From Our Partner
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Feb 10, 2016 Tax season is in full swing and if you haven't gotten your return in yet, the clock is ticking. If you're married, one of the things you'll need to decide before you file is whether to opt for a joint return or do your taxes separately. Typically, a joint return is the smartest move, since you can cash in on some valuable tax breaks. But there are a few scenarios where it makes sense to file on your own. Here are three reasons married couples should consider filing taxes separately.
Jan 04, 2017 It is no secret that in this country, many working individuals are lacking when it comes to having enough savings, especially retirement savings. While this is true for Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, it is particularly true for Millennials. The past few years have been tough economically, and Millennials have been some of the hardest hit by the recession, student loan burdens and more. As the economy continues to recover Millennials need to begin looking to increasing their savings. Roth IRAs may be the best way to go for many.
Dec 07, 2016 Tax season is over but it's never too soon to begin looking ahead to next year's return. In fact, waiting until the last minute to try and carve out some savings could mean missing out on key tax breaks. There are plenty of things you can do to minimize your taxable income throughout the year, and the more proactive you are the bigger the payoff.
Jul 29, 2015 The federal estate tax exemption is now permanently indexed for inflation. For 2014, the exemption limit is capped at $5.34 million and the highest federal tax rate an estate would have to pay is 40%. Unless you're sitting on a huge pile of cash you likely won't have to worry about federal estate taxes but you may still have to pay at the state level, depending on where you live.
Jan 21, 2016 Tax season is in full swing and millions of Americans are scrambling to get their returns done. If you've got all your W-2s and you've added up those deductible expenses, there's no reason to put it off until the last minute. But that's something about 20% of taxpayers do, according to the IRS. When you owe taxes, you may be tempted to drag your feet if you need time to come up with the cash. If you're getting money back, however, there are several reasons why you don't want to delay your filing.
Feb 13, 2017 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.
Feb 02, 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.
Feb 01, 2017 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.
Feb 01, 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.
Jan 30, 2017 While rumors of major changes to the tax code are swirling, taxpayers who file in 2017 will fall into one of the seven current federal income tax brackets. Remember that the federal income tax rates that correspond to each of those brackets are marginal rates. Not clear on what that means? Let's take a closer look at the federal income tax brackets.
Jan 27, 2017 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.
Jan 27, 2017 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.
Jan 26, 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.
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.
Jan 23, 2017 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.
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.
Jan 20, 2017 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.
Jan 20, 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.
Jan 19, 2017 Filing taxes can be stressful. Making sure you're plugging in all the right numbers and snagging 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.
Jan 18, 2017 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.
Jan 17, 2017 Filing taxes can seem overwhelming, especially if you don't know the meaning of certain terms. In order to complete your tax return, you'll need to know the difference between tax credits and deductions, and standard and itemized deductions. You'll also need to know what personal exemptions are. If you're not sure how personal exemptions work, read on. We'll fill you in.
Jan 30, 2017 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.
Jan 31, 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.
Jan 16, 2017 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 tax bill. But they work in very different ways. Here's a quick breakdown of the difference between tax credits and deductions.
Jan 13, 2017 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.
Jan 10, 2017 Tax time will be here soon and if you're self-employed, you'll need to plan ahead. What you do between now and the April 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 before tax season arrives.
Jan 09, 2017 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.
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.
Jan 02, 2017 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.
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.
Dec 21, 2016 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.
Dec 12, 2016 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.
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.
Dec 05, 2016 If President-elect Donald Trump implements the tax plan he proposed during the campaign season, Americans will feel the changes. Just how would the Trump tax plan affect you? It depends on your income, your current filing status and the deductions you take. Take a look at our guide to the main features of the Trump tax plan.
Dec 01, 2016 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."
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.
Nov 18, 2016 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.
Nov 17, 2016 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.
Nov 16, 2016 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.
Nov 15, 2016 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nov 03, 2016 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.
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.
Oct 31, 2016 Contacting the IRS to resolve an issue can be pretty 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 what that form is all about.
Oct 31, 2016 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.
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.
Oct 26, 2016 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.
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.
Oct 21, 2016 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 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.
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.
Oct 17, 2016 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 might be able to use them to lower your tax bill. But if you want a tax break for what you've saved, you may need to have IRS Form 5498. Never heard of it? Here's what you need to know.
Oct 14, 2016 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.
