Tag Archives: Taxes

Your 2014 Taxes ˗ What You Need To Know

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has earmarked January 20 as the start of the tax filing period.

Yesterday, the IRS stated that US taxpayers can begin filing their taxes for 2014 January 20th. The tax filing period will begin on schedule unlike last year when there were delays, in spite of a late tax rule introduced by Congress and approved by President Obama, according to the taxing agency.

Previously this month, a bill was passed by Congress that extended over fifty tax breaks, which had expired this time last year. This new congressional tax rule prolongs the tax breaks to the end of the year, permitting taxpayers to take the tax breaks while filing their tax returns for 2014. President Barack Obama approved the bill on December 19.

During the past couple of years, late rule changes introduced by Congress have held up the start of tax filing periods. That will not be the case on this occasion though, said John Koskinen — the current IRS Commissioner.

In an interview, Koskinen stated that the IRS had examined the late changes to the tax laws, and decided that nothing should prevent them from carrying on upgrading and testing their systems.

On a yearly basis, TurboTax free tax returns are filed by millions of people throughout the initial weeks of the tax period. The IRS will be ready to receive this huge influx of tax returns at the start. Taxpayers should be able to obtain their tax refunds quickly after the start of the tax season.

Recently, the IRS stated that it managed to take action on the majority of tax refunds in three weeks. This applies to tax returns that were electronically filed. The IRS states that electronic filing is the quickest method of acquiring a tax refund and recommends it.

Lately, Koskinen informed journalists that tax refunds may be held up, due to agency budget cuts made after the IRS TeaParty targeting scandal. Nonetheless, he would not say how long they would be held up. Many consider this to be the agency hoping for an increase in funding by claiming the tax season will be slow due to a lack of resources.

The Internal Revenue Service will process roughly 150 million tax returns this tax season. For the 2014 reporting period, tax refunds averaged approximately $2800.

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.

 

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.

IRS Tax Adjustments In 2014

IRS Tax Adjustments and the Pickle Salesman Photo by Michael Vadon

Taxes in 2014 are set to undergo various adjustments, affecting more than 40 tax provisions. The Revenue Procedure 2013-35, published on 18 November 2013, provides detailed information of each adjustment.

A tax rate of 39.6% will affect singles whose annual income exceeds $406,750 and married couples with joint returns exceeding $457,600. This is up from the current amounts of $400,000 and $450,000 respectively. The Revenue Procedure describes the rates that apply to other thresholds.

In terms of standard deductions for singles or married couples filing separate returns, the amount rises from $6,100 to $6,200. For married couples filing joint returns, it rises from $12,200 to $12,400. On the other hand, the standard deduction that applied for heads-of-households has risen from $8,950 to $9,100.

Both the personal exemption and the alternative minimum tax exemption will also rise. Couples who file jointly and have three or more qualifying children will qualify for a maximum earned credit of $6,143, which is up by $99 from the 2013 amount.
Among the amounts that remain unchanged, include the annual exclusion for gifts, which stands at $14,000, and the annual dollar limit for contribution to an employer–sponsored healthcare FSA, standing at $2,500.

The Revenue Procedure contains other adjustments on the 2014 taxes.