Tax Planning: U.S.: Most Popular Articles
The annual tax filing deadline is normally April 15. Find a list of deadlines relating to federal income taxes for individuals and businesses.
This page contains information about federal tax rates and tax brackets that apply to personal income for the year 2014. Also contains information about other types of federal taxes that may also apply to different types of personal income.
An extension is a way to ask the Internal Revenue Service for more time to file a federal tax return. The IRS will automatically grant extra time to file a tax return. This grace period is given only upon request. To do that file Form 4868 for personal tax returns.
A list of links to state tax authority websites where you can check the status of your state income tax refund.
If you owe taxes, the IRS will calculate penalties and interest on the amount owed. If you have a refund, the IRS may pay you interest on the delayed refund.
Taxpayers claiming the Head of Household filing status benefit from a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates than single taxpayers. To qualify, a person must be unmarried, claim a dependent, and have cared for a dependent for over half the year. The definition of head of household is quite specific, so read over the criteria carefully.
Federal income tax rates for the 2013 tax year.
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.
Seven states have no income tax and two states tax only certain investment income. See this list of states without an income tax and find out where you'll get to keep more of your paycheck.
Married taxpayers can choose between filing a joint tax return or a separate tax return. The Married Filing Separately filing status provides fewer tax benefits than filing joint returns, but taxpayers will need to weigh the pros and cons and decide for themselves which is the best filing status.
Filling out Form W-4 is one of the first things you do when you start a new job. You may want to fill out a new W-4 if your financial situation has changed. Use Form W-4 to increase or to decrease your income tax withholding.
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.
How to calculate capital gains taxes on the sale of a main home. Plus tips for lowering your capital gains using the Section 121 capital gains exclusion when selling your principal residence.
The price for tax preparation services is based largely on how complex your tax return is. Find out how different companies price their services and average prices charged by various tax professionals.
For the year 2014, people can contribute up to $17,500 as an elective salary deferral to their 401(k) plan. Additionally, people age 50 or older can contribute an additional catch-up contribution of $5,500.
An extension is your way of asking the Internal Revenue Service for additional time to file your tax return. The IRS will automatically grant you an additional six months to file your return. An extension basically extends the filing deadline for personal tax returns from April 15th to October 15th. Learn more about what filing an extension can and cannot do for you.
Taxpayers are entitled to claim one personal exemption for themselves and each dependent.
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Adjusting your withholding is a process of changing how much tax is withheld from your paycheck. Individual taxpayers can avoid having too large of a refund or a significant balance due by projecting their tax liability for the year, figuring out how many withholding allowances to claim, and doing some math to figure out which level of withholding will make sure that you have just enough tax deducted from your pay.
The tax code imposes time limits on various actions that taxpayers and the IRS can take. There are time limits for getting a tax refund, for the IRS auditing your tax return, and for the IRS collecting any unpaid taxes.
Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, is a tax document that reports the annual wages and tax withholdings of an employee. Employers are required to provide the employee with a copy of Form W-2 no later than January 31st. An overview of common problems plus a description of various items, codes and amounts shown on Form W-2.
A capital gain is the difference between what you paid for an investment and what you received when you sold that investment. If you made a profit on the investment, then you have a capital gain. If you lost money on the investment, then you have a capital loss. Covers record-keeping, calculating capital gains and cost basis.
Wondering how your state's 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.
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.
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.
A qualifying child must meet four criteria in order to be claimed as a dependent. Learn more about the relationship, age, residency, and support tests, and the tie-breaker rules for when two taxpayers attempt to claim the same dependent. Page 2.
Married taxpayers can choose between filing a joint tax return or a separate tax return. The Married Filing Jointly filing status provides more tax benefits than filing separate returns, but taxpayers will need to weigh the pros and cons and decide for themselves which is the best filing status.
Provides a line-by-line guide to reading your Form W-2. Knowing how to read a Form W-2 can help you understand your salary and helps you understand where various amounts may need to be reported on a tax return. Page 2.
