Displaying 1 - 10 of 94 Forum Posts1 2 3 4 5 Next
  • Mar 05, 2019 08:24 AM
    Last: 4d

    USA Today put together a really good, common sense list of things to avoid or not forget when it comes to filing your taxes. Wanted to share this list here in depth and open it up for discussion and feedback to hopefully help those filing their taxes, or if anyone thinks of ones to add to the list that they didn't include.

    I particularly think #5, #7 and #8 are the most important (at least they were for me). Keep in mind tax software should catch a good amount of these. But not always. I found that out the hard way this year.. TurboTax found more deductions for me than H&R Block, and it wasn't by a small margin. So it pays to pay attention to the little details. Here's the list.

    1. Don't miss this new credit.

    This one refers to a new credit for dependents. It's a nonrefundable tax credit worth up to $500 for each qualifying person and begins to phase out at $200,000 in adjusted gross income. ($400,000 for joint filers).

    2. Not filing a return.

    Even if you earned less than the necessary amount to file a federal return, they say it is still worth it to file, as you could qualify to claim a refundable credit and you may still have a refund owed to you.

    3. Picking the wrong filing.

    This one is just saying you might want to consider 'head of household' filing status over 'single' if you have dependents as your standard deduction should be higher that way. It's apparently a common mistake made by many.

    4. Filing without all documents.

    Forgetting or failing to have all your documents in order and ready to go when you file could (and probably will) result in you having to file an amended return. At best, its a waste of time. At worst, you could be put on the radar for an audit.

    5. Forgetting big life events.

    This one is broad and can change quite a bit, tax debt or credit wise. Make sure to keep in mind big changes, like having a kid, buying a house or making more or less money on the year. Having a child will mean dependent credits and status filing changes. Buying a house could and should come with certain credits or write-offs. And if your income changed a good deal from last year, you will likely be dealing with different tax brackets for a section of your income.

    6. Entering incorrect info.

    This is a similar situation to #4 but less dramatic. Still, the IRS is very picky. If you are filing your taxes electronically via software and you input anything wrong, even if its just a missed decimal or a slightly misspelled name, your return can be rejected and you will have to file again, which can be a real pain.

    7. Missing Earned Income Tax Credit.

    This one is important enough I figure it's best to just take the full article exert:

    Every year, almost a quarter of taxpayers miss out on this valuable credit worth up to $6,431 in 2018. It’s forgotten so much that the IRS has dedicated an awareness day for the credit.

    “This is a huge credit for low and middle-class taxpayers,” says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant and tax expert at TurboTax. “People usually think they make too much money to qualify.”

    But changes in life circumstances – such as a job loss or a spouse staying home with a newborn – may be enough to make you eligible for the credit this year.

    8. Paying someone to do your taxes.

    Don't pay a tax accountant to file your taxes if you are like a majority of Americans and only have a w-2 to file. That's simple enough and can be done for free from TurboTax, H&R Block or any number of filing services. If you need to file a more complicated return, I would still advise trying to file electronically yourself. The fees are much cheaper than going to a brick-and-mortar store and you can pay a little extra and get audit protection. (That's what I did this year.)

    9. Not claiming a child.

    Sometimes children are raised by someone other than their parent, and they can sometimes fail to file as 'head of household' as a result. This article points out the example of grandmother taking care of a child but forgetting to file with that status.

    10. Missing the other education credit.

    The common education credit every student is usually aware of and claims is the American Opportunity Credit. But the lesser known and utilized one is the Lifetime Learning Credit, which can be worth up to $2,000 per tax return and can be claimed by college students and/or those doing many kinds of continued education or certification.

  • Jan 25, 2019 01:43 PM
    Last: 2mo

    That was a good one. I like the song they used in that one as well. I would have to say Anthony Hopkins during a tongue and cheek routine for Turbo Tax was my favorite:

    TurboTax - Never a Sellout - Super Bowl Commercial (2016)

  • Jan 18, 2019 06:06 PM
    Last: 28d

    Why the IRS Just Cut Taxpayers Some Slack

    Since all the changes to the tax code are happening from 2017 to 2018, the IRS decided to lessen the penalty on underpaying your taxes, either through withholding or estimated tax payments throughout the year.

    The standard rule is if you ended up paying less than 90% of your tax burden through either of these 2 methods, you had to pay an underpayment penalty. Since the tax code changed so dramatically for 2018 filing (what you will file in 2019+), they cut it to 85%. ---

    What the IRS did to lessen the penalty

    The IRS has always given taxpayers some leeway in underpaying tax without owing a penalty. If your ending tax bill on your return is less than $1,000, then no penalty applies. In addition, if you've paid at least 90% of your tax for the year either through withholding or timely estimated tax payments, then there won't be a penalty.

