Posted by Tax Advisor on May 17th, 2013
On RapidTax you may be able to file a simple 2012 return for free
Not only will RapidTax do the hard work for you, making the process of filing your taxes as simple as possible, but you also might be able to do it for free.
What qualifies as free?
You can file your current year tax return for free on RapidTax if you have a simple tax situation:
- You are single or married filing jointly and have no dependents.
- Your income was reported on a Form W-2.
- You are taking the standard deduction and have no above-the-line deductions.
- You received part or all of your income from interest or dividends.
- You collected unemployment.
- You qualify for the Earned Income Credit.
- You are not claiming other tax credits such as the home, education, or child tax credits.
If your tax situation is more complex than this, you may be bumped up to a higher package. But don’t worry – they are still very affordable. Our Deluxe package goes for only $29.99, the Premier package for $39.99, and Platinum for $79.99. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on May 13th, 2013
A tax extension grants you an extra six months to file, but doesn’t give you any extra time to pay
A tax extension gives you an extra six months to file your return.
You must file an extension by April 15th (or whatever the normal tax deadline is for that year). It then grants you an extra six months to file, making your new deadline October 15th.
This year for 2012 taxes, for example, if you requested an extension by April 15, 2013, your return is due by October 15, 2013.
Note an extension only give you an extra six months to file, it does not give you an extra six months to pay. When you request an extension, you will have to estimate your tax liability and pay any tax due or else you could be subject to failure-to-pay penalties starting April 15th. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on May 9th, 2013
There may not be a free lunch anymore, but is there a free tax filing? It seems like everywhere you go these days someone wants to gouge more money out of you…so you can pay more money. And that gets even worse when you have to file past due taxes.
So here are three ways you can file past due taxes for free! Because no one should ever have to pay to pay Uncle Sam back.
- The Old Fashioned Way. There’s nothing like a pencil and paper and calculator sometimes. Sure, doing taxes by hand isn’t something you see every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Obviously this method isn’t for everyone–and the more form challenged among us might want to steer clear–but there’s no denying the cheapness of this way to file past due taxes.That said, be careful! When you file past due taxes you need to fill out some special forms, so make sure you pick them up before you invest your time in checking and filling in all those boxes–only to realize you don’t have a critical form. Go to the IRS website and find some guidelines so that you know what you might need first.
- The Pretty Much Free Way. Ok, so this way is less totally free than effectively free, but it still works. In short: most people who have to file past due taxes are actually owed money by the government. Sometimes lots of money. It’s hard to know if you’re going to definitely be one of those people, but chances are, the lower your income, the more likely it is that filing past taxes will net you money from past returns.So, if you suspect you’re one of those people (and, truthfully, most people who have to file past due taxes are) than paying someone a (reasonable) rate to do your taxes isn’t such a huge expense anymore–it’s an investment in making sure you get all of your owed money. It’s not completely free, but then, it’s going to literally pay off. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on May 9th, 2013
The Child Tax Credit has been extended for five years – here’s how to claim it
The $1,000 Child Tax Credit, which was created by the Bush tax cuts, was set to expire at the end of 2012. However, the fiscal cliff deal signed on January 3, 2013 extended the current Child Tax Credit for the next five years.
What is the Child Tax Credit?
The Child Tax Credit offers a credit of up to $1,000 per child to qualifying taxpayers. It is only available to those who can claim a child as a dependent and meet several other requirements.
There is no limit to the number of child you can claim using the Child Tax Credit, however, claiming lots of kids may subject you to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
Who can claim the Child Tax Credit?
In order to claim the Child Tax Credit, the child in question must Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on May 3rd, 2013
If you haven’t filed your 2010 return yet you have less than a year to get your refund
Most taxpayers are frightened of the IRS, and understandably so. Not only does the agency force us to go through the tortuous process of filing taxes every year, but it also has the power to implement some pretty drastic punishments when taxes go unpaid. It can levy your wages and bank accounts and force you to sell or mortgage assets to pay your tax debt.
But what most people don’t know is that the IRS is surprisingly lenient when it comes to minor offenses, such as filing a late return. Most late filers assume that they will get hit with massive penalties, so they try to hide from the IRS and avoid filing their taxes for even longer.
Doing so, however, might actually cause them to sacrifice a refund. Late filers are more likely than normal filers to receive a refund, and the tax code’s statute of limitations allows you to claim a refund for three years after the original due date of the return.
