It is quite common for teachers to spend their own money on classroom supplies – so common, in fact, that a few years back, Congress created a special deduction that allowed teachers to deduct up to $250 above-the-line for classroom supplies. “Above-the-line” means the deduction can be claimed whether or not the taxpayer itemizes their deductions. Although the $250 amount is subject to an inflation adjustment, there has been no increase to the limit, at least through 2018.
Eligible educators are those who work in a school as teachers of kindergarten through grade 12, instructors, counselors, principals, or aides for at least 900 hours during a school year. Because of the 900-hour requirement, many substitute teachers do not qualify for this above-the-line deduction.
But $250 is not much, and even if the teacher is in a tax bracket as high as 24% (most are in lower brackets), the deduction will only net them a tax savings of $60. A $60 tax savings is nothing to write home about, and the $250 special deduction was nothing more than a token gesture by Congress. Many conscientious teachers spend far more than $250 for classroom supplies every year.
As a result of tax reform, most taxpayers will be paying less tax for 2018 than they did in 2017. But that may not translate into a larger refund. Your refund is the amount that your pre-payments (withheld income tax, estimated tax payments, and certain credits) exceed your tax liability, and if the pre-payment also got reduced, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise at tax time. Read More
The Internal Revenue Service today advised those now receiving tax bills because they filed on time but didn’t pay in full that there are many easy options for paying what they owe to the IRS.
If a tax return was filed but the balance due remains unpaid, the taxpayer will receive a letter or notice in the mail from the IRS, usually within a few weeks. These notices, including the CP14 and CP501, both of which notify taxpayers that they have a balance due, are frequently mailed in the months of June and July.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, was the tax deadline for most taxpayers to file their tax returns. If you haven’t filed a 2017 tax return yet, it’s not too late, and it may be easier than you think. First, gather any information related to income and deductions for the tax years for which a return is required to be filed, then call the office.
If you’re owed money, then the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund. If you owe taxes, you should file and pay as soon as you can, which will stop the interest and penalties that you will owe.
A frequent question we get throughout the year is: How long should I keep records and tax returns?
Here is a helpful guide to follow:
Monthly statements of investments until an annual statement recapping the year’s activity is available, bank statements, copies of checks used for tax deductible expenses and payroll statements until your W-2 arrives and you confirm the information matches. Read More
In some instances, tax liabilities can be discharged by filing bankruptcy. There are two main types of bankruptcy available (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13), each with definitive and complicated rules regarding discharging tax liabilities. In both instances, the following must be true:
- Tax returns were timely filed or it has been at least 2 years since the returns were filed
- Tax returns were last due to be filed for at least 3 years, including extensions
- Tax liability was assessed at least 240 days before filing bankruptcy
- Taxpayer did not pursue tax evasion or defeat
- Tax liability is not due to a fraudulent tax return
- Tax was not assessable at the time of filing bankruptcy
- Liability is not due on Trust Fund Tax
- Tax was unsecured
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that they may request an extension of time to file their tax return, but certain taxpayers get extra time without asking. The IRS said nearly 14 million taxpayers are expected to get an extension this filing season.
Anyone can receive a six-month extension to file their tax return by using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Even with an extension, taxpayers should remember that the extension does not affect any tax they owe. Tax payments are due on or before the April 17 tax deadline. Read More
Recently we’ve been asked to cover the topic on filing US federal income tax return if you are a US citizen living in the UK. You asked and we delivered! Read further to learn more about your US and UK tax obligations.
The starting point for any US expat tax-related topic is gaining a clear understanding who needs to file US taxes. Individuals, who are US citizens, including the ones with dual citizenship (UK/US in this case), or Green Card holders abroad who earn a minimum threshold for filing a US tax return are required by US tax law to file a tax return and pay taxes you may owe. Below are numbers for 2017:
On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youths may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This article is designed to provide guidance for tax professionals preparing and filing tax returns for DACA recipients.
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service is cautioning taxpayers to avoid the dangers of “ghost” tax return preparers.
According to the IRS, a ghost preparer is paid to prepare a tax return, but does not sign it, either electronically or on paper, as the paid preparer. These phantom preparers who won’t put their name on the tax return are a warning sign for taxpayers of a potential scam.
Here’s how it works. The ghost preparer can print the paper return for their client and tells them to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for electronically-filed returns, they will prepare it but won’t digitally sign it as the paid preparer. Read More
With recent tax law changes, the IRS urges taxpayers to look into whether they need to adjust their paycheck withholding and submit a new Form W-4 to their employer. Taxpayers can use the updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to do a quick “paycheck checkup” to check that they’re not having too little or too much tax withheld at work.
Taxpayers who use the calculator and determine that they need to change their withholding must fill out a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employees will submit the completed Form W-4 to their employers. Read More
The boom in U.S. real estate caused by foreign investors is about to get bigger as a result of greatly reduced U.S. income taxes for nonresident aliens and foreign corporations.
Because of the new 2017 Tax Act, foreign investors could receive a 40% reduction in the U.S. income tax of their gains and income from their real estate investments. For those foreign investors who already were invested in U.S. real estate, their after-tax returns could now be 40% more valuable without their raising a finger. Read More