that. You can do your taxes for free if they are that simple, on the state of California website, and that’s great. If you are a student or young adult you lives with their parent, I would speak with your parents before doing their own return. If you have a house, a business or a profession with business expenses then I do not recommend preparing your own taxes.”

And that’s where he comes in.

Palmer’s Income Tax is at 209 S Rosemead Blvd, Pasadena. (626) 584-6666.


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