That means that the last chance to claim a refund from your 2010 return is April 15, 2014. That’s less than a year away! Take note: after next April 15th your refund belongs to the U.S. Treasury and you absolutely will not be able to claim it. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on April 24th, 2013
Information to make taxes easier for first-time filers
The U.S. tax code is one of the most complicated things out there. Even experienced professionals who have spent their entire careers dealing with it can still be confused about some of the finer points. If you’re just starting out and have never filed a return before it can be incredibly daunting.
Thankfully, RapidTax has assembled a collection of questions that frequently confuse first-time filers. The information here is hardly complete, but it should serve as a basic introduction to the world of taxes. If you need more information about a particular topic, trying searching for what you need in the sidebar; there are tons of great articles on the RapidTax blog that could answer your question.
But that’s the great thing about RapidTax: it makes filing taxes so simple you don’t have to bother with all that information. Get started on your return now to see for yourself.
Federal taxes vs. state taxes
When most people file their taxes, they have to file both a federal income tax return and a state income tax return. These are two different returns and you may very well be charged extra for preparation of the state return. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on April 12th, 2013
The tax filing deadline for 2011 returns may have passed, but you can still get a refund
The official due date for 2011 taxes was last year, but thankfully if you missed the boat on filing on time you can still get a refund.
The IRS statute of limitations allows you to claim a refund for three years after the original due date of a return. That means you have until April 15, 2015 to file your 2011 return and claim your refund. But why wait until then? You’re essentially giving the government an interest-free loan when you could be buying so many awesome things with that money.
If you don’t claim your refund by April 15, 2015 then the U.S. Treasury gets to keep your refund. You can still file a return, but you won’t get any money back.
Penalties and interest
If you’re due a refund there’s even more good news: you won’t have to pay any penalties or interest. That’s right, the IRS only charges penalties and interest of people who owe taxes. Getting your money late is the only punishment you’ll face for filing late. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on April 8th, 2013
You and your spouse will probably have to file separate returns, but New York does give you the option of filing a joint return – as long as you let it tax all your money
The following is a slightly modified question from one of our readers:
My wife lived and worked in New York City for all of 2012. I lived and worked in Maryland for one month and then lived and worked in NYC for eleven months. I have already filed in MD as a part-time resident. For New York State, though, I am a bit confused. I have filled out a resident return for my wife and a part-time resident return for myself (including a part-time NYC resident worksheet for myself). Do we file jointly as we did for our federal return or do we each file separately? Does this affect our standard deduction? It seems like the two forms we filled out (IT-201 and IT-203) should be filed separately.
This is precisely of the sort of question that boggles taxpayers across the country. State tax residency is such a popular topic on this blog precisely because it is so complicated.
Every taxpayer is responsible for filing a resident return in the state where they live, unless that state happens to be one of the nine that don’t have an income tax. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on April 2nd, 2013
Now that the government has cracked down on rapid refund tax loans, your best bet is to find a company that will make tax preparation as fast as possible
In previous years many taxpayers were able to get their tax money before the IRS actually issued their refunds thanks to a variety of loans.
Instant loans allowed some people to get their refund before they even left the tax office. Those who didn’t qualify were able to obtain refund anticipation loans (RALs), which gave them their refund 1-2 days after filing. The price for this fast money, however, was exorbitant fees and interest rates which meant that the taxpayer received a significantly reduced refund.
These options are no longer available, however, because the government, specifically the Office of the Controller of the Currency, has been cracking down on the banks through which the tax preparers offered these loans. The government is concerned (correctly) that they prey on low-income taxpayers with their high fees and interest rates. In other words, they were a rip off.
So what can you do now? While these new regulations may be an inconvenience for people who are low on cash, most people should be happy because they ultimately save you money. Now you can keep more of the money that you earned – instead of paying it to the bank. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tax Advisor on March 27th, 2013
You can still get a refund from 2009, but only if you file your return before April 15, 2013
$917 million. That’s how much money in 2009 refunds is just sitting in the Treasury waiting to be claimed.
The IRS recently announced that there are an estimated 984,000 people who haven’t claimed their 2009 refunds. That’s an average refund of $932 per person! If that’s your money don’t let it go to waste.
You can still get your 2009 refund, but not for much longer. You must file your 2009 return by April 15, 2013 in order to receive it.
According to the statute of limitations, you have three years after a return’s original due date to file and still get a refund. After three years you can still file, but you won’t see any money. Your refund now belongs to the Treasury. Read the rest of this entry »