Some Tips On Doing Your Own Taxes

Doing Your Own Taxes may appear daunting, in a lot of cases however it is really not that difficult. In order to be successful with it though, you will need an accurate record of your expenses and incomes, and will also need to become familiar with the available tax codes. If you have questions for a tax professional on this topic just ask your question ateHow.com.

TurboTax

Instructions

1
You should generally stay organize and keep a record of your incomes and expenses throughout the entire year. You will need a dedicated binder or file system to keep your tax related files/documents together.

2
You should know the type of deductions you can make from your total income. You will need to itemize your deductions or take a standard deduction. Using some calculations or a tax software can help you to determine which is better for you. If your medical costs are low, and you are not paying a lot of mortgage interests or taxes on real estate, it may be better for you to take a standard deduction with your filings.

3
You will also need to become familiar with the tax forms. A lot of households will generally file the Form 1040. You can provide the details of your incomes online or may fill them in on the W-2s tax forms. If you had earned over $400 in self-employed incomes through freelancing etc, you will need to fill the Schedule C and SE forms and will need to deduct any business related expense against your self-employed income.

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You should make use of some tax file and software online for accuracy and simplicity. You can make use of free software like TaxAct, TurboTax etc. Some banks (USAA etc) may provide some eFile services for free too.

5
You may key in your deductions, income, personal information and tax credits into a tax software/application or you can fill them in on some paper tax forms. You will need to include your W2 forms with your paper forms, or you can fill in your information when you are filing or generally doing your own taxes.

6
You can file your tax returns and then provide your bank details for direct withdrawal/deposit or could mail in your check. When you file your tax on the web, you should get an email acknowledgement, returns that you mailed will generally not get an acknowledgement however. If you get a refund or your payment is withdrawn from your specified bank account, you will then know that you have done what you should do right.

Doing Your Own Taxes photo
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Tips And Warnings

For taxes that are complicated and other issues you should contact an accountant.

You should also avoid getting any red flags with your tax filings (some tax software can alert you on this), in order to reduce the likelihood of your refund being audited by the IRS.

Tax Return Forms And Filing IRS Taxes

Tax Return Forms And Filing IRS Taxes

Tax time can be an incredibly hectic time for every individual of taxing age in the United States and other countries. There are forms aplenty for every type of deduction, job, withholding, and pay out and understanding some of the basics is the best way to get your taxes off to the right start. Using a system like TurboTax 2013 can be helpful, but a working knowledge of what tax return forms to fill out is still necessary to get the maximum refund.

Paying taxes is required for both citizens and...
Paying taxes is required for both citizens and non-citizens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first and most common forms are the 1040 and the 1040 EZ. The 1040 is the basic form that most tax payers use to complete their income taxes. These forms cover anything from income, taxes withheld, charitable donations, scholarships and grants, life insurance, gambling proceeds, child support, and more. This form was designed to be the blanket form for most tax payers to help speed up and simplify the process. This is the form that most are going to be working from when filing taxes and as such it is important to be well versed in the 1040. The 1040 EZ is a simplified version of the 1040 that is often used by workers that are either under the age of 18 or that do not have any dependents or households to claim. This form has basic information like income, taxes withheld, and any untaxed income that workers may have gotten over the course of the year.

A 1040 Schedule A is an individual tax return that has a list for itemized deductions. These deductions can be any range of things from medical bills, to work expenses, to charitable donations, and many more. If filers are at all unsure of what deductions they can count it is important that they check with a tax professional. Schedule B is a form that covers the interest on bank accounts and ordinary dividends. This form is generally only needed for those that have investments. Schedule C is profit or loss from businesses that are personally owned and will likely not be needed for all of those individuals filing. Schedule D is capital gains and losses in any investing or financial ventures that filers have partaken in over the course of the year. This form is again not necessary for every individual filing. The Last Schedule is Schedule E, this is for supplemental income or loss that was incurred through the course of the year. Most tax services will include Schedules A through E in the typical filing.

