Loading
Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Taxes

Jun 28, 2018 Many people dread tax season. But if you're expecting a tax refund, at least you'll have something to look forward to. With your extra funds, you may be able to buy a new car or pay off some debt. Wondering when your refund will arrive in your mailbox or bank account? We'll fill you in on the tax refund schedule and how long it takes for the IRS to issue refunds. Read More...

May 21, 2018 In December 2017, President Trump signed the new tax plan into law. While this new plan will result in some immediate changes to the tax code, it will not affect the way you file federal income taxes until the 2018 tax year, which you will file in early 2019. (If you're preparing for next year, you can read this article for all of the details on the Trump tax plan and how it could impact you.) As you prepare to file your 2017 taxes, let’s take a look at the federal income tax brackets. Read More...

Jun 29, 2018 Update: Many of the tax changes went into effect in January 2018 (though they didn't impact the 2017 taxes you filed in April 2018) and employees should have seen changes to their paychecks starting in February 2018. Earlier: President Trump signed the tax bill into law on Dec. 22, 2017. This came after the House passed the final version of the tax reform bill on Dec. 20, 2017, with a final tally of 224-201. Twelve House GOP members opposed the legislation and no Democrats voted for it. Originally, the House passed the bill on Dec. 19. A re-vote was necessary because several provisions of the bill reportedly violated Senate rules and needed to be removed. The Senate passed the corrected version of the bill in the early morning hours of December 20, voting 51-48 along party lines.  Read More...

May 21, 2018 In December 2017, President Trump signed the new tax plan into law. While most of the changes from the plan went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, they will not affect taxpayers when they file their federal income taxes by April 17, 2018. However, some parts of the tax plan applied retroactively. A small number of taxpayers saw changes to their 2017 taxes as a result. There are also a couple of changes that won’t take full effect until 2019. Let’s take a look at when the provisions of the tax plan will take effect. Read More...

Jun 28, 2018 Filing your taxes yourself has never been easier. As long as you have internet access, you can submit your tax return from the comfort of your couch. In fact, according to the IRS, 92% of tax returns were e-filed in 2017 and over 51 million were filed from home. Before you get started, however, you'll have to choose which online tax software to trust with all your financial details. That's not always easy. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Scoring as many tax breaks as possible can make the filing process a little easier to bear, especially if you end up getting a big refund or owing less money to Uncle Sam. Claiming tax credits and deductions can go a long way toward shrinking your income tax bill. But they work in very different ways. Here's a quick breakdown of the difference between tax credits and deductions. Read More...

Aug 08, 2018 The first-time home buyer tax credit emerged during the 2008 financial crisis to help make buying a home more affordable for Americans. Though various other mortgage programs and loans exist, the tax provision here is strictly for first-time home buyers. Simply put, it offers home buyers a significant tax credit for the year in which they purchased their home. Read More...

Aug 02, 2018 When you're filing your taxes, there's a whole lot to consider. From figuring out who counts as a dependent to organizing your income streams, you may find the process a bit overwhelming. And if you're a new homeowner tackling mortgage payments, there's another key question you'll want to know the answer to this tax season as you try to lower your tax liability: Are closing costs deductible on your recent home purchase? Below, we give you the rundown: Read More...

Jul 19, 2018 State and local taxes (SALT) are a frustrating part of living in a high-tax locale. Before the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, which ushered in sweeping tax legislation overhaul, Americans could deduct state and local taxes, including income and property taxes, from their federal income taxes. Under the new tax law, that deduction has been capped at $10,000. This change will disproportionately affect residents who pay high state and local taxes. Read More...

Jun 18, 2018 After you accept a job offer, your new employer will ask you to fill out a W-4 form. These two-page, fill-in-the-blank style contracts are not nearly as daunting as they may look. In fact, when you complete them honestly and correctly, they may very well end up saving you thousands of dollars come tax day. Here's how they work. Read More...

Jul 25, 2018 If you’re getting a divorce, the tax implications probably are not the most pressing issue in your mind. The specifics of filing taxes after divorce and how you draw up your divorce agreement could make a big difference when it comes to  your tax refund. As you prepare for life after your divorce, here are things to think about so you can stay on top of your taxes. Read More...

