An Important Guide On Filing Taxes Online

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. Even filing taxes online. 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.

Filing Taxes Online
FILE Rubber Stamp (Photo credit: Enokson)

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.

Intuit Comes out With TurboTax for Health Care

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).

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.
Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

On What Day Will I Be Able To File My Taxes?

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.

The IRS Publication 17 And You

IRS Publication 17

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. The materials contained in this publication are the interpretation of the Internal Revenue Service of court decisions, treasury regulations, tax laws, and additions to the tax code. It also deals with general rules and reminders to help you file your return.

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

IRS publication 17 can be extremely helpful for filing your tax returns.  If you are new to the workforce, it can tell you whether you have to file a return and if you do which form to use. It also gives you guidelines as to which records to keep, information on dependents, what is a filing status, and what exactly income is. E filing, how to check the status of a refund, and what to do if you make a mistake are also covered in this publication.

There are many flowcharts, everyday illustrations, and various scenarios of how the tax laws apply to real-life situations. For example IRS publication 17 illustrates tax questions; such as can you claim medical expenses you paid for a deceased spouse if you remarry and file jointly with your new spouse.  The answer is yes; you may claim these expenses. It also clarifies charitable donations with an example of a donated coat that originally cost $300 but the charity thrift store sold the coat for $50; the fair market value of the coat would be $50, which could be shown as a charitable contribution. However, if you are self-employed IRS publication 17 is useful but not all-inclusive; there are other publications that will give you further information on various tax laws and forms for business tax filing.

If you have questions about how to file, where to file, or how to determine income or expenses for IRS form 1040, IRS publication 17 should be the first place you look for information.

Surviving An IRS Audit

Surviving An IRS Audit

An IRS tax audit is requested when the tax filer submits tax information that doesn’t match with that submitted by employers, brokerage firms, banks and other institutions. This document-matching is only one means of identifying tax returns to be audited. The Discriminant Function System (DIF) is a point system the IRS gives each return rating it on its possibility of containing fraudulent information. Informants are still a popular means to detecting who has filed a fraudulent tax return and finally, self-employed persons and persons earning $200,000-1 million are often pursued when their returns appear suspicious.

Any of these circumstances could trigger an IRS audit. IRS Publication 17 is a guide for the individual tax payer that could help them stay off the IRS suspect list. The publication goes over the basics of filing a return. It covers every type of income, adjustments to income, profit gains and losses and deductions. It evaluates deductions and taxes and tax credits. Lastly, it provides a tax table and tax computation worksheet.

By following the IRS Publication 17 closely, the likelihood that you would encounter problems with your taxes dwindles significantly. An audit may still occur if mistakes are made or if you persist in being less than honest about your income. Keep in mind, that anything that can be verified will be verified.

If you are confronted with an IRS audit, the first step you should take is to contact your tax preparer, a good tax lawyer and review your returns before the actual audit. Avoid the IRS discovering improprieties in your returns. Point them out before they are brought to your attention and make compromises where ever possible to mitigate your cost.