TaxSlayer Blog is your source for tax preparation news, tips and advice.
No matter what you could want when it comes to doing your taxes, the IRS has probably got a publication out there to explain it. Coupling your publication with TaxSlayer.com tax software makes doing your taxes online a piece of cake. Here are a few of the most popular IRS publications. 1. Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax. This is the overall guide to help individuals with their online tax preparation. 2. Publication 3: Armed Forces’ Tax Guide. This one is tax filing for the military broken down in bite-sized pieces. 3. Publication 334: Tax Guide for Small Business. Get rid of those Schedule C nightmares by understanding taxable income and legitimate deductions. 4. Publication 463: Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses. Do you need answers for deductible employee expenses? You can find the answers to them here! 5. Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses. Don’t know if it’s a qualified expense? Check out this one. 6. Publication 503: Child and Dependent Care Expenses. Is soccer day camp deductible? In some cases it is. You can find other bits of useful information here as well. 7. Publication 504: Divorced or Separated Individuals. Legal fees paid for tax advice in connection with a divorce and legal fees to get alimony may be deductible. Read this publication to find out other potential tax savings. 8. Publication 521: Moving Expenses. Know what counts as a qualified moving expense. You may be pleasantly surprised. 9. Publication 525: Taxable and Nontaxable Income. Is your Social Security, Inheritance or Disability Income taxable? This is a great resource to find out if it is or isn’t! 10. If you don’t want to use the publications you should try out TaxSlayer.com’s ‘Bobby Videos’. ‘Bobby’ is a virtual tax guide and is one of the unique help features available to you as you do your tax return. ‘Bobby’ can explain common tax questions in layman terms. In addition, you can always refer to our help wizards or help center for more information. Whatever kind of taxes you need to do online, you may actually be able to find an entire publication about it. If not, there is certainly a chapter somewhere to help you do your taxes online. This list includes only a few of the many publications found within our software.
Even if you are not the owner of a small business, you may be able to take tax deductions on the business use of your home as an employee. The rules are very similar to those for a small business owner. 1. As you complete your tax return, keep in mind the area of your home must be used as a principal place of business, such as a place for doing paperwork, meeting with clients or working on projects. 2. For you to take the tax deduction, the area must be used for regular and exclusive use, not just once every so often. In other words, you must use it for business purposes often, and it has to be a dedicated space, not a domestic area that you happen to do some work in. 3. You must use your home for the convenience of your employer. 4. You can’t get rent from your employer for the use of a portion of your home to conduct his or her business. When you deduct home office business expenses, you are actually determining the percentage of your home that you use for business and allocate that portion of the home as a business expense. Other business use of home expenses includes utilities, mortgage interest, depreciation, repairs and insurance. You may take these tax deductions regardless of whether you own your home or rent. Keep these things in mind to increase your tax deductions if you are eligible to the business use of a home deduction.
As with most other things having to do with taxes and your tax return, the answer to, “Is my disability pension taxable?” is, “It depends.” Getting your maximum refund will depend on knowing the details of your own particular situation. You must claim as income on your tax return disability pension from a plan that your employer paid for. It goes on line 7 of Form 1040 or Form 1040A when you do your taxes. The day after you turn minimum retirement age, the payments you receive are taxable as a pension or annuity and not wages. However, if you receive payments in lump-sum for accrued annual leave, do not count these as disability payments, even if you retired on disability. Pay very close attention to every payment that you receive so that your tax refund won’t be impacted. Whether or not you get that maximum refund depends on how you report the money you receive. TaxSlayer.com tax software can help, of course, but it still helps to know the basics. For instance, you may be able to exclude from your income any disability pension associated with serving in the Armed Forces of any country, and certain non-military government service as well. You do not need to include as income any disability payments you get for injuries from a terrorist or military action. These are only a few of the scenarios you may see if you receive disability payments, and how they may affect your tax refund. Check out TaxSlayer.com’s Help Center for a complete resource to our help articles.
Even though Tax Day is over, you may still have some things to do in order to keep things square with the IRS and to stay on top of your income tax refund. 1. Check on your refund. You can check the status of your income tax refund 72 hours after the IRS accepts it. Here is how: (1) Go to TaxSlayer.com and click on the link ‘Where’s My Refund’ located at the bottom of the home page. (2) call (800) 829-4477 anytime, day or night; (3) call (800) 829-1954. 2. File your 2010 tax records. You will need to keep a copy of your tax return and other records for at least three years after you e-file. Put them in a safe place where you can get to them easily – preferably a filing cabinet and/or an external hard drive. Make sure you have backups. Tax software helps a lot, but it can’t compensate for good recordkeeping. 3. Start keeping records for next year’s taxes. This includes itemized deductions, mileage, charitable donations– everything you do that will have an impact on your taxes so that you don’t forget important income tax deductions next year. You should try TaxSlayer.com’s My Deductions. You can access My Deductions once you log into your account. It will be found under ‘Other Items’ and it will keep track of your deductions throughout the year and they will pull into your return when you are ready to file next year! 4. Let the IRS know where you will be. If you move after filing, send them a Form 8822. 5. Fix mistakes on your return. If your return is rejected by the IRS, fix any errors and e-file it again. Remember to use TaxSlayer’s list of reject codes found in our Help Center if you need further assistance. If it is accepted, you will need to file an amended return. To do this with TaxSlayer.com tax software, click ‘File an Amended Return’ on the Main Menu. The first item on the menu will be step-by-step directions for filing an amended return. You will want to read those first before you begin.