May 29, 2018 Earning dividends is a great incentive for investing in certain companies or mutual funds. Dividends are particularly useful for people who need to add to their retirement savings. However, you will need to pay tax on any dividends you receive. Your dividend tax rate will depend on what type of dividends you have, how much you made from those dividends and how much other income you have. Read More...

May 29, 2018 Filing federal income taxes means getting a refund for many Americans. The average tax refund, according to the IRS, was $2,763 in 2017. That’s a nice chunk of change to get back, but what if you need the money before the IRS sends your refund? Life happens and if you can’t wait for your tax refund, you may want to consider a tax refund loan. It functions like other short-term loans but the loan amount is based on your refund amount. A loan isn’t always the best option, though. Refund advances are also a popular alternative. Let’s take a look at whether you should consider a tax refund loan and where you can get one. Read More...

May 22, 2018 Once you've gone through the burdensome process of filing your taxes, your sigh of relief might be short-lived. That's because you'll start tapping your feet and wondering, "How long does it take to get a tax refund?" But as excited as you may be to get that refund check from your federal income tax return, you may be disappointed with IRS processing times. So as you plan your budget for the year, let's look at how long it will take to get your federal tax refund. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 President Donald Trump signed a law dramatically overhauling the U.S. tax code in 2017. The law will result in changes to what many Americans pay income taxes, including creating new tax brackets. The new tax law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, but it doesn't affect the 2017 taxes that you will file in 2018. Instead it will be in effect for your 2018 taxes, meaning when you file your tax return in 2019 it will be based on the new Trump tax brackets.  Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Tax season can be stressful but the saving grace is that many tax filers will receive a refund. In January 2018, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) revealed that more than 70% of tax filers are expected to receive refunds after filing their federal income tax returns. Many people even count on a refund to help them pay down debt or cover bills early in the year. That means a delayed refund can cause problems for some. Let’s look at common reasons for a tax refund delay and how you may be able to prevent it. Read More...

Apr 11, 2018 When you file your federal income taxes, you have the choice between taking the standard deduction and itemizing your deductions. Which you choose should depend on which strategy will maximize your tax benefits. Your calculations may also have changed recently because of the new tax plan passed by President Trump and Congressional Republicans. Here’s a look at who should itemize under the new tax plan. Read More...

Apr 03, 2018 The IRS recently reminded taxpayers that cryptocurrency transactions, which the agency refers to as virtual currency transactions, must be reported on income tax returns. Because cryptocurrency is a new frontier for many, we’ve listed a few helpful hints to keep in mind as you sort out your tax situation if you've made transactions using Bitcoin or other digital currencies. Failure to report these transactions on your tax return can result in penalties and interest, along with substantial fines. Read More...

May 21, 2018 When you file your federal income tax return, you can check the status of your refund by visiting the IRS website or its mobile app. However, each state has its own process for handling state income taxes. If you expect a refund, your state may take only a few days to process it or the state may take a few months. There is no hard-and-fast rule but you can expect paper returns taking significantly longer to process than e-filed returns. Luckily, each state with an income tax also has an online system that lets you check the status of your state tax refund. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 When filing federal income taxes, everyone has to choose a filing status. There are five filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and qualifying widow/er with dependent child. Most people are only eligible for one or two of the statuses and your status is likely to change at some point in your life. One common change is going from filing single to filing married. In this article, let's look at how your tax situation could change when your filing status changes from single to married. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Everyone filing federal income taxes for the 2017 tax year will need to get their returns in by the filing deadline. There is one general date by which most filers need to get returns in. You may have a different deadline if you filed for an extension or if you are a corporation. Here's a rundown of all the deadlines you need to keep track of. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Most tax experts would argue that it's better to adjust your withholding than owing taxes or getting a big tax refund at tax time. However, many Americans actually look forward to scoring some extra cash. If you're going to get a check from Uncle Sam, you want to make sure you get the most money back possible. Taking advantage of every possible tax break can minimize your tax liability and potentially snag a larger tax refund. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're preparing your tax return. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 If filing your federal income taxes has you filled with apprehension, you may want to find a tax filing service to help you. The right service will not only take the pain out of filing your taxes, but it will also give you confidence by helping you understand the process. Different people will want different features from a tax filing service, but there are a few things you should always look for. For example, you want responsive technical support no matter how much you know about taxes. Below are six things you should look for when choosing a tax filing service. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 After filing your federal income taxes, the wait for your tax refund is on. But you might want to take a step back before you spend that "extra" money. It helps to have a plan for how you'll spend. That way, you can avoid blowing the whole refund on things you don't really need. There are ways to spend that cash to better your financial situation, especially in the long run. Read More...