Form 1099 is for income from an employer that was not taxed at the time of payment, a 2848 is for those that are using their power of attorney to file for another individual, form 2553 is for those that are filing for a small business or corporation, and form 1065 is for married or partnered couples that are filing a joint return. A complete list of forms is available on the IRS website with brief descriptions of the function of each. If at any time it becomes difficult to complete your tax return or to understand what is being filled out, it may be necessary to talk to a tax professional.

4 Overlooked Tax Deductions That Yield Big Rewards

Tax time is upon us. While some people look forward to this time of year, many more dread it as they think about the amount of money that they may have to pay. It must be done, so let’s work at getting the most money back. After all, the IRS claims that millions overpay each year.

1. State Income Taxes
If you paid state taxes last year, then you are eligible to subtract them from your federal taxes this year. Make sure to know the exact amount that you paid in these taxes, so that your return is not delayed.

2. Job Search Expenses
Did you look for a new job in 2011? If so,  you are allowed to deduct up to 2 percent of your gross income for the expenses involved in a job search from this year’s taxes. To claim this deduction, you must not be looking for your first job, nor have any substantial break between your last job and the new one. The search must be for a job in the same occupation. If you pay an agency fee to help you in your search, then you can subtract that cost unless your new employer reimburses you for the cost. You can deduct cost for mailing and distributing your resume. If you travel, then the cost is deductible, as long as the primary reason for traveling was to look for a job.

3. Donations
We love those who give and so does the IRS, as long as you give to a qualified organization. If you get merchandise or a prize in exchange for your donation, then you can only donate the amount over the normal price of the merchandise. If you donate stock or real property, you can get a donation for the fair market value of those items. You must keep a record of the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the donation. For amounts over $250, there are specific forms that you must file with the IRS. You can deduct the cost of travel to a volunteer position. You can also deduct any cost involved in your participation, such as uniforms. Don’t forget that you can also deduct your tithes and offerings to a religious organization.

4. Work
Many expenses can be deducted thanks to working. If you must have a cell phone for work, then the amount you pay for the cell phone above your normal usage is deductible. You can also deduct any dues paid to unions if you must belong to it in order to have your job. If you choose to belong to a professional organization, you can deduct those dues. You can also subtract the costs of any reading material that helps keeps you abreast on what is happening in your industry. If your job requires uniforms that would not be worn in the rest of your life, then you can subtract those costs.

Looks a little better, doesn’t it? Remembering to take each deduction that you can will help to lower your tax bill – so don’t be lazy!

Ashley Miller likes to write about finance, travel and Flowerdelivery.net.

Know Your Tax Responsibilities on Insurance

When purchasing life insurance, it is important to consider all of the circumstances that could affect the amount of money needed by beneficiaries. One issue everyone should consider is taxation. Many people wonder if they have to pay taxes on life insurance. Many people assume that all proceeds from life insurance are tax-exempt, but the truth is actually more complicated.
Death benefits of a life insurance policy, in general, are free from federal income tax when distributed by the insurance company to a named beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. In other words, when a husband dies, his wife usually does not have to pay taxes on the money she receives from the insurance company as payment. If the husband has a $100,000 life insurance policy, the wife does not have to pay federal income taxes on that $100,000.

Things begin to get more complicated if the husband, before his death, instructs the insurance company to pay that $100,000 in installments of, say, $20,000. The insurance company will distribute the money as instructed. The money on deposit will earn interest, which is taxable. The principle is not taxed, no matter how it is distributed.

Another complication occurs when the owner of an insurance policy transfers ownership to another person or party before his death, for money or other consideration of value. The benefits paid to the beneficiary in this case could be considered taxable income. This should be discussed with a tax professional before completing such a transaction.

