Tax News Blog

Can I Still Get My 2012 Tax Refund?

Posted by admin on February 10th, 2016
Last modified: February 10, 2016

Start your engines! The last day to claim your 2012 tax refund is April 18th, 2016.

Many of us recognize April 18th as the deadline to file our 2015 tax returns. Did you know that it is also the last day to file a 2012 tax return and claim a tax refund?

The IRS has a three-year statute of limitations for taxpayers to collect their refund money. Once those three years are up, all unclaimed refunds land themselves amongst others within the IRS walls of tax years past.

Sorry for the dramatization but it’s true. Why give up your refund to the IRS when you can file your 2012 tax return today and get your hard-earned money back?

 

File your 2012 tax return in a few simple steps.

You only have until mid-April to claim your 2012 tax refund. If you start today, you could have that refund in your hand by the end of the month. It’s easy! Here’s how:

  1. Create an account on PriorTax. Select 2012 as your tax year, create a username and unique password.
  2. Enter your tax information. Once you have your 2012 tax documents handy, we’ll ask all the questions.
  3. Submit your 2012 account. The PriorTax team will review your information and make a pdf version available for you to download.
  4. Print, sign and mail your 2012 tax return. Since you cannot e-file a prior year tax return, you’ll need to mail your return to the IRS.

 

Did you forget what the 2012 tax rates are?

We’ve got you covered. It’s probably been awhile since you’ve taken a look at these. Just to refresh your memory, take a look at the 2012 tax rates below: Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Tax Rates and Standard Deduction

Posted by admin on January 27th, 2016
Last modified: January 27, 2016

Time to reflect on the new 2016 tax rates.

Once the new year comes around, we tend to reevaluate ourselves and reflect on our accomplishments (and setbacks) from the past year. This is also a time when we think about how we can better ourselves for the year to come. For many of us, that means following through with a career move, proposing to that special someone, having a baby, or buying a new house.

All of these life events come with a price tag that are likely to affect your tax situation. You’ll want to take a look at the following tables as a reference to adjust your W-4 withholdings accordingly. Look at it as one more save-the-date or housewarming invite you need to send out to share the good news!

 

2016 Standard Deduction Amounts

If your Filing Status is: Your Standard Deduction is:
Single$6,300
Married Filing Jointly$12,600
Married Filing Separately$6,300
Head of Household$9,300
Surviving Spouse$12,600

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Complete a W-4 if You’re Married

Posted by admin on January 13th, 2016
Last modified: January 14, 2016

Tie the knot in your life and also on your taxes.

The honeymoon is over and it’s back to reality. With such a huge change in your life, it’s important to pay attention to how it will affect your taxes. Once the wedding bells in your head subside, update your W-4 form with your employer.

Completing a W-4 form can be intimidating especially knowing that your paycheck depends on it. Don’t let your tax return take the fun out of your recent marriage. Let us help you fill out your W-4 so that you can still break even this tax season!

 

You just got married.

Congrats to all of you newlyweds out there! Once you’ve found a place in your cabinets for all of those trinkets on your Bed Bath & Beyond registry, make sure you speak with your employer. You may or may not know already but filing a joint tax return screams ‘tax benefits’!

You should update your W-4 form to reflect your married filing status ASAP. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible so that it reflects on your tax return when you file for the year.

As a married couple with two sources of income, your tax rate is bound to change. Be sure to sit down with your spouse and discuss the household income you’ll both be bringing in. If one of you makes significantly less income, your joint tax rate could be brought down. What if one spouse is earning significantly more? You could be entering into a higher tax bracket.

 

You’re married… and just had a baby!

Babies probably play the biggest role in tax benefits. Funny…considering they can hardly utter ‘W’ or ‘4’. When you have a baby, you can claim an additional allowance. As a married couple planning to file a joint return, it is recommended that the spouse earning the higher income claim the additional allowance(s). The other spouse will not need to update their W-4 form. You may also qualify for the Child Tax Credit or Child Care Tax Credit depending on your income.  

Claiming a higher amount of allowances on your W-4 form will allow for less to be withheld from your paychecks. If you leave your withholdings as-is, your tax refund may be larger than necessary. Plus, you’ll probably need a little extra for Pampers and ear plugs (kidding!) throughout the year.

Read the rest of this entry »

7 Tax Updates for 2016

Posted by admin on December 11th, 2015
Last modified: December 14, 2015

5…4…3…2…1….. Happy Tax Season 2016!

