IRS and Partners Look to Start of 2017 Tax Season; Encourage use of IRS.gov and e-File; Warn of Refund Delays

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When Will I Get My Refund: English | Spanish
Claiming EITC or ACTC? Your Refund May Be Delayed: English

IR-2017-01, Jan. 5, 2017                                                                                            Español

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and partners from the states and tax industry today reminded taxpayers that the nation’s 2017 individual income tax filing season opens Jan. 23.

The IRS expects more than 153 million tax returns to be filed this year and taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017, to file their 2016 tax returns and pay any tax due. The deadline is extended because the Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17, pushing the nation’s filing deadline to April 18.

"There are a number of important changes this year involving refunds and tax law changes that we encourage people to keep in mind," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We encourage taxpayers to plan ahead and take a few minutes to review these changes. As we enter the filing season, taxpayers should know that the dedicated workforce of the IRS and the nation's tax community stand ready to help." 

Taxpayers that are e-filing can still submit returns to their software provider before Jan. 23. They will hold the return and transmit it to the IRS when the systems open. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they don’t have to wait until Jan. 23 to contact their tax professional.

In 2016, the IRS issued 111 million individual tax refunds and expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers to receive a refund in 2017. Also, the IRS reminds taxpayers that a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15.

"We encourage taxpayers to file as they normally would, including returns claiming the EITC or ACTC” Koskinen said. “The IRS and the nation's tax community are committed to making  this another smooth filing season."

e-File and Free File

More than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit. The IRS encourages taxpayers to plan ahead and take advantage of the online resources available on IRS.gov.

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days from the time returns are received.

The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, opens Friday, Jan. 13. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $64,000 or less. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File.

All taxpayers regardless of income will again have access to free online fillable forms, which provide electronic versions of IRS paper forms to complete and file. This option is  available through IRS.gov and is free.

Protecting Taxpayers from ID-Theft-Related Refund Fraud

The IRS continues to work with state tax authorities and the tax industry to address tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. As part of the Security Summit, the IRS made significant inroads against fraudulent returns in 2016. While working to stop the issuance of fraudulent refunds, the IRS remains focused on releasing legitimate refunds as quickly as possible in 2017.  Thus far, Summit efforts have led to a 50 percent decline in the number of new reports of stolen identities on federal tax returns.

Late last year, Summit leaders detailed new and expanded safeguards for taxpayers in the upcoming 2017 tax season. The 2017 focus revolves around “trusted customer” features that will help ensure the authenticity of the taxpayer and the tax return - before, during and after a tax return is filed. The additional protections will build on the 2016 successes that prevented fraudulent returns and protected tax refunds.

Health Care Basics

Again this year, meeting the tax obligation of the Affordable Care Act for the vast majority of taxpayers will simply mean checking a box to verify everyone on their return has health coverage. For others, IRS.gov/aca features useful information, tips and interactive online tools to help taxpayers with the premium tax credit, the individual shared responsibility requirement and other tax-related provisions of the ACA.

The Affordable Care Act requires that a taxpayer and each member of their family either has qualifying health coverage for each month of the year, qualifies for an exemption, or makes an individual shared responsibility payment when filing their tax returns.

Assistance Filing the Tax Return

More than 90 percent of all tax returns are prepared using tax return preparation software. This software generally includes tax law help along with reminders and prompts about tax breaks and responsibilities. The IRS reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can also provide helpful information about the tax law. Information on tips about selecting a preparer and national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before they file their return. This includes Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and for those claiming the premium tax credit, Form 1095-A from the Marketplace. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return later.

Delayed Refunds

The IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act mandates the IRS hold refunds on tax returns claiming the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent tax fraud.

The IRS will begin releasing EITC and ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15, but cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. The IRS wants taxpayers to know it will take additional time for their refunds to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts. The IRS reminds taxpayers many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day may affect their refund timing.

Where's My Refund? ‎on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers a few days after Feb. 15. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where's My Refund? ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where’s My Refund? remains the best way to check the status of a refund.

Expired Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

The PATH Act requires that certain ITINs expire on Jan. 1, 2017. Any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years and any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN) must be renewed before a return can be processed. Anyone filing a tax return with an expired ITIN could experience return processing and refund delay as well as denial of some tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed.