Payroll taxes are the responsiblity of every employer. Find essential information on how to report payroll taxes.
Taxpayers can opt to take a standard deduction (a flat dollar amount that reduces taxable income) or itemize their deductions instead. The standard deduction amount varies by a person's filing status, age, and whether they are blind.
If you have children, you may qualify for a Child Tax Credit on your federal income tax return. For 2010, the maximum child tax credit is $1,000.
Mastering the IRS Form 1040 Schedule E is easy once you organize your income and expenses. Benefit from the generous tax rules regarding rental income with handy tax tips from the About.com Guide to Tax Planning.
Car and truck expenses can be tax-deductible if you drive your car for business, medical, moving, or charitable purposes. Learn more about what expenses are deductible, and what records to keep, and how to report this on your tax return.
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.
If you withdraw money from a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), 401(k), 403(b), or other qualified retirement plan before you turn age 59 1/2, you may be subject to an early distribution penalty of 10%. There are exceptions. Here's what you need to know about the 10% early distribution penalty.
Sales tax may be a deductible against your federal income taxes. This is an itemized deduction and is claimed on Schedule A. The sales tax deduction is available only for the years 2005 through 2013.
Taxpayers can prepay their federal taxes by remitting estimated tax payments throughout the year. Estimated tax payments are due four times a year. Estimated tax payments are sent in using Form 1040-ES.
The self-employment tax is an extra tax that self-employed business owners, independent contractors and other freelancer professionals pay in addition to the income tax. The self-employment tax covers the Social Security and Medicare taxes and is similar to the FICA tax paid by employees. Tips to help you plan and calculate your self-employment tax on Schedule SE.
Contributions to a health savings account (HSA) are tax deductible. Tax deductions are limited to $2,900 for individual insurance coverage and $5,800 for family insurance coverage for tax year 2008. To be tax-deductible, HSA contributions must meet certain criteria.
The Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit reduces your taxes by providing a tax credit for money you spend on day care and child care services. Find out how to qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
Paying estimated taxes is one way for individuals to submit payments for their taxes to the federal government. Find out how to calculate how much estimated tax to pay to avoid any IRS penalties.
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. Your deduction reduces your taxable income. Be aware there are limitations in how much can be taken as a deduction. Up to $5,500 can be contributed to an IRA for 2014.
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.
The 10 best and the 10 worst states for property taxes. Find out which states have the highest property taxes and which states have the lowest property taxes.
A list of states that have reciprocal agreements. These states allow residents of certain other states to work tax-free. The states on this list have specific exemptions for out of state workers from certain states.
You should use the simplest tax form for your needs. This will save you time in preparing your return, and the IRS will be able to process your tax return more quickly. Find out if you need to file Form 1040, or if you qualify to use the shorter Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A.
Directory of income tax extensions for each state including forms and instructions.
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. You can reduce your income, increase your deductions, and take advantage of tax credits.
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.
Maximize your itemized deductions with a handy list of tax deductions, along with information and advice on handling limitations to deductions. Page 2.
Dividends from stocks and mutual funds 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.
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.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,500 for people pursuing undergraduate education. Replacing and expanding on former the Hope credit, the American Opportunity credit is scheduled to be effective for the years 2009 through 2017.
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.
You can pay estimated taxes by check, credit card, or direct debit from your bank account. Estimated taxes are due quarterly on April 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and January 15th. Page 2.
A list of the five states with the highest overall taxes and the five states with the lowest overall taxes. 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.
Preparing a federal tax return using Form 1040EZ is fairly easy. Tips for filling out and checking a tax return for accuracy and completeness from About.com.
Here's an example of a estimated tax projection for an independent contractor. To run this projection for yourself, you'll need to know your income and deductions for the year so far, and then develop a little spreadsheet to multiply those figures into an annual amount. Page 3.
Americans can deduct the cost of college tuition for themselves, their spouses, and their dependents. The Tuition and Fees Deduction is an above-the-line deduction taken directly on Form 1040 or the shorter Form 1040A.
