Tax Tips For Individuals
Tax Incentives for Higher Education
The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are paying higher education costs or are repaying student loans. You may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Check Withholding to Avoid a Tax Surprise
If you owed tax last year or received a large refund you may want to adjust your tax withholding. Owing tax at the end of the year could result in penalties being assessed. 5 Tips For Early Preparation
Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes. The IRS encourages everyone to get a head start on tax preparation. Not only do you avoid the last-minute rush, early filers also get a faster refund. Amended Returns
Oops! You’ve discovered an error after your tax return has been filed. What should you do? You may need to amend your return. Filing an Extension
If you can’t meet the April 15 deadline to file your tax return, you can get an automatic six month extension of time to file from the IRS. The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork in to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have paid less than 90 percent of your total tax by that date. Car Donations
The IRS reminds taxpayers that specific rules apply for taking a tax deduction for donating cars to charities. Charitable Contributions
When preparing to file your federal tax return, don’t forget your contributions to charitable organizations. Your donations can add up to a nice tax deduction if you itemize on IRS Form 1040, Schedule A. Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEVs)
Internal Revenue Code Section 30D provides a credit for Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles including passenger vehicles and light trucks. Earned Income Tax Credit for Certain Workers
Millions of Americans forgo critical tax relief each year by failing to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit for individuals who work but do not earn high incomes. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund. Refinancing Your Home
Taxpayers who refinanced their homes may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans. Credit for the Elderly or Disabled
You may be able to take the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled if you were age 65 or older at the end of last year, or if you are retired on permanent and total disability, according to the IRS. Selling Your Home
If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return. Foreign Income
With more and more United States citizens earning money from foreign sources, the IRS reminds people that they must report all such income on their tax return, unless it is exempt under federal law. U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income. Deductible Taxes
Did you know that you may be able to deduct certain taxes on your federal income tax return? The IRS says you can if you file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Deductions decrease the amount of income subject to taxation. Gift Giving
If you gave any one person gifts valued at more than $14,000, it is necessary to report the total gift to the Internal Revenue Service. You may even have to pay tax on the gift. Marriage or Divorce
Newlyweds and the recently divorced should make sure that names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could unexpectedly increase a tax bill or reduce the size of any refund. Affordable Care Act
The individual shared responsibility provision requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance, a health coverage exemption, or make a payment when you file. If you, your spouse and dependents had health insurance coverage all year, you will indicate this by simply checking a box on your tax return. Filing Deadline and Payment Options
If you’re trying to beat the tax deadline, there are several options for last-minute help. If you need a form or publication, you can download copies from the IRS Forms page under Tax Tools on our website. If you find you need more time to finish your return, you can get a six month extension of time to file using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. And if you have trouble paying your tax bill, the IRS has several payment options available. Refund, Where’s My Refund?
Are you expecting a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service this year? If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return. If you file your return electronically, your refund should be issued in about half the time it would take if you filed a paper return even faster when you choose direct deposit. Ten Ways to Avoid Problems at Tax Time
Looking for ways to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? The IRS offers these tips. The Tax Advocate Service, Provided by the IRS
Have you tried everything to resolve a tax problem with the IRS but are still experiencing delays? Are you facing what you consider to be an economic burden or hardship due to IRS collection or other actions? If so, you can seek the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Tips and Taxes
Do you work at a hair salon, barber shop, casino, golf course, hotel or restaurant or drive a taxicab? The tip income you receive as an employee from those services is taxable income, advises the IRS.
Tax Tips For Businesses
Domestic Production Deduction
If your business is engaged in a qualifying production activity you may be able to take a tax deduction for your U.S. based business activities. Organizational and Start Up Costs
Have you just started a new business? Did you know expenses incurred before a business begins operations are not allowed as current deductions? Business or Hobby?
It is generally accepted that people prefer to make a living doing something they like. A hobby is an activity for which you do not expect to make a profit. If you do not carry on your business or investment activity to make a profit, there is a limit on the deductions you can take. Business Eligibility for Schedule C-EZ
Your business may have become eligible to use the abbreviated Schedule C-EZ instead of the longer Schedule C when reporting business profit and loss on your federal income tax return, according to the IRS. Deductible Home Offices
Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction. Filing Deadline and Payment Options
If you’re trying to beat the tax deadline, there are several options for last-minute help. If you need a form or publication, you can download copies from the IRS Forms page under Tax Tools on our website. If you find you need more time to finish your return, you can get a five or six month extension of time to file using Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns. And if you have trouble paying your tax bill, the IRS has several payment options available. Refund, Where’s My Refund?
Are you expecting a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service this year? If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return. If you file your return electronically, your refund should be issued in about half the time it would take if you filed a paper return even faster when you choose direct deposit. Your Appeal Rights
Are you in the middle of a disagreement with the IRS? One of the guaranteed rights for all taxpayers is the right to appeal. If you disagree with the IRS about the amount of your tax liability or about proposed collection actions, you have the right to ask the IRS Appeals Office to review your case. Information About IRS Notices
It’s a moment any taxpayer dreads. An envelope arrives from the IRS and it’s not a refund check. But don’t panic. Many IRS letters can be dealt with simply and painlessly. Charitable Contributions
When preparing to file your federal tax return, don’t forget your contributions to charitable organizations. Your donations (up to 10% of taxable income) can add up to a nice tax deduction for your corporation.
Tax Tips For Finance
Tax Saving Techniques
Some generally recognized financial planning tools that may help you reduce your tax bill. Deducting Mortgage Interest
If you own a home, you can claim a deduction for the interest paid. To be deductible, the interest you pay must be on a loan secured by your main home or a second home. The loan can be a first or second mortgage, a home improvement loan, or a home equity loan. Capital Gains and Losses
Almost everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure or investment is a capital asset. The IRS says when you sell a capital asset, such as stocks, the difference between the amount you sell it for and your basis, which is usually what you paid for it, is a capital gain or a capital loss. While you must report all capital gains, you may deduct only your capital losses on investment property, not personal property. Coverdell Savings Accounts
A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is a savings account created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses. IRA Contributions
If you haven’t contributed funds to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) for last tax year, or if you’ve put in less than the maximum allowed, you still have time to do so. You can contribute to either a traditional or Roth IRA until the April 15 due date for filing your tax return for last year, not including extensions. ROTH IRA Contributions
Confused about whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA? The IRS suggests checking these simple rule.
Storing tax records: How long is long enough?
April 15 has come and gone and another year of tax forms and shoeboxes full of receipts is behind us. But what should be done with those documents after your check or refund request is in the mail?
Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the “three-year law” and leads many people to believe they’re safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.
However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.
Business Records To Keep1 Year
ForeverPersonal Records To Keep