Filing Feed

Hello February. Although you're the year's shortest month, your fewer days can be full of extremes, like snow this week in the Midwest and Northeast and weather warm enough here in Central Texas for us to turn off the furnace and open windows. Image courtesy Tammy King's February Pinterest Board February's changes can be dramatic. But there's no need to over-react to your taxes this month. There are lots of easy moves you can make over the next 28 days. Collect your tax statements: Filing data on a variety of forms is filtering in this month. If you work for... Read more →


The 2017 tax filing season has been officially underway for just more than a week. Lots of folks have already filed their returns. The Ally Bank fortune cookie I got at FinCon16 last September was already planning for this filing season. And yes, after acknowledging the good tax advice, I ate the cookie! And, according to ecstatic posts on social media, some have received their refunds. Other taxpayers, however, are waiting to file. Form-ulaic delay: Why the delay. In a lot of cases, folks haven't yet received their W-2s, 1099s and other documents with the data necessary to fill out... Read more →


Jan. 31 is a key annual tax deadline. It’s the date employers must send W-2 and 1099-MISC forms to folks who received at least $600 in compensation the preceding tax year. Jan. 31 also now is the deadline for employers to also submit that W-2 and 1099-MISC data to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Earlier reporting to fight fraud: In past years, employers had another month to get the data to Social Security. But in an effort to help the Internal Revenue Service fight tax refund fraud, a provision in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act now... Read more →


Every year, the Internal Revenue Service makes a concerted effort to hand out more Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) money. The reason, says the tax agency, is that around 20 percent of eligible filers consistently fail to file for this refundable tax credit. But what about those who do claim the EITC? The IRS says that nationwide last year, 27 million U.S. workers and their families got $67 billion thanks to this tax credit for lower- and middle-income workers. Where EITC money goes: Not surprisingly, the most populated states account for the most EITC claims and actual dollars returned to... Read more →


The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is one of the filing claims that is delaying federal (and in some cases, state) tax refunds this year. But even if you have to wait a few extra weeks to get your refund from Uncle Sam (or your state tax office), filing for the EITC is usually worth it. It's worth more than $6,000 for some filers. And all or some of that money could be as a tax refund. Why credits rule: Like all tax credits, the EITC is a dollar-for-dollar offset of any tax you owe. Let's say your tax... Read more →


Most taxpayers who file federal returns also must do the same for their state taxes. And most those state filings tend to conform to federal laws. That means that, among other things, state deadlines usually are the same as the ones set by the Internal Revenue Service. This year, it also means that state tax refunds, like their federal counterparts, are likely to be later than usual. Feb. 15 delay for certain refunds: Millions of taxpayers who claim the federal Earned Income or additional child tax credits already are dealing with delayed refund checks from Uncle Sam. The IRS is... Read more →


Do you have to file a return? Don't shoot the messenger, but the answer usually is yes. If you are a U.S. citizen or resident who made money last year, whether you must tell the Internal Revenue Service about it depends on three things: Your gross income, Your filing status, and Your age. The IRS created the table below to give you an idea of whether you should start getting your filing material together. A quick filing note for some older New Year's Day babies. The IRS says that if you were born on Jan. 1, 1952, you are considered... Read more →


Tax filing season 2017 opens today! Yes, that is cheering you're hearing. It's from folks who file their taxes early, usually because they are getting refunds. They also are fortunate that they have all the materials they need to fill out their returns. The key document for most taxpayers is their W-2 form. Employers aren't required to get these out until the end of the month, but some companies are quite efficient. And some taxpayers this year are going to discover something new on their W-2s. Verification code addition: Around 50 million of these officially named Wage and Income Statements... Read more →


When Donald J. Trump assumed the U.S. presidency at noon on Friday, Jan. 20, he and his staff also took over the White House website. This is the only glimpse of Donald Trump's taxes the new president has provided, a photo via Twitter of him signing his purported 2014 federal return on Oct. 15, 2015. Although the 45th president's people made some major changes to the content Trump's predecessor had posted, they did leave one feature untouched, the We the People petition generator. This option lets people petition the White House for action on whatever is near and dear to... Read more →


Free File 2017 has been open for a week. Have you tried it out yet? The partnership between Uncle Sam and the private tax software industry has been around since 2003. This year, a dozen companies are offering their services to eligible taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance say these participating software manufactures should meet the filing needs of 70 percent of the around 153,000 million taxpayers expected to send in 2016 returns this year. Does free tax preparation and e-filing appeal to you? Check it out. But first check out these five things you should... Read more →