May 18, 2018 If you own an investment property and collect rent from your tenants, it's important to declare that rental income on your taxes. You can, however, deduct expenses you incur to maintain your rental property. In other words, becoming a landlord for the first time will make filing your taxes more complicated. Read on to find out more about the taxes on rental income.  Read More...

May 18, 2018 When you start a new job, there's a lot of paperwork to fill out, from direct deposit documents and benefits enrollments to various tax forms. But when you're a contractor or self-employed, income taxes work a little differently with different forms and processes. You will still have to report your earnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The companies that use your services will have to report your earnings to the IRS, too. That’s where the W-9 form comes in. Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 Hollywood and New York City probably come to mind when you think about the places with the most million-dollar earners. While location plays a part in how much money you earn, there are other factors that can help you reach millionaire status. Plenty of patient saving is most likely required. Many people seek professional advice from a financial advisor to help them make the best decisions about their finances. Below, we looked at the unique economic profiles of each state through IRS data to find the states with the most million-dollar earners. Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 With the new year starting, it’s just about the time to file your federal tax return. But there’s no need to get stressed out. Tax filing services are making it easier than ever to file your taxes. You will need to choose between those filing service though. So in this article, let's compare two of the largest tax filers: TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer. Read More...

Jan 31, 2018 For most people, the only fun part of doing your taxes is getting your tax refund. Not everyone receives a refund. Technically speaking, tax refund is money you overpaid in taxes, meaning it was always your money and the government was just "borrowing" it for a while. Regardless, it always feels good to get a large check. Below we look at this topic at a state level, to determine which states have the largest average income tax refund. Read More...

May 21, 2018 The start of a new year means it’s time to file your federal tax return. Many people stress about filing taxes but there are a number of tax filing services nowadays to make the process easier. Two of the most well-known services are H&R Block and TurboTax. They both offer a friendly user-experience. They provide information along the way so you understand what you're doing. And perhaps most importantly, they both offer affordable filing options. But which of these services should you use when you file this year? Read More...

Jan 17, 2018 Many taxpayers fret over where their hard-earned money goes once they've paid their share of taxes. This is true for residents of all states. But some states get a better deal when it comes to income taxes paid and benefits received. These states, and their economies, rely on the federal government for support to a greater extent than other states. Below we rank the states most dependent on the federal government. Read More...

Jan 10, 2018 Many Americans try to reduce the stress of filing taxes by using online tax software or hiring an accountant. In some states getting this tax help is easier than others due to more affordable rates for accountants and better internet access. Below we look at the states where it's easiest to get help during tax season. Read More...

May 21, 2018 The majority of U.S. states charge a sales tax on retail goods and services. New York state is no different. The state's sales tax is relatively low but once you add on taxes from individual counties and cities, it can add up to a substantial chunk of change. Read on as we explain what New York sales tax is and how it differs across the state. Read More...

Dec 29, 2017 In late December, President Trump signed sweeping tax legislation into law. Under the new law, taxpayers can only deduct $10,000 in combined  property taxes and other state and local taxes (SALT) from their federal taxes. This change will go into effect in January 2018, meaning it will impact the 2018 taxes that you file in April 2019. The cap on the SALT deduction is a cause for concern for many homeowners in high-tax states. To lessen the impact, some of these homeowners are eager to prepay property taxes for 2018 by December 31 in order to deduct them from their 2017 tax bill. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Governments, at all levels, may charge sales tax for goods and services. Retailers collect sales tax at the point of sale on their goods and then they send their collections to the government. Currently, 45 states charge sales tax with some counties and cities charging their own taxes. No state has quite perfected the art of sales tax like California. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Some of us like to maximize our  tax return. That can mean filing taxes yourself to save on tax preparation fees, or, using an online option to save costs. While online filing is certainly more affordable than many in-person tax services, in many cases, you don't even have to pay for the basic level. That means you have several excellent options for free online tax software. Read More...

