What You Should Know if You Need More Time to File Your Taxes

What You Should Know if You Need More Time to File Your Taxes

The April 15 tax deadline is approaching. What happens if you can’t get your taxes done by the due date? If you need more time, you can get an automatic six-month extension from the IRS. You don’t have to explain why you’re asking for more time. Here are five important things to know about filing an extension:

1. File on time even if you can’t pay. If you complete your tax return but can’t pay the taxes you owe, do not request an extension. Instead, file your return on time and pay as much as you can. That way you will avoid the late filing penalty, which is higher than the penalty for not paying all of the taxes you owe on time. Plus, you do have payment options. Apply for a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You can also file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your tax return. If you are unable to make payments because of a financial hardship, the IRS will work with you.

2. Extra time to file is not extra time to pay. An extension to file will give you six more months to file your taxes, until Oct. 15. It does not give you extra time to pay your taxes. You still must estimate and pay what you owe by April 15. You will be charged interest on any amount not paid by the deadline. You may also owe a penalty for not paying on time.

3. Use IRS Free File to request an extension. You can use IRS Free File to e-file your extension request. Free File is only available through the IRS.gov website. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 15. If you e-file your extension request, the IRS will acknowledge receipt. You also can return to Free File any time by Oct. 15 to prepare and e-file your tax return for free.

4. Use Form 4868. You can also request an extension by mailing a Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must submit this form to the IRS by April 15. Form 4868 is available on IRS.gov.

You don’t need to submit a paper Form 4868 if you make a payment using an IRS electronic payment option. The IRS will automatically process your extension when you pay electronically. You can pay online or by phone.

5. Electronic funds withdrawal. If you e-file an extension request, you can also pay any balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from your checking or savings account. To do this you will need your bank routing and account numbers.

Visit IRS.gov for more information about filing an extension and the many options you have to pay your taxes.

IRS YouTube Video:

Need more Time To File Your tax Return? – English | Spanish | ASL
Online Payment Agreement – English | Spanish | ASL
IRS Podcasts:

Online Payment Agreement – English | Spanish 

Tips on Deducting Charitable Contributions

Tips on Deducting Charitable Contributions

If you are looking for a tax deduction, giving to charity can be a ‘win-win’ situation. It’s good for them and good for you. Here are eight things you should know about deducting your gifts to charity:

1. You must donate to a qualified charity if you want to deduct the gift. You can’t deduct gifts to individuals, political organizations or candidates.

2. In order for you to deduct your contributions, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions. File Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, with your federal tax return.

3. If you get a benefit in return for your contribution, your deduction is limited. You can only deduct the amount of your gift that’s more than the value of what you got in return. Examples of such benefits include merchandise, meals, tickets to an event or other goods and services.

4. If you give property instead of cash, the deduction is usually that item’s fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price you would get if you sold the property on the open market.

5. Used clothing and household items generally must be in good condition to be deductible. Special rules apply to vehicle donations.

6. You must file Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, if your deduction for all noncash gifts is more than $500 for the year.

7. You must keep records to prove the amount of the contributions you make during the year. The kind of records you must keep depends on the amount and type of your donation. For example, you must have a written record of any cash you donate, regardless of the amount, in order to claim a deduction. It can be a cancelled check, a letter from the organization, or a bank or payroll statement. It should include the name of the charity, the date and the amount donated. A cell phone bill meets this requirement for text donations if it shows this same information.

8. To claim a deduction for donated cash or property of $250 or more, you must have a written statement from the organization. It must show the amount of the donation and a description of any property given. It must also say whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for the gift.

For more details, see Publications 526, Charitable Contributions and 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property. Forms and publications are available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Check out our website http://www.mccpas.com/mccpas/tax.htm for some a list of values for donated items.

Early Retirement Plan Withdrawals & Your Taxes

Time Expiring to Claim $760 Million in Refunds for 2010 Tax Returns

If you did not file a tax return for 2010, you may be one of over 900,000 taxpayers who may be due a refund from that year. If you are, you must claim your share of almost $760 million by the April 15 tax deadline. To claim your refund, you must file a 2010 federal income tax return. Here are the facts you need to know about unclaimed refunds:

The unclaimed refunds apply to people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2010. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds are more than $571.
Some people, such as students and part-time workers, may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return. They may have a refund waiting if they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. A refund could also apply if they qualify for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If you didn’t file a 2010 return, the law generally provides a three-year window to claim a refund from that year. For 2010 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2014.
The law requires that you properly address, mail and postmark your tax return by that date to claim your refund.
If you don’t file a claim for a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund.
The IRS may hold your 2010 refund if you have not filed tax returns for 2011 and 2012. The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax you owe. It also may use your refund to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
If you’re missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for prior years, you should ask for copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If you can’t get copies, get a free transcript showing that information by going to IRS.gov. You can also file Form 4506-T to get a transcript.
The three-year window also usually applies to a refund from an amended return. In general, you must file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, within three years from the date you filed your original tax return. You can also file it within two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later than the three-year rule. That means the deadline for most people to amend their 2010 tax return and claim a refund will expire on April 15, 2014.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Last Chance for your 2010 Tax Refund

Time Expiring to Claim $760 Million in Refunds for 2010 Tax Returns

If you did not file a tax return for 2010, you may be one of over 900,000 taxpayers who may be due a refund from that year. If you are, you must claim your share of almost $760 million by the April 15 tax deadline. To claim your refund, you must file a 2010 federal income tax return. Here are the facts you need to know about unclaimed refunds:

