Posted on | June 18, 2014 | Comments Off
Get tax credit this summer for your dependent care and child care costs
A lot of adults pay for day camps or child care during the summer months when they have to go to work. If you are a parent who covers these costs, you may be qualified to receive a federal tax credit that will reduce your taxes. Following are several important facts about the Child And Dependent Care Tax Credit:
1. You must be paying child or dependent care costs for at least one qualifying person. Dependent children or those who are below the age of thirteen will often qualify. To learn more about this rule, see the IRS publication 503 for Child and Dependent Care expenses.
2. These expenses have to be related to your work. Thus, you must pay for this care in order to maintain a job or look for one. If you and your spouse are filing a joint return, this rule will also apply to your spouse. A spouse can meet this requirement in any month in which he or she is enrolled as a full-time student. A spouse can also meet this requirement if he or she is mentally or physically incapable of self-care.
3. It will be necessary to have earned income, such as monies that come in the form of wages, tips or your normal work salary. If filing jointly with your spouse, this individual must also have income as well. Any month that your spouse is enrolled as a full-time student or incapable of caring for his or her self, this can be counted as earned income. This rule is also applicable to you if filing jointly. Check out IRS publication 503 for additional info.
4. If you are married you will need to file jointly in order to use this credit. This rule is not applicable, however, if you have left your spouse and live separately or if you are legally separated.
5. You could be qualified for this credit whether you pay for child care at home, at a day camp or at a daycare facility.
6. The credit is representative of a percentage of the qualified child or dependent care expenses that you pay. It can be up to 35% of your expenses, as determined by your income level.
7. The total expense that is applicable for this credit annually is limited. $3k is the limit for one qualified individual and $6 is the limit for two parties or more.
8. School tutoring costs, summer school costs and overnight camp charges are not qualified expenses. You will not be able to include the costs of care if this care is provided by a a child below the age of 19 or by your spouse. You may not claim a child as a dependent and claim the cost of any care that this child provides. There are special rules concerning dependent care benefits that employers provide.
9. Diligently maintain your records and receipts. Take note of the address, name and employer identification number or social security number of the individual who provides care. This information will need to be reported when filing your return and claiming this credit.
Posted on | April 7, 2014 | Comments Off
Let Turbo Tax 2014 guide you at tax time.
Many people debate the merits of having a mortgage tax deduction when they file their taxes.
It makes sense to work at lowering your taxable income and getting all of the credits and deductions that you are entitled to, and claiming mortgage interest may be at the top of the list for you. Some homeowners think so much of this deduction that they forgo paying off their mortgage in spite of having enough money to do so. The question becomes whether it makes more sense to keep the savings or eliminate the mortgage debt entirely.
Q: I have enough financial resources to pay my mortgage debt in full and still have money left for emergencies. The savings account pays a low interest rate, and I am concerned that paying off my mortgage and losing this deduction will adversely affect me at tax time. I feel that I budget wisely, and I am committed to putting as much money in my retirement account as possible. What would you recommend?
Singletary: I would advise you to pay off your mortgage, but with the following caveat.
Review the items on your return, and remember that a tax credit is different than a mortgage deduction. Tax credits lower your taxable income, and deductions eliminate percentages of your tax obligation. You may pay more in taxes if you do not have a mortgage, but this amount may be much lower that you would pay in annual interest on your home loan. Keeping a mortgage just for a possible tax break does not make sense in the long run.
The caution about eliminating your mortgage refers to using your savings in the current economic climate. You should consider things like your job security, your health, and your ability to find work if you lost your job before you take steps to pay off your mortgage. You cannot predict when you may need an emergency fund of available cash, and tying up your money into your home equity may force you to borrow against your home or sell it. If you can continue to save for retirement and sustain a proper emergency fund, then I would recommend taking the steps to pay off your mortgage.
Posted on | March 3, 2014 | Comments Off
An agreement between a group of private companies that produce tax filing software,the Free File Alliance, and the IRS has made it very easy to file your taxes. The companies have availed their software to be used at absolutely no charge. This has resulted in over 40 million people turning to filing taxes electronically because of the ease and safety associated with this method. When you file your returns electronically, you also benefit from being able to receive your refund faster than those who have to go through a lot of paperwork.
