April 15 is two weeks away. On that day, a whole lot of folks will be frantically working on their 2012 tax returns.
And a few smug taxpayers will be sitting back, enjoying the refunds they received by filing early and making plans to cut their 2013 tax bills.
To those who've already filed, I say I hate you and I'm jealous. And this post isn't for you.
Rather, Tax Carnival #115: Final Filing Crunch, is a compilation of tax tips and advice for this last big push of the 2013 high filing season.
Some of you might have noticed that the Tax Carnival scheduled for March 18 somehow didn't make it. OK, the somehow was that I got swamped.
But those posts aren't lost. They are included here. And because I messed up and didn't post the Tax Carnival as advertised on March 18, I'm including multiple submissions.
Since the tax clock is ticking down, let's get to this doubly good last Tax Carnival before this year's filing deadline.
Emily presents a step-by-step, visual explanation of the marginal tax brackets and more in Marginal Tax Brackets, Deductions, and Credits Explained Graphically, posted at Evolving Personal Finance.
John Schmoll says there are a few simple steps you can make the annual tax-filing process easier. He explains in 4 Simple Ways to Make Filing Taxes Easier Every Year, posted at Frugal Rules.
Glen Craig notes that we hear a lot about Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) when it comes time to do taxes. Now's your chance to find out at What is Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and How Does it Affect Your Taxes, posted at Free From Broke.
Glen Craig also notes that the federal income tax deadline isn't the same for everyone. Depending on the type of filer you are (individual, self-employed, corporation), you will have different tax due dates. He details them in Federal Income Tax Deadlines to File Taxes for 2013, posted at Free From Broke.
Super Saver says, "Since we do not have a mortgage, our child is one of the biggest tax breaks we have." Find out why in Child Related Tax Breaks, posted at My Wealth Builder.
Rachel Kokosenski explains How to Write Off a Special Diet on Your Taxes, posted at Go GFCF.
Kristen reminds us that medical bills and health related expenses can really add up throughout the year. But you may be able to deduct some of your medical expenses as well as health insurance costs when you file your taxes. Details are in How to Claim a Medical Expense Tax Deduction, posted at My Dollar Plan.
TheFrugalAnt presents Taxes that almost everyone can take claim, posted at The Frugal Ant.
Bill Smith notes that tax season is anticipated by some and dreaded by others, but for accountants and tax professionals it also can be a time of amusement. As evidence, he shares some Strange But Legitimate Tax Deductions from TurboTax.com, posted at 2009 Tax.
Kristen asks, and answers, the question What is the Disability Tax Credit? It's posted at My Dollar Plan.
Kristen has more tax queries, including What Is the Elderly Tax Credit? It's posted at My Dollar Plan.
Kurt Fischer says before you file your 2012 income tax return, be sure you've claimed these five tax credits if you're eligible. Combined they could slash your tax bill by many thousands of dollars. Find out more at 5 Big Tax Credits, posted at Money Counselor.
Edward Webber examines the increase in the tax allowance in the United Kingdom in The New Tax Code for 2013-2014. A preview: Anyone working in the U.K. can earn £9,449 before they need to pay any tax. Full details are posted at TaxFix Feed Update.
Edward Webber also looks at one of the most common tax codes in the 2013-14 tax year in his post on Tax Code 944L . The new information is posted at TaxFix Feed Update.
Avoiding audits, scams
Melissa Batai says, "A letter from the IRS it is rarely a full-blown audit; rather it is a notice about some discrepancies on your return. While I still have a moment of panic when the letters do show up, I am learning that there usually isn't anything to worry about if you are filing your taxes honestly and correctly each year." Find out more in I Got A Letter From The IRS; What Now? It's posted at Prairie Eco-Thrifter.
Liana says that with Tax Day fast approaching, "we're all aware that our personal finances will be under the microscope for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, not everyone parsing our private information will have the requisite authority to do so, as the history of tax fraud is just as long as that of taxes." To combat that, Liana presents Common Tax Scams & Tips for Avoiding Fraud posted at Card Hub.