An ITIN renewal application could take as long as 11 weeks to process during tax filing season. ITINs are used by people who have tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number.

Help for Taxpayers

The IRS reminds taxpayers they have a variety of options to get help filing and preparing their tax return on IRS.gov. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free tax help to people who qualify. Go to irs.gov and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to find a nearby VITA or TCE site. The IRS2Go Mobile App can help find free tax preparation assistance, check your refund status and more!

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year 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.

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.

Working Grandparents May Be Eligible for EITC

IRS YouTube Video                                                                                                  Español

Claiming EITC or ACTC? Your Refund May Be Delayed: English | Spanish | ASL

IR-2017-09, Jan. 25, 2017 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service wants working grandparents raising grandchildren to be aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and correctly claim it if they qualify. 

The EITC is a federal income tax credit for workers who don't earn a high income ($53,505 or less for 2016) and meet certain eligibility requirements. Because it’s a refundable credit, those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund. The EITC could put an extra $2 or up to $6,269 into a taxpayer’s pocket.

Grandparents and other relatives care for millions of children, but are often not aware that they could claim the children under their care for the EITC. A grandparent who is working and has a grandchild who is a qualifying child living with him or her may qualify for the EITC, even if the grandparent is 65 years of age or older. Generally, to be a qualified child for EITC purposes, the grandchild must meet the dependency requirements.

Special rules and restrictions apply if the child’s parents or other family members also qualify for the EITC. Details including numerous helpful examples can be found in Publication 596, available on IRS.gov. There are also special rules, described in the publication, for individuals receiving disability benefits and members of the military.

Working grandparents are encouraged to find out, not guess, if they qualify for this very important credit. To qualify for EITC, the taxpayer must have earned income either from a job or from self-employment and meet basic rules. Also, certain disability payments may qualify as earned income for EITC purposes. EITC eligibility also depends on family size. The IRS recommends using the EITC Assistant, on IRS.gov, to determine eligibility, estimate the amount of credit and more.

Eligible taxpayers must file a tax return, even if they do not owe any tax or are not required to file. Qualified taxpayers should consider claiming the EITC by filing electronically: through a qualified tax professional; using free community tax help sites; or doing it themselves with IRS Free File.

Many EITC filers will get their refunds later this year than in past years. That’s because a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the EITC and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. Taxpayers claiming the EITC or ACTC should file as soon as they have all of the necessary documentation together to prepare an accurate return. In other words, file as they normally would.

The IRS and partners nationwide will hold the annual EITC Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 to alert millions of workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit and other refundable credits. One easy way to support this outreach effort is by participating on the IRS Thunderclap to help promote #EITCAwarenessDay through social media. For more information on EITC and other refundable credits, visit the EITC page on IRS.gov.

Special Rules Help Many People With Disabilities Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit; Up to 1.5 Million Fail to Claim Valuable Benefit

worker_in_wheelchair.jpg

IRS YouTube Video                                                                                                                         
Claiming EITC or ACTC? Your Refund May Be Delayed: English | Spanish | ASL             Español

IR-2017-07, Jan. 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities to be aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and correctly claim it if they qualify.

The EITC is a federal income tax credit for workers who don't earn a high income ($53,505 or less for 2016) and meet other eligibility requirements. Because it’s a refundable credit, those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.

The EITC could put an extra $2 or up to $6,269 into a taxpayer’s pocket. Nevertheless, the IRS estimates that as many as 1.5 million people with disabilities miss out on this valuable credit because they fail to file a tax return. Many of these non-filers fall below the income threshold requiring them to file. Even so, the IRS urges them to consider filing anyway because the only way to receive this credit is to file a return and claim EITC.

To qualify for EITC, the taxpayer must have earned income. Usually, this means income either from a job or from self-employment. But taxpayers who retired on disability can also count as earned income any taxable benefits they receive under an employer’s disability retirement plan. These benefits remain earned income until the disability retiree reaches minimum retirement age. The IRS emphasized that social Security benefits or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) do not count as earned income.