Nov 16, 2017 The United States is the second-most generous country in the world, according to 2016 data from the Charities Aid Foundation. But not all states in the United States are equally generous. Residents in some states give more to charity or volunteer more free time to causes near and dear to their hearts. Below we rank the America's most charitable states using those and other metrics. Read More...

Apr 02, 2018 Update December 2017: On December 20, the Senate passed the new GOP tax bill that marks the biggest rewrite of the tax code in decades. Later the same day, the House also gave final approval to the bill. On December 22, it was signed into law by President Trump. This study takes a look at an earlier version of Trump's tax plan that was released on November 2. That version of the plan, reduced the number of tax brackets from seven to four. The final version of the plan that Congress passed keeps the seven tax brackets but reduces some of the rates. For more on the latest version of the tax bill, see this article. Read More...

Sep 27, 2017 For many Americans, being your own boss is a long-held aspiration. But striking out on your own can be challenging and risky. There are many factors that can add potential roadblocks to people hoping to start their own businesses. Income tax rates, for example, come into play, as well as local costs of living. Below we analyze data on these and other metrics to find the best cities to be self-employed. Read More...

May 21, 2018 As an employee, you may have noticed that your paycheck never matches your full salary. This is because your employer has to withhold certain payroll taxes. You might think that you wouldn't have to worry about those payroll taxes if you worked for yourself. But that's not the case - you'd still have to pay a 15.3% self-employment tax. What is this tax and why do you have to pay it? Read More...

May 18, 2018 Paying taxes can be a real drag. But the government needs the income generated from taxes to provide funding for schools, law enforcement, veterans' benefits, public projects and various programs. If you earn a wage or a salary, you'll likely be subject to a federal payroll tax known as the FICA tax. Read on to find out what it is and who's responsible for paying it. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Update: President Trump signed a tax reform bill into law on Dec. 22, 2017. For more details on the new tax code see this article. The law is the most sweeping tax reform in decades and includes reducing the  federal tax deduction for state and local taxes. Lets take a closer look at what it means for residents of high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey when the state and local tax (SALT) deduction is reduced. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 You're probably familiar with the term adjusted gross income. It reflects how much taxable income you have after subtracting your above-the-line deductions (also known as adjustments to income) from your gross income. You also have a modified adjusted gross income. Let's take a look at what your modified adjusted gross income is and how it may impact your tax bill. Read More...

Apr 05, 2017 Depending on how proactive you are about investing, you may or may not have heard the term tax-loss harvesting before. If you've only invested in your future by contributing to a retirement account, tax-loss harvesting won't help you. But if you have some taxable investment accounts, tax-loss harvesting may lower your tax liability and potentially save you money. Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 No matter how hard you try to keep your debt under control, sometimes it piles up. Depending on your situation, you may be able to cancel some of your debt. That would probably lift a huge weight off your shoulders. But even if your creditor lets you ditch some of your debt, there might be a catch. In some cases, canceled debt can increase your tax bill. Read More...

Aug 02, 2018 Paying taxes is never fun. Fortunately, you may be able to reduce your taxable income by claiming certain tax deductions. There are exclusive tax breaks for self-employed Americans. But the key to taking advantage of these benefits is knowing what's tax-deductible. Check out seven self-employed tax deductions you might qualify for this season. Read More...

Mar 24, 2017 When it comes to investing, you can expect to experience both gains and losses. You might even incur a capital loss on purpose to get rid of an investment that’s making your portfolio look bad. And while selling an asset at a loss may not seem ideal, it can benefit you at tax time. Besides lowering your taxable income, a capital loss may also help you snag a deduction. Read More...

Mar 14, 2017 Many studies seem to suggest that millennials are in a financial pickle. For starters they earn less than their parents did when they were young adults. Plus, the average millennial has over $30,000 in student debt. For millennials who are struggling to boost their net worth and make the leap to homeownership, the last thing they likely want to face is a large tax bill. But unfortunately, high tax rates are a reality for many millennials across the country. Read More...

