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Yeah, this image is (sadly) amusing, but a quick, real tax payment note. Make your check or money order, as long as it's not for an astronomical amount, payable to U.S. Treasury, not the Internal Revenue Service. Are you going to have to pay Uncle Sam tomorrow? Is your due tax a lot? A whole lot? If your tax bill is very — and I mean VERY — big, you won't be able to send the U.S. Treasury a check. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service warns those who are extraordinarily deep in tax debt that it can't take a single... Read more →


The time left until Tax Day 2022 is tick, tick, ticking away. If you're feeling like silent movie legend Harold Lloyd, hanging on by your fingernails as you try to finish your Form 1040 by Monday, April 18, rescue yourself by filing instead for a six-month extension. Most of us are procrastinators at some point in our lives. This tendency to hold back tends to show up when we're facing particularly difficult decisions or tasks. Tax filing time is one of those times. But waiting until the last minute can be costly. If we get in a hurry to meet... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers are facing their first tax payment for 2022 on Monday, April 18. No, I'm not talking about any tax due you sent along with the 2021 return you filed or are frantically working on this last week before Tax Day. That money counted toward last year's taxes. I'm talking about the taxpayers who will be paying a separate amount to cover their earnings during the first quarter of 2022. Yep, it's estimated tax time again. And yep, the first payment of the current tax year coincides with any tax due for the previous one, making Tax Day... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →


If you are a U.S. taxpayer living outside the country and frantically working to meet this year's April 18 tax-filing deadline, take a breath. Then mark your calendar for June 15. The Internal Revenue Service grants taxpayers who are overseas, including members of the armed forces stationed abroad, and automatic two-month extension to file. You don't have to send in Form 4868 to get it the extra filing time. Note, however, that this automatic extension to file is just that, an extension to file. If you owe tax for the 2021 tax year, you must pay it by this year's... Read more →


In 2016, a law change moved the due date for the required filing of Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR, to coincide with the annual April individual federal tax return deadline. FBAR information is the federal government's way of tracking foreign bank and financial accounts owned by U.S. taxpayers. Since Tax Day gets a lot of attention every year, the date change was seen as a way to make sure more people were aware of FBAR filing requirements. So FBAR filings this year are due on April 18, a few days later than usual due to the... Read more →


I understand not filing until the absolutely latest minute. Been there, done that. I also get why some people delay the inevitable: they owe taxes. Been there, done that, too. Sometimes, that amount due the U.S. Treasury seems impossible to pay. Thankfully, I've never quite been at this stage, but it happens to many filers. The first thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to not panic. Then look at your options. The Internal Revenue Service offers taxpayers a variety of ways to pay their unexpectedly large tax debts. Pay something — and file — to... Read more →


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped work. Millions who lost earnings when the coronavirus cut their workplace hours filled the fiscal gap with gig jobs. Others left their wage-paying work entirely, opting to start their own businesses. That's meant these entrepreneurs are facing self-employment tax tasks for the first time. It also means many of them are claiming their first home office tax deduction. And that tax-saving break itself means one more tax decision. Are you going to use the regular home office deduction, or go with the simplified method? As with most things tax,... Read more →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... Read more →


No-cost help fulfilling our annual tax-filing obligations has always been a better slogan than a reality. We are just about three weeks away from Tax Day 2022. This is our third consecutive coronavirus-tinge tax filing season, but things seem (fingers crossed!) to be going relatively well. As of March 18, the Internal Revenue Service had received more than 72 million returns. Almost 70 million of those 1040s arrived electronically. The IRS doesn't break out in its regular filing season statistics how many of the e-filings were submitted by users of its Free File option. That number, however, is likely to... Read more →


Tax payments have come a long way since this 1939 painted window suggestion. (New York Public Library image) Tax Day 2022 is less than a month away. Most of us think of it as the day our tax returns must be filed, and that's true. But it's also the day that any tax you owe must be paid. If you miss either task, the Internal Revenue Service will slap penalties and interest onto your tax bill. The easiest way to do both is electronically. Here are five ways the IRS will accept your e-payment. 1. Electronic Federal Tax Payment System... Read more →