Form 1099 is used to report a wide variety of taxable income, such as interest, dividends, stock sales, and self-employment income. Income data on Form 1099 is reported in different places on your tax return.
Businesses are required to report payments made for goods and services related to a trade or business. Reporting is required if a business pays $600 or more to an individual or another business that provided goods or services. Such payments are reported both to the vendor and to the Internal Revenue Service using Form 1099-MISC.
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. We tested all fourteen Free File tax preparation software and rated them based on their user interface and functionality.
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.
If you haven't filed your taxes in a few years, you may be wondering what options you have. You may be surprised to learn that filing your tax returns can be the quickest way out of tax trouble. But you need to protect yourself. Here's how.
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.
Form W-9 is a request for your taxpayer identification number. Information about what the form means and how to fill it out.
Learn how to report last year's state tax refund on this year's tax return. Instructions for Form 1040 Line 10.
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You can claim up to $2,500 of student loan interest you paid as an above-the-line tax deduction on Form 1040.
The way the tax laws are written, only one person can claim a dependent on their tax return. Two parents may be able to both claim tax breaks associated with a child, provided the custodial parent agrees. The non-custodial could claim the dependent's personal exemption and the child tax credit. The custodial parent could claim the rest of the child-related tax breaks.
Find out how much you'll pay in California state taxes; from California income tax, to California property taxes and sales taxes.
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.
After you finished calculating your 2004 taxes, use these easy-to-follow steps to finishup you return.
How many years back can you file your income tax return when the government owes you? Generally, you have 3 years to file a tax return and claim a refund.
A guide to taxes individuals pay in New York City including New York City income tax, New York City property tax, New York city sales tax rates, and other taxes.
The amount of the home mortgage interest tax deduction may be limited. Learn about the limits for home acquisition debt and home equity debt. Plus, special AMT adjustments for home equity loans, and how to handle construction costs, points, and interest paid as a co-borrower. Page 2.
The Social Security tax of 12.4% applies to wages and self-employment income. The Social Security tax has an upper limit or maximum. For 2014, the tax applies to wages and self-employment income up to $117,000. This upper limit is called the annual Social Security wage base. Employees pay half of this tax (6.2%) through withholding, and employers pay the other half (6.2%). Self-employed persons pay both halves of the Social Security tax.
Need help deciding if you should file a nonresident state tax return? Get the details on the types of working arrangements and types of income that are typically taxable to nonresidents.
Find tax forms to prepare your personal income taxes. The most common tax forms are arranged in an easy-to-find format. From your About.com Guide to Tax Planning.
Banks and other financial institutions send out Form 5498 to report information about individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts and other types of tax-preferred savings accounts. This tax form is for information reporting purposes only, and most of the information on Form 5498 is probably already reported on your tax return. Tips for reading the Form 5498 and cross-checking it with your tax return.
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.
A monthly payment plan is generally the easiest way to set up an arrangement to pay off any taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service. There's four different types of installment agreements offered by the IRS. The important thing is knowing which installment agreement you qualify for.
New York City is one of the few cities in the U.S. that have a separate personal income tax. Find out New York City income tax rates, tax credits you can use to reduce your New York City income taxes, and how to file and pay your New York City income taxes.
Where to find federal income tax tables from the IRS and how to use the tax tables to look up your federal tax liability. From About.com
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Details on state income tax breaks for retirees, including states that exempt social security income, government pension income, and private pension income. Get the details on states that allow retirees to exclude some of their income from state income taxes.
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.
Generally speaking, a business expense has a legitimate business purpose. That's good news, because most business expenses will be fully tax-deductible, and will lower your taxes. Some expenses, however, are only partially deductible, and some expenses are never deductible.
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.
Mortgage interest is a tax-deductible expense. Mortgage interest is reported on Form 1040, Schedule A along with other itemized deductions. Taxpayers paying mortgage interest should fill out Schedule A to see if their itemized deductions exceed their standard deduction. If so, taxpayers will save more money on their taxes by itemizing. Taxpayers who itemize their deductions will need to file the Form 1040 long form.
