Chances are that if you have student loans, you need every bit of extra cash that you can get. Did you realize that your student loans might be able to generate some cash for you? Under certain circumstances, you may be able to save on your tax bill by deducting the interest that you pay
Taxpayers tend to shy away from taking the home office deduction, assuming that they will be targeted for increased scrutiny from the IRS. That is certainly possible, especially if your deductions are unusually large – but if you truly were entitled to the deduction, why wouldn’t you take it? You may feel that you have
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget has been cut by $2.5 billion from 2010 to 2018, and it now has 22,000 fewer employees than it did in 2010, making IRS customer service challenging, to say the least. The IRS subjected 8.8 million taxpayers to “courtesy disconnects” through the 2015 tax-filing season that ended in mid-2016.
Claiming dependents on your taxes is usually a fairly straightforward procedure, but in some cases, more than one person (or couple filing jointly) will claim someone as a dependent, muddying the process. The most common example is when divorced or separated parents both want to claim their children as dependents for tax purposes. Dependents can
Your smartphone is probably full of fun apps, but we have one more app to add to help you deal with a painful task: your taxes. Did you know that the IRS has a free smartphone app to help taxpayers handle basic tax-related functions? They do, and it has been in existence since 2011. The
Are you tired of working for others? Being your own boss can be very rewarding both financially and spiritually, but there are challenges associated with freelance work. Taxes are one of the most difficult aspects because self-employment brings a special set of tests. Freelancers work as independent contractors and those who employ them are not
The Premium Tax Credit (PTC) may sound like it is a credit only available to top-tier incomes, but it is actually quite the opposite. “Premium” in this case refers to health care premiums, and the PTC is a way to help those with relatively low incomes to afford health insurance premiums and avoid the potential
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 cut taxes for many Americans and changed the tax bracket structure. Did you check your withholding and adjust to take any likely tax bill changes into account? According to a study from tax preparer H&R Block, you probably didn’t – and there’s a good chance you don’t
Nightmare: you’ve been called to a meeting with an IRS agent to discuss your tax return, and you can’t afford professional help. Did you know that you could have someone help you at low cost or even free? It’s one of your rights as a U.S. taxpayer. You may know about the Bill of Rights,
If you are over age 65 or are retired due to a disability, you may be eligible for a separate tax credit designed to help the nation’s seniors and disabled. Even better than a deduction, the Senior Tax Credit for the Elderly and Disabled could take up to $7,500 directly off of your tax bill.
What will you do with your tax refund? We hope you have something fun in mind, but a new survey suggests that you might use it to pay bills instead. The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) recently released baseline survey results for their U.S. Financial Health Pulse, a study designed to assess and track
The IRS recommends that you keep tax records for at least three years from the date you filed your original return, and longer for special situations. You may need copies of your tax returns for tasks like filing future years’ taxes, applying for a mortgage loan or student aid, or settling IRS inquiries. How to
Married couples have the choice of filing their taxes jointly or separately. What is the best option for you and your spouse? Generally, it is to file jointly – but there are several factors to consider before making your choice. Obviously, the first hurdle is that you have to be married. For tax purposes, you
Congratulations! You’ve got your first major job. Unfortunately, you’ve also got new tax obligations. Welcome to the workforce. You probably want to deal with your taxes as quickly as possible. Most people do, regardless of their age. Unfortunately, if you breeze through tax forms, you might miss potential money-saving strategies like the ones below. 1.
To pay someone to figure out how much you have to pay the government seems like adding insult to injury. For many taxpayers, there’s an easier way. Formed in 2003, IRS Free File is the product of a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a group of twelve online tax software suppliers that form
If you’re a traditional employee, every year you receive a W-2 form from your employer that records your earnings for the year and the amount of taxes withheld from those earnings. IRS 1099 forms are complements to the W-2 form for non-traditional employee relationships. They are generally designed to record sources of income that have
Nobody enjoys a tax audit, but should you fear receiving one in any given year? Generally, the answer is no. According to the 2017 IRS data book, the agency audited nearly 934,000 tax returns during the 2017 fiscal year (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017) – only 0.6% of the total individual
Every direct employee of a company should receive a W-2 form in January. The W-2 is the base document that defines your tax obligations, so it is important that you review and understand yours. However, some people are confused by some of the form’s numbers — for example, why the wage listed on a W-2
To paraphrase the old adage, there are only three absolutes in life: death, taxes, and the rise of scams during tax season. A major tax scam since 2013 involves phone calls by fictional IRS agents that demand immediate payment for alleged tax debts, threatening lawsuits or even jail time to those who refused to comply.
Early Birds Should Be Careful Have you been waiting patiently to file your taxes? If so, you’re in luck. The 2019 tax season is now underway. January 28, 2019, was the first day that the IRS would accept tax returns for the 2018 tax year, either electronic or paper copies. (You can mail in paper
Tax filing season is upon us. Soon you will be filing your paperwork and perhaps receiving a nice check — unless thieves file a return in your name first and falsely claim your refund. Unfortunately, if a thief has your Social Security number and other relevant information, tax identity theft is very hard to prevent.
While many deductions were cut or modified with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, most tax credits were retained. Tax credits are more powerful than tax deductions because they directly subtract from your tax bill (deductions only reduce taxable income). Refundable tax credits are even better, since refunds can be greater
Are you ready to cut your tax bill as much as possible? Consider these thirteen ways to keep your contributions to Uncle Sam as low as possible. 1. Filing Status – Are you filing under the correct status? It’s usually best for couples to file jointly, but married couples filing separate returns could
Should you itemize deductions or take the standard deduction for tax year 2018 (the taxes you will file in early 2019)? Recent tax legislation has made the standard deduction the best option for many, but don’t assume that is true for you. With today’s sophisticated tax software, it’s relatively easy to calculate your itemized deductions
One of the most controversial provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was the limit it placed on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. The TCJA capped the deduction on combined payments for state and local property, sales, and income taxes at $10,000 beginning in the 2018 tax year. According to the
Is it tax time already? You may not want to admit it, but tax time starts well before the filing deadline. Your important tax forms start arriving in the mail in January. If you simply let them accumulate in a pile, it will be April before you realize it, and you will be scrambling around,
Identity thieves have many ways to steal your money – including fraudulent tax returns. They file a return in your name as early as possible to beat your legitimate return, with fake financial data designed to claim a large refund. You won’t realize this until your tax return is denied because there’s already been a
The holiday season is full of plans and activities that make December incredibly hectic. If you are the average American, tax considerations and financial adjustments are pretty low on your holiday to-do list. However, you are not the average American — you enjoy saving money, are diligent in seeking ways to save, and excellent at
By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm Federal law protects Social Security and retirement incomes from garnishment by almost all collectors. But what about the IRS and student loan debts? The IRS and public student loan lenders can and occasionally will garnish 15% of a senior’s Social Security income. There is much information
Uh-oh. You didn’t pay your taxes by the deadline. You’re facing late payment penalties – but, believe it or not, you may be able to convince the IRS to waive those penalties. It’s not well publicized, but the IRS does have a First Time Penalty Abatement (FTA) Policy. The FTA only applies for a single