Step-by-Step Instructions for Using the IRS Withholding Calculator

The following article was published by the IRS.

calculatorThe IRS encourages everyone to use the Withholding Calculator to perform a quick “paycheck checkup.” This is even more important this year because of recent tax law changes.

Results from the calculator will include a recommendation of whether or not users should consider submitting a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to their employers. Before beginning, taxpayers should have a copy of their most recent pay stub and tax return.

Here are step-by-step instructions for using the calculator:

Go to the main Withholding Calculator page on IRS.gov. Carefully read all information and click the blue Withholding Calculator button. Continue reading

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Do I Need to Fill Out a New W-4?

You may be wondering how your taxes will be affected next year due to the new tax laws that are now on the books. Will you get more money back or will you end up owing more?

The only way to know for sure is to use the withholding calculator from the IRS. You can find this at IRS.gov/withholding. It will walk you through the entire process and help you determine how many personal allowances to claim.

If the withholding calculator suggests you need to either increase or decrease your current withholdings, you will need to fill out and submit a new W-4 form to your employer to ensure you are having the proper amount deducted from your pay. You can download a W-4 form from IRS.gov/W4. Continue reading

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Here’s How to Get Prior-Year Tax Information

The following article was published by the IRS.

file cabinetAs people are filing their taxes, the IRS reminds taxpayers to hang onto their tax records. Generally, the IRS recommends keeping copies of tax returns and supporting documents at least three years. Taxpayers should keep some documents — such as those related to real estate sales — for three years after filing the return on which they reported the transaction.

Use a Tax Return to Validate Identity
Taxpayers using a tax filing software product for the first time may need their adjusted gross income amount from their prior year’s tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

Those who need a copy of their tax return should check with their software provider or tax preparer first, as prior-year tax returns are available from the IRS for a fee. Continue reading

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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 IRS.gov/ITA 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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