Starting in 2011, 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. Form 8949 will detail various transactions, with summary totals transferred to Schedule D.
A basic overview of itemized deductions, what they are, and where to find more information. Also discusses how the total amount of itemized deductions are limited for higher-income individuals.
Income tax debts may be eligible for discharge under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Not all tax debts are capable of being discharged in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy petitioner must have tax debts that meet five criteria for discharge.
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.
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. Your maximum contribution to a SEP-IRA is 20% of your self-employment income or $52,000 for 2014, whichever is less.
The Lifetime Learning Credit is a tax credit for any person who takes college classes. It provides a tax credit of 20% of tuition expenses, with a maximum of $2,000 in tax credits on the first $10,000 of tuition.
A guide to California income tax including tax deductions, tax credits, California tax rates, and income exclusions.
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. Moving expenses are subject to a time and distance test. Find out if you qualify to deduct your moving expenses.
Americans working abroad can exclude up to $97,600 per year from their US taxable income. Find out about the foreign earned income exclusion (Form 2555), along with helpful tips for preparing an expatriate tax return.
A listing of states that fully exempt Social Security benefits from income taxes. Find out which states do not tax Social Security.
Details on how to file a part-year state income tax return if you have moved to a new state during the tax year.
The net investment income tax is a tax at a rate of 3.8% on the lower of modified adjusted gross income over a threshold amount or net investment income for the year. This tax is in addition to income tax.
When taxpayers sell an asset that has been depreciated for tax purposes, that sale may trigger a type of capital gain called depreciation recapture. The depreciation recapture tax mostly impacts landlords who are selling rental property. Learn more about the depreciation recapture 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.
Sometimes, people 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.
Details on how to file a nonresident state tax return, including what income to include details on deductions and credits for nonresidents.
Alimony is income to the person receiving alimony, and is a tax-deductible expense for the person paying alimony. Learn what the criteria that makes alimony tax-deductible.
Definition of Community Property States: Married persons are considered to own their property, assets, and income jointly.
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.
Individuals can deduct their state and local income taxes if they take the itemized deduction.
Individuals can deduct the cost of property tax as an itemized deduction on their federal tax return.
Preparing your first tax return is empowering and rewarding. Plus, filing your taxes isn't hard. It just takes patience to make sure you've followed all the instructions. Plus some practical tips for preparing your first return confidently and accurately.
The IRS automatically audits tax returns where different people have attempted to claim the same dependent. Here's what to do to protect your tax return when the IRS questions whether you are entitled to a dependent.
You may need to fill out Treasury Department Form 90-22.1 every year if you own, or have an interest in, any foreign bank accounts or other types of financial accounts based outside the United States.
If you have self-employment income, then you can take a deduction for half of your Self-Employment Tax. Self-employment income includes any of the following: net profit from a Schedule C, guaranteed payments from a Partnership, or wages from an S-Corporation. This deduction reduces your regular income tax.
There are five ways to get out of tax debt. Learn what your options are for reducing and paying off your tax debts, and how to protect yourself when hiring a tax professional.
Child support is not a tax-deductible expense, and is not considered taxable income for the recipient.
Can two people, who both live at the same address, each qualify for the head of household filing status when they prepare their tax returns? The answer is not clear-cut. The IRS looks at a variety of factors in determining the answer.
Prepare your tax returns on Form 1040-EZ using this easy-to-follow steps. Plus tips for preparing your tax return accurately and completely. Page 3.
Self-employed entrepreneurs incur many common business expenses that are fully deductible against their business income. Find out which business expenses are deductible, and which are partly deductible, for federal tax purposes.
The United States federal government imposes a Medicare tax of 2.9% on wages received by an employee and on business or farming income earned by self-employed individuals. Starting in the year 2013, Medicare taxes will be increased by 0.9% for higher-income individuals.