Oct 11, 2016 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.
Sep 27, 2016 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.
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.
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.
Sep 12, 2016 Donald Trump recently unveiled his economic plan for the country and announced that he wanted to get rid of the estate tax. 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.
Sep 01, 2016 Sin taxes are meant to dissuade people from participating in activities considered harmful to their health and well-being. Places around the country tax consumers for buying things like tobacco and alcohol and many people have debated whether it's necessary to levy a tax on soft drinks, too. If you're not sure how you feel about soda taxes, read on to learn more about this controversial issue.
Aug 31, 2016 If you've ever taken a look at your pay stubs you've probably noticed your employer's tax withholding. Based on the W-4 form that you submit when you start a new job or your tax situation changes, your employer will withhold federal and state (if applicable) income taxes from your pay. But if you start a job half-way through the year, you might benefit from the part-year tax withholding method.
Apr 11, 2016 Living outside of the country can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience. But it doesn't automatically exempt you from paying taxes, even if you haven't set foot on U.S. soil for months. Filing taxes can be tricky for the average American, so for someone who has to work around a foreign tax code, the process can be downright mind-boggling. For anyone who's working or living abroad, here are five tips that'll help you survive tax season.
Apr 05, 2016 The words " tax audit" are enough to send a shiver down anyone's spine, but some taxpayers are more likely to be subjected to the scrutiny of the IRS than others. If you're pulling in a salary that's in the seven-figure range, you could be a bigger target than the average Joe or Jane. The IRS recently released audit figures from fiscal year 2015 and there are a few trends that may be worrisome to millionaires.
Jan 20, 2017 Being self-employed can be a dream if you want more flexibility and control over your work hours. On the other hand, it can turn into a nightmare once tax time rolls around. Filing taxes when you run your own business can be a bit more complicated than filing a personal return. If you're a self-employed tax filer, here are some expensive tax errors you don't want to make.
Mar 28, 2016 Filing taxes can be stressful and when the IRS opts to take a closer look at your return, that can only increase your anxiety level. Getting your return flagged for review doesn't mean you'll be audited, but it can raise the odds that Uncle Sam will discover that the numbers don't add up. With tax season in full swing, it helps to understand why returns are flagged and what reviews involve.
Mar 21, 2016 Buying a home is a major financial feat and once you make an offer on a home, the real work of filling out the loan application begins. Lenders will ask for copies of your tax returns, which they'll use to verify your income and determine what kind of loan you qualify for. If you're preparing to buy a home, there are tax strategies you can use to make yourself more attractive to lenders.
Mar 15, 2016 The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have healthcare coverage. Unless you don't have to file taxes or you qualify for an exemption, you'll likely get stuck paying a penalty called the individual shared responsibility payment if you don't have health insurance. You could also be on the hook for paying the fine if your health insurance isn't considered minimum essential coverage. We'll explain what this government standard means and how you can meet it.
Mar 14, 2016 Having a hobby can be a great way to unwind, but a hobby can take on an entirely new dimension if you can make money while you're at it. That's because any money your side hustle brings in may be considered taxable income. If you're thinking of turning a part-time passion into a full-time business, here's how it might change your tax filing status and your income tax bill.
Mar 04, 2016 Have you been to the zoo lately? If so, you may have found yourself wondering, "How do zoos make money?" Or maybe you've always been curious about how zoos get their hands on the animals their collections contain. Let's take a closer look at the economics of zoos, how they make money and what the future has in store for the zoo.
Mar 04, 2016 Paying off your student loans can be a real pain. Whether you have a standard repayment plan or you've signed up for an income-based repayment program, it's best to get rid of your student debt to avoid facing some steep consequences. While you probably aren't thinking about taxes when you're making your monthly payments, there are certain tax rules that affect student loan borrowers. Check out five that can either help or hurt you during tax season.
Dec 20, 2016 It's tax season and if you're anticipating a refund, you need to be on the lookout for identity thieves. Tax-related identity theft has become a huge problem for the IRS and consumers are encouraged to be vigilant when filing their returns. If you haven't done your taxes yet, here are some things you can do to make sure your refund doesn't end up in someone else's bank account.
Mar 01, 2016 IRS Form 8962 lets you claim the Premium Tax Credit to recoup some of the money you spent on Marketplace health insurance premiums. It can be a great tax trick for any eligible filer who spent heavily on premiums and wants to save on income taxes. But if you received too much money in advance premium credits, Form 8962 may tell you that you owe the IRS.