Mar 22, 2017 The IRS allows some nonprofits to avoid paying federal income taxes. The only problem is that the application for federal tax exemption ( Form 1023) is extensive. In addition to completing the standard application, you'll likely have to submit additional attachments and financial documents. Wish the application process was shorter? It can be if you're allowed to submit Form 1023-EZ instead. Read on for a breakdown of what the form is and how to fill it out. Read More...

Mar 22, 2017 Businesses and individual consumers have something in common. Both groups have to file taxes. Some groups, however, are automatically tax-exempt, meaning that they're not required to pay federal income taxes. Others must apply for tax-exempt status. If you want your organization to be exempt from federal taxation, you may need to file IRS Form 1023. Here's everything you need to know about it. Read More...

Dec 08, 2017 Owning a home can be expensive. Paying for property taxes, repairs and homeowners insurance can significantly reduce what you can spend on luxury items and discretionary goods and services. Fortunately, homeowners may be able to recoup some of the money they've lost by claiming tax deductions and credits. Let's look at some of the tax breaks for household expenses. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Going to college seems to get more expensive every year. Tuition, fees, room and board for an in-state student attending a four-year public institution cost $20,092 for the 2016-2017 school year (on average). A decade ago, an in-state student would've paid an average of $15,180 (in 2016 dollars) for the same expenses. There's not much you can do about rising college costs. But you could use tax breaks to offset the cost of college. Read More...

Feb 23, 2017 The IRS knows that some taxpayers provide their kids and relatives with financial support. That's why the government offers folks with dependents the opportunity to reduce their tax burden. Being able to claim someone as a dependent may significantly lower your tax bill, especially if you qualify for a tax break like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit. Read More...

Aug 03, 2018 Making sense of the U.S. tax code can be a daunting feat. That's why many taxpayers turn to professionals when they need to file their tax returns. Regardless of whether you're working with a tax accountant or completing your own return at home, it's important to know which tax breaks you're eligible for. After all, claiming tax credits and deductions is one of the easiest ways to reduce your tax burden. If you have questions about claiming miscellaneous expenses, read on for the lowdown on what's deductible. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Claiming a tax credit is one way to lower your tax bill. And if the tax credit that you're eligible for is refundable, you'll be able to use it to boost your tax refund even if it reduces your tax liability below zero. One example of a refundable tax credit is the earned income tax credit. But not everyone qualifies for it. Read on to find out who the tax credit benefits and how you can claim it on your tax return. Read More...

Feb 27, 2017 Looking for a new job can seem like a job in itself. And after a while, the expenses associated with finding a new gig start to add up. Even if you put effort into writing a resume and going on interviews, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to lock down the position that you want. But at the very least, some of your job hunting expenses may be deductible. Let's take a look at some of the costs that you may be able to write off on your income tax return. Read More...

Jan 26, 2017 Few tax breaks have been more controversial than the mortgage interest deduction. Proponents of the tax benefit contend that it encourages Americans to buy homes. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that it reduces tax revenue and leaves lower-income individuals at a disadvantage. For the second year in a row, SmartAsset assessed how the mortgage interest deduction and the property tax deduction could affect homeowners across the country during tax season. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 If you're planning on using a tax break to minimize your tax bite, keep in mind that deductions come in different shapes and sizes. There's the standard deduction that any taxpayer can claim every tax year just for filing taxes. And there are itemized deductions that you can write off instead of taking the standard deduction. There are also above-the-line deductions. Here's everything you need to know about above-the-line deductions, including how they work and who can take advantage of them. Read More...

Jan 23, 2017 The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has caused quite a stir. And so far, the new commander-in-chief has proposed quite a few changes. One centers on the federal estate tax, which up until now has been a roadblock for some wealthy investors hoping to create a financial legacy for their heirs. Here's a look at how President Trump's estate tax proposal may affect affluent investors. Read More...

Aug 03, 2018 If you want to shrink your tax bill or beef up your refund, claiming all the deductions you're eligible for can be a smart strategy. Deductions reduce your taxable income. That's a plus if you want to hang on to as many of your hard-earned dollars as possible. But there are limits on what you can deduct. Here's a look at some expenses you can't deduct in most cases. Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 Saving for retirement is something that everyone needs to think about at some point. The earlier you begin socking away money, the brighter your long-term financial outlook. Preparing for your financial future can also work in your favor during tax season. If you've barely saved anything, here are some tax benefits that might motivate you to get serious about planning for retirement. Read More...