    The latest action from the IRS centers on that 90% requirement. For purposes of waiving the penalty, the IRS reduced that 90% figure to 85%. That'll give you a bit more room to have underpaid your taxes without facing the penalty.

    IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig explained the move. "We realize there were many changes that affected people last year," Rettig said, "and this penalty waiver will help taxpayers who inadvertently didn't have enough tax withheld."

    So hopefully that alleviates stress for at least some of us.

  • Dec 22, 2017 03:37 PM
    Last: 28d
    Mine are staying just about the same. Standard deduction increases take place of most other deductions I was getting that Trump cut. So all in all not great for me. Now, if I was a multi-millionaire..
  • Jan 02, 2019 02:13 PM
    Last: 3mo
    JFoster Wrote: Definitely will keep this link in mind. I wanted to see how much it has increased from 2004 to 2018. I wasn't surprised what I saw. One thing that I couldn't quite figure out was on the first line of 2018 on Household size 1, I see that it says "48 States, DC, Guam, and US Virgin Islands," but then when I look at 2004, it just says "48 States 1." Did they not count Guam in 2004? I'm really fuzzy on my politics from 2004. I could have sworn there was some territorial dispute going on, at least with tax brackets.

    Good question. Not sure on that. I did some digging and only thing I could find was this paragraph from A Short History of SNAP:

    State food stamp agencies worked with contractors to procure EBT systems for delivery of Food Stamp and other State-administered benefit programs and benefitted from technological innovations in the commercial sector. As of July 2004, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Guam operated statewide, citywide, and territory-wide EBT systems to issue SNAP benefits.

    That makes it sound like Guam wasn't fully funded by the US for SNAP until mid 2004. So maybe that's the case. But another paragraph seems to say it was supported as early as 1970/1971:

    The Food Stamp Act Amendment of 1970 (P.L. 91-671) passed on January 11, 1971 and established uniform national standards of eligibility and work registration requirements; required that allotments be equivalent to the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet; limited households' purchase requirements to 30 percent of their income; instituted an outreach requirement; authorized the Department to pay 62.5 percent of specific administrative costs incurred by States; expanded the FSP to Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands of the United States; and provided $1.75 billion appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 1971.

    Make of that what you will.

  • Jan 02, 2019 02:13 PM
    Last: 3mo

    Every year the government adjusts the SNAP (or food stamp) program's numbers to account for cost of living increases. Found a really good resource that shows you all the changes per year, since 2004, and it's updated every year so it's always current:

    Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Information

    Changes include new income eligibility standards, different deductions and different minimum and maximum allotments. Per the site:

    We adjust SNAP maximum allotments, deductions, and income eligibility standards at the beginning of each Federal fiscal year. The changes are based on changes in the cost of living. COLAs take effect on October 1 each year.

    Maximum allotments are calculated from the cost of a market basket based on the Thrifty Food Plan for a family of four, priced in June that year. The maximum allotments for households larger and smaller than four persons are determined using formulas that account for economies of scale. Smaller households get slightly more per person than the four-person household. Larger households get slightly less.

    Income eligibility standards are set by law. Gross monthly income limits are set at 130 percent of the poverty level for the household size. Net monthly income limits are set at 100 percent of poverty.

    So if you're looking for a good place to see the yearly changes to SNAP, bookmark this one.

  • Aug 17, 2018 04:23 PM
    Last: 3mo

    Looks like this program is seeing cost of living increases this year. (probably every year). There's a good quick read on it-

    Most Tricare Fees Could Change Again in January

  • Nov 07, 2018 12:42 PM
    Last: 3mo
    JFoster Wrote:

    With that being said, do you think it's true? Will this large influx of female electees significantly shape U.S. politics in the years to come? I argue that it will. Perhaps the Government not being such a "boys club" will have a significant impact on legislation in the future.

    Hmm maybe. How do you think it'll change things?
  • Dec 24, 2018 06:46 PM
    Last: 3mo
    Good to see the COLA increase, and even go a bit higher than last year's increase which was 2.2%. The max tax earnings increase and retirement age continuing to go up I'm sure don't make people happy though. Makes me wonder what full retirement age will be when I retire in some decades...
  • Dec 23, 2018 02:56 PM
    Last: 4d
    At least the standard deduction will almost cover my cost for filing taxes. Very Happy Thanks for the share; all good to know!