RapidTax Blog


Trump’s Tax Plan: The Senate vs. House

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

shutterstock_640280110The tax plans have unraveled.

Whether you’re looking for the news online or flipping through your news channels, you might notice that there’s been a lot of fuss in the media about Trump’s tax plan. What is his tax plan, you might ask? His plan is known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which is designed to reduce the tax rates for individuals and businesses, which will ultimately affect how much you end up receiving for your refund and paying in your tax liability. The Senate and the House have proposed their versions of this tax plan. For the Senate’s changes, it expires in 2025 and for the House, most are permanent. The next step is for both to agree on one tax plan and present it to President Trump so he can sign off on this bill.

Read on to find out what they’re proposing and how it could possibly affect you.

What does the Senate and House’s tax plan agree on?

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 »

When Does E-File End for 2015 Tax Returns?

Posted by Robert Flanagan 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 Robert Flanagan 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 Robert Flanagan 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 »