Tag Archives: tax return

Five Common Tax Myths Explained

Ginita Wall points out 5 tax myths that everyone should know about, especially with the deadline for filing right around the corner.

I would like to address some of those common tax myths that most people have heard about, although don’t really fully understand. Another source of information is TurboTax.com and the easy to use site will explain the tax myths as well as ensure that you get the biggest possible refund.

English: United States Internal Revenue Servic...

English: United States Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division Badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Myth 1:

Despite popular belief, there is no evidence to suggest that if you file for an extension, you are more likely to be audited. Less than 1 percent of all tax payers are audited by the IRS, and you are also not any more likely to be audited if you file your taxes early.

Myth 2:

Whether or not you have the money to pay the IRS, you must still file your taxes by the April 15th deadline. if you owe money, you can work out a payment plan with the IRS, but you cannot delay filing just because you may owe money.

Myth 3:

Dependents who are not your relatives must be living with you, although parents are the exception to that rule, and if they live in a nursing home you can still claim them as dependents.

Myth 4:

Unless your pet expenses are directly related to your business, such as paying for a guard dog, you cannot claim your pet on your taxes, which is also one of the common tax myths. A seeing eye dog or another medically required dog would also be an allowable exception to this rule.

Myth 5:

Some states impose an inheritance tax (IN, IA, KY, MD, NE, NJ, PE, TN) and unless you live in one of those states, any tax is paid by the estate of the deceased person. Gifts that you give or receive are not taxable when it comes to filing your taxes and you do not have to declare them.

TurboTax.com is the place to look for information on these and other tax myths, and TurboTax.com can help you file your taxes easily and accurately.

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Details On Obtaining Prior Year Tax Information From The IRS

Obtaining Prior Year Tax Information

The ability to get prior year tax information from the IRS is virtually a guarantee due to the fact that the IRS is required to keep tax returns on file for seven years. As with most actions related to the IRS there is a form that is required to fill out in order to obtain prior tax information. This is Form 4506 that can be found by completing a simple form search on the IRS website. The IRS will not provide prior tax information without filling out a hard copy of Form 4506.

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The form is self explanatory and should be filled out to include the exact information from the tax return of the prior year. At the very least, the name and social security number should match as well as the spousal information if the return was filed jointly. Additional information should include the prior year tax form such as Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Form 4506 can be completed regardless of a recent divorce without spousal consent.  One of the final requests on the form is to fill out the prior year tax information being requested such as 12/31/2012.

The required fee for Form 4506 as of 2012 is $57 in the form of check or money order payable to the US Treasury that is required when mailing the form to the appropriate IRS office. However, tax filers that used Turbo Tax 2013 have the distinct advantage of obtaining prior year tax information at no cost. This free service is included with the use of Turbo Tax 2013 Basic, Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business, or Freedom Edition. Even greater is the use of the online edition of Turbo Tax 2013 that will automatically look up prior year tax information for a user to view or print.

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How To Organize Your Tax Records

How To Organize Your Tax Records

Learning how to organize your tax records can save you stress and time when it is time to file your taxes.  Start the year with an organization system so you know where all of your records are when it is time to file your taxes.  If you aren’t sure what records you need, here is a general guide that is suitable for most people.

Income

Your employer will issue a W-2 with your income and tax information for the year.  You should also include interest statements from investment accounts and any 1099s that you may receive for work done the previous year.

English: Same as :File:2010 Receipts & Expendi...

English: Same as :File:2010 Receipts & Expenditures.PNG, but slightly improved. Bar chart comparing estimates for United States federal government total receipts and expenditures in fiscal year 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medical Expenses

File receipts for all medical expenses and your out-of-pocket health expenses.

Donations

Keep all receipts for cash donations made from the previous year.  You can also deduct non-cash donations made to a charitable organization.

Real Estate

If you own your home or other real estate, keep all interest statements and tax assessments.

Child Care

If your children are in day care for all or part of the year, keep a copy of your receipts for payment.

Student Loans

The interest you pay monthly on a federal student loans is tax deductible.

Letters from the IRS

If you receive any letters from the IRS, keep these in your file.

Previous Tax Forms

Keep all previous tax forms for future years.

