The year 2015 is finally here and my family has created some big savings goals. We plan to increase our income while cutting back on frivolous expenses. If you would like to save money this year than you may be interested in our money saving tips.
1) Carefully review your health insurance, tax information and retirement benefits. This year make sure that you have the best health plan possible and are taking advantage of any tax breaks available. You can use TurboTax 2013 to help you with your taxes. Using Turbo Tax 2013 is a better option than paying a hefty fee for professional services. By increasing your retirement contributions now, you can enjoy a worry free retirement down the road.
2) You can earn extra money doing the thing you love the most by starting up a small part-time business. If you enjoy woodworking, making crafts or organizing cluttered rooms you can sell your goods or services. This is a terrific way to earn a few extra dollars in your spare time.
3) Sell the things you no longer use. You can clean out your basement or garage and make some money in the process. You can sell gently used items online at Craigslist or through a local buy and sell group.
4) Weatherproof your home. Weather you are a homeowner or a renter who pays for utilities you can save a bundle this year by weatherproofing your house. You can save on both heating and air conditioning costs by sealing up any drafty windows in the home.
5) Get a cheaper cell phone and monthly plan. Far too many people pay too much for their cell phone. Rather than buying an expensive cell phone that comes with a pricey payment plan and long contract you can purchase an older model and sign up for low monthly services that can be cancelled at any time. You can even purchase a gently used cell phone for a bargain price.
By now, most people have received their tax forms and financial documents. This means that taxpayers are ready to get their tax returns completed and filed. The final step for most people involves choosing a tax preparation software, like Turbo Tax or H&R Block. For this year, that decision is a little bit more difficult. Companies have added new features this time around.
For instance, Turbo Tax now offers a mobile experience that’s identical to its desktop version. Users on iOS and Android devices will use exactly what desktop users do. Taxpayers can seamlessly switch from one version to another. Plus, all tax documents can be uploaded from a smartphone’s camera with ease.
H&R Block, TaxAct, and Turbo Tax are offering their software for free once again. Unlike previous years, users can access more features through free versions. Most companies are going to charge extra for state returns, but Turbo Tax is offering the service free of charge to simple return users.
Also, it’s important to note that CD versions of tax prep software are mostly gone. Users will have to access the software over the Internet. This won’t affect too many users, although some taxpayers prefer the disk versions of their favorite software. For most companies, the install CD is still available, but that won’t be true in a couple of years.
More and more features have been added to Turbo Tax and other tax preparation software. As soon as users pass the Turbo Tax login, they will notice some of these changes!
TurboTax: US Residents Aware Of The Tax Impact Of Obamacare
According to a recent survey, 48% of Americans are oblivious of the requirements for reporting their health insurance condition on tax returns they file for 2014.
Given that the 2014 tax-filing season is just weeks off, An Intuit Turbo-tax Health Survey that has been performed via the web on 2,000 adults by Harris Poll suggests that Americans remain incognizant of the relation between taxes and health care.
Under Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, Americans must show that they are in possession of good insurance,according to the law, when filing their 2014 taxes or they will be penalized.
Although the majority of Americans without health insurance, 62 percent, understand that people without health coverage will have to pay a punishment, many are not aware of the reality that the deadline for avoiding this penalty has already passed. Any health coverage secured during the current enrollment period which runs through Feb. 15, will only be applicable for returns that are completed in 2016.
According to the TurboTax Affordable Care Act product leader, Sacha Adam, these numbers show that most US residents do not recognize the connection between taxes and health care even with open enrollment.
Other information that the survey has revealed:
9 in 10 Americans currently have insurance, but people who reside in Southern US states are far less likely to have this coverage than people in any other region.
Almost half of all US residents do not know that there are deductions known as premium taxation credits that are in place to make health ins coverage less costly for families with low to medium income.
Almost 3-quarters of all US residents who bought health coverage from the ‘Health Insurance Marketplace’ intend to renew this same coverage in the year to come.
With extensive dealings in the San Diego area, TurboTax by Intuit Inc, has provided a free, web-based asset at TurboTaxHealth.com.
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.
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.
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.