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Taxes

H&R Block Online Tax Filing Review

by Luke Landes
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This is a relatively long review of H&R Block’s online tax preparation and filing service. H&R Block has provided Consumerism Commentary with six coupon codes for H&R Block Premium Edition, the most complete service offered by the company. If you haven’t filed your household’s tax return yet, chances are taxes are on your mind. If ... Continue reading this article…

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Federal Taxes on Bonus Pay

by Luke Landes

With the holidays approaching, many companies are preparing their bonus checks, and employees who are looking forward to their bonuses are concerned about tax consequences. I gave up this “extra” part of my corporate pay for the benefit of working for myself when I left my day job last year. If this year were anything ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Tips When Looking for Work is Your Job

by Leigh Mutert

About the author: This is a guest article written by Leigh Mutert, CPA. Leigh is the manager of the H&R Block Get it Right Community, a blog that focuses on breaking down complex topics for taxpayers, and the manager of social media, corporate relations for H&R Block. Leigh was a recent guest on the Consumerism ... 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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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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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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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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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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How to Avoid Estate Taxes: It’s Easy This Year

by Luke Landes

In most years, only 0.3 percent of those who pass their estates to heirs upon their death end up leaving those heirs with a tax bill. Thanks to exceptions, credits, and thresholds, even the very wealthy can avoid the estate tax. This year is a special year, however. As of today and unless the law ... Continue reading this article…

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Contact a Taxpayer Advocate to Help Resolve Tax Issues

by Luke Landes

A year ago, the first-time home buyer credit was still rather new, and the IRS began allowing taxpayers to amend their 2008 tax returns to receive the credit early. At that time, if documentation was in order, it took about six weeks to receive a check for the $8,000 credit. That didn’t last long. Within ... Continue reading this article…

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Would You Rather Receive a Refund or Owe More Taxes?

by Luke Landes

If you haven’t noticed, it’s tax time. I have noticed, not only because of the relentless emails I receive reminding me of this grand celebration, but also due to people I interact with. As those I know complete their tax returns, I observe the joyfulness they exude as they realize they’ll be receiving a refund ... Continue reading this article…

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The American Opportunity Tax Credit

by Luke Landes

Last week I offered some last-minute tax filing tips, and the IRS deadline is looming. I’m happy to tackle tax questions, and Consumerism Commentary reader Eric has one. Eric was a full-time student through May 2009, and he, like many former students, is dealing with the cost of a college education. Eric is looking for ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund: Federal and State

by Luke Landes

I am still waiting for the second tax refund the IRS owes me after I filed an amended tax return for 2008. Additionally, the State of New Jersey decided to count my business income twice after I filed an amended tax return, so that refund has been delayed as well. The first tax refunds after ... Continue reading this article…

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