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Tax Planning: U.S.: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Critical Tax Deadlines in 2015
Just how soon can you file your 2014 tax return? The IRS plans to begin processing e-filed and paper-filed returns on January 20th, 2015. Find this and other significant tax dates in calendar year 2015.
2014 Federal Income Tax Rates (and How to...
Find out the federal income tax rates 2014 and rates for other federal taxes. Explains how to use the tax rate charts to calculate a person's federal income tax for the year.
How to Check the Status of Your Federal or...
Wondering where your federal or state tax refund is? It's easy to check the status of a tax refund using tools from the IRS and state tax agencies.
2015 Tax Brackets
See the 2015 federal tax rates on personal income. Explains how to use the chart to calculate a person's tax liability. Desktop-friendly format.
Missing the Tax Deadline: Penalties and Interest
If you owe taxes, the IRS will calculate penalties and interest on the amount owed. There's two types of penalties: one for filing late, and another for paying late. The IRS also adds interest to late payments.
Need More Time? How to File for a Tax Extension...
Need more time to file a tax return with the IRS? If so, an extension can be filed. Doing so will extend the filing deadline to October 15th.
8 Reasons to Ask the IRS for a Tax Extension
An extension is your way of asking the IRS for additional time to file your tax return. Learn more about what filing an extension can and cannot do for you.
Requesting Additional Time to File a State Tax...
Need extra time to file a tax return? Be sure to file an extension with the state. Here's a directory of personal income tax extensions with links to forms and other information for each state with an income tax. Updated for tax year 2014.
The 8 Fastest Ways to File a Tax Extension
Need extra time to file your tax return, but don't have a lot of time figuring out what to do? Here are eight quick and easy ways you can file an extension in under fifteen minutes.
Where to Mail Tax Returns, Tax Payments and...
The Internal Revenue Service has different addresses for different types of documents being mailed. Here's links to pages on the IRS.gov Web site with the
How Much Do Accountants Charge for Tax...
Tax professionals use a variety of pricing methods when quoting a fee. We've combed through fee studies and company reports to find out the average fees for preparing a tax return.
Head of Household Filing Status, Explained
Taxpayers claiming the Head of Household filing status benefit from a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates than single taxpayers.
How to Fill Out Form W-4 in 11 Steps
Filling out Form W-4 is one of the first things you do when you start a new job. You also fill out a new W-4 if your financial situation has changed.
7 States With No Income Tax
See the list of seven U.S. states that have no income tax and find out where you'll get to keep more of your paycheck.
Your Helpful Guide to Capital Gains Tax Rates...
Find critical definitions and tax rates for capital gains and losses. Plus tax tips for 2014.
Sold Your Home? You Might Not Have to Pay Taxes...
How to calculate capital gains taxes on the sale of a main home, along with tips for lowering your capital gains using the exclusion for selling a main home.
What's the Statute of Limitations on IRS Audits...
The tax code imposes time limits on getting a tax refund, for the IRS auditing your tax return, and for the IRS collecting any unpaid taxes.
What You Should Know about Filing an Amended...
An amended tax return is used to make corrections to a previously filed tax return. Taxpayers can correct filing status, income, tax deductions, or tax credits. Tips for revising and correcting federal tax returns using Form 1040X.
Guess Which State Has the Highest Taxes?
Wondering how your state income tax rates compare to other states? Here you will find each state's highest income tax rate and when the top rates kick in.
Should Married Couples File Taxes Separately?
The Married Filing Separately filing status provides fewer tax benefits than filing joint returns, but it does protect each spouse from any tax mistakes the other spouse makes.
Investing in a 401(k)? Learn Your Yearly...
Find out what's the maximum you can contribute to a 401(k) plan for the year 2015 for elective salary deferrals and catch-up contributions.
The Best (and Worst) States for Property Taxes
Find out which states have the highest property taxes and which states have the lowest property taxes over a three year period.
Criteria for Claiming Dependents on Your Taxes
Learn more about the relationship, age, residency, and support tests for qualifying children, and the tie-breaker rules used to determine which taxpayer is eligible to claim a dependent on their tax return. Page 2.
Understanding Form W-2, the Annual Wage and Tax...