Get the scoop on Florida state taxes including details on Florida property taxes, Florida sales tax rates, and other state taxes in Florida.
Medical expenses represents a category of expenses for which an individual may be eligible to receive various tax breaks. Medical expenses that meet certain qualifications may be eligible for an itemized deduction for medical expenses, or tax-free reimbursement from a flexible spending account, health reimbursement account, or health savings account.
Reporting the taxable portion of pension and annuity income can get a little tricky. Covers when to use the Simplied Method, and when you must use the General Rule. Links to essential tax information on pension and annuity income from the IRS.
Tips for calculating the tax impact of converting to a Roth IRA. Page 2.
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.
Individuals can deduct personal property taxes as an itemized deduction on their federal 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 from About.com. Page 2.
An individual retirement account is a savings plan offering tax benefits. Some types of IRAs provide a tax deduction, reducing your current income. Other IRAs provide no deduction, but offer tax-free distributions. Learn about the different types of IRAs available. Up to $5,500 can be contributed to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA for the year 2014.
Backup withholding is a type of withholding for federal income taxes on certain types of income. Backup withholding may be mandatory in certain circumstances. Most taxpayers, however, are exempt from backup withholding.
You can adjust your withholding to cover any additional taxes. This may save time compared to sending in estimated payments. Page 4.
Details on New York State personal income tax including New York income tax deductions and New York tax credits.
Every state in the nation has a sales tax, with the exception of only five states that do not have a sales tax. See where you can shop sales tax free in these states without a sales tax.
An explanation of state statutes of limitations for tax purposes. Find out how long you should keep your state tax records and how long the state has to audit your tax return.
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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.
Summary of federal tax credits available for homeowners who purchase energy-efficient equipment, appliances and improvements for their homes.
Form 1040-EZ is one of the easiest and simplest tax forms you can fill out. Here's some tips to ensure the IRS processes your Form 1040-EZ smoothly and efficiently, from the About.com Guide to Tax Planning. Page 4.
Overview of federal tax brackets and marginal tax rates.
Partners receiving a Schedule K-1 must report the amounts on IRS Form 1040 Schedule E, page 2. Generally speaking, ordinary net business income or loss is reported on Schedule E. Other income items are reported in the appropriate part of the 1040 tax return.
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. Surviving spouses may be able to use the Qualifying Widow/Widower With Dependent Child filing status if they are maintaining a household for a son or daughter.
Incentive stocks options can be reported in several places on a tax return. Income from incentive stocks options can appear as wages, as capital gains, and in the alternative minimum tax calculations. Page 2.
A wash sale is selling an investment at a loss and repurchasing the same (or very similar) investment within a short period of time (30 days before to 30 days after selling at a loss). Wash sales result in a deferral of the loss for tax reporting purposes. Wash sales can be avoided through careful investment planning.
TaxACT provides multiple ways to access helpful content, and provides utilities for importing data, analyzing the tax return, and checking for errors. TaxACT earns high marks for including features to plan out next year's taxes through its withholding calculator and the ability to build what-if scenarios to test out tax strategies for future years.
Employees can deduct job-related expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions on their federal tax return. Learn what types of expenses can be deducted, which tax forms are used, and what documentation is needed to support the deduction.
An overview of the Form 1040A. Discusses which types of income, deductions and tax credits can be reported on this tax form. Also provides resources for tax forms and instructions related to Form 1040A.
Debts canceled by a lender are reported on your tax return. You may be able to exclude some or all of this debt. Learn how to report this income and the exclusions. Page 7.
Tips for preparing your 1040A short form tax return accurately and completely from the About.com Guide to Tax Planning.
How to calculate your deduction for home office expenses, depreciation expenses, and the Section 179 deduction. Page 3.
A variety of non-profits, universities and even the Internal Revenue Service provides tax preparation assistance and tax problem resolution services to the public for free. A list of programs providing free tax preparation and free tax problem resolution services.