RapidTax Blog

Tax Reform: Tax Tips for Lowering Rates for 2018 Taxes!

Posted by Manisha Hansraj on March 2, 2018
Last modified: March 2, 2018

tax reform
Be ready for the new tax reform.

Get your to do list out and take some action to reduce your 2018 taxes now! Although taxpayers might be hurriedly finishing their 2017 tax returns before the e-file deadline, some tax deductions will not be there for the next tax season due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (TCJA) Ultimately, the design of the new tax reform is to lower taxes for individuals of all income groups until 2025. Bear in mind that along with that idea, many individuals who itemize their deductions are worried about the tax turmoil they’ll face when filing with each capped or eliminated deduction.

Did you know that can take steps in 2018 to decrease your taxes for next tax season? Here’s a few tax tips for you.

Rack up your medical receipts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Tips: How to Choose a Tax Preparer

Posted by Manisha Hansraj on January 23, 2018
Last modified: January 24, 2018

Are you stuck on choosing a Tax Preparer?

“One size fits all,” doesn’t apply when choosing your tax preparer. Take a second to imagine this scenario. John is a college student and it’s time to file his taxes for the very first time. Nerve wracking, isn’t it? He has one W-2 statement and a myriad of education expenses that surely affected his bank account. He’s unsure of where to begin and if he should simply file online or visit a tax accountant.

Whether you’re new to taxes, like John, or an experienced taxpayer, filing your tax return can be a demanding process. On top of that, you might be wondering if you should file your tax return online or go to a local tax accountant. Here are some tax tips to consider when making that decision.

Online filing may be right for you.

During tax season, convenience, quality and time are both important. By filing your taxes online, you can complete a self-prepared return by opting to e-file your current year tax return or paper file your prior year return right from the comfort of your own home. Tax preparation sites require you to have: Read the rest of this entry »

The 2018 Tax Season Starts Soon: File your 2017 Taxes!

Posted by Manisha Hansraj on December 22, 2017
Last modified: January 24, 2018

It’s time for your taxes.

The 2018 tax season is on its way! The IRS just announced the dates that you need to remember. Don’t forget to keep track of time since January 29th marks the start of tax season 2018. Here’s how to get started with your 2017 tax return.

2018 Tax Season Calendar

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and How the Tax Plan May Affect You

Posted by Manisha Hansraj on December 11, 2017
Last modified: January 12, 2018

New year, new taxes.

President Trump said that he wanted the new tax plan on his desk by Christmas. Nonetheless, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went through the Senate, House and flew by Congress. Ultimately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax plan has a goal to reduce the tax rates for individuals and businesses, which will ultimately affect how much you end up receiving your refund and paying in your tax liability. Most changes will expire in 2025 whereas some will remain permanent.

With the media raving about how taxpayers’ pockets will be affected, here are the changes that the new tax plan will lead to starting January 1st, 2019.

What was eliminated in the new tax plan?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Relief for Victims of Natural Disasters in 2017

Posted by Divya Hansraj on November 14, 2017
Last modified: November 21, 2017

Hurricane Effects
A tax relief will give you the break you need.

There are few calamities that compare to the damage and loss of a natural disaster. Hurricane Harvey forced thousands of residents from Texas out of their homes and left stranded without power and clean drinking water. Similarly, residents of Florida had to evacuate coastal areas due to flood zones. These events can leave families in a wreck, taking years to recover from. As horrific as these events can be, the IRS provides tax relief for taxpayers living in disaster areas.

Read on to learn more about how the IRS handles tax reliefs and find out if you qualify.

What is a natural disaster?

According to the IRS, a natural disaster is a nature-related event. Usually, these events are hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis. However, there are more. Nonetheless, it was surprising to find mine cave-ins and sonic booms on the list!

Do I qualify?

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit

Posted by Robert Flanagan on February 1, 2017
Last modified: February 1, 2017

Feel like the coach of a small football team? The IRS gets it!

Whether you have just one on the way or five and counting, kids are expensive. That’s why you should take advantage of tax cuts whenever possible. In addition to claiming them as dependents, you may also qualify for some other credits. One that could end up benefiting you substantially is the Additional Child Tax Credit. Let’s see if this one is for you!

What is the Additional Child Tax Credit (VS. the Child Tax Credit)?

You’ve probably heard of the Child Tax Credit. I’ll sum it up for those of you who don’t (but also check out our other article which goes into more detail, “How to Claim the Child Tax Credit”). Basically, it is a credit that can reduce your tax liability up to $1,000 per qualifying child listed on your tax return. This credit is NON-refundable, meaning that it will reduce your tax liability to $0 but will never overflow into a refund for you.