A line-by-line guide to reading your Form W-2 to help you understand your salary and where various amounts may need to be reported on a tax return. Page 2.
Set Up an IRS Payment Plan With This Easy Guide
Setting up an IRS payment plan is an easy way to pay taxes. Find out how to request an IRS installment agreement quickly and easily.
Federal Tax Brackets in a Mobile-Friendly Format
Tax brackets for years 2015 and 2014. Mobile-friendly format.
Which States Have Reciprocal Agreements?
Reciprocal agreements allow residents of one state to work in a neighboring state while only paying income taxes to their state of residency.
Personal Exemptions Reduce Taxable Income
Individuals are entitled to claim one personal exemption for themselves and each dependent. Find personal exemption amounts for 2015 and other years.
How to Get Your Tax Withholding Just Right
You adjust your withholding by changing how much tax is withheld from your paycheck. Learn how to figure out how many withholding allowances to claim.
Payroll Taxes: A Primer for Employers
Find out how employers report and figure payroll taxes.
How to Make Sure Your Charity Donation Is...
Donations of cash and property to qualified non-profits are tax deductible. To be deductible, taxpayers must keep records of their contributions, especially of any gifts over $250. For non-cash contributions, taxpayers must keep records indicating the value and condition of the property given to charity.
Tax Tips: How to Find the IRS Form You Need
Here are links to the most common tax forms needed to prepare your income tax returns for current and previous years.
Learn about the additional 10% tax on early...
If you withdraw money from a traditional individual retirement account, you may be subject to an early distribution penalty of 10%. There are exceptions.
Tips for Filing Your 1040-EZ Tax Return
Preparing a federal tax return using Form 1040EZ is fairly easy. Tips for filling out and checking a tax return for accuracy and completeness.
What Type of Tax Form Should You Be Filing?
You should use the simplest tax form for your needs. Find out if you need to file Form 1040, or if you qualify to use the shorter Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A.
Understand The U.S. Federal Income Tax Table
Where to find federal income tax tables from the IRS and how to use the tax tables to look up your federal tax liability.
Federal Tax Brackets for 2013 (and Tax Rate...
Find out the federal income tax rates 2013 and rates for other federal taxes. Plus tips for how to utilize your marginal tax rates to help plan your finances.
What Are the Most Tax-Friendly States for...
Find out which states retirees will pay the least income tax, sales tax, and property tax and which states win out overall as the best states to retire in.
How to Deduct Car and Truck Expenses on Your...
Learn what car-related expenses are tax-deductible, what records to keep, and how to report this on your tax return. Includes standard mileage rates.
A Quick Overview of Social Security Taxes
The Social Security Administration updated the maximum wage base for 2015. The Social Security tax of 12.4% applies to wages and self-employment income.
All About the Earned Income Tax Credit
The earned income credit is a refundable tax credit, which means the EIC lowers your taxes and gives you a bigger refund.
Tips for Reporting Rental Income on Schedule E...
Mastering the IRS Form 1040 Schedule E is easy once you organize your income and expenses with these tax rules regarding rental income.
Here Are 3 Ways You Can Reduce Your Taxes
The goal of tax planning is to arrange your financial affairs so as to minimize your taxes. There are three basic ways to reduce your taxes.
What States Don't Tax Social Security Benefits?
A listing of states that fully exempt Social Security benefits from income taxes. Find out which states do not tax Social Security.
How Should You File Your Taxes?
E-file is fast and safe, paper filing is low-key. Find out which is best for you, or if you are required to file on paper.
What's Your Tax Filing Status?
Choose only one filing status, depending on your situation. Generally, your filing status depends on your marital status as of the last day of the year.
Social Security Benefits are Partially Taxable:...
Social Security benefits are subject to the federal income. The amount of benefits that are included in taxable income depends on total income from all sources. Discusses how to calculate the taxable portion of benefits and how to request withholding.
What Is the Alternative Minimum Tax?
The alternative minimum tax, or AMT, is a second tax system parallel to the regular income tax. The alternative minimum tax adjusts or eliminates certain tax deductions or credits. Your tax may be higher under the alternative minimum tax rules if your income is over the AMT exemption amount.
How Dividends Are Taxed and Reported on Tax...