Additionally, taxpayers may claim a child with a disability or a relative with a disability of any age to get the credit if the person meets all other EITC requirements. Use the EITC Assistant, on IRS.gov, to determine eligibility, estimate the amount of credit and more.

People with disabilities are often concerned that a tax refund will impact their eligibility for one or more public benefits, including Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. The law is clear that tax refunds, including refunds from tax credits such as the EITC, are not counted as income for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits. This applies to any federal program and any state or local program financed with federal funds.

The best way to get the EITC is to file electronically: through a qualified tax professional; using free community tax help sites; or through IRS Free File.

Many EITC filers will receive their refunds later this year than in past years. That’s because a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the EITC and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. Taxpayers claiming the EITC or ACTC should file as soon as they have all of the necessary documentation together to prepare an accurate return. In other words, file as they normally would.

The IRS and partners nationwide will hold the annual EITC Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 to alert millions of workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit and other refundable credits. One easy way to support this outreach effort is by participating on the IRS Thunderclap to help promote #EITCAwarenessDay through social media. For more information on EITC and other refundable credits, visit the EITC page on IRS.gov.

Home ownership is the cornerstone of a strong community

 

Becoming a homeowner is one of the defining moments in someone’s life. Luckily homeownership also comes with some great tax perks. Below are items to claim that will help towards tax deductions and refunds with a purchase of a new home.

Things to claim:

  • Your property taxes. Don’t forget to include any taxes you may have reimbursed the seller for.  These are taxes the seller had already paid before you took ownership. You won't get a 1098 report listing these taxes. Instead, that amount will be shown on the settlement sheet.
  • The mortgage interest on your primary residence, as well as on a second residence. (There are limits, but relatively few taxpayers are affected.)
  • The interest on up to $100,000 borrowed on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, regardless of the reason for the loan.
  • Points that you paid when you purchased the house (or those that you convinced the seller to pay for you).
  • The premiums paid for Mortgage Insurance Premiums, but only for policies issued after 2006. Unless Congress renews this deduction, 2016 is the last year it can be claimed. (The right to this deduction disappears as your Adjusted Gross Income rises from $100,000 to $109,000 (or

$50,000 to $54,500 for those who use married filing separately status.)

  • Home improvements required for medical care.
  • Moving Expenses
  • Home Office

Special Tax Breaks for U. S. Armed Forces

IR-2016-147, Nov. 10, 2016

WASHINGTON – As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service wants members of the military and their families to know about the special tax benefits available to them.

IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, is a free booklet packed with valuable information and tips designed to help service members and their families take advantage of all tax benefits allowed by law. Here are some of those tax benefits.

  • Combat pay is partially or fully tax-free. Service members serving in support of a combat zone may also qualify for this exclusion.
  • Reservists whose reserve-related duties take them more than 100 miles from home can deduct their unreimbursed travel expenses, even if they don’t itemize their deductions.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit may be worth up to $6,269 for low-and moderate-income service members. A special computation method is available for those who receive nontaxable combat pay. Choosing to include it in taxable income may boost the EITC, meaning owing less tax or getting a larger refund.
  • An IRA or 401(k)-type plan might mean saving for retirement and cutting taxes too. Service members who contribute to a plan, such as the Thrift Savings Plan, may also be able to claim the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit.
  • An automatic extension to file a federal income tax return is available to U.S. service members stationed abroad. Also, those serving in a combat zone typically have until 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file and to pay any tax due. For more information see Miscellaneous Provisions — Combat Zone Service.
  • Most military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season. Some also offer free tax help after the April deadline. Service members who prepare their own return qualify to e-file their federal return for free using IRS Free File.
  • Both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return, but if one spouse is absent due to certain military duty or conditions, the other spouse may be able to sign for him or her. A power of attorney is required in other instances. A military installation’s legal office may be able to help.
  • Those leaving the military and looking for work may be able to deduct some job search expenses, such as the costs of travel, preparing a resume and job placement agency fees. Moving expenses may also qualify for a tax deduction.