Mar 01, 2016 In addition to your W-2 form, you might need access to other documents in order to complete your income tax return. If you have health insurance, for example, you may need a copy of Form 1095-B. Beginning in tax year 2015, it's one of three mandatory forms used to indicate who's complying with the Affordable Care Act's required minimum essential coverage. Find out what's on Form 1095-B and whether you need it to file your taxes.
Feb 29, 2016 Since 2013, Americans have been able to sign up for health insurance through the government's health insurance Marketplace. Almost everyone who has opted to purchase medical insurance through the healthcare exchanges should receive Form 1095-A. If you don't know why you need this form, read on to find out why it's necessary and what to do if yours hasn't arrived.
Feb 26, 2016 The 2012 presidential election set records for the most expensive in U.S. history, and the 2016 election is on track to break that record. Total spending on the 2016 presidential race is projected to top $10 billion. That includes spending by candidates, parties, outside groups and individuals. Let's take a closer look at the campaign finance landscape in the U.S.
Feb 26, 2016 Tax season is officially underway and if you haven't filed yet, there's still plenty of time to get it done. With a new year come updates and changes to the tax code that taxpayers need to be aware of. Some of these tax changes will affect your 2015 tax return while others may influence your tax bill for tax year 2016. Here's a rundown of what you can expect.
Feb 25, 2016 Filing your taxes and paying your tax bill are necessary chores. One thing you can't afford to do is mess up. If you fail to include all of your income on your tax return, that may be an invitation for the IRS to target you for an audit. While you're probably aware that you need to report the salary you earned from your job, that isn't the only income that's taxable. Here's a look at other kinds of income the IRS expects you to include on your return.
Mar 23, 2016 Tax season is something most people don't look forward to. And unless you're expecting to get some money back, you're probably planning to put off filing until the last possible moment. While doing your own taxes can save you money, it can backfire if you're not careful. As you gear up to get your tax return in order, here are five potentially costly tax blunders you don't want to make.
Feb 23, 2016 Filing taxes can be incredibly stressful and the process can make you feel like the government is holding a big magnifying glass over your finances. But it's possible to survive tax season and make it to April without going crazy. Check out the tips below that'll help you face your taxes head on and get them out of the way before the filing deadline arrives.
Feb 22, 2016 If you're claiming an exemption from healthcare coverage, you'll need to fill out IRS form 8965 when you do your federal income taxes. This form helps you comply with Affordable Care Act rules that require health insurance coverage for just about everyone in the country. Here's everything you need to know about the 8965 tax form and who's qualified to use it.
Feb 22, 2016 A tax refund can come in handy when you need to pay down student debt or you want to pad your emergency savings. But waiting for the money to hit your bank account can be nerve-wracking. According to the IRS, most refunds are processed within 21 days. But for some unlucky taxpayers, the wait can be much longer. If you're expecting a refund this year, here are four reasons why its arrival could be delayed.
Jan 05, 2017 One of the first things you'll need to decide when you're getting ready to do your taxes is which filing status you'll use. If you have qualifying dependents, you may be eligible to file as the head of your household. That can potentially keep more money in your pocket. Not everyone can claim head of household, however, so you need to be clear on what the rules are before you file.
Feb 16, 2016 Millennials, now the largest age cohort in America, are different than prior generations in a number of ways. They are less likely to get married, for instance. 65% of present day 18-to-35-year-olds have never been married, compared to the 40% of young adults who had never said “I do” in 1980. Another key difference between millennials and prior generations is housing. Whereas in 1980 almost 44% of adults under age 35 owned their home, today that rate is just 35% (likely in part because millennials simply cannot afford to buy in many cities).
Feb 15, 2016 When you’re claiming tax breaks to lower your tax bill, you can either itemize them or take the standard deduction. Claiming the standard deduction is certainly the easier way to go. But if you go that route, there are some above-the-line deductions that you don’t want to forget about. In fact, there are a number of them that you can claim without having to itemize.
Feb 10, 2016 Every presidential election cycle the flat tax debate reappears in Americans' political consciousness. While eight U.S. states currently have a flat tax rate, our federal income tax regime is progressive, meaning that those who make more money always pay a higher marginal tax rate. Let's take a closer look at the flat tax system and the arguments made for and against it.