Dividends generated by investments in stocks and mutual funds are taxable income. Sometimes they are taxed at ordinary tax rates, and sometimes at the lower capital gains tax rates. Find out when you need to fill out Schedule B, and how to get information from Form 1099-DIV to Form 1040.
Last Year's State Refund Might be Taxed on Your...
Refunds of state and local taxes are sometimes included as taxable income on a federal return. Learn when state refunds are taxable, what documents are needed, and how to report this on Form 1040.
How Much is Your Standard Deduction?
Taxpayers can opt to take a standard deduction (a flat dollar amount that reduces taxable income) or itemize their deductions instead.
The Key Benefits of Health Savings Accounts
Contributions to health savings accounts are tax deductible. And did you know that HSA contributions can be double tax-free: not only are contributions tax-deductible going into the HSA, and distributions can be tax-free coming out the HSA. For 2014, individuals can contribute up to $3,300 to a health savings account paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan with self-only coverage, or up to $6,550 if the plan has family coverage. Contributions are due by April 15th.
4 Tips for the 1st Estimated Tax Payment of 2015
Taxpayers can prepay their federal taxes by remitting estimated tax payments throughout the year. The next estimated tax due date is April 15, 2015.
How Much Can You Deduct by Contributing to a...
Savings contributed to traditional individual retirement accounts (IRA) are potentially tax deductible. Updated for 2014 and 2015 contribution limits.
What Are Adjustments to Income on Your Taxes?
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Tax Basics: What You Need to Know about Form W-9
Form W-9 is a request for your taxpayer identification number. Find out what the form means and how to fill it out.
Child Tax Credit: How to Qualify and Tax...
If you have children, you may qualify for the Child Tax Credit on your federal income tax return. There is a maximum that you can claim, set every yet.
An Easy Way to Calculate Your Estimated Taxes...
Paying estimated tax is one way for individuals to submit payments to the IRS for their federal tax. Find out how to calculate how much estimated tax to pay, and learn about the penalty for not paying enough estimates throughout the year. The fourth estimated tax payment for the year 2014 is due by January 15th, 2015.
Avoid Penalties: Finish Your Tax Return On Time
After you finished calculating your taxes, use these easy-to-follow steps to finish up you return, including third party designees and mailing your return.
How Do You Claim a Sales Tax Deduction on Your...
Sales tax may be a deductible against your federal income taxes. This is an itemized deduction and is claimed on Schedule A.
Which States Have Tax Breaks for Retirees?
Details on state income tax breaks for retirees, including states that exempt social security income, government pension income, and private pension income.
Things to Keep in Mind When Filing Jointly as a...
The Married Filing Jointly filing status provides more tax benefits than filing separate returns, but taxpayers will need to weigh the pros and cons.
Tax Brackets Updated for 2014
The IRS released the tax rates for 2014. The following chart shows the marginal tax rate that applies to each bracket of taxable income.
Do I Need to File a Nonresident State Tax Return?
Need help deciding if you should file a nonresident state tax return? Here are the basics to help you decide if you need to file a nonresident return.
What You Need to Know about Filing Late Tax...
If you haven't filed your taxes in a few years, you may be wondering what options you have. Learn how to prepare and file your taxes to protect yourself.
Reviews of 23 Tax Preparation Software Programs
Find brief, objective reviews of tax preparation software. 23 free and paid tax preparation programs were tested by preparing a sample 2013 tax return.
What Tax Documents to Bring to Your Accountant?
Find out what documents to take with you when meeting with your tax professional. And find out what you can do if you are missing some documents.
Reader's Questions on Back Taxes
How many years back can you file your income tax return when the government owes you? Find out how long you have to file a tax return and claim a refund.
How to Plan for, Minimize, and Report the...
Tips to help self-employed business owners and independent contractors plan and calculate your self-employment tax on Schedule SE.
Know the Types of Installment Agreements for...
There's four different types of installment agreements offered by the IRS. The important thing is knowing which installment agreement you qualify for.
Five U.S. States Without a Sales Tax
Every state in the nation has a sales tax, with the exception of only five. See where you can shop sales tax free in these states without a sales tax.
Claiming Home Mortgage Interest as a Tax...
Mortgage interest is a tax-deductible expense. Mortgage interest is reported on Form 1040, Schedule A along with other itemized deductions.