Apr 12, 2018 Filing federal income taxes can be stressful. Making sure you plug in all the right numbers and snag every tax break you qualify for can make your head spin. If you're relatively new to tax filing, you may not know the difference between taking the standard deduction and itemizing your deductions. Itemizing isn't right for everyone, so before you file, keep reading to find out whether it makes sense for you. Read More...

May 18, 2018 No one likes paying taxes. Having money taken out of your paycheck is one of the most dreaded aspects of entering the workforce. While most of us pay federal income taxes, the taxes we pay at the state and local levels vary depending on where we live. In fact, seven states have no personal  income tax and two states tax dividends and investment income but not wages. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Update: Under the tax reform bill that passed into law at the end of 2017, the personal exemption was eliminated. This means taxpayers will not be able to claim it on their 2018 taxes, which they'll file in 2019. You can still claim it for your 2017 taxes that you filed by April 17, 2018 (or that you will file by October 2018 if you receive an exemption). Read on as we explain what a personal exemption is and whether or not you can claim one on your tax return. Read More...

Feb 07, 2018 The NFL salary cap (which limits how much teams can spend on players) has risen from $40 million in 1996 to $155 million in 2016. This means NFL salaries have increased by almost 400% over the past 20 years. To put that in perspective, median incomes in the U.S. rose 12.5% from $24,500 in 2005 to $27,600 in 2015, according to Census Bureau data. While the pay packages are available for public viewing, most people probably don't know how much NFL players pay in taxes. SmartAsset used our income tax calculator to investigate how much the highest-paid players in the NFL pay in taxes. Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 Paying taxes is a fact of life for most Americans. Whether you work for a business from 9 to 5 or you're self-employed, you're expected to turn over a portion of your pay to Uncle Sam. There are many different kinds of income, but not all of them can be taxed. Read on for an explanation of what taxable income is and a rundown of what's taxable and what's not. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Filing taxes for the first time can be nerve-racking. But being organized can relieve some of your stress. Knowing what paperwork and materials you'll need is a good place to start, especially if you're concerned about leaving out a key piece of information. If you're preparing to fill out your tax return, here's a breakdown of the documents you'll need to gather. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 It's tax time and if you're self-employed, you'll need to plan ahead. What you do between now and the April tax filing deadline can have a significant impact on the amount of income tax you owe. If you work for yourself, here are some important moves that you'll need to make to reduce your tax bill. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Your tax filing status helps determine how much tax you owe and what kinds of credits you're eligible for. Experiencing certain changes in your life can have a significant impact on your tax liability. So it's important to take that into consideration before filing your tax return. If you're preparing for tax season, here's a rundown of major life events that could change your filing status. Read More...

Jan 20, 2017 Claiming tax credits and deductions can reduce the size of your income tax bill or increase the size of your refund check. But not all tax breaks last forever. A number of tax benefits were on the chopping block at the end of 2016 because Congress considered letting them expire. Here's a look at some of the tax breaks that won't be around for tax year 2017. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Tax season is right around the corner and if you're filing taxes for the first time, it's best to know what to expect. While you don't have to memorize hundreds of pages of tax code, at the very least you'll need to understand the basics. After all, even a simple mistake could trigger an IRS audit. Here are five mistakes that you don't want to make if you're preparing to submit your first tax return. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 As you prepare for the new year, it doesn't hurt to do some last-minute financial housekeeping. If you're in your 20s or 30s, making certain tax moves before the end of 2016 could potentially lower your tax bill or fatten your refund check. If you're part of the millennial generation, here are some important steps to take before tax season officially begins. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Getting a professional to do your taxes doesn't always come cheap. In 2014, the average tax prep fee for filing Form 1040, a state tax return and a Schedule A form was $273, according to the National Society of Accountants. Tax filers can save money by doing their own taxes. But it's important to avoid making careless mistakes. If you're preparing to do your taxes at home, here are five tips to consider. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 During the holidays, your tax bill is probably the last thing on your mind. But giving it some thought might be a good idea. The decisions you make now can determine how much you owe Uncle Sam in April. If you can squeeze in some free time between your holiday shopping trips and end-of-year parties, here are five steps you can take to lessen your tax bite. Read More...