The IRS has a special page on IRS.gov with Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

IRS Grants Tax Relief Extension to Drought-Stricken Farmers, Ranchers; 37 States and Puerto Rico Affected

If you are a farmer or rancher forced to sell your livestock because of the drought that affects much of the nation, special IRS tax relief may help you. The IRS has extended the time to replace livestock that their owners were forced to sell due to drought. If you’re eligible, this may help you defer tax on any gains you got from the forced sales. The relief applies to all or part of 37 states and Puerto Rico affected by the drought.

Here are several points you should know about this relief:

  • Defer Tax on Drought Sales.  If the drought caused you to sell more livestock than usual, you may be able to defer tax on the extra gains from those sales.
     
  • Replacement Period.  You generally must replace the livestock within a four-year period to postpone the tax. The IRS can extend that period if the drought continues.
     
  • IRS Grants More Time.  The IRS has added one more year to the replacement period for eligible farmers and ranchers. The one-year extension of time generally applies to certain sales due to drought.
     
  • Livestock Sales that Apply.  If you are eligible, your gains on sales of livestock that you held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes apply.
     
  • Livestock Sales that Do Not Apply.  Sales of other livestock, such as those you raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes and poultry, are not eligible.
     
  • Areas Eligible for Relief.  The IRS relief applies to any farm in areas suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions during any weekly period between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2016. The National Drought Mitigation Center has listed all or parts of 37 states and Puerto Rico that qualify for relief. Any county that borders a county on the NDMC’s list also qualifies.  
     
  • 2012 Drought Sales. This extension immediately impacts drought sales that occurred during 2012.
     
  • Prior Drought Sales.  However, the IRS has granted previous extensions that affect some of these localities. This means that some drought sales before 2012 are also affected. The IRS will grant additional extensions if severe drought conditions persist.

Get more on this relief in Notice 2016-60 on IRS.gov. This includes a list of states and counties where the IRS relief applies. For more on these tax rules see Publication 225, Farmer’s Tax Guide on IRS.gov.

Keep a copy of your tax return. If you filed an extension and face the Oct. 17, 2016, filing deadline, you may need your Adjusted Gross Income amount from your 2014 tax return to file. Get a transcript of your prior year’s return at www.irs.gov/transcript.

Why You Should Franchise With In and Out

IN & OUT Tax Service is a business affiliation that brings a team of local preparers together with a powerful back office support including a comprehensive knowledge base. With the comprehensive business plan incorporated into our unique business model, you can form an affiliation with us as we form units around the country that are highly profitable because they are built with the most advanced technology and powerful marketing engines. Yes, we are all about business!

We want to walk through 5 reasons you should franchise with IN & Out Tax Services.

1.       We have system in place that works

Franchising with us is, franchising with our system - an entire method of doing business. Having a proven system already in place eliminates the guesswork and errors a common business owner would normally face. Setting you up for success.

2.       Training

We are committed to making the process of becoming a business affiliate with IN & Out Tax Service as easy as possible. As part of your comprehensive training, prior to the formation of an affiliate relationship, we encourage you to attend our Basic Affiliate Initial Training (BAIT) which is an information packed 5-day training program in Southfield, MI or Atlanta, GA.

3.       Ongoing support

Our Support Team is here to guide you through the necessary steps to get your IN & OUT Tax Service operation open and ready for business. We will share our considerable experience and successful tax business marketing strategies with you by assigning you a Business Professional Coaches.

4.       Marketing

We produce all marketing, and as an IN & OUT Tax Service affiliate, you can benefit from knowing that a common message with powerful branding is working daily. Our materials include customized folders, postcards, designed to bring clients into the locations and to capture their business for life.

5.       No cost for additional locations

A typical location can range in cost from as low as $500 up to $10,000 and we show how our affiliates get this done. Opportunities are priced to make it easy to get into the tax business. In some cases, even when you don’t have cash today!

Tax Scams To Look Out For

With Tax season approaching quickly, we want you to be prepared for scammers. We are sharing some of the most common tax related scam.

If you receive calls from an employee of the IRS that are aggressive in nature they are most likely part of IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam. These representatives will use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers to gather personal informative from you.

Note that the IRS will never:

•Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.

•Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

•Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

The IRS saw an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents in the 2016 tax season. Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. This scam is used to gather information about your tax return. You are risking losing money owed to you if you are not aware.