Will Your State Delay Your Tax Refund Check?
Due to budget shortfalls, some states have delayed sending out tax refund checks. Find out if your state is one of these and when they will have to pay you interest on your late refund.
How You Can Deduct Up to \$4,000 in Tuition...
Americans can deduct the cost of college tuition for themselves, their spouses, and their dependents with the Tuition and Fees Deduction.
How to Get a Federal Tax Credit for the Cost of...
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit reduces your taxes by providing a tax credit for money you spend on day care and child care services.
Are You Impacted by Backup Withholding?
Backup withholding is a type of withholding for federal income taxes on certain types of income and may be mandatory in certain circumstances.
Deducting Health Insurance Premiums When You're...
Self-employed persons can deduct the cost of health insurance as an adjustment to income on page one of their Form 1040. This is one of the few business-related expenses we deduct on the 1040 instead of on the Schedule C. The result? This deduction reduces the federal income tax only, and does not reduce the self-employment tax. New for 2014, persons who received any premium assistance credits have an alternate worksheet to fill out (it's located in Pub. 974) instead of using the regular worksheet found in the 1040 general instructions.
How to Pay Taxes After Moving To a New State
Details on how to file a part-year state income tax return if you have permanently moved to a new state during the tax year.
Itemized Tax Deductions
Itemized deductions is a group of tax deductions taken on Form 1040 Schedule A. Itemizing is optional, and usually advantageous when total itemized deductions exceeds a person's standard deduction for the year.
How to Prepare Your 1040
Calculating your taxable income, your income tax, and your alternative minimum tax. Links to tax rates and tax tables. Page 5.
Here's a List of U.S. Cities With an Income Tax
A listing of cities and localities in the U.S. that have an income tax, including details on city income tax rates and other municipal income tax rates.
What You Need to Know about Reporting Payments...
Businesses are required to report payments made for services related to a trade or business, such as payments made to independent contractors. Such payments are reported to the contractor and to the IRS using Form 1099-MISC. Find out what types of income are reported, and when these forms need to be filed.
We Reviewed a Bunch of Free Tax Preparation...
Individuals may be eligible to prepare a federal tax return at no cost using Web-based tax software made available through the IRS Free File Alliance.
Can Two Taxpayers Claim Head of Household...
Find out whether two people, who both live at the same address, each qualify for the head of household filing status when they prepare their tax returns.
Tax Refunds by Direct Deposit: How to Do It and...
Individuals can receive their tax refund by direct deposit. With direct deposit, the tax agency electronically transfers the refund directly to a bank account. Exercise caution and make sure your bank information is correctly shown on your tax return before filing. Also, we discuss how to resolve problems caused by incorrect bank information.
What to Know About Claiming Single Filing...
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How Does New York City Tax Your Income?
Find out New York City income tax rates, tax credits you can use to reduce your income taxes, and how to file and pay your income taxes.
How Working Out-Of-State Affects Your Taxes
Details on how to file a nonresident state tax return, including what income to include details on deductions and credits for nonresidents.
What College Students Ought to Know About the...
The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,500 for people pursuing undergraduate education. Updated for 2014 and 2015 figures from the IRS.
Deducting tax preparation fees
Individuals can potentially deduct the cost of hiring a professional to prepare their tax return as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A.
How to Claim State Income Tax Deductions
Individuals can deduct their state and local income taxes if they take the itemized deduction.
Educator Expenses Tax Deduction
If you are a teacher and you paid for classroom supplies and other materials out of your own pocket, you can claim those expenses as a tax deduction.
What You Need to Know About California Personal...
A guide to California income tax including tax deductions, tax credits, California tax rates, and income exclusions.
Does Your Company Qualify for This 3% Tax...
Starting with tax year 2005, certain companies can take a 3% deduction for US-based business activities with the Domestic Production Activities Deduction.
Where You'll Pay the Most in State and Local...
See which state's residents pay the most in all state taxes including income tax, property tax, sales tax, and other state and local taxes.
Did You Pay Interest on Student Loans? It May...
You can claim up to $2,500 of student loan interest you paid as an above-the-line tax deduction on Form 1040.
Can Two Taxpayers Claim the Same Dependent?
Two parents may be able to both claim tax breaks associated with a child, provided the custodial parent agrees to split the tax benefits.