The unclaimed refunds apply to people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2010. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds are more than $571.
Some people, such as students and part-time workers, may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return. They may have a refund waiting if they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. A refund could also apply if they qualify for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If you didn’t file a 2010 return, the law generally provides a three-year window to claim a refund from that year. For 2010 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2014.
The law requires that you properly address, mail and postmark your tax return by that date to claim your refund.
If you don’t file a claim for a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund.
The IRS may hold your 2010 refund if you have not filed tax returns for 2011 and 2012. The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax you owe. It also may use your refund to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
If you’re missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for prior years, you should ask for copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If you can’t get copies, get a free transcript showing that information by going to IRS.gov. You can also file Form 4506-T to get a transcript.
The three-year window also usually applies to a refund from an amended return. In general, you must file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, within three years from the date you filed your original tax return. You can also file it within two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later than the three-year rule. That means the deadline for most people to amend their 2010 tax return and claim a refund will expire on April 15, 2014.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

The Individual Shared Responsiblity Payment

The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment – An Overview

Starting January 2014, you and your family must either have health insurance coverage throughout the year, qualify for an exemption from coverage, or make a payment when you file your 2014 federal income tax return in 2015. Many people already have qualifying health insurance coverage and do not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage in 2014.

Qualifying coverage includes coverage provided by your employer, health insurance you purchase in the Health Insurance Marketplace, most government-sponsored coverage, and coverage you purchase directly from an insurance company. However, qualifying coverage does not include coverage that may provide limited benefits, such as coverage only for vision care or dental care, workers’ compensation, or coverage that only covers a specific disease or condition.

You may be exempt from the requirement to maintain qualified coverage if you:

Have no affordable coverage options because the minimum amount you must pay for the annual premiums is more than eight percent of your household income,
Have a gap in coverage for less than three consecutive months, or
Qualify for an exemption for one of several other reasons, including having a hardship that prevents you from obtaining coverage, or belonging to a group explicitly exempt from the requirement.
A special hardship exemption applies to individuals who purchase their insurance through the Marketplace during the initial enrollment period for 2014 but due to the enrollment process have a coverage gap at the beginning of 2014.

For any month in 2014 that you or any of your dependents don’t maintain coverage and don’t qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your 2014 tax return filed in 2015.

However, if you went without coverage for less than three consecutive months during the year you may qualify for the short coverage gap exemption and will not have to make a payment for those months. If you have more than one short coverage gap during a year, the short coverage gap exemption only applies to the first.

If you (or any of your dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your return. In general, the payment amount is either a percentage of your income or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater. You will owe 1/12th of the annual payment for each month you (or your dependents) do not have coverage and are not exempt. The annual payment amount for 2014 is the greater of:

1 percent of your household income that is above the tax return threshold for your filing status, such as Married Filing Jointly or single, or
Your family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a maximum of $285.
The individual shared responsibility payment is capped at the cost of the national average premium for the bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014. You will make the payment when you file your 2014 federal income tax return in 2015.

For example, a single adult under age 65 with household income less than $19,650 (but more than $10,150) would pay the $95 flat rate. However, a single adult under age 65 with household income greater than $19,650 would pay an annual payment based on the 1 percent rate.

More Information

Find out more about the individual shared responsibility provision, as well as other tax-related provisions of the health care law at http://www.irs.gov/aca.

For more information about your coverage options, financial assistance and the Marketplace, visit HealthCare.gov.

2013 Home Office Deduction Features Simpler Option

If you work from home, you should learn the rules for how to claim the home office deduction. Starting this year, there is a simpler option to figure the deduction for business use of your home. The new option will save you time because it simplifies how you figure and claim the deduction. It will also make it easier for you to keep records. It does not change the rules for who may claim the deduction.

Here are six facts from the IRS about the home office deduction.

1. Generally, in order to claim a deduction for a home office, you must use a part of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes. Also, the part of your home used for business must be:

• your principal place of business, or

• a place where you meet clients or customers in the normal course of business, or

• a separate structure not attached to your home. Examples might include a studio, garage or barn.

2. If you use the actual expense method, the home office deduction includes certain costs that you paid for your home. For example, if you rent your home, part of the rent you paid could qualify. If you own your home, part of the mortgage interest, taxes and utilities you paid could qualify. The amount you can deduct usually depends on the percentage of your home used for business.

3. Beginning with 2013 tax returns, you may be able to use the simplified option to claim the home office deduction instead of claiming actual expenses. Under this method, you multiply the allowable square footage of your office by a prescribed rate of $5. The maximum footage allowed is 300 square feet. The deduction limit using this method is $1,500 per year.

4. If your gross income from the business use of your home is less than your expenses, the deduction for some expenses may be limited.

5. If you are self-employed and choose the actual expense method, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure the amount you can deduct. You claim your deduction on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, if you use either the simplified or actual expense method. See the Schedule C instructions for how to report your deduction.

6. If you are an employee, you must meet additional rules to claim the deduction. For example, in addition to the above tests, your business use must also be for your employer’s convenience.

For more on this topic, see Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home. It’s available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Happy Early Birthday to Nancy McAuley! T

Happy Early Birthday to Nancy McAuley! Tax season doesn’t slow us down for a little bday celebration! http://ow.ly/i/4U9ZB

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 261 other followers