Prepare a Business Tax Return with RapidTax

Posted by Tax Advisor on February 4th, 2016
Last modified: February 4, 2016

Let RapidTax help you and your business this year!

Starting this year, RapidTax is offering online business tax return preparation and e-filing. We’ll now be able to further assist existing customers who already use our website to prepare their individual returns. We’ll also be able to welcome new customers with businesses who need to file a tax return. Below are a few questions that you’ll want answered before preparing your business tax return with RapidTax.

What type of businesses can use RapidTax Business preparation?

Your business entity is determined when you register your business with the state you are located in. Our team at RapidTax welcomes four main business entities when it comes to preparing and e-filing business returns. These include the following:

  • Single Member LLCs
  • Partnerships
  • S-corporations
  • C-corporations

If you do not fall under one of these business entities or you’re unsure of what type of business you have, feel free to give our tax team a call at 844-CORPTAX (267-7829) to help you out. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Reasons You’ll Want to File a 2015 Tax Return

Posted by Tax Advisor on January 25th, 2016
Last modified: January 25, 2016

Having trouble deciding if you should file a 2015 tax return?

Many people dread filing their tax return each year; so much so that they put it off until they convince themselves that it isn’t even really necessary. Tread carefully when making this decision. Below are five reasons that you may want to file a return this year…even be excited to (imagine that!).

1. You are not a rule-breaker.

Not sure if you want to or even need to file a tax return at all for 2015? Generally speaking, there are three main factors, according to the IRS, that determine whether or not you need to file. These are your:

  • filing status
  • age
  • income

Read the rest of this entry »

How Many Kids Can You Claim on Taxes?

Posted by Tax Advisor on January 20th, 2016
Last modified: January 20, 2016

Kids are great! But they can be taxing…in more ways than one.

Growing up, my parents would always give me an increase on my allowance around April. They would say it was to teach me how to budget my money. Not to sell out my parents or anything but now I know that they were able to give me a little extra once a year because they were getting more back from the IRS after filing and claiming me as a dependent.

Let’s just say, those little bonuses stopped once I began filing my own taxes.

Is there a limit to how many dependents I can claim on my tax return?

No, there is no maximum amount of dependents you’re allowed to claim on your tax return. You can claim all dependents who are qualified child dependents according to IRS rules. Consider it a token of appreciation for supporting the ever-increasing costs of diapers, astronomical college tuition fees and for simply putting food on the table each night.

What qualifies a child as my dependent?

You may see this question to have a simple answer if you are married parents filing a joint return. However, for single parents, married parents who file separately or other relatives, the answer is not as clear.

A qualifying child dependent has slightly different requirements than a qualifying relative dependent does. In order to be considered a qualifying child dependent, they must meet all of the following requirements:

Read the rest of this entry »

2015 Tax Calculator

Posted by Tax Advisor on January 5th, 2016
Last modified: January 5, 2016

Step into 2016 knowing what to expect.

Many of us go into the new year with high expectations for ourselves; some realistic and others… not so much. Why not get a head start on a resolution that will actually stick this year? Tax season 2016 officially kicks off on January 19th. This means that the IRS won’t begin e-filing until that date. In the meantime, you can see how much of a refund you should expect this year using our free 2015 tax calculator.

How do I use it?

You can access our 2015 tax calculator here. Once you’re there, just begin answering the questions based on your tax situation. At the very least, some pieces of information that you should know are:

  • your filing status
  • your annual income
  • your deductions (if you plan to itemize)
  • if you will be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return for the year
  • if you are claiming any dependents on your tax return for the year

As you enter your information, you’ll be able to immediately see the adjustment made on the refund wheel to the right side of your screen. Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Season 2016 Refund Cycle Chart

Posted by Tax Advisor on December 29th, 2015
Last modified: January 7, 2016

History tends to repeat itself.

We get it. To avoid false promises and tied up phone lines, the IRS stopped posting a refund cycle chart in 2012. Although the IRS won’t post a refund cycle chart anymore, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do a bit of research to estimate the dates that our refunds will arrive in our bank accounts.

Whether you want to book a getaway with that special someone (…or your buddies), need to pay those bills that are piling up, or just have a firm grasp on your finances, knowing when you’ll be receiving such a large chunk of money is important. That’s why our team at Rapidtax has put together a 2016 refund cycle chart for you based on prior year trends.

Read the rest of this entry »

When Does 2016 Tax Season Start?

Posted by Tax Advisor on December 23rd, 2015
Last modified: December 23, 2015

Prepare for take-off! Tax Season came early this year.

The IRS has announced the start of the 2016 tax season to be Tuesday, January 19th. That is officially one day earlier than last year.

And just in case that didn’t knock your socks off, here’s even more good news. The IRS will not have a tiered opening season this year. Contrary to prior years, taxpayers filing a paper tax return will have the same start date as taxpayers who choose to e-file.

Can I prepare my tax return earlier than January 19th?

Yes, you can. At Rapidtax.com, we provide our services even earlier than the IRS official start date. Keep in mind that this does not mean that your return will be e-filed by the IRS before January 19th but you will be able to create an account and enter all of your information early. After you submit your account, we will handle the rest and make sure your return is e-filed as soon as the IRS opens for filing.

What should I do next?

Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Tax Deductions: Business Gifts

Posted by Tax Advisor on December 21st, 2015
Last modified: December 21, 2015

Tis the season of Secret Santas and Holiday Company Parties.

It’s a common tradition among businesses to get in the holiday spirit and give gifts to clients and employees. Even though giving gifts doesn’t typically put the idea of taxes in mind, it’s important to know how to report business gifts as tax deductions.