A Jacksonville, Florida, mother and father finally saw their daughter after being separated for 18 years. Kamiyah Mobley was known as Alexis Manigo when she took this undated Instagram selfie with Gloria Williams, the woman she grew up thinking was her birth mother. Kamiyah Mobley was a newborn when Gloria Williams, 51, allegedly posed as a nurse and took her from her birth mother in Jacksonville, Florida. Now Kamiyah, who grew up as Alexis Manigo, is getting to know her birth parents, Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken. The young woman, however, says the woman accused of taking her when she... Read more →


Rep. Mick Mulvaney is going to have to answer some nanny tax questions if he hopes to become President-elect Donald Trump's budget director. Rep. Mick Mulvaney speaks to some of his South Carolina constituents on last September's Constitution Day. (Photo by Erik B. Corcoran via Twitter) The South Carolina Republican was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the midterm Tea Party wave. Since then, the man whom some have called a debt warrior has been a major player in the conservative Freedom Caucus and has focused on ways to cut federal spending. He probably should have focused on... Read more →


The early part of any new year demands we be tax multitaskers. As we're getting ready to file last year's returns, we also must start planning moves that affect this year's taxes. For the next few days, though, it's time for those of us who pay estimated taxes to focus on 2016. We have to make our final 1040-ES payment to close out that tax year. According to the usual Internal Revenue Service calendar, that final fourth quarter payment is due Jan. 15. But calendar quirks this year mean a change in that deadline. The 15th is on Sunday and... Read more →


Tax filing season 2017 really is here. Some folks have already filed their tax year 2016 federal return (soooo jealous!) even though the Internal Revenue Service won't start processing the submitted forms until Jan. 23. Others of us are still waiting for the tax documents we need to fill out our forms. If you're in the still-waiting group, now's a good time to consider just what you will need to accurately and easily complete your return. To help, here's the 2017 version of the ol' blog's tax filing checklist. It's a good idea at the start of each filing season... Read more →


Tax filing season is about to start. Most tax returns -- almost 90 percent, according to the Internal Revenue Service -- are filled out using tax preparation software. A tax preparer helps a client file her taxes. (U.S. Army photo) But most of those electronically prepared 1040s actually were completed by tax professionals. No kidding. Of the almost 132 million e-filed returns last year, around 60 percent were filed by tax professionals. DIY vs. professionally prepared taxes: Yes, the do-it-yourself e-filing segment is growing. IRS statistics from 2016 show that the self-prepared segment of e-filers increased by more than 5... Read more →


Donald Trump doesn't move into the Oval Office for 15 more days, but the Republican-control Congress is working on legislation for him to sign into law shortly after he settles into his new digs. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was on CNBC's Squawk Box this week to discuss House efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. Click image to watch the full interview. One of the president-elect's campaign promises was to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known (for a while longer) as Obamacare. That won't be easy, either politically and pragmatically. Delayed repeal... Read more →


It's that time of year again, tax season. Whether you're working on your Form 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) yourself or turning your annual tax-filing task over to a professional, you'll want to check out the Daily Tax Tip. It will be there at the top of the ol' blog's right column through the April filing deadline. A new tip will be posted each weekday. All also will be archived on their own monthly tax tip pages -- January 2017 is posted, with February, March and April going live when those months arrive -- so you can check them out... Read more →


The first Friday the 13th of 2017 is lucky for some taxpayers. That's the day that Free File once again opens, allowing eligible folks to electronically prepare and file their 2016 tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service hasn't yet issued an official announcement about Free File 2017, but if you peruse the IRS web site (c'mon, I know I'm not the only one doing this!) you'll find the agency has updated its Free File page, a screenshot excerpt of which is shown above. UPDATE: It's official! The IRS says you can now access Free File by going to IRS.gov and... Read more →


There weren't any major tax bills in 2016. That's going to change in some form in 2017 now that the Republicans control Congress and the White House. via GIPHY But there still were plenty of tax-related matters that got attention last year. Below is my list of top 10 tax stories of 2016, starting with the one I saw as most important. And as a bonus, I also pulled out my slightly cracked crystal ball -- really, who saw the presidential election turning out like it did? -- to forecast five tax issues that we're likely to see in 2017.... Read more →


Hello, 2017. For some of us, you sure took your sweet time. Others think you arrived a tad too soon. Few of us, however, are as ready to get our taxes as done-diddly-done as is Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's annoying cheery neighbor. If you click the image, you'll see a GIF that gives you a good idea of Ned Flanders' obsessive-compulsive tendencies. While even a dedicated tax geek like myself thinks Neddie is a bit too filing gung-ho for the first day of the New Year, we all should take advantage of January's 31 days to get our 2016 taxes... Read more →