Record Retention

Your taxes have been deposited. Your repayment was deposited. You’re planning deductions and expenses for another year. So what should you do with the tax documents for this year? You may need to use the tax documents of your previous year as a reference or as evidence if you are audited. You should save your documents, but many taxpayers wonder exactly what the time frame is. The IRS says that it depends on the document, which means what the costs are and what the document proves. You should also keep copies of your previously filed tax returns, as they can help you in the future.

Records supporting revenue and deductions should be kept until the time limit for the submission of an amended return expires. If you want to claim additional credits or refunds you missed in your original return, you may need to file a modified return. There are different scenarios in which the timeframe for document retention changes. The best practice is to follow the IRS guidelines, which state: unreported income in excess of 25 percent of your gross return income requires you to keep related documents for 6 years. You must keep all records indefinitely if you have submitted a fraudulent return or if you have not submitted a return.

Returns that have been modified to claim additional credits should have records kept for three years from the date on which the original return was filed, or two years from the date on which the tax was paid, depending on the length of time. Seven years should be kept records that support the claim of losses on worthless securities or bad debt. Employer-related tax payments should be recorded for four years, depending on which date the tax was due or the date you paid.

Five Tax Credits

There are not many things that make you happy about taxes. But tax credits can help to reduce your tax liability, it is a good idea to know what credits you are eligible for and how you can claim them. By using tax credits, you reduce the amount of taxes that you owe for the tax year and some credit can be reimbursed. Although you do not have to pay taxes if you qualify for a refundable credit, you can still receive a refund. These five tax credits can help to make taxation time a bit less stressful.

Earned income credit –This credit applies to taxpayers who work but have no large salary. You can earn up to $ 6,431, which can be refunded. Things like total income, status of filing and dependents determine the eligibility for this loan. Under certain circumstances, some taxpayers who file single with no dependents may also qualify for this credit. Child and

Dependent Care Credit –This credit is available to taxpayers who benefit from care services for children under the age of 13. You can also claim this credit if you pay for the care of adults or spouses with disabilities.

Child Tax Credit–This credit reduces the liability of your child by $ 2,000. Each child must be addicted and under the age of 17. There may be additional requirements for eligibility, but this credit can help to raise children.

Saver ‘s Credit–This is available if you contribute money through your employer to an IRA or qualified retirement plan. You can qualify for this credit if your income is less than $ 60,000 per tax year.

American Opportunity Credit–This credit can help to reduce the cost of the first four years of college. If you are eligible, you can receive a credit of up to $ 2,500 if you are enrolled for a full academic term at least half a time. You must submit Form 8863, Education Credits, together with your tax return. You can qualify for this credit even if you owe nothing.

Estimated Taxes

Under certain circumstances, you may be required to make estimated tax payments, such as not having taxes withheld from your wages or paying too little each paycheck for your taxes. At the same time, self – employed people usually pay taxes by estimates. Four facts concerning the payment of estimated taxes These four tips can help to answer some of your questions if you are confused about the process of making estimated tax payments. If you expect federal income taxes to exceed $ 1,000 in 2018, you should be prepared to make estimated tax payments.

To decide how much you will need to make in estimated payments, you should anticipate your full annual revenue, including any deductions or credits you may claim at the time of taxation. Some life events like the marriage or birth of a dependent child can change the amount of taxes you have to pay. If you rely on estimated tax payments, you usually pay four times a year. Payments are usually made on or around 15 April, June and September and again on 15 January of the following year. You would pay April, June and September 2018 for estimated payments made for 2018, and your final payment would be due by 15 January 2019. Payments can either be made online or by phone. Alternatively, if you decide to send payments by mail, you can use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, which provides payment vouchers.

Medical Expenses Deduction

If you want to deduct the payment for any type of medical expenditure this year, you must be aware of some new rules that apply to these types of deductions because they can affect your return. If you are looking for deductions for medical or dental expenses, you should be familiar with the following guidelines. Gross adjusted income –Your medical expenses must exceed your adjusted gross income by 7.5 percent during the current tax year.

