Archive for Income Tax

New Developments – Tax Credits For 2015


1. Earned income (EITC).

Taxpayers with no children it is $503, with one child $3,359, two qualifying children $5,548, three qualifying children $6,342 but are subject to AGI phase­outs. The recent tax law makes permanent the increase of $5,000 in the phase­out amount for joint filers scheduled to expire after 2017. The law also makes permanent the increased 45% credit percentage for taxpayers with three or more qualifying children. Under prior law, both increases had been available only through 2017. It also makes permanent the reduced earned income threshold of $3,000. The law makes the following provisions permanent:

(a) Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Required. The EITC is denied with respect to any taxable year for which the taxpayer has a TIN that has been issued after the due date for filing the return, including extensions. Read more

The Exclusion Amount Of The Gain From The Sale Of Your Main Home


If you sold your home during the year and made a gain, you may be able to exclude all of that gain from your taxable income. To qualify for this tax benefit, the home sold must have been your principal residence. You can exclude from your taxable income, the gain from the sale of your main home, of up to $250,000 ($500,000 if filing a joint return). To qualify for this exclusion, however, all of the following must be true:

• You owned the home for at least 2 of the last 5 years (the ownership test).
• You lived in the home as your main home for at least 2 of the last 5 years (the use test).
• You did not exclude gain from the sale of another home during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale. Read more

FATCA 2015 Roundup: It’s All Serious Business!

TaxConnections Member Manasa Nadig

A lot has been written about the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act {FATCA} in the past year. As this year comes to a close and I write up this post, I wanted to give you all, my dear readers a synopsis at your finger-tips, a round-up, if you will of some major FATCA events for 2015:

1. FBAR Deadlines Changed:

On July 31, 2015 President Obama signed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 into law, which modified the due date of several key forms for Americans with foreign income and Americans living abroad. That includes the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or Form 114, colloquially known as the FBAR.

Any U.S. person with a financial interest in, or signatory authority over, foreign financial accounts must file the FBAR, if at any time, the aggregate value of their relevant foreign account or accounts exceeds $10,000. An account over Read more

Tax Return Tips For Your 2015 Tax Returns

John Stancil

As The United States Tax Code gets more complex, one would think that the number of individuals utilizing a paid preparer would be on the increase. However, that is not the case. More and more individuals are filing their own returns. I see at least two reasons for this. The individual tax return market can be viewed as consisting of two segments – very simple returns with no itemized deductions or other complications in the return and more complex returns utilizing multiple tax schedules and tax forms. As the standard deduction increases, more taxpayers are taking the standard deduction, so their tax return is fairly simple to prepare. Adding to the simplicity of the return is the second factor – availability of inexpensive or free preparation software. Since these typically guide the taxpayer in preparation, the task becomes even simpler.

However, taxpayers of all stripes should be aware of certain factors involved in filing their returns. I have provided my “Ten Best Tips for Filing your Return.” These tips can be useful for those preparing their own returns, but they can also guide the taxpayer using a CPA or other professional preparer in assembling their information for the preparer.

• File tax returns on time, even if you cannot pay now. You will be assessed a penalty and interest for failure to pay, but you will avoid the failure to file penalty. This penalty is 5% per month of the amount of taxes owed, up to 25%. If you don’t owe, there shouldn’t be a penalty. Read more

Which 1040 Is The Right One For You?

TaxConnections Member Barry Fowler

When Benjamin Franklin said that nothing is certain but death and taxes, he managed to name two of the things that people loathe and fear the most. One of the things that makes taxes so unpleasant is obviously the fact that you have to hand over some of your hard-earned money to the government, and the other is that it can be so difficult to figure out how to fill out the forms – and which one to use.

