Income tax

Tax

Educator Expenses

Starting in 2002, if you are an educator, you may be able to deduct up to $250 of expenses you paid for purchases of books and classroom supplies even if you don’t itemize your deductions, according to the IRS.The new deduction is available if you are an eligible educator in a public or private elementary or secondary school. To be eligible, you must work at least 900 hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide.You may subtract up to $250 of qualified expenses when figuring your adjusted gross income (AGI).
Tax

Taxability of Social Security Benefits

The IRS says that whether your Social Security benefits are taxable depends on your total income and marital status. Form SSA-1099, which Social Security recipients receive by January 31, shows your total benefits, but determining your taxable benefits requires putting pencil to paper.Generally, if Social Security benefits were your only income, your benefits are not taxable and you probably do not need to file a federal income tax return.
Tax

Changing Your Address? Notify The IRS

Have you changed your home or business address? If so, you may want to notify the IRS to ensure that you receive any refunds or correspondence. The IRS is now using the Postal Service’s change of address files to update taxpayer addresses, but you may want to notify the IRS directly.There are several ways to do this. You may correct the address legibly on the mailing label that comes with your tax package or write the new address in the appropriate boxes on your tax return when you file. When your return is processed, the IRS will update your address in its records.
Tax

Charitable Contributions

The Internal Revenue Services advises that, when preparing to file your 2002 federal tax return, don’t forget your contributions to charitable organizations. Your donations can add up to a nice tax deduction if you itemize on IRS Form 1040, Schedule A.Here are a few tips to help make sure your contributions pay off on your tax return.To be deductible, contributions must be made to qualified organizations. Organizations can tell you if they are qualified and if donations to them are deductible.
Tax

Free Filing in 2003

You may be one of millions of taxpayers who will be able to prepare and file their 2002 federal tax returns electronically this year — for free.The IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC, a private-sector consortium of tax software companies, have formed a partnership to help taxpayers electronically prepare and file their federal tax returns for free. Each Free File Alliance member sets taxpayer eligibility requirements for its program, and the requirements will differ from company to company.
Tax

Refinancing Your Home

Taxpayers who refinanced their homes may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans, according to the IRS.Generally, for taxpayers who itemize, the “points” paid to obtain a home mortgage may be deductible as mortgage interest. Points paid to obtain an original home mortgage can be, depending on circumstances, fully deductible in the year paid.
Tax

Selling Your Home

If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return, according to the IRS. This exclusion is allowed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years.To be eligible for this exclusion, your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two out of the five years prior to its sale.
Tax

Credit For The Elderly or Disabled

You may be able to take the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled if you are age 65 or older, or if you are retired on permanent and total disability, according to the IRS. Like any other tax credit, it’s a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill.
Tax

Capital Gains And Losses

Almost everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure or investment is a capital asset. The IRS says that when you sell a capital asset, such as stocks, the difference between the amount you sell it for and your basis, which is usually what you paid for it, is a capital gain or a capital loss. While you must report all capital gains, you may deduct only your capital losses on investment property, not personal property.A “paper loss” – a drop in an investment’s value below its purchase price – does not qualify for the deduction.
Tax

Roth IRAs

Confused about whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA? The IRS suggests checking these simple rules:Income:To contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have compensation (e.g., wages, salary, tips, professional fees, bonuses).
Tax

Tips And Taxes

Do you work at a hair salon, barber shop, casino, golf course, hotel or restaurant or drive a taxicab? The tip income you receive as an employee from those services is taxable income, advises the IRS.As taxable income, these tips are subject to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and may be subject to state income tax as well.You must keep a running daily log of all your tip income.
Tax

What if You Can't Get a Social Security Number?

If you are not eligible to get a Social Security number but have to file a tax return, you will need to use Form W-7, "Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number" to get this number, known as an ITIN.An ITIN is a 9-digit number issued by the IRS, beginning with the number "9." It may look a bit like a Social Security number, but an ITIN is used only for federal income tax purposes and has no effect on your work or immigration status in the U.S.Each person who files a federal tax return or is listed
Tax

What to do if You Haven't Received a Form 1099

If you received certain types of income, you may receive a Form 1099 for use with your federal tax return. You should receive these forms from the payer by early February, according to the IRS. Payers have until January 31, 2003, to mail these to you. If you have not received an expected 1099 by a few days after that, contact the payer. If you still do not get the form by February 15, call the IRS for help at 1-800-829-1040.In some cases, you may obtain the information that would be on the 1099 from other sources.
Tax

What to do if You Haven't Received a Form W-2

You should receive a Form W-2, "Wage and Tax Statement," from each employer you worked for to use in preparing your federal tax return. According to the IRS, employers must furnish this record of 2002 earnings and withheld taxes no later than January 31, 2003 (if mailed, allow a few days for delivery).If you do not receive your Form W-2, contact your employer to find out if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it may have been returned to your employer because of an incorrect or incomplete address, so be sure to verify your address.
Tax

Earned Income Tax Credit Available For Certain Workers

Workers earned it. Don’t forget to claim it, says the Internal Revenue Service. The Earned Income Tax Credit lowered federal tax liabilities for 19 million lower-income workers last year.Some taxpayers may be eligible to claim the EITC for the first time, especially if there were changes in the family such as a new child, divorce or decrease in earnings during the past year.To qualify for the EITC, taxpayers must have earned income during the year. Married taxpayers who file a joint return may qualify if at least one spouse has earned income.
Tax

Child And Dependent Care Credit

If you paid someone to care for a child or a dependent so you could work, you may be able to reduce your tax by claiming the credit for child and dependent care expenses on your federal income tax return, according to the IRS. This credit is available to people who, in order to work or to look for work, have to pay for child care services for dependents under age 13.
Tax

Child Tax Credit

With the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to reduce the federal tax you owe by $600 for each qualifying child under the age of 17, according to the IRS. A qualifying child for this credit is someone who:Is claimed as your dependent, Was under age 17 at the end of 2002,Is your son, daughter, adopted child, grandchild, stepchild, or eligible foster child, andIs a U.S. citizen or resident.The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount.
Tax

Dependents

So your daughter is off to college and you're wondering if you can still claim her as a dependent? To be claimed as a dependent, a person must meet five tests, according to the IRS:Member of Household/Relationship Test—the person must be a relative or live in your household all year.Joint Return Test—the person can't file a joint tax return with someone else except to claim a refund of all tax withheld.Citizenship Test—the person must be:a U.S.
Tax

Alimony Payments Have Tax Implications

When the end of matrimony leads to the start of alimony, how does it affect your taxes? Alimony payments you receive are taxable to you in the year received, according to the IRS.The amount is reported on line 11 of Form 1040. You cannot use Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ. The person making the payment may claim a deduction in the year paid on Form 1040. You must give the person who paid the alimony your Social Security number or you may have to pay a $50 penalty.If your decree or agreement calls for both alimony and child support and specifies amounts for each, only the alimony is taxable.
Tax

Marriage or Divorce? Check Your Social Security Number

The IRS reminds newlyweds and the recently divorced to make sure names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Agency (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could unexpectedly increase a tax bill and reduce the size of any refund.For newlyweds, the tax scenario can begin when the bride says "I do" and takes her husband's surname, but doesn't tell the SSA about the name change.

Pages


Already a member? log in here.