What are direct gifts versus indirect gifts?

The IRS will give the green light on a tax deduction for two types of gifts; direct and indirect. Don’t worry – this still gives you substantial leeway to choose that perfect gift this year. Direct gifts are given as part of a direct professional relationship. For example, the owner of 123, LLC gifts a Godiva gift basket to each employee for the holidays. Indirect gifts typically involve a middleman, such as sending a gift home for your employee’s child.

Is there a cost limit?

There is a $25 limit per gift, per year. What’s that mean? Well, let’s say that your company likes to give gifts to clients or employees multiple times per year. The deduction would only apply to ONE gift and only $25 of that gift could be deducted.

Keep in mind that the gift CAN cost more but only $25 of the total can be reported as a deduction (so hold onto that ‘#1 BOSS’ title and keep giving your employees those iPad minis).  

Does the cost include incidentals?

Read the rest of this entry »

When Can I Claim Exempt on My W-4?

Posted by Tax Advisor on December 3rd, 2015
Last modified: December 3, 2015

Tread carefully before claiming exempt on your W-4 form.

Your W-4 is filed with your employer. Based on the amount of allowances and exemptions you claim, your employer will withhold a certain amount of your income from each paycheck to cover taxes owed to the IRS. If you claim EXEMPT on your W-4, it means that no taxes will be taken out of your paycheck throughout the year to cover what you may owe to the IRS. Claiming exempt does not apply to everyone. Let’s find out why.

Am I eligible to claim exempt on my W-4?

If you want to claim exempt on your W-4, both of the following need to be true:

  1. For the prior year, you had a right to a refund of all federal income tax withheld because you had no tax liability.
  2. For the current year, you expect a refund of all federal income tax withheld because you expect to have no tax liability.

If one or both of these are false, then you will not be eligible to claim exempt on your W-4.

Are there any exceptions?

In some cases, claiming exempt is just not an option. Below are some reasons why it may not be for you:

  • If your income is $950 or more and at least $300 of that is from un-work-related income (ie: interest or dividend income), then you cannot claim exempt from taxes.
  • If you plan to claim dependents on your tax return, then you cannot claim exempt from taxes.
  • If you will be itemizing your deductions on your tax return for the year, then you cannot claim exempt from taxes.
  • If you are Age 65+ or blind, you must use IRS Worksheet 1-3 or 1-4 to determine if you can claim exempt.

I’m EXEMPT for tax purposes. How do I report that?

After doing some research and realizing that you are, in fact, eligible to claim EXEMPT on your W-4, you’ll need to report that. On your W-4, leave box 5 blank. If you have an amount in Box 5, that takes precedence over Box 7. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Tax Deductions: Gifts to Charity

Posted by Tax Advisor on December 1st, 2015
Last modified: December 21, 2015

It’s almost time to bust out the wrapping paper and tinsel!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s the season of giving. Before you get wrapped up in holiday parties and stocking stuffers, you’ll want to make sure that you’re mind isn’t blurred with visions of sugarplums and too much eggnog.

January marks the start of tax season and we want to make sure that you’re ready. That includes reporting those holiday gifts to charity as tax deductions.

How do I donate?

We tend to think that the only way we can help out in society is by breaking out our checkbooks and tacking on as many zeros as our bank accounts will allow. Money is great. But it’s not the only way. It’s also probably the main reason why the majority of us end up doing nothing. We simply can’t afford to.

Seeing as our daily lives revolve around checking up on ourselves (our bank accounts, our smartphone notifications, our Tinder profiles), it’s easy to forget that taking the time out for others is also considered a charitable donation.

If you can write out a check, then all the more power to you! If you can’t, don’t downgrade the time you can spend helping out at your local soup kitchen or cleaning out your closet to donate those jeans and blazers you never ended up wearing. Your nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army will take them off your hands.

Where should I donate?

The dilemma for some of us is that we don’t know where our hard earned dollars are going when we donate to a charity. We understand! Who wants to spend time researching a reputable charity to support and then not be certain that they are using your money the right way? Read the rest of this entry »

When Does the 2016 Tax Season Begin For Filing 2015 Tax Returns?

Posted by Tax Advisor on November 13th, 2015
Last modified: November 13, 2015

The 2016 tax season has not started yet but you can still get your head in the game!

Every season has a start and an end. Let’s take football for example. You can’t throw a few linebackers and quarterbacks on a field mid-May and tell them to play for the SuperBowl ring. There needs to be officials present and aware of what is going on… not to mention some team preparation and uniform fittings.

The same logic applies to taxes. Taxpayers can prepare for tax season all they want by gathering documents and sorting receipts. It doesn’t mean that you can submit your return to the IRS before the season starts and expect them to accept it. That’s because there are annual changes and documents that need to be issued prior to the start date.

Why are tax preparers saying that 2015 tax preparation is available now?

Some online tax preparation websites are claiming that 2015 tax returns can be prepared and filed. Well, in their defense, that’s half true. In fact, they should be advertising that you can prepare now and file much later (once the IRS starts accepting tax returns).

This may sound tempting but it could just end in more time spent on taxes than really necessary. What do we mean? Well for one, the IRS does not release the new tax forms until the very end of the year (We’re talking post Eggnog binge). That means that all of the information that you are entering onto your account may be incorrect. Not to mention that the financial year hasn’t ended yet so the income amount you enter on your account will need to be updated, regardless come January when you are issued your W-2 form from your employer(s). Read the rest of this entry »