Itemize

You must itemize your deductions in order to claim any medical or dental expenses. These types of deductions do not form part of your federal tax return ‘s standard deduction.

Payments During the tax year–payments made during the tax year 2018 can only be claimed. If you pay by check, the date is usually considered the day you sent the check and not the cash date.

Out of Pocket Costs–You can not claim deductions if any of your payments have been reimbursed by a third party or insurance plan. You can only claim medical and dental expenses for yourself, your spouse or qualified dependent.

Travel–You can deduct travel costs for medical care. These may include items such as public transport payments, tolls, parking or ambulance payments. If you deliver your own transport, the standard refund rate is 18 cents per mile.

No double dipping–You can not deduct the payments if you pay for any medical or dental expenses with a Flexible Spending or Health Savings account. Generally, these payments are from plans supplied with tax – free funds.

Supporting your Parents

If you support your parents financially, the federal government wants to help. At tax time, there are a number of different tax assistance options available to parental care providers. The tax season 2018 brings a new dependency tax credit and the ability to claim a dependent from a parent. You may therefore be able to write off any medical expenses your parents have incurred and paid. There are certain requirements that you must meet to claim that your parent is a dependent, so make sure that you understand the rules before you file your taxes. Requirements for Dependent Claim The IRS has a standard definition clause for a dependency. In general, you must be responsible for more than 50% of the annual income of your parent if you want to classify your parent as a dependent.

In contrast to many other dependants, your parents must live in your household. They must, however, have a total taxable income below the $ 4,150. This excludes social security benefits, but accounts for pensions, interests, rental income, dividends and earnings. As a filer, you can not be claimed as dependent on the tax return of another person and your parents can not file a joint return if you are married. The only time your dependent parent can file a joint return with his spouse is when the return is filed specifically for reimbursement and they have no tax liability. Exemption Information If you are eligible to claim your parent as a dependent, only a little information is required when you file your taxes. The 1040 form you use to file your return has an exemption space where you would write the name, relationship and social security number of your parent.

Dependent Care Credit

If your parent required day care services and lived full – time with you in 2018, you may be eligible for the Dependent Care Credit . The credit amounts to 20% to 35% of the costs incurred, up to $ 3,000. The credit takes your income into account when calculating the percentage. There are no rules about exactly what type of care programs are eligible for the loan, but you can not claim expenses if you paid your spouse for care. You can’t value your own time, too, and try to take care of your dependent. Medical expenses You can also deduct their medical expenses if you can claim your parent as an dependent. Things such as prescription medicines or hospital bills you have paid for the benefit of your parent can be deducted. However, like your personal medical expenses, these expenses still fall under the deduction rule that they must exceed 7.5 percent of your previous year’s gross income to be deducted.

Deductions without Itemizing

Would you like to take the standard deduction? If you’re single, you watch $ 12,000. Pairs married, twice that amount. Perhaps you are considering laying down your deductions to obtain a bigger tax return. If you are, remember that you will need your medical, tax, charity and other expenses receipts. You will also need mortgage records and bank information, and you will have to comply with percentage rules and exceptions. Itemizing could be raw. It needs organization, good record keeping and a lot of patience. And it may be unnecessary, after all. You can make better use of the standard deduction and the allowable tax breaks in connection with it.

These types of deductions are explained a little more below. Above the deductions line These types of deductions are income adjustments and have no limits. You should try to accept as many of these as you can. For example, those in the 25% tax bracket can save $ 250 in taxes for every $ 1,000 deducted in excess of the line revenue adjustments. Some of the following are typical above the line deductions:

Student loan interest: You can deduct up to $ 2,500 in interest paid for yourself, your spouse or a dependent on an education loan. Single taxpayers must have an AGI below $80,000 ($ 160,000 married, jointly registered).