Dec 07, 2016 The average American spent more than $800 during the 2015 holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation. Total holiday sales for the year reached $626.1 billion, a 3% increase since 2014. A recent survey from the trade association says that this year, the average consumer plans to spend $935.58 over the course of the holiday season. Read More...

Mar 09, 2017 Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 480,000 people die each year from smoking-related deaths, costing an estimated $300 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse estimates that 88,000 people die per year in the U.S. from alcohol-related causes. In order to limit consumption of these two leading causes of death, state and federal governments place taxes on them. Read on for more on the effect of these so-called " sin taxes." Read More...

Nov 18, 2016 Have you ever wondered how city governments pay for big infrastructure projects? One method is called tax increment financing. Essentially, it means banking on the increase in property tax revenue that will result when the project is finished. The government can "fund" a project by pointing to the revenue the project will generate once it's complete. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Thinking of moving to Tennessee? You can head to a vibrant city like Memphis or Nashville, or opt for a quiet life in the Appalachian Mountains. Tennessee offers a rich culture, natural beauty and a low cost of living. Are you convinced? Here are 15 things to know before moving to Tennessee.  Read More...

May 18, 2018 If you're considering making the transition from renter to homeowner, you may be wondering if property taxes on your home will be unaffordably high. If so, it may comfort you to know that homestead tax exemptions can help you shoulder the burden of your annual property tax bills. Forty-six states offer these homestead tax breaks to residents.  Read More...

May 21, 2018 If you own a home, you're no stranger to property taxes. There are property tax breaks for seniors, people with disabilities and other protected classes, but did you know that there are agricultural tax exemptions, too? If some of your land can be classified as farmland, you could reap significant tax savings. Learn some handy tips below, and if you're looking for a professional to help guide you through the ins and outs of agricultural tax exemptions, head over to SmartAsset's SmartAdvisor matching tool to get paired with a financial expert who can meet your particular needs.  Read More...

Nov 14, 2016 A tax amnesty is an opportunity for people who owe back taxes to pay some or all of what they owe, often with some penalties and interest waived. In the U.S., tax amnesty often takes the form of a certain window during which state governments allow delinquent taxpayers to come in from the cold. At the federal level, the government may offer tax amnesty for U.S. companies repatriating profits.  Read More...

Nov 10, 2016 What's the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion? One is legal and the other is not. Tax avoidance means using the legal means available to you to decrease your tax liability. Those means include deductions, credits and tax-advantage accounts. Tax evasion, on the other hand, means taking illegal steps to shrink or eliminate your tax liability.  Read More...

Nov 09, 2016 The Internal Revenue Service recently released details about its new private debt collection program. The program will transfer taxpayers’ inactive IRS debts to one of four private collection agencies beginning in spring 2017. So what does this mean for anyone who  owes taxes? We'll explain what the private debt collection program is and how it will work going forward. Read More...

Nov 07, 2016 Taking higher education classes, whether in pursuit of a degree or to acquire additional professional skills, is something the government wants to encourage. To that end, the IRS offers tax credits for post-secondary education expenses. Two of those credits, the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit, can be claimed on IRS Form 8863. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Did you make a mistake on your income tax return? Don't sweat it - it happens. Whether you forgot about a tax deduction or credit or you need to include additional sources of income, you can fix those errors by filing an amended tax return. You’ll do this by completing IRS Form 1040X. Here’s our guide to understanding and filling out that tax form. Read More...

Nov 02, 2016 If you're designated the executor of someone's estate, you may need to file Form 1041 to declare the income from that person's estate (or hire someone to file the form for you). Form 1041 isn't a substitute for Form 1040, though. Confused? We don't blame you. Let us walk you through IRS Form 1041, the U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.   Read More...

