10 Worst Mistakes to Make on Your Taxes

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How the IRS Works

How the IRS Works

The IRS or Internal Revenue Service handles taxes. Learn about the history of the IRS and how it enforces taxes.

Author's Note: 10 Worst Mistakes to Make On Your Taxes

Nobody hates Tax Day quite as much as the self-employed. As a freelance writer, I don't have a "boss," which is awesome 364 days of the year. The one benefit of having a boss is that your income taxes are subtly skimmed from each paycheck. In fact, it's easy to forget that you're paying taxes at all until April 15 rolls around and Uncle Sam owes you a big fat refund check. For us freelancers, the exact opposite is true. When we get paid, no taxes are withheld. Once the money is in the bank, we pay the mortgage and buy the groceries and think that everything is super-duper until Tax Day rolls around and — BAM! — we have to pay the entire year's taxes all at once. To be honest, that's the not the way it's supposed to work. In fact, the IRS insists that freelancers, contractors and other self-employed folks file quarterly estimated taxes. There's a small penalty if you don't, but the bigger punishment is writing a huge check in April for money that may or may not be in the bank. After years of April agony, we've finally boarded the estimated taxes train. Now our tax pain is spread out in four equally irritating installments. Thank you, IRS.

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