Jan 04, 2017 Tax season has begun and while the April deadline seems far away, there's no time to waste. Snagging a few tax breaks can boost your refund or lower your tax bill. But you could miss out on them if you wait until the last minute to file. If you're in your 20s, here are some key tax deductions and credits to watch out for.
Feb 05, 2016 For employers, calculating workers' earnings can be a complicated process that means navigating the payroll tax deductions taken out of each paycheck. In principle, the formula is simple. An employee's pay rate multiplied by hours worked equals the employee's gross pay. From that, an employer subtracts statutory payroll tax deductions and voluntary payroll tax deductions to arrive at net pay.
Jan 29, 2016 If you're reading this, chances are slim that you've ever won a lottery. Why? Because the odds of winning are just so low. In 2014, Americans spent $70.15 billion on lottery tickets alone. That's more than the total spending on music, books, sports teams, movies and video games combined, according to CNN Money. What do we get for all that money spent on the lottery? That depends.
Jan 26, 2017 The home mortgage interest tax deduction is one of the most common deductions claimed on federal income tax returns, but that doesn’t mean most taxpayers are taking advantage of it. In fact, according to data from the Tax Foundation, only about 27% of all taxpayers deduct mortgage interest paid from their income when filing their taxes.
Jan 26, 2016 Paying taxes is one of the most burdensome parts of being self-employed and one of the trickiest parts is figuring out just how much you need to pay. Instead of having an employer taking taxes out of your paycheck, you're responsible for making estimated tax payments four times a year. If you pay less than what you owe to the IRS, you could get hit with a penalty when it's time to file your return. If you miscalculated, here's what you can do to get back on Uncle Sam's good side.
Jan 05, 2017 Owing any amount of money to the IRS - large or small - is a scary prospect. And ignoring the debt won't make it go away any faster. If you've completed your income tax return for the tax year and you're looking at a huge bill, it's best to take care of it right away. Here's a look at what you don't want to do if you're trying to avoid making the situation worse in the long run.
Jan 21, 2016 Think your landlord has it made? Just wait until you find out about the tax breaks she's eligible for. Owning a rental property certainly comes with its fair share of frustrations. When you consider what landlords stand to save on their income tax bills, however, you might want to give the job a second thought. Check out five ways property owners save during tax season.
Jan 20, 2016 Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a child tax credit of up to $1,000 per child. Remember that unlike a tax deduction, a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill. Sound good? Here's what you need to know about the child tax credit, from the eligibility requirements to how to claim it. For starters, you need to be the parent or guardian of a minor child.
Jan 20, 2016 Renewable energy has been gaining steam in recent years. Windmills are popping up on ridges and in fields throughout the country, and solar panels are covering more roofs every day. From 2008 to 2013, the total energy produced by renewable sources increased by more than 25%, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.
Feb 01, 2017 Paying taxes is unavoidable. How high your income tax bill will be depends on a number of factors, including your filing status, how much money you make and whether you can claim any tax deductions or credits. Allowances play a special role too. If you're looking at a W-4 form and you don't know how many allowances to claim, we've got answers to all of your questions.
Jan 18, 2016 Filing your taxes for the first time can be intimidating, and there's not much room for error. Even a seemingly simple mistake could bump up your income tax bill or shortchange your refund. In the worst case scenario, a tax filing flub could lead to an audit. If you'll be prepping your tax return for the first time this April, here are the most common missteps you'll need to watch out for.
Jan 15, 2016 Like a tax credit, a tax deduction is a type of tax break. It reduces the amount of money you owe Uncle Sam. Tax deductions lower your tax burden by lowering your taxable income and you can either claim the standard deduction or itemize your deductions when you file. If you don't know what a standard deduction is, we'll explain what it means in layman's terms.
Jan 13, 2016 Tax season is upon us. While we all dread doing our taxes, for many Americans there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel: a tax refund. Not everyone gets one, and the refund itself is money that you as a taxpayer have technically overpaid during the course of the year. Nonetheless, it feels good to receive that check and many people make big plans for their refund money.
Jan 12, 2016 There are several good reasons to consider filing your own tax return. It can be cheaper than putting everything in the hands of a professional. You'll learn how to lower your tax bill and you'll be able to crunch the numbers in the comfort of your own home. If you'd prefer a DIY approach at tax time, taking the following steps can make the process go more smoothly.