In order to use the Free File software, you need to visit the IRS website (www.IRS.gov). Here, you will have to choose the preferred program for preparation, printing and filing of your taxes returns.
The free File software employ numerous techniques to help you accomplish the task. The use of questions and answers is a very common technique used in order for the software to determine the tax forms to be use before it goes ahead and computes the required calculations. This way, you can also identify tax breaks and tax credits that can be claimed.
In case your revenue for the previous year was less than $58,000, you can use TurboTax 2014 or Free File forms for anything above that.
When you use Free File, you can easily and freely request for an extension of up to six months in case you are unable to file your taxes by April 15th deadline. Check IRS Publication 17 for details. However, it is advisable to file your taxes by April 15 to avoid penalties and accumulation of interest. You can eliminate the headache and stress associated with filing taxes by choosing to use Free File. It is not only easy but quick. To find out which brand you are eligible for and any other pertinent information, visit IRS.gov/freefile.
Posted on | January 31, 2014 | Comments Off
Select the right Health Insurance Products: TurboTax Health Software by Intuit makes it easy for consumers to understand different health care options offered by Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Through their tax preparation software, TurboTax, Intuit has played an important role in simplifying the tax preparation process for the American tax payers. The same group is now coming out with software, TurboTax Health that lets American consumers understand the different health insurance coverage options available under the recently funded Affordable Care Act (ACA).
U.S Consumers can get in to the online portal of TurboTax health by following the link www.TurboTaxHealth.com . This tool is free to use and provides an interactive experience for the users by providing all the required information through an interview like conversation tone. Users would be able to appreciate the various features of ACA and what it has in store for the uninsured Americans.
Turbo Tax Health helps the American consumers in choosing the right medical insurance package that fits a particular individual in all aspects. Turbo tax Health comes with a detailed guide that contains explicit details regarding the various insurance options available to choose from. This product from intuit poses relevant questions to the consumer and gets their responses. Based on the user responses, the TurboTax health lists all the recommended health insurance options to the user. Turbo Tax primarily helps consumers to get answers to the following three important questions related to Affordable Health care.
1.Ascertain whether the American consumer would be applicable for 2013 Tax rebate and buy Health insurance option at discounted rates
2.Get the required clarification on how much it would cost an average American Consumer to buy an affordable Health care plan
3.Understand the possible consequences of not taking a health insurance policy
Once the individual has decided to purchase a specific health insurance plan, TurboTax Health would automatically connect the user with the state and Federal Level Health Exchanges. Users would also be provided access to the online portal of eHealth, America’s leading private health insurance market place.TurboTax health provides detailed answers to the individual questions raised by the individual on various aspects related to health insurance buying through its social community platform, called the AnswerXchnage Community.
About Intuit Software
Intuit Software has been in the business of creating financial management solutions for small business owners, individuals and accountants. TurboTax main product range includes QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax. These products makes it easier for small business owners and accountants to carry out payroll processing, personal finance planning and Tax Preparation and Filing. Intuit has around 8000 employees and has its presence in United States, Canada, United Kingdom and India among other countries.
Posted on | January 11, 2014 | 1 Comment
The IRS has set the date to open up their filing season, for year 2014, on January 31st. They encourage all taxpayers to take advantage of Free File, e-file, or TurboTax 2014, to get the quickest refunds of their 2014 taxes.
This opening date for filing tax returns for 2013 will give the IRS enough time to properly program and test their updated tax processing systems. There were substantial delays in their system back in October, immediately after they experienced that 16-day government shutdown.
The Acting Commissioner for the IRS, Mr. Danny Werfel, encouraged taxpayers with this statement, “Our team of professionals have been hard at work all throughout the fall season, preparing for this upcoming tax time. This late date in January will allow us plenty of time to get everything in order in regard to programming, testing, and validating our systems. The process is a complex one, and we will remain focused on our main goal, which is to provide a smooth filing platform and speedy refund process for the entire nation.”
