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How To Fill Out Form W-4

Tax Planning: U.S.: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Criteria for Claiming Dependents on Your Taxes
Rules on claiming a person as a dependent on your tax return.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Federal Tax Brackets in a Mobile-Friendly Format
Tax brackets for years 2015 and 2014. Mobile-friendly format.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Are Adjustments to Income on Your Taxes?
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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. Updated for 2014 and 2015 figures from the IRS.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Claim State Income Tax Deductions
Individuals can deduct their state and local income taxes if they take the itemized deduction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Got Stock Options? You Need Tax Form 3921
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to Know About Claiming Single Filing...
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Got an S Corp? Here's How to Issue a Schedule...
Schedule K-1 of Form 1120S is used to report each shareholder's pro-rated share of net income or loss from an S-Corporation.
Tax Terms: What Is Tangible Personal Property?
Definition and examples of tangible personal property as it relates to state personal property taxes.
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.
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.
State Tax Web sites
Need a form or contact information for your state tax agency? Find links to each state tax agency website here.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deducting Property Taxes
Individuals can deduct the cost of property tax as an itemized deduction on their federal tax return.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deducting Business Expenses When You're an...
Learn what types of job-related expenses can be deducted, which tax forms are used, and what documentation is needed to support the deduction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Things to Know About Paying Taxes in Massachuse...
A comprehensive guide to Massachusetts income taxes including tax rates, exemptions, deductions, and credits.
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 You Can Convert Your Traditional IRA Funds...
Tips for calculating the tax impact of converting to a Roth IRA. Page 2.
Foreign Tax Credit
Americans who paid income tax to a foreign country can claim that tax payment as a credit against their US federal taxes. Oftentimes, we see this foreign tax on 1099 forms for investment income. It also applies for Americans living and working abroad. Directory of reference material. (This page is currently under reconstruction.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 report Foreign Bank Accounts to the US...
You may need to fill out FinCEN Form 114 every year if you own, or have an interest in, any foreign bank accounts.
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.
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.
What Can Be Deducted as Personal Property Tax?
Individuals can deduct personal property taxes as an itemized deduction on their federal tax return.
Moving Expenses Can Be Tax-Deductible
If you relocated, you may be able to deduct the cost of moving. We discuss the three criteria for being eligible to write off relocation expenses such as movers, transportation, and lodging. And the exceptions to the rules. Plus there's a link library so you can dive deeper into the subject.
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.
Why Illinois Income Tax Is Simpler Than Most
Everything you need to know about Illinois income tax, from deductions and credits to tax rates.

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