Anyone purchasing life insurance should know that life insurance policies may be subject to federal estate tax (not income tax) if the deceased has an ownership interest in the policy. If the insured person has any control over the policy, including the right to cancel it, borrow against it or change the beneficiary, that person is considered to own the policy. When the owner of the policy dies, the proceeds may be subject to federal estate tax. In most cases, if the beneficiary is the spouse, estate tax is not assessed on the insurance benefits. However, these taxes may be assessed when the spouse dies. This issue should be discussed with a professional during estate planning.

It may seem unreasonable that any insurance benefit should be taxed. As stated, life insurance proceeds paid to a beneficiary are usually not subject to federal income tax. Other tax situations may arise and should be discussed with a qualified professional.

But what about the question of insurance being taxed? With the value of employee health benefits appearing on the 2011 Form W-2, many people worry that their health insurance is being taxed. This is not the case. The health benefits information is printed on the W-2 for informational purposes only.

However, in 2018, insurers will pay a 40% tax on the portion of “Cadillac” health plans sponsored by employers that exceeds $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. Insurers are likely to pass the higher costs along to employers. Employers will likely pass the costs to employees or reduce coverage to slip under the tax threshold. For now medical insurance benefits, like life insurance benefits, are not subject to federal income tax.

Lower Capital Gains Taxes Can Influence Voters

The current capital gains taxes on investment income are fifteen percent. While the taxes on the middle class wages are around thirty-five percent. Mitt Romney admitted recently that he pays only fifteen percent on his total yearly income. The Occupy Wall Street movement has not faded from voters’ memories or the specter of the wealthy one-percent. Romney found himself identified as a member of this affluent group.

There has been serious debate as to whether lower capital gains taxes will help the economy. Top economists do not agree on the effect of lower taxes investment income. Some contend that lower taxes on investment income will generate economic growth. Other studies do not confirm there is a correlation between lower taxes and increased investment activity. Over the years capital gains tax has fluctuated from almost forty percent during the mid-seventies to the present fifteen percent. It is noted that savvy investors will not be deterred from a good investment opportunity, even when there is a higher tax rate. There is no suggestion that a higher investment income tax reduces investment activity.

A down market can shape investment activity, when it comes to the buying and selling of stocks. A major concern of the average American is whether the Romney’s of the world, pay their share of the taxes. High unemployment and a poor economy have the non-investors questioning their higher tax rates and 2012 taxes. Lowering the capital gains tax may not alter the market, but it may influence how people vote.

Tax Carnival Ecstasy – January 3, 2012

Welcome to the January 3, 2012 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. We have the top 5 articles this week for the carnival including how to get Free Tax Advice by Phone this tax season from a software company. Joe Morgan takes a look at being Prepared to Pay $3,598 More in Income Tax for 2012. And Clint Cora examines the W8BEN Form For Canadians,  this form is for Foreigners Who Work In The US. Hope you find the information helpful, bookmark, share, tweet, like on Facebook, and come back soon.

tax law

Lawyer presents What is Tax Law? Do You Need to Pay Tax Law? posted at Legal Advice & Legal Aid, saying, “Read our comprehensive review about new Tax Law for 2012!”

taxes

Darren Marks presents Free Tax Advice by Phone… From a Software Company? posted at Consumer-Rankings, saying, “Introducing a free new feature from Turbotax just in time for tax season, free phone consultations with tax experts.”

Joe Morgan presents Are You Prepared to Pay $3,598 More in Income Tax for 2012? posted at Simple Debt-Free Finance, saying, “This article covers the effect of expiring tax laws and how they could cost the average American family $3,598 in additional taxes for the 2012 tax year – without any change in their income.”

tips

Clint Cora presents W8BEN Form For Canadians And Foreigners Who Work In The US posted atMotivation Diversity Success Blog, saying, “To help foreigners who get some income in the US reduce withholding tax”

Tyler presents Are You Sure You Want to Pay Taxes With a Credit Card? posted at Credit Card Chaser, saying, “I hope you find this article fitting for your readers! Some people don’t realize they’re instantly paying a significant extra charge! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Look forward to seeing this on your next blog carnival! Have a great day! Tyler”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

 

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