Jan 23, 2018 If you ever need ton resolve an issue with the IRS, whether or not it's related to your federal income taxes, you will need to contact the IRS. That can be intimidating. You may not feel like you know enough about the U.S. tax code to file a complaint or challenge a penalty. Luckily, if you feel this way, there's something you can do about it. If you'd rather have a lawyer or a tax preparer talk to the IRS, you can complete Form 2848. Here's our guide to understanding that form. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Many businesses don't make any money, particularly during their first year of operation. When this happens, the IRS provides business owners with some tax relief in the form of something called a net operating loss (NOL). If you're not sure what a NOL is or you don't know how to make the most of it, read on. We'll tell you everything you need to know about it. Read More...

Oct 27, 2016 If you've invested in a foreign market or you've opened an offshore account, you may need to report your assets to the federal government. That means you might have to complete IRS Form 8938 every year when you file taxes. If you're not sure whether you need this form or you need help filling it out, here's everything you need to know about it. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Thanks to advances in technology, filing taxes isn't nearly as complicated as it once was. Today, many tax filers complete their tax returns online or through apps. The IRS released its own mobile app in 2011. While you can't use it to submit your tax forms, the IRS2Go app can make the tax-filing process easier to navigate. Read on as we explain how the app works. Read More...

Oct 24, 2016 Hiring someone to care for your loved one so you can continue working is a common practice in the U.S. If a child, spouse or other household member requires care and you couldn't provide the care without quitting your job, you're not alone. You may also be eligible for a tax credit to defray the expenses associated with that care.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Starting a business can be expensive. You'll likely have to cover the cost of a building or office space, equipment, utilities and legal and accounting fees. Fortunately, business owners can recoup some of the money they've spent by deducting expenses on their federal income tax returns. While you can't write off the total cost of any property you've invested in (at least after your first year of operation), you can get an annual tax break for depreciation and amortization by filing Form 4562. Read More...

Oct 19, 2016 IRS Form 2106 (Employee Business Expenses) is the form that lets you deduct business expenses you incurred during the tax year. So if you traveled for work or otherwise spent your own money on business costs, you can deduct a portion of those expenses from your taxable income. This can be a great income tax break for freelancers and other self-employed people and those who travel a lot for work. Here's how Form 2106 works.  Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 When you don't have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account - like a 401(k) or a 403(b) - you can save for retirement by opening an IRA. Your contributions may be tax-deductible, meaning you can use them to lower your income tax bill. If you want are getting a tax break for IRA contributions, you will receive IRS Form 5498. Never heard of it? Here's what you need to know. Read More...

May 21, 2018 We all know that the cost of higher education is steep and getting steeper. If you're not relying solely on student loans or grants and are instead paying some of your own money toward tuition and fees, you may be able to deduct those expenses from your income taxes. To do so, you would use IRS Form 8917. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Meeting deadlines can be tough, especially when you have a lot on your plate. If you won't have time to file your taxes by April, you don't have to worry about the IRS coming after you. As long as you apply for a tax extension, you'll have some extra time to submit your income tax return. Here's our guide to Form 4868, the tax document you'll need to file for an automatic extension. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Representation in civil lawsuits doesn't come cheap. In the best-case scenario you'll be awarded money at the end of either a trial or a settlement process. But before you blow your settlement, keep in mind that it may be taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. Here's what you should know about taxes on lawsuit settlements.  Read More...

Sep 14, 2016 If you have a pension, you're one of the lucky ones. Defined benefit retirement plans like pensions are increasingly rare, having been largely replaced by defined contribution plans like the 401(k). But drawing on your pension income when you hit retirement isn't a free ride. Some or all of that pension will be taxable. Here's how it works.  Read More...

Sep 13, 2016 Convincing politicians on both sides of the aisle to agree on anything can be a daunting task. Conservatives and liberals have opposing viewpoints on everything from immigration to healthcare and trying to find common ground usually isn't easy. But once in a blue moon, Democrats and Republicans come across an issue that they both can rally around. Here are three economic ideas that members of both political parties support. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Donald Trump recently unveiled his tax reform plan for the country and announced that he wants to get rid of the estate tax by 2024. While the prospect of paying fewer taxes probably excites you, the truth is that only a handful of American estates (fewer than 1%) actually pay the federal estate tax. In other words, if the estate tax disappeared, it most likely wouldn't affect you at all. Read More...

More articles...

Ask Our Taxes Expert

Have a question? Ask our Taxes expert.

Have questions? Email Send your question to jmansfield@smartasset.com