What You Need to Know About Taxes

Most people don't enjoy paying taxes. But the more we know about them the better we can plan for them. Articles here contain information on new tax rules as well as how to save and plan for your taxes.

What is VITA – Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (You Might Get Free Tax Preparation)

Many people would like help with their tax returns, but don’t know how they can afford to employ the services of a tax professional.

It’s true that some of the major income tax preparation services advertise that they will file your taxes for free, but this isn’t always the same as preparing them; in many cases you can only have the 1040-EZ prepared for free.

If your taxes are a little more complicated than a 1040-EZ, yet you don’t feel like you can afford to have an accountant or other tax professional help you prepare your Form 1040, you do have a place to turn.

The IRS sponsors a program designed to help those who make less than $53,000 a year prepare and file their taxes — the VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Read on and see if VITA can help you prepare your taxes and get free tax filing.

What is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

Continue Reading

5 Reasons Getting a Large Tax Refund is Bad

The stress of doing your taxes is over.

You filed all of your forms and to your joy you’re getting back a tax refund.  And it’s a nice sized one too!

It’s awesome, right?

Not so fast.

Getting a lump sum payout after filing your taxes feels great.  But I’m going to show you that it may not be as great as you think.  There are better ways you can use your money (and it is your money).

Read On as I Tell You 5 Reasons a Large Tax Refund is Bad.

Continue Reading

What Do Your Property Taxes Pay For?

How many times have you looked at your tax bill, threw your arms in the air, and yelled our “where is all this property tax money going, this is way too high?!?”

Maybe I’m the wacky one, but I’ve done that.  (Actually, I would probably have an expletive or two in there.)

The problem with that view though is that property taxes are never a single number, but a combination of several.

Most of us tend to think our property taxes are too high, but then we get a bit hung up on the components.  We may want a lower tax bill, but at the same time we might support high spending levels in certain areas, or even just one in particular.

There are constituencies behind each category of our property taxes, which is why it’s so hard to get lower taxes overall.

So What Do Your Property Taxes Pay For?

Continue Reading

To Itemize or Take the Standard Deduction, That is the Question

When life becomes more complicated, so do your taxes.

As you claim dependents, purchase a home, or are involved in a major loss or theft you can claim specific items on your taxes that will reduce your tax burden.

Other reasons such as owning your own small business, earning money in more than one state, or if you have investments or property that can be claimed as a loss then your taxes become slightly more difficult to file.

Most single people will file a Form 1040-EZ, but if you have any type of deduction that is greater than the standard deduction it may be best to file using a Form 1040.

So when should you itemize on your taxes?  The following will provide some major reasons for itemizing.

Continue Reading

Don’t Forget Your 401(k) When You Leave Your Job! Here’s What You Can Do With It

A 401(k) plan is an awesome vehicle to save for retirement!  

You get to lower your tax basis (the income you get taxed on).  You might get a great company match… What’s not to like?

But what do you do with your 401(k) if you leave your job? 

Do you take the 401(k) with you?  Where do you put it?  Should you leave it?

You have some choices for your 401(k) which I’ll outline for you below:

Choices For Your 401(k) When You Leave Your Job

Continue Reading

TurboTax Online Review 2013 Return

We’re in the middle of tax season and one of two major problems is about to happen to every single one of you:

  1. Either you think your taxes are simple so you file the most basic return and miss out on getting a better tax refund, or
  2. You think your taxes are so complicated you spend hundreds of dollars paying a CPA to prepare them for you.

Both situations are costing you money.

Here’s what you need to know: filing your tax return yourself doesn’t have to be complicated, doesn’t have to result in you leaving money on the table, and doesn’t have to take ten hours.

How can you get the best of both worlds?  TurboTax online tax software.

TurboTax is the nation’s best-selling, #1 rated tax software.

The company offers 100% accurate calculations, guarantees you will receive your maximum refund, and provides free audit support in the unlikely event the IRS wants to dig deeper into your tax return.

Let’s dig a little deeper ourselves to see how TurboTax works and what to expect.

TurboTax Online and Mobile App Tax Software Review

Continue Reading

Don’t Be Late! Federal Income Tax Due Dates to File Taxes for 2014

We’re now into that time the year that accountants and other tax preparers refer to as “tax season.”

For the rest of us it’s panic season.

We scramble to get together our tax documents and hope that we won’t have to pay taxes.

How many of you have filed your return the day it was due?  I’m raising my hand (not easy to type like that).

Stressful, isn’t it?

Add to the stress the fact that not everyone files taxes the same.  Some are individual filers while others file as self-employed.  Corporations file taxes too (and they have a different due date).

But the tax deadlines aren’t all the same in every case.  It’s enough to make your head spin, wondering “when are the tax due dates for my taxes?”

Below you will find Federal Income Tax deadlines for 2014.  Use these due dates to your advantage and plan enough time to prepare your taxes before they are due. Continue Reading