Do I Have to File a Tax Return?

Every year there is a subset of people who ask themselves if they have to file a tax return. The best way to find out the answer to this question is by checking out the Interactive Tax Assistant on and clicking on “Do I Need to File a Tax Return?”

You will then be asked a series of questions, the answers to which will determine whether or not you are required to file a tax return this year. Some of the factors that determine your need to file include: Continue reading

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Top Things to Know About Deducting Charitable Contributions on a 2017 Tax Return Tax

The following article was published by the IRS.

Taxpayers who give money or goods to a charity may be able to claim a deduction on their 2017 federal tax return, which basically reduces the amount of their taxable income. Here are some important facts about charitable donations:

  • Qualified charities. To receive a deduction, taxpayers must donate to a qualified charity. To check the status of a charity, use the IRS Select Check tool. Here are examples of things that taxpayers can’t deduct:
    • Gifts to individuals
    • Donations to political organizations and candidates
  • Itemize deductions. To deduct donations, taxpayers must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions using Schedule A.
  • Benefit in return. Taxpayers can only deduct the amount of their donation that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received. If taxpayers get something in return for their donation, they may have to reduce their deduction. Examples of benefits include merchandise, meals and tickets to events.
  • Property donation. If taxpayers give property instead of cash, they can normally only deduct the item’s fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price they’d get for the property on the open market. Used clothing and household items donated must generally be in good condition or better. Special rules apply to cars, boats and other types of property donations.
  • Form to File. Taxpayers file Form 8283 for all non-cash gifts totaling more than $500 for the year.
  • Proof of Donation. If taxpayers donated cash or goods of $250 or more, they must have a written statement from the charity. The statement must show:
    • Amount of the donation.
    • Description of any property given.
    • Whether the donor received any goods or services in exchange for the gift.
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Common Credit Card Questions Answered

Americans are notorious for their heavy use of credit. This should make us all experts, right? Not so fast. Here is a look at a few basic questions the average credit user might ask, as well as answers from a financial professional: Continue reading

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Check Status of a Tax Refund in Minutes Using Where’s My Refund?

The following article was published by the IRS.

cell phoneThe Where’s My Refund? tool gives taxpayers access to their tax return and refund status anytime. All they need is internet access and three pieces of information:

  • Their Social Security number.
  • Their filing status.
  • The exact whole dollar amount of their refund.

Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS received their e-filed return, or four weeks after they mail a paper return. Where’s My Refund? includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: the IRS receives the tax return, then approves the refund, and sends the refund. Continue reading

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Tax Return Errors-Tips To Avoid Them

It goes without saying that it takes the IRS much longer to process tax returns that have mistakes. That also means that those who make mistakes who are due refunds will likely have to wait much longer to get them.

Here are the most common mistakes and how to avoid them: Continue reading

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IRS Can Help Taxpayers Get Form W-2

The following article was published by the IRS.

laptopMost taxpayers got their Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, by the end of January. Taxpayers need their W-2s to file an accurate tax returns, as the form shows an employee’s income and taxes withheld for the year.

Taxpayers who haven’t received their W-2 by the end of February should:

Contact their Employer. Taxpayers should ask their current or former employer for a copy of their W-2. Be sure the employer has the correct address.

Call the IRS. Taxpayers who are unable to get a copy from their employer by the end of February may call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for a substitute W-2. The IRS will send a letter to the employer on taxpayers’ behalf. When they call, taxpayers need their: Continue reading

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Should You Freeze Your Credit?

Using a credit card for purchases is often convenient, but it does bring with it some risks. Fraud is on the rise, and virtually everyone is at risk to some degree. If it hasn’t already happened to you, you probably know someone who has experienced it.

So what can you do? Well, there are several options you can pursue to help minimize this risk. All of them have both plusses and minuses, so it is important to think them all through. Continue reading

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