Imgur-Finextra Organized crowdfunding has been around for 25 years. It's helped people make ends meet, cover emergency expenses, make movies, support others in need. It's taken on a new life due to recent catastrophic events. During the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more than 175,000 GoFundMe campaigns were established in the United States for coronavirus-related needs. Now, as Ukrainians fight off Russian invaders, direct online contributions are flooding into efforts to aid the country's resistance and humanitarian efforts. Such expansion of financial transactions means, of course, that here in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service... Read more →


Tax Day 2022 is a month away. That means lot of us are finally getting serious about filling out our 2021 tax returns. A lot of us also are making a disturbing discovery. Our refunds aren't as big as we expected. Even worse, in some cases we owe tax. There are several reasons your refund could be smaller or you must send Uncle Sam a check. You can check them out in my previous post, 5 reasons your tax refund this year might be smaller. But here's a preview of one of the reasons. You didn't have enough withheld. Or,... Read more →


Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction amounts, even more people have chosen to use that filing method. IRS data indicate that close to 90 percent of us have opted not to mess with itemizing. But dumping the Schedule A doesn't mean you give up all deductions. On tax year 2021 returns, you can claim some of your cash charitable deductions directly on Form 1040. And if you take a look at Schedule 1, one of the documents that the Internal Revenue Service created to accompany Form 1040 when the TCJA took... Read more →


It's not a literally blank computer screen, but the IRS and White House Child Tax Credit portals aren't accepting input until after Tax Day on April 18. (Photo by cottonbro from Pexels) The increased Child Tax Credit (CTC) has been a boon for many U.S. families. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) bumped up the tax break for the 2021 tax year from $2,000 per each eligible child to $3,600 for children age 5 or younger, and $3,000 for youngsters ages 6 to 17. Now, however, an online tool that the IRS created to make sure all who were due... Read more →


Pixabay via Pexels We're well into the 2022 tax filing season, meaning most of us have received the documents we need to file our tax returns. The main ones, our W-2 forms from employers and 1099s reporting other types of compensation, were supposed to be sent by the end of January. But sometimes that doesn't happen. Or the tax form you got was wrong. When then? Here are four steps to take now, along with some other missing tax document issues to consider. 1. Check your email: More of our lives go electronic every day. That includes tax-related matters. Lots... Read more →


Every payer of $10 or more in interest earnings, even the Internal Revenue Service, should issue recipients a Form 1099-INT. Some taxpayers who had to wait extra long last year for their 2020 tax year refunds got a bit more than they expected. Where it took the Internal Revenue Service more than 45 days from the return's due date — which was May 17, 2021 — to issue the refund, the agency had to add interest to the amount it eventually delivered. This filing season, however, the IRS is looking to get some of those interest payments back. The agency... Read more →


The winter Olympics are still going on, and I'm particularly thrilled about the "old" man of 40, Nick Baumgartner, finally winning his first medal after tries in four of the global games. And a gold at that! It was the second gold for his mixed snowboard cross teammate Lindsey Jacobellis, who until Baumgartner's win, was the oldest winter games winner at age 36. Congrats, but sorry, Olympics athletes. Here in the United States, we'll be taking a break this weekend. The Super Bowl is Sunday. And you know what that means. Betting on the National Football League championship game. Prop... Read more →


Photo by Lamar Belina from Pexels After pressure from members of Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate, and the Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition, a group of organizations formed the to help make this third Covid-affected tax season a bit smoother, the Internal Revenue Service has decided to suspend sending of most taxpayer notices. This latest moratorium on taxpayer notices is the second in less than two weeks. It comes on the heels of the major taxpayer problems created by issuance of automated collection notices, or CP-80s. These alerts normally go out when a taxpayer owes tax, and the... Read more →


Despite last year's Great Resignation, the United States work scene seems to getting back on track. Today's Department of Labor weekly jobs report showed fewer first-time unemployment filings, continuing a recent downward trend. The latest national unemployment rate analysis in January showed a 4 percent unemployment rate, indicating the COVID-19 Omicron variant effects are subsiding. That's good news for those with new jobs, the companies hiring them, and the overall economy. But for the 223,000 individuals who most recently applied for unemployment, things are still challenging. Taxable unemployment: On top of learning to live on unemployment benefits, they'll face taxes... Read more →