Tag Archives: United States

H&R Block’s Message To Trump: We Want A Simpler Tax Code Too

It appears that Trump, the Republican front runner in the 2016 presidential election, is going after H&R Block via one of his many campaign rants. H&R Block’s Message To Trump is quite simple. He says that he wants the federal government to change the tax code so much that it puts H&R Block out of business.

The ability to make the federal tax code easier to understand has always prompted public debate. For the last twenty years, Steve Forbes has proposed a flat tax that requires just a one page tax return.

However, the United States tax code is still very hard for the average person to decipher because it has so many types of deductions, credits, exemptions and brackets to understand.

This image depicts the total tax revenue (not ...

This image depicts the total tax revenue (not adjusted for inflation) for the U.S. federal government from 1980 to 2009 compared to the amount of revenue coming from individual income taxes. The data comes from the Office of Management and Budget’s record of the ‘Budget of the US Government FY 2011’, specifically the ‘Historical Tables, Table 2.1.’ The information is also here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year, one out of every seven taxpayers had their taxes prepared by H&R Block. The company had about 17 percent of the physical tax preparation market share, and about 12 percent downloaded its software to file taxes digitally.

Thus, Trump feels that H&R Block is successful because no one understands the federal tax code. He believes that H&R Block doesn’t want the code to be changed for this reason.

Quite naturally, H&R Block denies this assertion. Its CEO, Bill Cobb, says that his company doesn’t benefit because of the current tax code. He believes that Congress has issued numerous programs that help Americans, but they can’t take advantage of them until their annual taxes are filed. He also says the code is very complex, and his company undergoes advanced training as a result. Cobb, however, agrees that the law could be changed to make things easier for everyone involved.

However, Cobb’s company was recently criticized for another tax reason. The media says that H&R Block wants to make it hard for taxpayers who want to file their own taxes to prove eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit. However, the company claims that it just wants these filers to have the same rights as their paying customers, who by the way, have to file with a complicated tax form. The company also says that it wants to decrease the amount of refunds that the government pays on fraudulent tax forms. This amount is about $16 to $19 billion annually.

It doesn’t look like the federal tax code will change anytime soon, and appears that H&R Block won’t be going out of business either. Since it isn’t regulated as a savings and loan holding company anymore, its balance sheet looks much better. The company’s shares actually went up when it announced a new capital plan.

Trump is on the campaign trail, and HR & Block is still preparing taxes and getting ready for tax season. In addition, taxpayers still need help preparing their taxes. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, taxpayers can look forward to getting their W-2s and a 1095B or C. This is an additional form that says they have Obamacare. But the CEO of H&R Block believes that his company is ready because of the extra training received.

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H&R Block Still Bows To The Expertise Of TurboTax

There is a simple reality that people seek from tax preparation software. You want to be sure you are getting the maximum tax refund with the easiest time doing so, but not having to hire someone or be a tax expert in order to do so. Until only a few years ago people would pay around 250 dollars to have someone prepare their taxes, which would take them less than an hour. I then discovered that these professionals use the same software that I can use online. The days of using tax preparers became numbered in my opinion, as I stopped using them. While you may still need to use a preparer depending on what deductions you have to write off and document, you can usually go without this expense nowadays.

There are many wonderful options on the Internet for people to use if you use a Mac or some other type of personal computer. However, H&R Block and Turbo Tax from Intuit are always going to be two of the best, even if they are currently contending. Not only do these tax preparation apps come in many different flavors, they are designed to be easy and quick to use for even the least computer literate person. These tax programs assist you in finding all the information you need to do your taxes with as little fuss as necessary.

Accuracy is definitely something that is the most important factor about doing your taxes. You will not find a more accurate way to do them than with these great tax programs. You simply need to enter your income in the form of a W-2, mortgage interest, college tuition expensives, dividends and interest income and anything else you can deduct. The tax programs then come back with the exact information you need, and better yet, you can use it in the program afterwards to file your own taxes!

The thing to remember with these programs is that they are so sophisticated that you might end up saving more money and getting a larger tax refund than if you went to a professional tax preparer. So, please be sure that when tax season comes around you take advantage of one of these great tax programs. Your bank account will thank you.

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Filing Confusion Faced By U.S. Citizens Living Abroad, June Deadline

Expats wondering about filing and health care requirements, have the opportunity of taking advantage of the expert advice and assistance offered to them by H&R Block, who estimate 1 in 3 expats haven’t filed a 2013 return. They are facing a filing deadline of June 16th this year.