With the new year comes promises to lose weight, shiny new engagement rings, and of course…annual tax updates. While most tax laws remain consistent from one year to the next, there are some that change.

We are here to share a sneak peek of 7 tax updates coming your way for 2016. Let’s get started.

 

1. Tax Day is April 18th this year.

Since April 15th falls on Washington D.C. Emancipation Day, the tax deadline date will extend to the following Monday, April 18th. Are you among the lucky ones living in a New England state? Extend that deadline one more day to April 19th.

 

2. Tax penalties related to Obamacare are increasing yet AGAIN.

If you’ve reached the ripe ol’ age of 26, then you’re familiar with health insurance and the recent changes to it via Obama. For those without coverage last year, a penalty of $285 (or 2% of income above the filing limit) was billed to them. Still don’t have coverage for 2016? If you don’t apply for an eligible health care plan, then the tax penalty could hit an all-time high of $695 per adult (or 2.5% of income).

 

3. The Earned Income Credit is increasing.

2016 brings a small but modest increase to the EIC. If you are a taxpayer with three or more qualifying dependent children, then the maximum credit will be increasing by $27 to $6,269. For those with two dependent children, your maximum will be increasing by $24 to $5,572. For those taxpayers with an only child, you can receive a maximum of $3,373 which is up $14 from 2015. No kids to worry about? You’ll still get an increase of $3 from last year which will leave you with $506 for 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

How to File your First Tax Return

Posted by admin on November 13th, 2015
Last modified: November 13, 2015

Filing your first tax return is a bit like doing your laundry.

You don’t want to do it. You’d prefer someone just did it for you. But if you don’t do it, you know there will be consequences. 

Unlike laundry, you’ll need to do a bit more sorting, as in sorting through of all those tax forms. And unlike laundry, you really should know the basics before you start. Don’t worry though: you’ll get through it and probably even get a refund afterwards.

 

Find out if you are being claimed as a dependent!

The first thing you should do is talk to your parents. Since they’ve been claiming you as a dependent since before you could even utter the words, ‘tax return’, make sure they know you are planning on filing for yourself to avoid being rejected by the IRS. Each and every person is allowed to claim a personal exemption for themselves or their dependent. However, only one exemption can be claimed per person.

Here’s a classic scenario:

Abby was just hired as a barista at that awesome new cafe downtown. She makes a decent income and her co-worker mentions that she could probably cash in on a nice refund come tax time. Being that Abby is only 17 and earning less than the threshold allotted by the IRS, her parents can still claim her as a dependent on their return. If Abby files a tax return and claims the personal exemption for herself, not noting that she is being claimed as a dependent, and then her parents claim the personal exemption for Abby on their return, the IRS will reject the last tax return submitted.

 

Do you know the age requirements to be claimed as a dependent?

Although your age doesn’t specifically determine if you need to file a tax return, it is a key player in whether or not you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes. When it comes to age, you can only be claimed as a qualifying child dependent if one of the following is true: Read the rest of this entry »

Reporting Dependent Income on My Tax Return

Posted by admin on October 28th, 2015
Last modified: October 28, 2015

Have you been claiming your kid as a dependent since they were in Pampers? If yes, read on…

Now your child just got their first job and is earning an income. Great news: you won’t have to pay them a weekly allowance for the sub-par chores they keep complaining about anymore. Not-so-good news: they’ve entered into the big bad world of taxes!

Don’t worry…it’s not that scary. Really. In fact, in some cases, your child may not even need to file their own tax return yet. 

Let’s take a closer look.

 

Should you report the income they’re now earning on your own return?

You can’t and you won’t. Plain and simple, you will never report any income your dependent earned on your own tax return. 

Take Frankie for example:

Frankie is 16 years old and was hired for the summer as an assistant camp councilor. He will be earning a little under $4,000 for the three months he is employed. When tax time rolls around, Frankie determined that he will not need to file a tax return of his own and will still be claimed as a dependent on his parent’s return. Although his parents are claiming him as a dependent, they will not report Frankie’s $4,000 summer income.

As seen in the example , although you cannot report the income they’re earning on your tax return, you can still claim them as a dependent.

 

How about their unearned income?

Unlike income earned from work, you can report your dependent’s so-called unearned income, such as income from interest and dividends or capital gains distribution, on your own tax return but only up to a certain amount. If the child’s unearned income exceeds that amount, then they will need to file their own tax return and specify that they are being claimed as a dependent.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Divorced: How Do I File My Taxes?

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2015
Last modified: October 22, 2015

Filing your taxes should not be hard after you divorce.

Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining and a financial burden. The good news is that filing your taxes doesn’t have to be. Preparing your tax return is the very last thought on your mind right now. We’re here to help! You can prepare your tax return online with Priortax.

 

Filing Status

According to the IRS, you are considered married for tax purposes if you are still legally married on December 31st of that year. If your divorce is not finalized by the last day of the year, then you have the following options available to you:

  • File as married with a joint tax return
  • File as married with separate tax returns

If your divorce was finalized by December 31st of that year, then you are considered divorced for tax purposes. You have the following options available to you:

  • File as single
  • File as head of household**

**Please note that in order to file as head of household, you must meet all of the IRS requirements.

 

Alimony & Child Support

If you are paying alimony, you can claim a tax deduction on your tax return. This is allowed by the IRS even if you do not itemize your tax deductions. You will need to know your ex-spouse’s social security number. It will be reported on your tax return in order to claim the deduction. The spouse receiving alimony must pay tax on the payments.

It is important to keep in mind that in order for alimony to be taxable and deductible, it must be paid in cash to said spouse.

Unlike alimony payments, child support is not deductible or taxable. The spouse who is paying cannot claim it on their tax return as a tax deduction.

Read the rest of this entry »

2013 Tax Forms : 5 Reasons You Don’t Need Them

Posted by admin on September 14th, 2015
Last modified: October 21, 2015

I forgot to file my 2013 taxes. Should I look for tax forms?

Let’s take a quick detour through a common & unpleasant scenario first:

It’s  January 2016, the best time to buy a new car, and you’re ready to apply for that loan, or so you think. You empty the shoe box and shuffle through your tax documents. That’s when it hits you: you never filed that 2013 tax return! Panic strikes as you try to come up with a solution.

Fear not: there are, in fact, a number of options available, but using forms is taking the slow, not so scenic route.

 

So, doing it yourself with tax forms, pencil and (lots of) erasers? Sure, if you can afford to go slow.

You could complete the 2013 tax forms yourself, right? Well yes, until you remember that you could barely sit through that accounting class you took in college without doodling in the margins of your two-subject Five-Star. Besides, that it’s probably the slowest choice.

 

How about downloading some 2013 tax software? Yes, but… Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Looking for 2013 Tax Forms?

Posted by admin on September 1st, 2015
Last modified: October 15, 2015

We have you covered: here are all of the major federal tax preparation forms for 2013!

 

1040

1040EZ

1040A

Schedule A

Schedule B

Schedule C

Schedule D

Schedule SE

 

These forms will only cover the requirements of a basic federal tax return. The forms needed for a 2013 state tax return are a bit more tricky to get your hands on. For these, you would have to visit your state’s government website for access to these. 

But wait…. You don’t need any 2013 tax forms if you prepare your return online with PriorTax.

That’s right! Let us help you. Using Priortax.com streamlines the whole tedious job. All you need to do is create an account and start filling in your basic information. It is free to start and as you enter your credentials, we will let you know your refund amount. On top of that, we have a team of tax professionals ready to help you every step of the way via free phone support, live-chat and email.

Read the rest of this entry »

File Late 2014 Taxes Online

Posted by admin on June 8th, 2015
Last modified: June 8, 2015

OK, your 2014 taxes are late.

The April 15th deadline has come and gone and you have yet to file your 2014 tax return. Take a deep breath. The good thing is you can still e-file your late 2014 taxes online. However, you may be subject to one or more IRS penalties.

What penalties to expect

There are two penalty fees that the IRS has in place that you may be subject to.

Failure-to-file: this equals out to be 5% of your unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is past the April 15 deadline. This fee caps off at 25% of your unpaid tax.

There are two instances when this could apply to you:

  1. You owe tax and didn’t file your tax return or an extension of the time to file by April 15th, or
  2. You owe tax and still don’t file your tax return by the October 15th tax extension deadline

 

Failure-to-pay: this works out to be 0.5% of your unpaid tax per month or part of a month and begins to accrue the day after taxes are due in April. This fee caps also off at 25% of your unpaid tax.

To be liable for this, you must owe tax and:

  1. not have filed your tax return or extension by April 15th, or
  2. have filed an extension for your current year tax return by April 15th deadline but paid less than 90% of the tax amount due, or
  3. have filed an extension for your current year tax return by April 15th but didn’t pay any of the tax amount due

Read the rest of this entry »