Is It Normal To Owe Taxes Every Year?

Taxes are mandatory payments that are collected by the government in order to finance public services and initiatives. We owe taxes every year because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires us to pay our tax liabilities, which are generally calculated based on our annual income.

The amount of taxes owed depends on an individual's income level and filing status, as well as other factors such as deductions and credits. For those who earn a high income, taxes can become quite hefty; however, there are certain strategies that can help reduce the burden of paying taxes every year.

How Does The IRS Calculate Our Tax Liability?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calculates our tax liability based on a variety of factors. First, it requires us to understand our entity type: whether we're an employee, sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, or something else. This helps the IRS determine how to process our taxes and which laws apply.

Once we know that, we can figure out our taxable income after subtracting any applicable deductions. That yields our gross tax liability amount, which is then modified by any credits we may qualify for in order to arrive at our total tax obligation. It's paramount to stay informed about the fluctuating rules set by the IRS in order to accurately compute one’s taxes year after year.

IRS form

Common Reasons Why People Owe Taxes Every Year

There are a few common reasons why people owe taxes every year:

1. Underestimating tax liability: Some individuals may not accurately predict their tax liability, especially if they have additional sources of income such as investments, rental properties, or freelance work. This can result in owing taxes when the final tax bill comes due.

2. Insufficient tax withholding: If a person does not have enough taxes withheld from their paychecks or income throughout the year, they may owe taxes when it's time to file their tax return.

3. Other income sources: Receiving income from a variety of sources can complicate tax calculations and increase the likelihood of owing taxes. Other income sources could include gambling winnings, unemployment benefits, or selling assets that have appreciated in value.

4. Itemized deductions: Some individuals may itemize their deductions instead of taking the standard deduction, which can increase the chance of owing taxes. Examples of itemized deductions include mortgage interest, charitable donations, and medical expenses.

5. Self-employment taxes: Self-employed individuals must pay both the employee and employer portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes, which can significantly increase their tax liability.

6. Changes in tax laws: Tax laws can change from year to year, and sometimes without much notice. This can affect deductions, credits, and exemptions, potentially resulting in a higher tax bill for some taxpayers.

It's important to note that owing taxes is not always a sign of financial mismanagement or irresponsibility. Sometimes circumstances beyond a person's control can impact their tax liability. However, it's always a good idea to regularly review your tax withholding and work with a qualified tax professional to ensure that you're accurately estimating and preparing for your tax liabilities.

Tips On Avoiding Paying Taxes Unnecessarily

1. Stay informed of changing tax laws: As mentioned above, tax laws can change from year to year, so it's important to stay up to date on any changes that could potentially affect your taxes.

2. Have enough withheld from your paycheck: Make sure you're having the correct amount withheld from your paychecks and income throughout the year. You can use the IRS’s withholding calculator to help you determine how much should be withheld.

3. Make estimated tax payments: If you receive income from sources other than traditional wages, such as investments or self-employment income, it's important to make estimated tax payments throughout the year to avoid owing taxes at the end of the year.

4. Consider itemizing: Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to lower your tax bill by itemizing deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.

5. Invest in retirement accounts: Contributing to a 401(k) or IRA is one of the best ways to reduce your taxable income and avoid owing taxes.

6. Donate to charity: Charitable donations are tax-deductible, so make sure to keep track of all donations and receipts in case you need them for your taxes.

7. Take advantage of other credits: There are a number of federal and state credits available that can reduce or even eliminate certain types of taxes. Make sure to research and take advantage of any applicable credits that could help lower your tax bill.

Owing taxes is not always avoidable, but it's important to stay informed and proactive when it comes to preparing for and filing your taxes. With the right planning and preparation, you can minimize or even eliminate any potential tax liabilities.  

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Taxes On Time?

Failing to pay your taxes on time can result in some undesirable consequences. You may be charged with penalties and interests on your overdue taxes as well as late fees for submitting them late. If you’ve had trouble managing past payments, the IRS can choose to electronically deduct funds from your bank account, making it difficult for you to access the money you need for basic expenses.

Additionally, if the debt is still unpaid after a certain amount of time, the IRS could even file a tax lien – meaning they can collect your assets until the debt is repaid in full. In any case, it’s important to make sure that you remain up-to-date with all of your payments so that you’re not facing severe consequences. If the taxpayer is unable to pay due to a hardship, there may be options according to Alford Sink.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, owing taxes every year is a normal part of having a job and reaching financial stability. While it may feel disheartening to pay up, keep in mind that it's just nature taking its course and that you are doing the right thing by paying your dues and helping society run efficiently. The best way to successfully handle tax season every year is to be prepared mentally and financially by setting aside money or planning out strategies before tax season rolls around.

Make sure to always follow IRS guidelines and regulations when filing away taxes and you'll never find yourself shortchanged when it's time to hand over the money due. With these tips, you can make tax season as stress-free as possible. For further guidance on taxes, seek help from tax professional advice tailored to your specific situation.

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