Now that we’ve covered the Child Tax Credit, you’re probably wondering what the Additional Child Tax Credit is all about, right? This is the refundable credit that will fork over the difference that you weren’t able to claim from the Child Tax Credit.   

Let’s take a look at an example:

Cindy and Lou have three qualifying kids listed on their joint tax return. Their tax liability is $2,500. After applying their Child Tax Credit at $1,000 per child, they were able to get their tax liability down to $0. They then figured out that they qualified for the Additional Child Tax Credit. Cindy and Lou were able to claim that additional $500 as a tax refund!

Here’s the math:  $2,500 IRS tax liability – $3,000 total Child Tax Credit for three kids = – $500 Read the rest of this entry »

How to Use the 2016 Tax Calculator and Refund Cycle Chart

Posted by Robert Flanagan on January 3, 2017
Last modified: January 3, 2017

Did you know that about 40% of New Year resolutions are money-related?

Whether it’s spending less, saving more, or just getting financially organized overall, it’s important to most of us. As we already know, taxes have a lot to do with our money goals. We’re either itching to get a hold of our tax refund or dreading paying our tax due.

Whatever the case may be for you, we’re going to help you tax charge of your financial resolutions for 2017. With the RapidTax 2016 Tax Calculator, you’ll be able to see the big picture before even looking at a confusing IRS form.

How can the tax calculator 2016 help me?

Our user-friendly calculator tool will assist you with all of the following:

  • Calculating your 2016 tax refund.
  • Figuring out your 2016 tax balance due.
  • Seeing how your filing status, income, exemptions, expenses, and qualifying deductions and credits affect your tax situation.

Our tool allows you to take many aspects of your specific circumstances into account before filing your return. You can enter all donations, retirement income, investments, etc…for the year to see your refund increase or decrease. Then we’ll provide you with a detailed summary so that you understand our calculations.

How to access the 2016 tax calculator

It’s almost too easy to navigate our calculator. You have access to different tabs. Within each tab, you’ll enter your tax information to the best of your knowledge. Remember, you can use estimated amounts if you haven’t received certain income statements yet.

Need to find out your prior year refund or tax due amounts? We have calculators for 2014, 2015, and 2016 too!

2017 Refund Cycle Chart

The refund schedule is something that the IRS has discontinued due to accuracy issues. However, the cycle tends to be generally similar each year. It’s important to realize that these dates are not guaranteed to be accurate. They are ESTIMATES based on past tax seasons. This year does come with a few exceptions that should be taken into consideration**.
Read the rest of this entry »

Claiming Parents as Dependents If They Receive Social Security Benefits

Posted by Robert Flanagan on December 19, 2016
Last modified: January 25, 2017

It’s been said that life comes full circle. Well, so do taxes.

It’s difficult to watch your parents grow old. The ones who supported you while growing up are now the ones you’re taking care of. You may be curious if you can claim your parents as dependents on your tax return like they once did for you.

The answer lies in the following five tests set up by the IRS:

#1. They must be related to you.

#2. They must be a citizen or resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

#3. They must not be filing a joint tax return.

#4. They must have an annual gross income of less than $4,000.

#5. You must provide more than 50% of their financial support for the year.

With these qualifications in mind, let’s take a look at some special circumstances that might apply to you and your parents. Read the rest of this entry »

How to E-File 2014 Taxes in 2017

Posted by Robert Flanagan on December 14, 2016
Last modified: December 19, 2016

There is a time and place for everything…including your 2014 tax return.

The 2015 tax season was that time and place. Although you’re a little late, you can still file your 2014 taxes. You just won’t be able to electronically file (e-file) it.

IRS e-file dates and deadlines

Each December, the IRS comes out with the e-file start dates and deadlines for that year’s upcoming tax season. For 2014 returns, those dates fell between January and October of 2015. The IRS promptly closes their e-filing system after that.

Can I still submit my 2014 taxes to the IRS?

Yes! You can and you should. You’ll need to sign and mail your tax return to the IRS instead of just submitting it online like you may be used to. The preparation process that you typically follow can remain the same. Not sure where to prepare your return? We can help you with that on RapidTax! It’s quick and easy; even for late tax returns. All you need to do is create an account with a unique username and password. Then begin entering your tax information into our user-friendly application. It’s even free to try with several pricing packages to fit your tax situation once you enter all of your information.

Can I still claim a 2014 tax refund?

That’s a yes! The IRS has a Statute of Limitations in place that allows taxpayers three years from the original due date to claim a refund. That means you can claim your 2014 IRS refund until April 2018.  Keep in mind that it will take a bit longer than usual to receive that refund in the mail since it is a prior year return now. It can take the IRS about 6 weeks to process an accurately completed late tax return.

What penalties am I facing for a 2014 tax due amount?

There are currently two penalties when it comes to late filing a tax return with the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »