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Tax Planning: U.S.: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
Critical Tax Deadlines in 2014
Find a list of deadlines relating to federal income taxes for individuals and businesses. The next deadline is December 1st, for contributions to an HSA.
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.
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 2014 for elective salary deferrals and catch-up contributions.
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.
Missed the Tax Deadline? Here's what penalties...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Payroll Taxes: A Primer for Employers
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 for 2014.
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.
Your Helpful Guide to Capital Gains Tax Rates...
Find critical definitions and tax rates for capital gains and losses. Plus tax tips for 2014.
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.
How To Request an Additional Extension
You can request an additional extension of time to file your 1040 tax return using IRS Form 2688 if you previously requested an automatic extension.
Got a Call From the IRS? It's Probably a Scam
Be wary if you get a call from a person purporting to be an IRS agent asking for payment of taxes.
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.
Should Married Couples File Taxes Separately?
The Married Filing Separately filing status provides fewer tax benefits than filing joint returns, but taxpayers will need to weigh the pros and cons.
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.
What's the Statute of Limitations on IRS Audits...
The tax code imposes time limits for getting a tax refund, for the IRS auditing your tax return, and for the IRS collecting any unpaid taxes.
Learn How Personal Exemptions Reduce Taxable...
People are entitled to claim one personal exemption for themselves and each dependent. Find personal exemption amounts and phase-outs by year.
Can You Name the States That Don't Have Sales...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Get a Quick Overview of Social Security Taxes
The Social Security tax of 12.4% applies to wages and self-employment income. For 2014, the tax applies to wages and self-employment income up to $117,000.
What Is 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 Much Should You Expect to Pay a Tax Preparer?
Find out how different companies price their tax preparation services and average prices charged by various tax professionals.
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.
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.
What is the Health Savings Account Deduction?
Contributions to health savings accounts are tax deductible. Distributions from health savings accounts can be tax-free as long as the funds are spent on medical expenses. 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.
How to Get the Most Out of the Child Tax Credit
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.
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.
How to Deduct Car and Truck Expenses on Your...
Learn more about what car-related expenses are deductible, and what records to keep, and how to report this on your tax return.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How Are Dividends Taxed and Reported?
Dividends are reported on your tax return. Find out when you need to fill out Schedule B, and what amounts go on Form 1040 Line 9a and 9b.
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.
Taxes 101: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Social Security Tax For 2013
Find out the Social Security tax rate for 2013, including employee-portion, employer-portion, and self-employed persons.
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.
How to check the status of your state income...
A list of links to state tax authority websites where you can check the status of your state income tax refund.
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.
How your Social Security benefits are taxed
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.
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.
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.
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.
What You Need to Know about Reporting Payments...
Businesses are required to report payments made for goods and services related to a trade or business, which are reported to the vendor and to the IRS.
Itemized Tax Deductions
Itemized deductions is a group of tax deductions taken on Form 1040 Schedule A. Itemizing is optional, and is usually it's advantageous when the total of all itemized deductions exceeds a person's standard deduction for the year.
What You Need to Know About California State...
Find out how much you'll pay in California state taxes; from California income tax, to California property taxes and sales taxes.
What to Know About Claiming Single Filing...
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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.
How Contributing to an IRA Can Lower Your Taxes
If you contributed to a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), you can take an above-the-line tax deduction for your contribution on Form 1040.
Tax Terms: What Is Tangible Personal Property?
Definition and examples of tangible personal property as it relates to state personal property taxes.
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.
What Tax Documents to Bring to Your Accountant?
Missing some tax documents? Don't worry. Find out how to get copies of your missing information. Page 2.
What Are Adjustments to Income on Your Taxes?
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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.
Your Guide to the 6 Types of Business for...
The various forms of organization are established by state law. There are a wide variety of business organizations recognized by the states. Page 2.
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.
How to Pay Quarterly Estimated Taxes
Taxpayers can prepay their federal taxes by remitting estimated tax payments throughout the year. The next estimated tax due date is January 15, 2015.
Deducting Health Insurance Premiums When You're...
You can deduct the full cost of health insurance you purchase for yourself, your spouse, and/or your dependents. You must be self-employed, and you must not be eligible to participate in a subsidized group health plan.
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.
Should You Be Charging Your Customers Sales Tax?
Figuring out which sales tax rate to charge your customers can be a challenge, depending on whether the state is origin-based or destination-based.
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.
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 Much Can You Save With a 403(b) Retirement...
For the year 2014, people can contribute up to $17,500 as an elective deferral to their employer's 403(b) retirement savings plan.
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.
What College Students Ought to Know About the...
The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,500 for people pursuing undergraduate education and will be effective for 2009 through 2017.
Will You Have to Pay Increased Medicare Taxes?
Starting in the year 2013, Medicare taxes will be increased by an additional 0.9% to 3.8% for higher-income individuals.
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.
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.
Get Up to Speed on the 7 Marginal Tax Brackets
Overview of federal tax brackets and marginal tax rates.
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.
How to Claim State Income Tax Deductions
Individuals can deduct their state and local income taxes if they take the itemized deduction.
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.
How to Prepare Your 1040
Maximize your itemized deductions with a handy list of tax deductions, along with information and advice on handling limitations to deductions. Page 2.
Everything You Need to Know About Illinois...
Details on all Illinois state taxes and Illinois tax rates including information on property taxes, income taxes, and sales 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.
When are State Refunds Taxed on Your Federal...
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.
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.
Various Types of Individual Retirement Accounts
There are various types of individual retirement accounts available: traditional IRAs, non-deductible traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.
What Is an S Corporation?