Jury Duty Pay: If your employer pays while you are serving, you are usually asked by the court to turn the money in. You can deduct that small amount, which you return to your employer. Alimony: may be deducted as long as you list the payments as decreed by the divorce. You must use your ex SS # and it will be checked against its return to ensure that the amount matches.

Early CD: Form of penalties using a deposit certificate can be deducted early using Form 1099-INT or Form 1099-OID.

Self – employed: Medicines and social security taxes must be paid by an independent person on both sides. You can write off half of the 15.3 per cent of your net tax income.

Health Plan: High deductible plans that you contribute to post-tax can be eligible for above the line deductions. You will submit Form 8889 for contributions to a health savings fund, even if they are made with pre – tax money, although no written off for money contributed before taxes.

When you file your taxes, it is always best to compare both deduction methods and choose the one that gives you the best tax advantage and hopefully the biggest reimbursement. You can take the complete tax season to compare your deductions and you can find that the extra time is worth.

Selling your Home

Since the real estate market is beginning to show a positive trend, it is a good time to review the tax requirements for selling a home and any related tax breaks. If you sell your primary home (the one you lived in full time), it is likely that the sale will be tax – free. Any profits from the sale of a second or third home are taxed, however.

Tax break for primary residence:

Couples who file together can receive tax – free profits of up to $ 500,000 ($ 250,000 for single filers) from their first home. Profits above the threshold are taxed at long – term capital gains rates, currently between 20% and 23.8%. The tax break applies only to people who sell their primary home and does not cover the cost of their home or improvements. This applies specifically to profits from the sale. A married couple who bought a $ 300,000 home and spent $ 100,000 on improvements could, thanks to the $ 500,000 tax break, sell up to $ 900,000 before they owed federal tax.

Eligibility

Homeowners can claim a tax break every two years as long as they live in the home they sell out of the last five years for at least two years. Homes that meet the requirements for eligibility can be a duplex, a condo, a boat or a mobile home, as long as they have standard plumbing, kitchen and beds. Those who have been widowed in the last two years can claim the $ 500,000 exclusion if they sell their house within two years of the passing of their spouse. Furthermore, if the homeowner is required to move due to changes in employment, health reasons or an unexpected circumstance such as death or divorce but has not complied with the two-year provision, he or she may be excluded. If you decide to use your holiday home as our primary place of residence, the rules become a bit more difficult. The IRS determines primarily the amount of time you have spent on the property and prorates the credit amount to which you are entitled. Rental units that are part of the primary property of the homeowner, such as a basement or garage, are not included in the tax credit and only the percentage maintained by the homeowner is eligible for the tax break.

Financially, the time after graduation can be tough. Starting by yourself, looking for a job, trying to pay back money you borrowed for school can all be quite stressful when it comes to budget management. Fortunately, some tax breaks can be claimed by recent college graduates to save money.

Student loan interest deduction: borrowers earning less than $ 65,000 per year can receive a full interest deduction on a student loan. Those in the interest range of $ 65,000 to $ 80,000 are entitled to a partial deduction. A borrower earning $ 55,000 per year with loans in excess of $ 2,500 can save $ 625 per tax.

Lifetime Learning Credit: taxpayers can receive an annual credit of $ 2,000 for all qualifying expenses in their own or post-secondary education of their dependents. The credit is not reimbursable, but it matches the dollar’s expenses. Expenditure of $ 2,000 or less is reduced by the lifetime learning credit to zero. Students who graduated in May may claim a portion of their tax return costs.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is also available to students who receive $ 2,500 in credit in the first four years of post – secondary education.

Opportunities: Graduates are eligible for a variety of tax credits and breaks which young professionals often overlook. For example, the 401(k) pension schemes that allow pre – tax contributions can reduce your tax bill or a Roth IRA that taxes but does not withdraw contributions can help your tax bills. Saving is another option for a tax credit for many graduates. Those earning less than $ 18,000 per year are eligible for a tax credit of up to $ 2,000 for their savings.