To be of the greatest help to these taxpayers, H&R Block last season launched a remote filing service, and for this tax season, expanding it even more.

Roland Sabates, who is the director of the expat filing services offered by H&R Block has said “U.S. expats may miss many things, but the tax deadline should not be one of them”.

To understand their U.S. tax obligations, there are three questions that expats should be answering:

Are they required to file?
Which foreign assets must they report and how does money in foreign accounts get reported?
What is their responsibility to maintain health insurance, which is new this year?
Know the filing requirements

Regardless of wherever they may be living, for 2013, the minimum income requirements for filing are $10,000 for single filers, and $20,000 for married filers. Some taxpayers possibly can exclude all or some of the income earned abroad, which might offset taxes owed the United States.

Those working abroad unable to file by June 16th can file an extension moving their deadline to October 15th. They should know that on any balance from the filing deadline April 15th, interest will accrue.

Know the rules and regulations regarding the reporting of money in foreign accounts and assets

If at any time during the year an account owned or controlled by a U.S. citizen has a combined value exceeding $10,000, they must file an FBAR which is a foreign bank account reporting form. They must by June 30th submit this form to the Department of Treasury, and also include this info with the next tax return which will be due on June 16th, filing on Form 8938.

Also, by June 16th, taxpayers have to report data regarding ownership interests in foreign businesses and any securities not in any account.

Sabates has said that “it is important all the tax deductions and credits qualified for are claimed by these taxpayers”.

Understand health insurance obligations

For the most part, in 2014, the majority of U.S. citizens will be required to have health insurance. All should carefully check whether or not this applies to them.

Unless an exemption applies, the taxpayer will have to get themselves health insurance.

H&R Block stands ready with offices in over 14 US countries and territories to offer their experienced and excellent services.

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Easy And Convenient Tax Prep With TurboTax.com

First time tax filers may be anxious about completing their taxes. Some even wait until the last minute without being aware of it. Filing your 2013 taxes is a necessity. Knowing what mistakes to avoid can make the process easier and allows individuals to submit their taxes right on time.

Those who are preparing their 2013 taxes for the first time may wonder where to begin. They have to think of their tax preparer. Have they even picked one out? Those who haven’t may not know where to turn. Others may already know about TurboTax.com. It offers free federal filing and even offers multiple options for filing state returns. Using the site allows individuals to complete their taxes securely and properly. They will be guided through each step in the tax preparation process to get their 2013 taxes submitted. There is superb customer service to help customers when they want it. TurboTax.com guarantees it will locate the most deductions that individuals qualify for. Individuals can trust their tax prep to the site and get reliable results. Take the plunge and get first time taxes done right.

Part of being a responsible adult is handling financial issues properly. In childhood taxes were likely a foreign concept. This is the time to step into reliability. Take the first step and get started on 2013 taxes. The site lays out the steps clearly and concisely. Users only have to follow along to complete their tax preparation without headaches and drama. TurboTax.com offers an easy to navigate site and all the right feature and help to make tax time simple.

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Tax Tips: I Do Declare

Did you know that there are hundreds of little things that you should be declaring on your tax returns? Here are some of the most important items that must be declared on your federal and state tax return.

All Sources of Income
The tax code of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that all income earned or received must be reported on your income tax returns. The categories of income recognized by the IRS include the following:

•    Wages, salaries and tips
•    Interest on bank accounts, certificates of deposit, bonds and other investments
•    Capital gains
•    Business income
•    Alimony
•    Income from bartering
•    Dividends
•    Annuities, pensions and lump-sum distributions
•    Rental revenues
•    Gambling income
•    Earnings from agriculture and fishing
•    401(k)
•    Unemployment benefits

Each of these types of income must be declared on your income tax return. In some cases, losses in a particular category can be used to offset income earned in that category.

Certain Gifts

Depending on the amount of the gift and the identity of the recipient, you may need to report gifts to others on your income tax return and may be required to pay taxes on these transactions. Unlike donations to charitable organizations, which are generally tax-exempt, gifts directly to someone else are subject to an annual gift limit. The limit is currently set at $13,000. Couples can make gifts of up to $26,000 without incurring tax liabilities for these gifts. Certain types of gifts are not subject to the gift limit; these include the following:

•    Payments directly to universities for college tuition
•    Direct payments to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities for medical procedures
•    Gifts to one’s spouse
•    Political contributions

Individuals and couples can choose to exclude additional amounts from the gift tax requirements by taking advantage of the Unified Credit. Currently capped at $1,772,800, the Unified Credit allows a greater degree of flexibility when giving gifts to your network of friends and family.

