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Here are some helpful tips to help make filing your taxes a breeze

Taxpayers who received large tax refunds in past years

When a taxpayer has too much tax withheld from their paycheck, they pay too much tax during the year. They can change their withholding to have money upfront rather than waiting for a bigger refund.

Taxpayers who owed taxes in years past

Taxpayers with too little tax withheld might owe money. Under-withholding can lead to both a tax bill and an additional penalty.

People with a new job

Taxpayers who start a new job should check their withholding to make sure they are having enough taxes withheld. Their total withholding should cover the income tax owed from their new and old jobs combined.

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What documents should I receive from my employer?

The forms to prove employment may vary depending on individual situations. For most, an employer will provide a W-2 form. The self-employed should receive a 1099-MISC from the company.

When is the deadline to file my taxes?

The standing deadline for personal taxes is April 15. However, sometimes that date falls on a weekend or after Emancipation Day (a holiday in DC) and pushes the deadline to as late as April 18.

Is there a penalty for filing my taxes after the deadline?

Yes, you can opt to pay your tax liability through an installment plan. In addition to paying taxes through an installment payment plan, there may be other options such as the Offer in Compromise (OIC). Under an OIC agreement, the IRS may agree to settle the taxpayer’s liability for less than the full amount of taxes owed. The IRS is not likely to approve an OIC if there’s evidence that the taxpayer could pay the full amount through an installment payment plan or another method. A taxpayer can request consideration for an OIC by filling out Form 656, Offer in Compromise, or Form 656L, Offer in Compromise (Doubt as to Liability), and mail the application package to the IRS.

Do I need to report work-study income if I am a full-time student?

Yes, any money which you received as a result of work is taxable income and must be reported on your tax return. Attach your W-2 showing your earnings and your taxes withheld to your tax return.

How can I check the status of my refund?

The ‘Where’s My Refund’ tool on the IRS website provides the most up-to-date information regarding the status of your refund. This tool is updated every 24 hours.

Why is my refund less than I expected?

Many factors can contribute to why your refund is less than you expected. You have to consider the three elements that define a refund: your taxable income, the amount withheld from your paycheck for federal and state taxes, and your tax rate.

What if I receive another tax form after I’ve filed my return?

If you’ve already filed your return to the IRS or state taxing authority, you’ll need to complete an amended return.

How do I get a tax ID number?

To get a federal tax ID number, you must fill out IRS Form SS-4 (available from the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov –click on “Forms and Publications”), and either mail or fax it to the IRS office indicated in the Instructions to Form SS-4. There is no fee.

A graphic designer performed more than $600 of services for us last year, but she operates as a single-member limited liability company (LLC). Do we still have to send her a 1099 form?|

The IRS views single-member LLCs as “disregarded entities”–that is, the IRS does not view them as separate from their owner. The safest bet is to send 1099s to any contractor that is an LLC, a limited liability partnership (LLP), a business trust or other unincorporated business entity, especially if they use their personal Social Security number as their business’s tax ID.

Notes About Filing Separately

What You Lose By Filing Separately

Filing separately can disqualify or limit your use of potentially valuable tax breaks, including (but not limited to):

  • The child and dependent care tax credit
  • The adoption credit
  • The Earned Income Credit
  • Tax-free exclusion of U.S. bond interest
  • Tax-free exclusion of Social Security benefits
  • The credit for the elderly and disabled
  • The deduction for college tuition expenses
  • The student loan interest deduction
  • The American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit for higher education expenses
  • The deduction of net capital losses
  • Traditional IRA deductions
  • Roth IRA contributions

What You Gain By Filing Separately

  • Separation of Your Tax Liability From Your Spouse’s
  • Lower Overall Tax Bill If One Spouse Has a Significant Itemized Deduction

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