The government shutdown caused the IRS to move their original opening date. It was first scheduled to be between January 21st and January 31st. This new date in 2014 is an extra day later than last year’s 2013 filing season date, which began on January 30th after Congress had changed the January tax law on the 1st. This change was made under the ATRA (American Taxpayer Relief Act). The tax changes that took place under the ATRA were quite extensive and affected a lot of 2012 returns. That is what led to the decision to hold a late January opening.
The IRS also made note that taxpayers this year will have several options available for getting their refunds as quickly as possible. There has been new ‘year-end’ tax planning information added onto the IRS.gov website this week.
Additionally, there are a lot of software companies who are anticipating accepting tax returns come January. They will hold on to those tax returns until the exact day of the IRS system opening on the new January 31st date. There will be more extensive details available throughout the month of January.
The IRS wants to caution everyone that it will NOT BE processing any tax returns before their stated date of January 31st. You can gain no advantage by doing your filing on paper any time before this opening date. The fastest returns will go to those who utilize Free File, e-file, or TurboTax 2014, and can take advantage of the direct deposit option.
The deadline date of April 15th has been set, and was done by statute, so it will stay in place. However, any taxpayer who is eligible may request an automatic extension of six months for filing their return. To request this extension, simply fill out a Form 4868, either electronically or on paper.
The updates to the IRS applications, databases, and systems, are done every year. This is done to ensure they reflect the current tax law updates, as well as all business process changes and/or programming updates before the time of the filing season begins.
The closure in October took place during a peak period in regard to IRS system preparations for 2014. There is programming and testing to be done, as well as the deployment of over 50 IRS systems. That’s what it takes to handle the processing of around 150 million tax returns. The updating of these core systems can be extremely complex, and is a process that is on-going all year round. The bulk of this work usually kicks off in the Fall every year.
During the government shutdown, around 90% of the operations within the IRS were closed. Some very major streams of work closed down entirely. That threw the IRS behind by almost 3 weeks behind their solid timetable for being in position to begin the filing season for 2014. They are also dealing with additional programming, testing, and training in terms of their new systems this year. This is for providing protection against refund fraud, as well as identity theft prevention and detection.
Posted on | November 5, 2013 | Comments Off
Welcome to the November 5, 2013 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. In this edition we start with an article on The Government Shutdown delaying The Start Of The January Tax Season by Bill Smith. Lee Hadnum has a nice article onNon-Resident & Offshore Tax Planning that you should take a look at. Hope you enjoy all the material and follow the carnival to it’s next destination.
Bill Smith presents The IRS Publication 17 And You posted at 2009 Tax, saying, “IRS publication 17 deals with general instructions and guidance for people using form 1040. Paying income tax can be daunting but reading this publication will aid you in this process.”
Bill Smith presents The Government Shutdown Will Delay The Start Of The January Tax Season posted at 2011 Taxes, saying, “There could be a one to two week delay on filling your 2013 tax return forms as a direct result of the government shut down in 2013.”
John Schmoll presents Putting Time on Your Side: How to Start Investing in Your 20s posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “A common excuse given by those in their 20s as to why they can’t invest is because they can’t afford to. However, there are ways to get started investing when you’re young and doing so will do wonders for your wealth building and giving yourself more time to grow your retirement portfolio.”
Justin @ Root of Good presents $150,000 Income, $150 Income Tax posted at Root of Good, saying, “Justin at Root of Good reveals how his household made $150,000 and paid only $150 in income taxes through a combination of contributions to workplace savings plans and IRA‘s. Tax efficient investing and tax loss harvesting also played a key role in keeping his income taxes at 0.1%.”
Lee Hadnum presents Non-Resident & Offshore Tax Planning posted at UK Tax Planning Blog, saying, “This is a complete tax guide published online that looks at offshore tax planning for UK residents.”
Abdulrasool presents 5 Tricks to Successful Dividend Investing posted at Top Dividend Stocks, saying, “The board of directors sit down before quarter-end to decide whether a company can afford to pay out cash dividends. Thus, not all dividends are guaranteed. Keep this in mind before you start buying companies that pay dividends. Look at the balance sheet to determine how much cash & short term investments the company has, how much long term debt, how long the company has been paying dividends and how many years it has been able to increase dividends.”
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.