TaxSlayer Blog is your source for tax preparation news, tips and advice.
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.
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As if your tax return wasn’t confusing enough, you have now gotten a job across the border from the state where you live. So now that you live in one state and work in another, to whom do you pay state taxes? Let’s look at the various possibilities for state tax filing, from the most tear-inducing to the least: 1. Both states? Sounds like a possibility, doesn’t it? Well it is. It’s a very distinct possibility that you will pay state taxes in both states and owe in each state if you are not careful how you fill out your tax return. 2. Your home state. Makes sense. After all, you always seem to be giving some of your money to the place where you live. This, however, deserves further investigation before you cheerfully say, “Okay, here’s a third of my money.” 3. Your employer state. You’re getting warmer. 4. Neither state. May be a possibility! Generally, when you do your state tax filing, you file a resident return for the state where you live. If you work but do not live in the other state, you may have to file a non-resident or part year resident return. There is a nifty little credit that a lot of states offer, called the Credit for Taxes Paid in Other States, which you seriously need to take advantage of if at all possible. Check for this credit when you do your taxes online with TaxSlayer by going into your state return from the Main Menu and clicking on the Credits option. Some states actually have a reciprocal income tax agreement with one or more nearby states. According to Pennsylvania’s reciprocal income tax agreement with their neighbors, one state will not tax employee compensation if the employer in the other state withholds part of the paycheck. In other words, your employer state withholds Pennsylvania tax withholdings from your check instead of your employer’s state tax withholding.
Some would-be taxpayers will do almost anything to avoid paying up to Uncle Sam – including using some pretty strange arguments to try to prove they are not legally obligated to do so. While these may be entertaining, actually trying to use them can land you in a whole heap of trouble. It may even end up costing you up to $5,000 in fines. Here are a few of the most popular: 1. Wages, tips and other compensation are not income. Kind of makes you wonder what these guys do consider income, doesn’t it? 2. Taxpayer is not a citizen of the United States and so is not subject to federal income tax laws. No, just…no. Not gonna fly. 3. Taxpayer is not a “person” and therefore not subject to federal income tax laws. Since the IRS code defines a “person” as an “individual, trust, estate, partnership or corporation,” you would pretty much have to belong to some sort of sci-fi alien collective in order to be exempt. 4. Taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes based on religious or moral grounds. Your religion may be able to get you a healthier diet while serving in the armed forces, but it’s not going to be much help when it comes to hiding your money from Uncle Sam. 5. Federal income taxes constitute a breaking of the 5th Amendment, as a taking of property without due process of law. Uncle Sam has more lawyers than you do. 6. Self-incrimination protection in the 5th Amendment protects taxpayers from having to file returns or provide financial information. This one actually makes the IRS giggle quietly to itself. 7. Compelled compliance with federal tax laws is a form of servitude in violation of the 13th Amendment. No. 8. 16th Amendment was not properly ratified, and therefore federal income tax laws are unconstitutional. Again, no. 9. African Americans can claim a special tax credit as reparations for slavery and other oppressive treatment. As awful as oppression is, it still won’t get you out of paying your taxes. 10. Filing a tax return and paying taxes is completely voluntary. Oh, if only this were true. These are just a few of the tax arguments that some taxpayers attempt to use in order to get out of paying their taxes. In addition, filing frivolous tax returns such as the “zero return” – a return claiming no income and no tax liability – can get you into hot water as well. If you really want to save money in the income tax arena, the best thing to do is to learn about the real credits that are out there, and stay abreast of the changes in the tax code by visiting the Taxslayer.com blog often.