Definition of an S Corporation: a corporation that has between 1 and 100 shareholders and that passes-through net income or losses to shareholders.
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.
5 Types of Loss (and How to Report Them on Your...
Losses incurred because of a casualty, disaster, or theft may be tax-deductible. Casualty and theft losses are reported on Form 4684 and Form 1040 Schedule A.
How to Deduct Moving Expenses from Your Taxes
If you moved to start a new job, or to seek work in a new city, you may be able to deduct the cost of your moving expenses from your income.
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.
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 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 criteria that makes alimony tax-deductible.
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.
Excluding foreign wages from US taxes
Americans working abroad can exclude up to $97,600 per year from their taxable income. The foreign earned income exclusion applies to wages and self-employment earnings, and exempts these types of income from the federal income tax.
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.
How You Can Convert Your Traditional IRA Funds...
Tips for calculating the tax impact of converting to a Roth IRA. Page 2.
Your Handy Guide to Deductible Business Expenses
Many common business expenses are deductible against business income. Find out which business expenses are fully or partly deductible for tax purposes.
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.
3 Self-Employed Retirement Plans
If you have self-employment income, then you can take a tax deduction for contributions you make to a SEP, SIMPLE, or a solo 401(k) retirement plan.
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 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.
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 that provides a credit of 20% of tuition expenses.
How to Find a Tax Accountant
Here's some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, to find the right tax accountant for your situation, and some questions to ask.
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.
Understanding Canceled Debt Income and Taxes
Anytime a lender cancels, or forgives, your debt, that is considered income to the debtor. Canceled debt on a main home may be tax-free, providing welcome tax relief to people who have lost their homes through foreclosure.
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.
3.8% Net Investment Income Tax
The net investment income tax is a tax on the lower of modified adjusted gross income over a threshold amount or net investment income for the year.
How Wages and Salaries are Taxed
Compensation for an employee's labor is taxed partly to the employee and partly to the employer. There are at least four federal taxes imposed.
Got Capital Loss? Here's What You Should Know...
A wash sale is selling an investment at a loss and repurchasing the same investment within a short period of time and may be deferred for tax purposes.
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.
What New Yorkers Need to Know About Property...
An overview of New York state property taxes. Get the scoop on New York property taxes including assessments, exemptions and property tax rates in New York.
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.
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.
Where's Your Refund? How to Check the Status of...
After filing a federal tax return, it's possible to check on the status of when the IRS will issue a tax refund. Describes different ways the status of a refund can be checked, and common reasons why refunds can experience delays.
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.
A Guide to Income and Property Taxes in Texas
A guide to all Texas state taxes. Including the appraisal process and property tax exemptions as well as tax rates for sales, gas and cigarettes.
How Do Self-Employment and Payroll Taxes for...
Shareholders of S-Corporations do not pay Self-Employment Tax if they are actively engaged as a shareholder-employee of the S-Corporation.
Do Your Home Improvements Qualify for This Tax...
Homeowners who install solar panels or make other energy-efficient improvements to their home may qualify for a federal tax credit.
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.
Community Property States
In nine community property states, married persons are considered to own their property, assets, and income jointly. This has implications for how the married couple reports income and deductions when preparing separate tax returns.
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.
Filing Tax Returns after the October 15th...
Filing Tax Returns after the October 15th Deadline
Federal Tax Liens: Tips to Prevent and Remove...
Taxpayers who owe the IRS can protect themselves and their credit by taking steps to prevent a federal tax lien from being filed.
The 7 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's quick and easy ways you can file an extension in under ten minutes.
Tax Tips for Freelance Professionals
Tax tips and strategies for freelancers, independent contractors, and self-employed people. There are special circumstances that apply to freelance writers and other independent professions, so I will highlight what you need to know to prepare your taxes and to avoid IRS investigations.
What Cars Qualify for the Alternative Fuel Tax...
Qualifying vehicles purchased on or after January 1, 2006, will be eligible for a tax credit ranging from $400 to $4,000 based on fuel economy.
Are Your Business Expenses Tax Deductible?
Learn what types of job-related expenses can be deducted, which tax forms are used, and what documentation is needed to support the deduction.
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.
US Withholding for Canadian Independent...
Canadian citizens who have income from US sources should fill out Form W-8BEN to claim a reduce amount of income tax withholding. Find out how to qualify for benefits under the US-Canada Tax Treaty and how to fill out Form W-8BEN.
A Teacher's Guide to Writing Off Classroom...
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.
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.
How to Know if You Should Hire a Tax Attorney
Tax attorneys are lawyers who specialize in the complex and technical field of tax law. Tax attorneys are best for handling complex legal issues.
Live in Pennsylvania? Here's Your Guide to...
A guide to all Pennsylvania state taxes including Property tax, income tax, and sales tax.
Deducting Property Taxes
Individuals can deduct the cost of property tax as an itemized deduction on their federal tax return.
Helpful Tips for Reducing Your Taxes Using...
Medical expenses represents a category of expenses for which an individual may be eligible to receive various tax breaks.
Things to Know About Paying Taxes in Massachuse...
A comprehensive guide to Massachusetts income taxes including tax rates, exemptions, deductions, and credits.
Look How Much You Can Save with a Section 457...
Employees who have access to a 457 plan through their employer can contribute up to $17,500 as an elective salary deferral for the year 2014.
Tax Tips: Understanding the Self Employment...
If you have self-employment income, then you can take a deduction for half of your self-employment tax to reduce your regular income tax.
How to Form an S Corporation in 4 Steps
How to form a subchapter S corporation when the corporation has missed the deadline for filing IRS Form 2553 and making a retroactive S Corp election. Page 2.
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.
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