Your Quick Guide to New York City Taxes
A guide to taxes individuals pay in New York City including income tax, property tax, sales tax rates, and other taxes.
What Taxpayers Need to Know About Depreciation...
When taxpayers sell an asset that has been depreciated for tax purposes, that sale may trigger a type of capital gain called depreciation recapture.
State Tax Web sites
Need a form or contact information for your state tax agency? Find links to each state tax agency website here.
7 Common Myths about State Income Taxes
State income taxes are complicated and there are many myths and misconceptions out there. Don't fall for these seven myths about state income taxes.
3 Types of Tax Form 5498 (and Why You Got One)
Banks and other financial institutions send out Form 5498 to report information about types of tax-preferred savings accounts.
5 Ways to Get Out of Debt with the IRS
Learn what your options are for reducing and paying off your tax debts, and how to protect yourself when hiring a tax professional.
Best and Worst States for Sales Taxes
The Tax Foundation has ranked the states with the highest and lowest combined state and local sales taxes as well as major U.S. cities with the highest sales taxes. See how your state compares.
Are You Eligible for a Lifetime Learning Tax...
Learn about the Lifetime Learning Credit, a federal tax credit for any person who takes college classes. Updated for 2014 and 2015 figures from the IRS.
How to Avoid and Resolve Audits Over Dependents
Here's what to do to protect your tax return when the IRS questions whether you are entitled to a dependent someone else has attempted to claim.
How Is Interest Income Taxed and Reported?
Bank interest, money market funds, and tax-exempt bonds are reported on your tax return. Find out how to report your interest income on Form 1040.
How Long Should I Keep My State Tax Records?
An explanation of how long you should keep your state tax records and how long the state has to audit your tax return.
What Is Form 1099, Anyway?
Form 1099 is used to report a wide variety of taxable income, such as interest, dividends, stock sales, and self-employment income.
The Surprising Tax Benefit of Living in...
Information on Pennsylvania income tax, including what income is taxable, income that is exempt, tax deductions and credits, and how to file.
Got Stock Options? You Need Tax Form 3921
Incentive stock options enjoy favorable tax treatment compared to other forms of employee compensation. Income from incentive stock options is taxable for federal income tax (including the alternative minimum tax), but are not taxable for Social Security and Medicare taxes. Upon meeting all the criteria for a qualifying sale, income from incentive stock options qualify for the preferred long-term capital gains tax rate.
Own Your House? Don't Miss Out on This Tax...
Mortgage insurance premiums may be tax deductible. To qualify, the insurance policy must be for home acquisition debt on a first or second home. This itemized tax deduction is valid for the years 2007 through 2013.
What Every New Yorker Should Know About Paying...
Details on New York State personal income tax including New York income tax deductions and New York tax credits.
How Do You Report Alimony on Your Tax Return?
Alimony is income to the person receiving, and is a tax-deductible expense for the person paying. Learn the seven criteria that makes alimony tax-deductible.
The Basics of the Medicare Tax
In the year 2015 Medicare taxes remain at 2.9% on all wages and self-employed income. The additional Medicare tax also remains in effect for 2015.
Self-employed? SEP IRAs Help Reduce Taxes and...
SEP IRAs help small business owners and the self-employed to save pre-tax dollars for retirement. Contributions made to a SEP IRA by April 15th can be deducted on last year's tax return.
Do You Need to File More Than One State Tax...
People may need to file more than one state tax return. Find out if you may need to file multiple state returns based on commonly-encountered scenarios.
The Types of Taxes Withheld from Wages
Employers are required to withhold federal income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, and state and local taxes from the wages of their employees.
Deducting Property Taxes
Individuals can deduct the cost of property tax as an itemized deduction on their federal tax return.
The Beginner's Guide to Self-Employment Income
Self-employed persons incur three federal taxes on their earnings: federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax.
California State Taxes Amongts the Highest in...
Find out how much you'll pay in California state taxes; from California income tax, to California property taxes and sales taxes.
The New Form for Reporting Capital Gains and...
American taxpayers will use new Form 8949 along with Schedule D to report income from the sale of stock, bonds, mutual funds and other investments.
Tax Terms: What Is Tangible Personal Property?
