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Things we can learn from Rev. Al Sharpton's tax issues

It is fair to say that the life of the average tax payer does not resemble that of civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton. That said, tax issues such as those he is currently facing are something that people throughout the nation, including the state of California, encounter fairly regularly. Accordingly, there are likely things that tax payers from all backgrounds can take away from his situation. 

The first is to keep good records. While maintaining good records can get you out of a difficult tax situation it might also prevent it completely. For example, such records could prove that the deductions you claimed are in fact legitimate. Next, you should keep work and business expenses separate. The best way to accomplish this is to make sure the business is not paying for and therefore owning, personal items. The deductions take in these situations can lead to problems.

If you do face a lien, as both Sharpton and his businesses do, the best course of action is to have them removed. This is accomplished one of two ways. First, by paying back all that is owed including taxes, penalties and interest. Liens could also be removed after a bond is posted that guarantees payment. Which approach is best depends on the specific situation.

If you do face a tax controversy you probably don’t want to do so alone. Consulting a tax attorney for assistance could make a difference in the outcome of your case. It is likely that Sharpton has done this very thing.

Source: Forbes, “Lessons From Rev. Al Sharpton's $4.5 Million Tax Bill,” Robert W. Wood, Nov. 19, 2014

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