RapidTax Blog


How to Use the 2016 Tax Calculator and Refund Cycle Chart

Posted by Michelle O'Brien 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 Michelle O'Brien on December 19, 2016
Last modified: December 19, 2016

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 Michelle O'Brien 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 »

When Does E-File End for 2015 Tax Returns?

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on December 13, 2016
Last modified: December 16, 2016

The e-file deadline was October 17th, 2016 for 2015 tax returns.

Do you happen to be reading this after the deadline mentioned above? No worries. You can still file your 2015 tax return. You’ll just need to paper file it instead.

How to prepare and paper file your 2015 tax return online?

Sure, the e-file season for 2015 is over. You’re not completely out of luck. You can still prepare your tax return as you normally would. You’ll just need to send it into the IRS instead of submitting it online.

For example, if you typucally use RapidTax each year, you can also use us for your late returns. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create an account with a unique username and password.
  2. Begin entering in your 2015 tax information to our user-friendly application. Feel free to contact our support team with any questions along the way!
  3. Continue through the checkout process and submit your return to be prepared on IRS tax forms.
  4. Print, sign and mail your return to the IRS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Filing for Low Income Taxpayers

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on December 10, 2016
Last modified: December 16, 2016

Need a hand preparing your tax return this year?

There’s a good chance that if you are one of many low income taxpayers, you will file a tax return this year. Preparing that return doesn’t have to cost you most of that refund you’ve been looking forward to.

There are credits specifically targeted toward taxpayers earning less than $50,000 per year. Let’s take a look at four credits that should be on your radar this year.

Earned Income Tax Credit

This credit was originally created as an incentive for people to work. Eligibility and the amount you receive from this credit are determined by filing status and income; specifically your adjusted gross income. To qualify for the credit, you must be between 25 and 65 years old. You also must be either single or married filing a joint tax return. If you qualify, you can earn up to $6,242! A few things to keep in mind before blindly claiming this credit are: Read the rest of this entry »

Can You Claim Parents as Dependents?

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on December 6, 2016
Last modified: December 19, 2016

Sometimes we’re so busy growing up that we forget they’re growing old.

Everyone knows that claiming a dependent on your income tax return can get you a significantly larger refund. For every dependent you claim on your taxes you can claim an extra personal exemption. That’s a large chunk of change you can deduct from your income, thus reducing your tax burden.

But who exactly can you claim? Are you eligible to claim your parents as dependents?

When it comes to taxes there are actually two different types of dependents: qualifying children and qualifying relatives.

Obviously, you can’t claim your parents as qualifying children. So the question becomes, do they meet the requirements for qualifying relatives? Read the rest of this entry »

What Do I Need Before Tax Season 2017 Begins?

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on December 5, 2016
Last modified: December 16, 2016

Ditch the stress! Preparation is key this tax season.

Tax Season 2017 is around the corner. There are important things to know along with forms and information to have before you sit down to file your 2016 tax return.

The most important thing to remember before filing your 2016 taxes is to have all your ducks in a row. For example, if you’re itemizing your deductions, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to scramble together your receipts from the year.

How to prepare:

Know the start dates and deadlines:

  • January 1st is the first day that RapidTax with begin preparing 2016 tax returns.
  • January 23rd is the e-file start date.
  • April 18th is tax day.

Get organized: Make a list of everything you believe is tax related in your life. Start out with big things like college loans, mortgages, etc. then move to the smaller details like organizing daycare receipts, health expenses.

Know changes in personal details: Did you retire this year? Did you change jobs this year? Purchased a house? Maybe you got married or divorced? These are all personal details you will need to include on your tax return.

Know updated tax laws: Updated tax laws will indicate if you fit in certain brackets for paying more (or less) in taxes. Feel free to always check back here for the up-to-date IRS news.

Know your state’s tax regulations: Many people forget to focus on the state return. Specific states have specific tax incentives.
For example, in Georgia, if your child goes to private school and you donate to a scholarship fund, you may receive a $2000 tax credit on state taxes.

Donate: Charitable donations will help you save on your taxes if you itemize your return. If you have donated thousands of dollars of clothing to Goodwill, this will definitely benefit you. Read the rest of this entry »

When Does the 2017 Tax Season Start for Filing 2016 Tax Returns?

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on December 5, 2016
Last modified: December 9, 2016

The holidays are upon us and so is the 2017 Tax Season!

Before getting wrapped up in the feasting and celebrating, it might be smart to think about where you stashed that box of receipts for the year. That’s right! The 2017 tax season has snuck up on us yet again. But let’s get one thing straight. This is not a time to panic. In fact, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely ahead of the game already!

We’re here to help you get your tax situation in order. That way you can focus on the important things this time of year calls for.

Dates and Deadlines

It’s important to have some dates in mind or even marked on your calendar. Here’s the deal:

  • January 1st marks the launch of the RapidTax 2016 application! You can start submitting your accounts with us and get in line for the IRS start date to e-file.
  • January 23rd is when the IRS opens up the doors to e-file your return. If you have already submitted your 2016 return with RapidTax, then you wouldn’t need to worry about this date. We’ll submit it to the IRS for you.
  • April 18th marks Tax Day for individual returns! It is also the last day to file a tax extension. Here’s a tip… if you aren’t able to file your return by this date, then FILE AN EXTENSION (psst, it give you an extra 6 months to file, penalty-free)

Receipts and Documents

When preparing your tax return, you’ll probably need to have a few things handy. Here’s what you can work on digging up: Read the rest of this entry »

How to File Taxes without an IRS W-2 Form

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on November 4, 2016
Last modified: December 19, 2016

You’re all prepared to start your tax return and then realize you’re missing a W-2. Now what?

There is little that is more vexing as you prepare to file your taxes than to realize that your W-2 or 1099 form has gone missing. Sure, it could have just been shuffled about with other papers. If you think this is the case, then stop reading now and go tackle that stack of paperwork on your desk.

On the other hand, if you never received it in the first place, even Spring cleaning can’t help you. Previous and even current employers often fail to observe due diligence when it comes to providing an employee with necessary tax documents. The task of obtaining them can be quite frustrating as a result.

The situation is usually made worse if you are filing a prior year tax return, at which point a company you worked for years ago may simply have ceased to exist.

Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to obtain your income statement. We’ll even let you know how to file without one altogether. Read the rest of this entry »

Someone Else Claimed My Dependent

Posted by Michelle O'Brien on October 27, 2016
Last modified: November 1, 2016

Did the IRS reject your tax return because someone else claimed your dependent?

Claiming a dependent is usually pretty simple: you give the IRS their social security number, certifying that your relationship with that person satisfies a few simple rules.

Things can get more complicated, especially if someone else also claims the same person as a dependent. If they file their return first, the IRS will assume it’s legitimate and award them the full tax benefit of the dependent. When you attempt to e-file your return, it will be rejected.

What can you do then?

The process is fairly straightforward. After your e-filed return has been rejected because someone else claimed the same dependent, you need to file a paper return. You can still prepare your return online. Instead of e-filing, you will need to print it out, sign it, and mail it to the IRS.

With your return, include a cover letter explaining your situation to the IRS as well as evidence proving that you have the right to claim the dependent (ie: medical records, school records, etc.).

The IRS will then review both returns claiming that dependent and determine which person should be claiming the dependent based on tax law. Read the rest of this entry »