Tax News Blog

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!





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 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 »

How to Check A Prior Year Tax Refund Status

Posted by admin on June 4th, 2015
Last modified: October 22, 2015

Go online and use the “Where’s My Refund” IRS tool. It works!

Although the IRS “Where’s My Refund” tool is available to check the progress of your return, it only applies to the tax return you filed for the most current tax year.

For example, let’s say you file your 2013 tax return and soon after remember to file your late 2012 return. Although you filed your 2013 taxes before your 2012, 2013 is going to be the one that the IRS site shows the status for since it is the most recent tax year in their database for you.

So how do you check your prior year tax refund status after mailing your return to the IRS?

Brace yourselves. A lot of you aren’t going to like Plan B. You’ll need to call the IRS. Of course, you don’t want to mail your return and call on your lunch break the following day. The IRS insists that you wait it out for at least 6 weeks after mailing your return to call and check on the status. When you call, make sure you have the following handy:

  • your tax year
  • your social security number
  • your filing status
  • your exact refund amount

You can call 1-800-829-1040 and follow the prompts for a live representative. The person that you speak with will have direct access to your tax return and be able to provide you with a status update.

Tip: Request a tracking number when mailing your return. It’ll give you peace of mind to know that it arrived safe and sound.

Read the rest of this entry »

Where is My 2013 State Tax Refund?

Posted by admin on May 20th, 2015
Last modified: May 20, 2015

How to check the status of your 2013 state tax refund

After filing your state tax return, you can track the status of your 2013 state tax refund by visiting your state agency’s tax refund status page. Click your state in the list below to go to that page:

Colorado Connecticut
Hawaii Idaho
Illinois Indiana
Maine Maryland
Minnesota Mississippi
Missouri Montana
NebraskaNew Jersey
New MexicoNew York
North Carolina North Dakota
Rhode IslandSouth Carolina
Virginia West Virginia

Read the rest of this entry »

Filing 2013 Taxes Late : a recipe guaranteed to work

Posted by admin on May 13th, 2015
Last modified: October 21, 2015

Ask yourself: did you put filing your 2013 tax return on the back burner?

If your answer to that question is yes, stop procrastination and get your recipe books…I mean…receipts out! As with cooking, knowing the basics about filing a prior year tax return is a MUST. To help, take a look at the most common misconceptions about how to file late 2013 taxes below.


Fiction: I can still e-file.

Fact: Unfortunately, you’ve missed the train on this one. October 15th, 2014 was the absolute last day for you to e-file your 2013 tax return as an individual. That’s because the IRS shuts down their e-file system on this date each year.


Fiction: I can submit my 2013 tax return online to the IRS.

Fact: Nope, sorry but you’ll need to download, print, sign, and mail your 2013 tax return.


Fiction: I can’t prepare my late 2013 tax return online because I need tax forms and tax tables.

Fact: You can prepare your return in just 10 minutes with Priortax now. No tax forms, no tax tables, no tax rates: the application pulls these for you. And with help from our tax experts, we’ll have you skipping to the mail box in no time!


Fiction: I can’t file my 2013 tax return because I still have a 2012 tax return to file.

Fact: Yes, you can. To avoid the snowball effect of penalty fees and interest though, you should file both returns as soon as possible.


Read the rest of this entry »

How To File 2008 Taxes in 2015

Posted by admin on April 6th, 2015
Last modified: April 6, 2015

Here’s how to get caught up on your late 2008 taxes

If you forgot to file your 2008 tax return, you should do so as soon as possible. Sure, it’s been 6 years since the tax filing deadline for that year, but you should still get caught up.

Here are two very good reasons reasons why:

  1. The IRS has up to 10 years to collect
  2. Late fees increase by the day if you owe tax from that year (the longer you wait, the worse the situation)

And an even better one:

  1. Uncle Sam is knocking at the door.

Before you get started, there’s something you must know: you won’t be able to e-file your 2008 taxes. In fact, the IRS shuts down the e-file system at the end of each tax season and that one was, well, a long time ago.

If I can’t e-file then how do I file?

With easy e-filing unavailable, it  means that after you have prepared your tax return and we’ve reviewed it you will need to download, print, and sign it before hopping over to the post office to mail it to the IRS or state.

So if you’re suddenly in a hurry to get that 2008 return out, you want to allow for some time ahead.

Follow these 7 Simple Steps

Here’s a convenient recap of how it works: Read the rest of this entry »