It only takes a bit of research and you can find a variety of tax credits and deductions that can help you keep your money in your pocket more. Every little bit helps, particularly if you’re fresh out of school.

Figuring out the Filing Status

When your taxes are filed, you need to know what filing status you should use. There are differences between the five different options, and you will choose the one that best benefits you. Make tax time easier and faster by filing correctly. The Big Five The five different status are: single, married, separate married, householder or qualifying widow. If you meet the required criteria in more than one status, you should file using the one that gives you the highest tax benefit.

Single: Usually, if you’re not married, you would file with a single status. It is important to be aware of special circumstances that can affect individuals who file individually. Taxpayers who are legally separated, even if only in December, are considered to be individuals by the IRS. Single, unmarried persons without dependents should apply for this status, but those with dependents should consider their eligibility as head of household. Single consideration also includes divorce and annulment.

Married: married couples may choose to file a single tax return together, or they may file separately using a separate married filing. Legally married couples are only required to be married for a small part of the tax year. Couples whose union is subject to common law can also file as married if their court is recognized by the state. Partners who live separately but are not legally divorced still have to file as married taxpayers most of the time. Married couples who file their revenues jointly on a single return. These types of returns require the signatures of both parties and the couple shares the responsibility for paying the taxes. There are only a few circumstances in which joint responsibility does not affect the couple, such as innocent spousal relief, liability separation (if they have not lived together for the tax year) and fair relief. The primary filer may need to sign the return as a proxy in some cases, but must include a written explanation. This can happen when one spouse is deployed by the army.

Widowed: you are eligible to file married if your spouse died during the tax year and you did not remarry. You can then file as a qualifying widow for the following two years, provided you remain unmarried. Once you remarry, you should file with your current spouse as married. If you remarry the same year your spouse passes, you must file with your deceased spouse separately and with your new spouse a separate return.

The selection of the correct status is an important part of your tax return. This is one of the easy ways to maximize your tax benefit and benefit from all the deductions and credits offered by your ideal status.

The earned income tax credit is a way for low and moderate income families to save some money during taxation. The EITC is reimbursable and may reduce taxes owed to families working under certain circumstances to zero. If your income primarily comes from working and not investing, you are eligible. The level of income changes every year, but an expansion was granted until 2018, extending the loan to working families with three or more dependents. The IRS has set guidelines that can help you find out if you are eligible for the credit and how much you get.

2018 Eligibility requirements:

  • All income from investments must be less than $ 3,500 for the entire tax year in order to qualify for the EITC.
  • The earned income credit applies to working taxpayers that have earned income falling below certain thresholds. The qualification threshold depends on the number of persons in each family. The thresholds in 2018 to qualify for this credit include:
    • No Children:  earnings must be less than $15,270 or $20,950 if married filing jointly.
    • One Child:  earnings must be less than $40,320 or $46,010 if married filing jointly.
    • Two Children:  earnings must be less than $45,802 or $51,492 if married filing jointly.
    • Three or More Children:  earnings must be less than $49,194 or $54,884 if married filing jointly.
  • You can’t be married and file separately, or claim an exclusion for foreign earned income if you want to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.

In addition, you can not be claimed as dependent on the return of anyone else and you must file a tax return to receive the credit. The eligibility age requirement for taxpayers without a qualifying child is 25 to 64 by the end of the year. Credit amounts The amount you receive depends on your total annual income and the number of qualifying children you claim.

You’re going to save more of your hard cash and less goes to Uncle Sam. Since money is deducted from your earnings before you see it, you can regard the EITC as a way of putting more money back into your check. From social security and Medicare taxes to withholding income taxes from your employer, you have money taken out before you even have the opportunity to spend. Use the EITC to put more money back in your wallet and make tax time for everyone a little less stressful.