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Taxes

Check Your Federal Tax Refund With Your Phone

by Luke Landes

Although the tax code is mired with decades-old rules, fixed up with temporary bandages every year, and convoluted, the IRS is still able to produce something fresh, modern, and simple. Today, the government agency released its free application for iPhone and Android phones, IRS2Go. The app simplifies the process of checking the status of your ... Continue reading this article…

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Itemizers Must Wait Until February 14 to Submit Tax Returns

by Luke Landes

Thanks to the bevy of new changes to the tax code for 2010, the IRS is still unprepared to handle tax returns filed early. If you itemize your deductions, you must wait until Valentine’s Day to submit your returns to the IRS. That doesn’t stop taxpayers from starting early. If you use software to file ... Continue reading this article…

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Do You Have to Repay the Homebuyer Tax Credit?

by Luke Landes

If you purchased a house in 2008, beware of this new change on the 2010 income tax returns. Some taxpayers who claimed the first-time home buyer tax credit will be required to pay the credit back to the government this April. The initial $7,500 tax credit was available to homeowners who purchased their first house ... Continue reading this article…

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Swiss Bank Account Owners Handed Over to WikiLeaks

by Luke Landes
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The global financial industry is more powerful than any government entity. Governments continually create regulations and laws to keep the industry in check, but the financial industry manages to find ways to skirt rules and convince the public that any regulation is bad for the world. Even though Americans holding bank accounts in Switzerland in ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax-Free Distributions From Your IRA: Charitable Rollover

by Luke Landes
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First enacted in 2006, the charitable IRA rollover is a way to let certain taxpayers reduce their tax liability. Individuals who own an IRA must begin taking minimum distributions at age 70½, and those distributions could increase the tax bill at a time when there may not be much income. While the tax bill will ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Pay a Tax Bill You Can’t Afford

by Luke Landes
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It’s a good thing I’ve been saving a good portion of my income for the past year. Even with making estimated tax payments — the last of which is due on January 18 — I’ll have a significant tax bill this year thanks to increased income. Many taxpayers may not look forward to filing their ... Continue reading this article…

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The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

by Luke Landes

When Congress and the President extended the Bush-era tax cuts, taxpayers subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) received a break. As Leigh Mutert, CPA discussed in our recent podcast interview, this is something middle class taxpayers need to know about now, because it effects the 2010 income returns that are being filed from now ... Continue reading this article…

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Standard Deductions and Exemptions for Federal Income Tax

by Luke Landes
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Most taxpayers can choose between itemizing tax deductions to reduce taxable income, which requires accurate record-keeping and support, and taking the standard deduction. The standard tax deduction is a fixed amount that reduces the amount of money on which taxpayers owe the federal government. Generally, if you can show that you’ve had more deductible expenses ... Continue reading this article…

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2011 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Luke Landes
Income tax

Latest information: 2012 tax brackets and rates 2013 tax brackets and rates The extended deadline is here for filing your 2010 income tax return. Since the Bush era tax cuts were extended, the income you’ve earned in the United States this year is subject to the same low rates as last year, but the margins ... Continue reading this article…

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No More H&R Block Tax Refund Anticipation Loans

by Luke Landes

One of the most popular services available surrounding tax season is also one of the most expensive. Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are great products from a lender’s point of view; they are low risk and they are expensive. From a customer’s point of view, they provide a means to get cash when a household files ... Continue reading this article…

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20 Ways to Use the Payroll Tax Holiday

by Luke Landes

When Congress passed the Tax Hike Prevention Act earlier this year, it included an economic stimulus in the form of a payroll tax holiday. As Leigh Mutert, CPA explained in our podcast interview, the payroll tax will be reduced in 2011 from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. As a result, paychecks will be a little more than ... Continue reading this article…

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Congress Passes Tax Hike Prevention Act

by Luke Landes
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There seems to be more than enough in the new tax cut bill, which will soon become a law, to keep every income level happy. The Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010 extends the tax cuts first implemented during President Bush’s tenure and adds more benefits for everyone. For another two years, the marginal income ... Continue reading this article…

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President Obama’s 2011 Tax Plan

by Luke Landes
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President Obama offered a framework for the tax-related aspects of spurring the economy moving forward. The foundation of the proposal, which conflicts with a bill that has already passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, is the full extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, even for the wealthiest taxpayers. The proposal also calls for an extension ... Continue reading this article…

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Making Work Pay Credit Extension

by Luke Landes

The 2009 economic stimulus came to the middle class in the form of the Making Work Pay credit, which provided a $400 credit for single taxpayers or a $800 credit for married taxpayers filing jointly across two years. The credit was embedded in W-2 paychecks, hardly noticeable to many. The credit was also designed to ... Continue reading this article…

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Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength

by Luke Landes

A group of millionaires — the definition of which is any individual with an annual income of over $1,000,000, not a net worth of $1,000,000 — has assembled to let the government know that they’d like the tax cuts for that income level expire, in patriotic duty to the fiscal solvency of the United States. ... Continue reading this article…

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S-Corporation Designation

by Luke Landes

Last year, I mentioned my accountant saved me $15,000 by re-classifying my self-employment income from a limited liability corporation (LLC) to an S-corporation. I glossed over the process; in fact, getting to the $15,000 in tax savings was a bit more complicated than simply filing as an S-corporation. I could likely have saved even more ... Continue reading this article…

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Where Your Federal Tax Money Goes

by Luke Landes

Thanks to an organization called Third Way, American taxpayers can get a good, detailed look at how much of a typical tax bill is destined for any particular government program. Third Way is a progressive think-tank, and they studied the federal budget to provide an itemized tax receipt for the typical taxpayer. Here is their ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Rate Comparison: Extend the Tax Cuts?

by Luke Landes

The government is currently tackling the question of whether to extend or end the Bush era tax cuts, and to what extent to do so. President Obama would like to end the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Many Republicans want to make Bush’s tax cuts “permanent.” (Let’s all agree that there is no such ... Continue reading this article…

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I’m Tired of This IRS Installment Agreement

by Smithee

Now that I’ve finally gotten my credit card balances down to zero, I’ve been trying to figure out the best use of the extra money I’ll have in my checking account. Options include: make extra car payments, put it in a savings account, put it in a mutual fund, make extra house payments, make impulse ... Continue reading this article…

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Making Work Pay Tax Credit Extension

by Luke Landes

The 2009 economic stimulus, usually called the Making Work Pay tax credit, provided slightly bigger paychecks for the middle class throughout part of 2009 and all of 2010. This benefit is in danger of expiring if Congress does not act to extend or renew the credit. This stimulus took a different form than those previous. ... Continue reading this article…

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