Definition and examples of tangible personal property as it relates to state personal property taxes.
What You Need to Know About Your Pensions and...
Reporting the taxable portion of pension and annuity income can get a little tricky. Here is details on pension and annuity income from the IRS.
What Can Be Deducted as Personal Property Tax?
Individuals can deduct personal property taxes as an itemized deduction on their federal tax return.
Can Employees Write off Business Expenses?
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How to Tell the IRS Your Spouse Has Died
When a person dies, his surviving spouse or personal representative should file a tax return on behalf of the deceased.
Why Illinois Income Tax Is Simpler Than Most
Everything you need to know about Illinois income tax, from deductions and credits to tax rates.
Where to Get Help With Your Taxes for Free
A variety of non-profits, universities and the IRS provides tax preparation assistance and tax problem resolution services to the public for free.
Tax Terms: What Is Reciprocity?
The definition of reciprocity or reciprocal agreements as they relate to state income taxes and what the agreement does - and does not - cover.
Things to Know About Paying Taxes in Massachuse...
A comprehensive guide to Massachusetts income taxes including tax rates, exemptions, deductions, and credits.
Allocating Community Property Income for...
Spouses living in community property states will need to follow state law to determine how much income to include on each separate federal tax return.
How to Define and Keep Track of Legitimate...
Expenses for your business are generally tax-deductible. Keeping track of all your business expenses will go a long way to reducing your tax liabilities.
What To Do if You Missed the Tax Deadline
April 15th has come and gone. Did you miss the deadline? Don't worry. Instead, focus on what needs to get done.
5 Rules for Discharging Tax Debts in Bankruptcy
Income tax debts may be eligible for discharge under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Here are the 5 criteria debts must have for discharge.
What You Need to Know About Taxes in Florida
Get the scoop on Florida state taxes including details on Florida property taxes, Florida sales tax rates, and other state taxes in Florida.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible?
Child support is not a tax-deductible expense, and is not considered taxable income for the recipient.
What Every Couple Should Know About Community...
Married persons who are filing separate tax returns may need to compute their income and deductions using the community property rules of their state.
How Wages and Salaries are Taxed
Wage and salary are taxed partly to the employee and partly to the employer. There are at least four federal taxes imposed.
The Beginner's Guide to Filing State Income Taxes
General instructions on how to file a state income tax return. Get details on how to begin your state tax return, common adjustments on your state income tax return, calculating your state tax, and filing options for your state tax return.
Tax Terms: Understanding Use Tax
The definition of use tax, including details on what kind of transactions trigger a use tax liability, when you owe use tax and how to pay use tax.
How Much Can You Save With a 403(b) Retirement...
For the year 2015, people can contribute up to $18,000 as an elective deferral to their employer's 403(b) retirement savings plan.
7 Ways to Pay the IRS
Need to pay the IRS and looking for some options on how to do this? The Internal Revenue Service makes it really easy to send them money. Here are seven ways to pay your taxes.
Here Are The Best and Worst Places for Property...
Where will you pay the most property taxes? Find out which counties have the highest property taxes and which have the lowest property taxes in the nation.
Understand the Basics of Income Tax Laws
Tax forms can be pretty scary. Fortunately, there's some very basic ideas which can help you understand what taxes are all about.
Excluding Foreign Wages from US Taxes
Americans working outside the United States can exclude up to $100,800 per year from their taxable income through the foreign earned income exclusion.
Tax Terms: Understanding the Flat Tax
A flat tax is one income tax rate that everyone pays regardless of their income level. Flat tax systems are becoming increasingly popular around the world and in state government. But, converting to a flat tax affects more than just the income tax rate.
Do Your Home Improvements Qualify for the...
Homeowners who install solar panels or make other energy-efficient improvements to their home may qualify for a federal tax credit.
Recently Widowed? You Could Qualify for This...
For those who have suffered the loss of a spouse, there is a special filing status designed to ease the financial burden of the grieving family.
How to Find Out Whether You Need to File a Tax...
A person is required to file an income tax return with the IRS if the person's income is more than a certain amount. To determine whether a person needs to file a tax return, we can turn to tables published by the IRS. Learn what information is needed, and then apply a two-step process for using the tables to determine if a person is required to file.

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