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Taxes

File Taxes for Free With I-CAN!, But is it Accurate?

by Luke Landes

The popularity of filing tax returns online has risen in the past few years thanks to online programs that make it incredibly easy. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t let you file your taxes online directly, you have to go through third parties like H&R Block or Intuit to do so. My third part of choice over ... Continue reading this article…

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How the Economic Stimulus Tax Rebate Will Affect 2008 Tax Returns (Updated January 26, 2009)

by Luke Landes

This article is for tax year 2008. For 2009 and beyond, see our roundup of 8 (or more) Ways to Benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA Stimulus Plan). If you’re trying to understand the recovery rebate credit or why it seems like you owe your stimulus back to the government, ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Stupid Financial Mistakes I Made in 2007: Failing to Balance Rental Property Income with Deductible Expenses

by Sasha

2007 may be my worst tax year ever. Not only did I fail to qualify for the full energy credit and fall out of touch with my tax accountant, but I made it worse by having a great year with my rental properties. A great year which I did not sufficiently offset, and that’s my ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Stupid Financial Mistakes I Made in 2007: Failing to Utilize the Energy Tax Credit

by Sasha

Sure, I’m much more aware of my personal finances now, and made some very positive changes in 2007, but looking back, I realize I’ve also made some very-avoidable mistakes, for which I’m kicking myself. My first mistake is also the most annoying to me, since I’ll be feeling the impact of this particular poor decision ... Continue reading this article…

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The Candidates’ Income Tax Plans: Republicans

by Luke Landes

I started taking a look at the proposals for revision of the income tax code being tossed around by the latest presidential candidates yesterday. The Democrats are in favor of continuing the Bush administration’s tax cuts, but only for certain individuals. They also support a number of tax cuts that I’ll write about in the ... Continue reading this article…

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Year-End Tax-Saving Move: Time Your Bonuses

by Luke Landes

Here in the United States, it’s Thanksgiving. I hope all readers are able to spend time with their family or friends. I’m still in California visiting my relatives and enjoying a relaxing vacation. Well, it’s relaxing in some sense. I’ve actually been working hard at moving some of my major websites, like pfblogs.org and the ... Continue reading this article…

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Year-End Tax-Saving Move: Tax Breaks for Saving

by Luke Landes

The government, when not encouraging spending to spur the immediate economy, encourages saving to keep the future economy on target. This encouragement comes in the form of tax breaks given for directing money away from consumerism today towards retirement (consumerism later). The first tax break you can get, and generally should get, is for a ... Continue reading this article…

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Warren Buffett: Don’t Repeal the Estate Tax

by Luke Landes

If you are lucky enough to inherit (for example) $10 million in property or investments from deceased relatives, you are also lucky enough to pass a good portion of that to the government in the form of estate taxes. It is kind of a strange concept. Why should that money be taxed? It is simply ... Continue reading this article…

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Souvenir Tax Bill: Lucky Fan May Owe $210,000

by Luke Landes

If you haven’t been living in a hole and have any interest in sports, you may have heard that Barry Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron’s record and hit his 756th home run the other day. With all the footage from a plethora of angles of Bonds breaking the record, the news also showed a man in ... Continue reading this article…

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Keogh Plan Account Holders May Be In Trouble

by Luke Landes

It pays to pay attention to letters from your banks and brokerages. If you don’t you could end up owing money to the government. The Keogh Plan is a popular alternative to a traditional pension for individuals who are self-employed. It’s a tax-deferred retirement plan in which contributions are tax-deductible and mandatory distributions begin at ... Continue reading this article…

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Congress: Tax Preparers Must Police Their Clients

by Luke Landes

Thanks to a new law signed in May, tax preparers, whether certified public accountants, lawyers, or your local H&R Block, can be assessed strong penalties for filing returns with “questionable or aggressive tax items” on behalf of their clients. This new regulation will go into effect for 2007 tax returns. The Wall Street Journal says ... Continue reading this article…

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Sold My ESPP Shares, Nice Profit, More Tax Owed

by Luke Landes

At the beginning of the year, I started participating in my company’s newly-offered employee stock purchase plan, which gives us the opportunity to automatically deduct up to 10 percent of our paychecks and defer that money for use at the end of the quarter. At that time, we are able to purchase stock at a 15 percent ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund for Fun

by Luke Landes

Most people will be receiving a tax refund this year, and many people I know have received theirs already. There are two reasons people would receive a tax refund: either they’re not minimizing their withholding throughout the year and missing out on interest or investment returns they could earn, or they deliberately overpay for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Income Taxes: Done and Over With

by Luke Landes

I decided to bite the bullet and do my income tax return without any professional assistance. I was originally considering working with a tax accountant due to the increased income from my side business. As it turns out, it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be. I’m pretty sure I was able to ... Continue reading this article…

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Millions in Taxes Overpaid, Millions in Taxes Uncollected

by Luke Landes

It’s always interesting to see stories in the media that seem to conflict with each other. Here is a case of conflicting messages, although both viewpoints may be true to an extent. First of all, CBS reports that Americans pay too much to the IRS in the form of taxes. This happens mainly because people ... Continue reading this article…

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Do I Need to Report This Income? Part 2

by Luke Landes

One of the biggest questions when tax time rolls around has to do with income. Not everything comes neatly reported on W-2s and 1099s. What else needs to be reported to the IRS? As I’ve been finding out, just about everything else should be reported. Yesterday, I shared a few types of income that should ... Continue reading this article…

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Do I Need to Report This Income? Part 1

by Luke Landes

In general, if you have to ask whether you need to report certain income to the IRS, the most likely answer is, “Yes.” Here are some examples, courtesy of MSN Money. Q. I hosted a party to sell products to my friends (and use my social circle for multilevel marketing from some corporation), and my ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Bill Passed By House And Senate

by Luke Landes

On Thursday, the Senate passed a new bill, already passed by the House, that extends reduced tax rates, changes the nature of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), eliminates an extension to higher-education tuition deduction, and eliminates a special deduction for teachers who pay for supplies out of their own pockets. The rich — those with ... Continue reading this article…

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Walking Away From Your Money

by Luke Landes

If you don’t itemize your taxes, you may be overpaying the government, according to Bankrate.com. The General Accounting Office has found that filers of 1998 returns who used the standard deduction instead of itemizing paid the Internal Revenue Service almost $1 billion more than they should have. Should you itemize? It depends on your expenses ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Bill or Tax Refund, Which is Better?

by Luke Landes

There are two typical responses when a person finishes preparing his tax return, depending on the result. If he owes money, I hear, “Do’h! I have to pay the government more. I wish they’d use my money more efficiently.” If he is due a refund, I hear, “Woohoo! I’m going to get a big fat ... Continue reading this article…

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