Other Receipts

Keep all receipts that you may need for a deduction.  You may not need them, but it is better to have them in case you do. If you plan on itemizing your deductions, keep all receipts for taxes you paid, medical expenses, interest you paid, charitable donations, loss due to theft, job expenses and other receipts you think may qualify for a deduction.

If you plan to itemize your deductions, it will be a lot easier for you if you keep these receipts organized throughout the year.

If you do not have a lot of paperwork each year, you can store them in one file.  However, if you have a lot of receipts or other tax papers, you should organize them by type to make your free tax filing 2012 easier and quicker.

For most people, a simple paper organizer that holds several files is sufficient to organize tax information.  Use a separate file for each type of paperwork, and file receipts and information as soon as you get them.  Keeping paperwork organized and not letting it pile up is important to stay organized, so file your paperwork as soon as your get it or once a month as needed.

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Saving Money With Tax Services

Locating free 2012 tax filing services would be a great idea for anyone that has a need to save some money. Spending hundreds of dollars on tax software is likely something you cannot afford when dealing with the large burden of taxes. However, it is important that you find a way to get your taxes done as quickly as possible. When you use out of the best free options on the market today, you will be able to keep hundreds of dollars in your pocket. Throwing away money on software is likely something you cannot justify on a limited budget, free options can help you to get great results while also allowing you to save some money in the process. There are many companies that attempt to make it difficult to get taxes done, this helps them to ensure that they are able to profit off of your need for help.

However, free 2012 tax filing services offer many alternatives that can put the power back into your hands. The company you select to complete your taxes is very important. Making the right choice would help to limit your tax burden. Additionally, you can eliminate much of the time that goes into filing your taxes. The turbo tax 2012 software would be one of the best options that you could find available to you today. This program is very simple, it takes just a few minutes to enter all of the required information. Once you have put all of your finance information into the program, you will be able to see your savings and enjoy the ability to count on professional presentation and reliable customer service if you need help at any point.

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Tax Season Is Upon Us Once Again

There is only one week left before the tax season comes to an end for 2012.

Every year at this time, people tend to ask the same types of questions. Let us examine some of the more common issues that people wonder about at this time of year.

Most people are very concerned about whether or not they will get a tax refund. Even though you know the refund is your own money, you tend to be happy when you get a refund and you are likely to feel upset if you have to write a check to the government.

Last year, Americans received $318 billion dollars of tax refunds from the IRS. This year, the number may be even larger. Last year, the average refund that was received was close to three thousand dollars. Getting a tax refund like that can be very exciting, especially if you have been a bit short of money recently.

What do many tax payers do with their annual tax refunds? Nearly one third of people spend the entire amount. About fifty percent of people receiving a refund put it in the bank or use it to pay off some of their debts.

There are some people who like to pay their taxes when  they submit submit their tax return at the end of the tax season. They do not want the government to receive their money any sooner than necessary.

If you prefer getting a refund of your taxes when the tax season has ended, you can ask to have the amount of taxes you pay to be increased throughout the year.

Slightly more than one percent of the tax returns that are submitted in the tax season will be audited.

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Higher Cigarette Tax Keeps Teens From Smoking

It has been shown that increasing the cigarette tax is a very effective way to get young adults and youths to reduce or stop smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that increasing the cigarette tax is less common with states at the present time compared to the past.

In 2009, 15 states increased the tax on cigarettes, but in 2010 and 2011, the number of states doing the same was only eight. The state of New Hampshire actually lowered the excise tax. The CDC has found that when excise taxes are increased on cigarettes, the overall sales of cigarettes declines and fewer teens start the smoking habit. Just recently the Surgeon General surprisingly discovered that 20% of teenagers smoke. The rate of smoking among teens is declining, but the decline is slowing at the present time. For this reason, it is puzzling that state taxes on cigarettes are being kept low.

Why have states changed direction on this issue? In the 1990s and the first part of the 2000s, states increased the cigarette tax while also increasing funding for comprehensive programs against smoking. Now they are doing the opposite.

The poor economic conditions may be partly responsible for the states shying away from increasing the cigarette tax at this time. Dr. Tim McAfee, of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, disagrees. “These programs work to reduce smoking and the states will benefit from making the investment. From the economic perspective, you have to wonder why the states do not wish to reap the full benefit of the cigarette tax,” he said.

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