Itemizing Deductions

If you are required to declare gifts on your federal tax return, you must typically itemize your deductions as well. Itemized deduction categories include the following:

•    Mortgage points and interest
•    Medical and dental fees
•    Interest expenses
•    Contributions to charities
•    Business and education expenses
•    Depreciation of cars, trucks and other vehicles used in the course of business
•    Losses due to accidents, disasters, thefts and other critical events

The standard deduction amount may actually provide greater tax savings for your particular situation. Nonetheless, if you are declaring gifts on your tax return, you should usually itemize your deductions as well. This process can be challenging and typically requires the help of a skilled and knowledgeable tax preparer for optimal results. Some studies suggest that itemizing deductions can also increase the chances of an audit. Your tax preparer can assist in your defense if an audit does occur.

Declaring all sources of income and all sizable gifts is required by the tax code. Maintaining compliance with these legal requirements is your best defense against audits, penalties and other consequences that may arise from failure to incorporate these items into your tax return.

 

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Comparison between the Cost of TurboTax 2014 and other Online Tax Services

It is finally the right period of the year for tax filing, and therefore time for individuals to decide how they want their taxes filed. A person who prefers to prepare their tax return rather than use an accountant or a tax preparation chain like H&R have most likely come across TurboTax 2014. This is among the most desirable online tax services so definitely many users will be using TurboTax2014 software. But how does its prices compare to those of other online tax services?

TurboTax 2014
Whether a customer wants to file a 1040EZ or is interested in something more complex or to file for their little businesses, TurboTax 2014 has a solution. It offers free federal tax preparation for simple returns and three other additional packages. Those other packages are the deluxe, premier and home and business at $29.99, $49.99 and $74.99 respectively. In addition to this, their customers also get free online and phone chat.

As much as TurboTax 2014 and 2013 Taxes deluxe version costs slightly more than twice compared to similar services by their competitors, they offer a refund bonus for customers to make up for the extra cost. They offer the customers an option to get all or part of their refund back on an amazon gift card.

TaxACT
TaxACT undercuts TurboTax by at least half in terms of the software prices. A person using TaxACT will not pay nearly as much as one using TurboTax if they have to file an additional state. TurboTax costs $36.99 per state while for TaxACT only $5 is paid for an extra state is added. Although TurboTax is better if an individual is expecting the amazon gift card bonus and also if they want a large return, if the deductions are calculated in the beginning of the year so that they have to pay a little then TaxACT will certainly save them a significant amount of money. It also has applications on Google play store and apple app store that help check the status of the returns.

TaxSlayer
TaxSlayer is much cheaper than TurboTax and offers two paid services namely the classic edition and the premium edition at $12.95 and $32.95 respectively. With the most expensive choice, a customer is able to receive live tax advice but all the other services inclusive of the free edition offer free phone support. As much as TaxSlayer is cheaper than the TurboTax service, it is slightly more expensive than TaxACT at $14.95. It does not have a policy that gives back additional money.

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A Free Edition Of TurboTax

Over nine hundred million dollars in tax refund money went unclaimed in one year. The Internal Revenue Service reported this notable statistic, and you may wonder how this could happen. There are two main circumstances that lead to unclaimed tax refunds.

You may end up creating an unclaimed tax refund situation if you have taxes withheld from your pay but earn less than needed for filing a refund. You will end up adding to the unclaimed refund pool if you choose not to file a tax refund. You should verify whether you qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit, and the www.turbotax.com free edition can help you determine your eligibility.

The second reason for most cases of unclaimed tax refunds involves mailing errors. You may not receive tax filing confirmation if you have moved, changed your name, gotten divorced, or been effected by errors that originated with your post office or postal carrier.

There is no monetary penalty to pay if you do decide to claim your tax refund, but there is a time limit on how long you can wait prior to filing your tax return. You have a time limit of three years from when your tax refund was originally due, so you would have to request your 2011 tax refund by April 15th, 2014.

You can avoid an unclaimed refund scenario by filing your return on time. Filing as early as possible may be helpful as well.

Direct deposit is an ideal way to avoid an unclaimed refund scenario. Electronic deposits eliminate the potential for postal delivery errors, and you may get your refund if you choose direct deposit.

Filing your income tax return is an important financial activity. TurboTax has helped millions of people file their taxes, and you can learn about tax refunds by visiting www.turbotax.com.

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