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You’ve probably heard horror stories year after year during tax season when taxpayers feel they’ve lost thousands upon thousands of their hard earned money to the IRS, but this year just may take the cake. There are many new things to consider when filing your taxes in 2015 due to several new issues to consider such as The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It is true that each year there are tax uncertainties that exist but even the IRS commissioner expressed concern regarding this particular season. So what are some significant pointers to take into account in order to avoid any trouble with the IRS?

Here are 5 ways to try and steer clear:

  1. Ask your tax preparer to tell you all there is to know about Obamacare. You should know about the coverage requirements and possible penalties you may be facing due to not having the required minimum health care coverage, unless your or one of your dependents happens to be exempt.
  2. It is beneficial that all self-employed individuals such as freelancers, independent contractors, and sales consultants, to name a few, remember that they are a business. Improperly filing your tax returns or not filing at all could lead to a very expensive problem with the IRS. You should be properly keeping records throughout the year of all financial transactions that apply to your line of work or business. To avoid large payment amounts, you should stay on top of your estimated tax payments each quarter in order to lessen the blow at the end of each year.
  3. Same-sex marriages have increased since June 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court defined the Defense of Marriage Act heterosexual-only. Consult with your state tax office before you file to see if it is accepted that you file a married filing jointly return even if your particular state doesn’t recognize same sex marriages. This will ensure that you are filing in an acceptable form to your state’s department.
  4. For individuals who have not filed a tax return in quite some time, it is never too late to file. As a taxpayer you should file all required returns that are past due to avoid additional penalties and interest. You can always call your state’s department to obtain old tax forms that you have lost over the years.
  5. Lastly, be aware of tax scams! Learn how to recognize and avoid them. The IRS offers plenty educational material to help you avoid illegal schemes such as avoiding to pay your taxes and what penalties and interest can come of it.