Tax software reviews
John presents FreeTaxUSA Review | Time to Get Your Tax Return! It's posted at Fearless Men.
Jacob takes A Detailed Look Inside H&R Block's Online Tax Preparation Platform - What is Free and What Must You Pay For? It's posted at My Personal Finance Journey.
Jacob also did some software comparisons in TurboTax vs. H&R Block vs. Tax Act - Which is the Best Online Tax Preparation Platform? It's also posted at My Personal Finance Journey.
Special tax situations
Kristine McKinley warns that Part Time Work Could Mean Your Social Security is Taxable, posted at Social Security Retirement Income.
Michael Kitces also looks at taxes and Social Security, noting that benefits first became partially taxable in 1983, and the rule was expanded in 1993 to its current form, where up to 85 percent of benefits are subject to taxation. Yet due to the interaction between these rules and the regular tax system, an individual's marginal tax rate can spike as high as 27.75 percent to 46.25 percent even with only $50,000 to $75,000 of retirement income! Details at The Taxation Of Social Security Benefits As A Marginal Tax Rate Increase? It's posted at Nerd's Eye View.
Emily says graduate students often receive "courtesy letters" to inform them of their fellowship income. She examines this correspondence in What Is a Courtesy Letter and Does It Mean I Don't Have to Pay Taxes? It's posted at Evolving Personal Finance.
Michael Kitces notes that nondeductible IRAs have been relatively unpopular for years. But, wonders Kitces, with the new 3.8 percent Medicare surtax on investment income, is it time to reconsider their use once again to shelter tax-inefficient investments? Read more at Will The New 3.8% Medicare Surtax Reinvigorate Non-Deductible IRA Contributions? It's posted at Nerd's Eye View.
Michael says with Tax Day just around the corner, you still have a bit of time to fund an IRA for 2012. If you think you can't afford to make a contribution, you should consider a Roth IRA because the withdrawal rules are such that you can get your money back out if you run into trouble. He elaborates in Why You Should Fund a Roth IRA Even if You Think You Can't Afford It, posted at Financial Ramblings.
Bill Smith presents Details On Obtaining Prior Year Tax Information From The IRS, posted at 2012 Tax - Free Tax Filing Options.
Rob Graumans looks at what role taxes also play in The Value of Self-determination and Its Implications for Society, posted at The Young Socrates.
FMF wants to know whether you'll be getting a refund and if so, what you plan to do with it. Find out some of the answers he got at How Will You Spend Your Tax Refund? It's posted at Free Money Finance.
John Schmoll presents How Should You Spend Your Tax Return?, saying, "The average tax return is nearly $3,000. Receiving that sum of money all at once can lead to easy temptation. Make sure you make wise decisions with that money, whether it be paying off debt or investing for the future so you can make the money work for you." It's posted at Frugal Rules.
To file or not to file
Jeff Rose wants to know if you've ever wondered what happens if you file your tax return late or, even worse, you don't file your tax return at all. Just in case you ever flirted with the idea, he breaks down the penalties in What Happens If You Don't File Your Tax Return? It's posted at Good Financial Cents.
Michael says if you're not going to make the filing deadline, get an extension even if you can't pay your tax bill. The penalties for late payment are typically less than the penalties for missing the deadline entirely. Details in Filing Taxes Late? Request an Income Tax Filing Extension, posted at Financial Ramblings.
And with that, we wrap up Tax Carnival #115: Final Filing Crunch 2013.
Thanks to all the contributors and especially to all y'all for reading. The next carnival will be May 6. Be a part of that collection of tax posts (and tax-only items please; the guidelines page has details) by sending your item via the Carnival of Taxes submission page.
Or if you prefer email, send your tax blog item to me at taxcarnival @ gmail.com.