The rule of thumb for choosing your personal income tax form is to try to go with the one that is easiest to understand, but that being said, you also need to be sure that it is the one that is correct. The government provides three forms – the 1040, the 1040A, and the 1040EZ – and all are meant to help you pay the amount that you owe. But each form has a different purpose, and if you choose the wrong one, it can end up meaning that you either pay more than you owe or end up having to pay fines for not paying enough. Read more

Tax Return Due Dates and Some History

Annette Nellen 10

Several federal bills enacted in 2015 included tax changes. One of these was P.L. 114-41 (7/31/15), the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act. Given the title, we might think that any tax change involved transportation, such as the gasoline excise tax. Wrong! This bill does not increase the gasoline excise tax. Its main purpose is to transfer money from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund because our gasoline excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon is insufficient to fund the HTF (and more fuel efficient cars means we buy less gas each year).  [I’ve blogged on this a few times – here, for example.]

One of the tax change in P.L. 114-41 is to change due dates of certain returns, starting mostly for the 2016 tax year. The purpose is improved administration of our tax system. For example, one change is to move the due date for a Read more

2015: Year End – Tax Planning For Individuals, What To Expect!

Manasa Nadig - 11-3-15

It’s November! I am always surprised by it’s arrival and the realization that it’s year-end tax planning time. The shortened day-light hours seem to make that certain without a doubt. So let’s roll-up our sleeves, get down to work and fine-tune possible last-minute strategies for lowering your 2015 tax bill.

Tax Brackets: Let’s take a quick look at the 2015 tax brackets, you will see from the table below that the top tax rate of 39.6% will apply to incomes over $$413,200 (single), $464,851 (married filing jointly and surviving spouse), $232,426 (married filing separately), and $439,000 (heads of households):

The 3.8% net investment income tax and/or the 0.9% Medicare surtax will also apply if you Read more

Filed Joint Return But Spouse Did Not Sign?

Tax Court Did Not Consider To Be A Valid Return

In Reifler, TC Memo 2015-199TC Memo 2015-199, the Tax Court recently held that a joint return not signed by the wife was not a valid return and, as a result, imposed the failure-to-file penalty. In so doing, it rejected the taxpayer’s arguments that the return was valid either because it substantially complied with the valid return rules or because the wife intended to file a joint return and tacitly consented to the filing of a joint return.

Signatures on a tax return not only verify that a return has indeed been filed by the person indicated on the front page of a Form 1040 but also certify that all the statements in the tax return are made under penalty of perjury and are true, correct, and complete to the best of Read more

Claiming The Additional Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit - Milton Boothe

If you cannot claim the entire amount of your child tax credit because it exceeds your tax, don’t be discouraged, because you may be able to claim the unused portion as an additional child tax credit. The additional child tax credit is a refundable credit, and is available to you whenever you cannot claim the entire amount of the child tax credit.

The amount of the refund, however, may differ depending on your total earned income. It may also be affected by the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes that were paid.

Figuring and Claiming the Credit:

The amount of the additional child tax credit that you can claim on your income tax is the lower of: Read more

September 2015 Business Tax Due Dates

TaxConnections Tax Blog

September 15 –  Corporations

File a 2014 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120 or 1120-A) and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due. This due date applies only if you timely requested an automatic 6-month extension.

September 15 – S Corporations

File a 2014 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due. This due date applies only if you requested an automatic 6-month extension.

September 15 – Corporations Read more

Review Your Taxes This Summer To Prevent A Surprise Next Spring

TaxConnections Picture - Woman Reading Scary Letter - 8-10-15 - square

Each year, many people get a larger refund than they expected. Some find they owe a lot more tax than they thought they would. If this happened to you, review your situation to prevent another tax surprise. Did you marry? Have a child? Have a change in income? Some life events can have a major effect on your taxes. You can bring the tax you pay closer to the amount you owe. Here are some key IRS tips to help you come up with a plan of action:

• New Job.   When you start a new job, you must fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate and give it to your employer. Your employer will use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to withhold from your pay. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator on to help you fill out the form. This tool is easy to use and Read more

Claiming Your Employee Business Expenses


If you are an employee with unreimbursed work-related expenses, you may be able to deduct them as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. You can deduct all unreimbursed employee business expenses incurred in the normal course of carrying out your responsibilities as an employee. Note that employee business expenses are subject to the 2% of AGI limitation, meaning that they must exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income before you can claim the deduction

You can deduct only unreimbursed employee business expenses that are:

• Paid or incurred during your tax year.
• Incurred for carrying on your trade or business as an employee. Read more