What do you do if you get these messages?

•Do not respond to the email or click on the links.

•Instead, they should forward the scam emails to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov

REMEMBER: The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.  In addition, IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action.  Being able to recognize these tell-tale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim.

Employers Face New Jan. 31 W-2 Filing Deadline; Some Refunds Delayed Until Feb. 15

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, will accelerate the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. For similar reasons, the new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15. Here are details on each of these key dates.

New Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes a new requirement for employers. They are now required to file their copies of Form W-2, submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.

In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit their copies of these forms. In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file the Form W-2. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and this extension is not automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as you know an extension is necessary, but by January 31. Please carefully review the instructions for Form 8809, for more information.

“As tax season approaches, the IRS wants to be sure employers, especially smaller businesses, are aware of these new deadlines,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We are working with the payroll community and other partners to share this information widely.”

The new accelerated deadline will help the IRS improve its efforts to spot errors on returns filed by taxpayers. Having these W-2s and 1099s earlier will make it easier for the IRS to verify the legitimacy of tax returns and properly issue refunds to taxpayers eligible to receive them. In many instances, this will enable the IRS to release tax refunds more quickly than in the past.

The Jan. 31 deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies of these forms to their employees and that date remains unchanged.

Some Refunds Delayed Until at Least Feb. 15

Due to the PATH Act change, some people will get their refunds a little later. The new law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC.

Even with this change, taxpayers should file their returns as they normally do. Whether or not claiming the EITC or ACTC, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. Though the IRS issues more than nine out 10 refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review.

IR-2016-143, Oct. 28, 2016

The Truth about the Marriage Penalty

Now that you have arrived back from your honeymoon, you may be nervous of what effects marriage may have on your taxes, the dreaded marriage penalty. Well we are happy to tell you that it is not as scary as you may think. Most married couples get a marriage bonus and pay less income tax than they would if each partner were single.

Over the years, Congress has made important strides toward alleviating the marriage penalty. Congress took steps to reduce that penalty, ensuring that the joint tax bill for married couples remains closer to the combined total they would have owed as single taxpayers. The top of the 10% and 15% brackets on joint returns are now precisely twice as high as the ceilings on single returns (they used to be less than double. Depending on the incomes, there still can be a marriage penalty. But if the taxpaying spouses have substantially different salaries, the lower one can pull the higher one down into a lower bracket, reducing their overall taxes.

One thing to take into consideration when filing jointly is tax deductions. The US tax code allows taxpayers to claim deductions (such as charitable contributions, mortgage interest, or payments for state taxes) on their income. Taxpayers can choose either an automatic standard deduction or else can choose to itemize their deductions. Two single people filing separate returns can each choose the deduction policy that benefits them more, but a married couple filing a single return will both be forced to use the same method. For example, if one person has no significant deductions, the person can take the standard deduction ($6,100 as of 2013). A different person, who has, for example, $10,000 in charitable contributions, would be better off itemizing his deductions since the standard deduction is $6,100 (single, 2013 tax year).

As higher incomes fall into higher brackets, though, the breakpoints on a joint return aren’t quite double the level on a single return. That could impose a marriage penalty, but it doesn’t guarantee one. The more unequal the spouses’ income, the more likely that combining them on a joint return will pull some of the higher-earner’s income into a lower bracket. That’s where much of the marriage tax bonus comes from — the fact that one spouse often makes much more income than the other. How you’ll fare depends on how your income compares with your husband’s or wife’s.

What You Need To Know About Obtaining Your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

The first step in becoming a Tax Preparer is to apply for your PTIN.

The Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is an identification number that all paid tax return preparers must use on U.S. federal tax returns or claims for refund submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Anyone who, for compensation, prepares all or substantially all of any federal tax return or claim for refund must obtain a PTIN issued by the IRS.

Before you begin your PTIN application, be sure you have the following available:

  • Social Security Number

  • Personal information (name, mailing address, date of birth)

  • Business information (name, mailing address, telephone number)

  • Previous year’s individual tax return (name, address, filing status) 1

  • Explanations for felony convictions (if any) 2

  • Explanations for problems with your U.S. individual or business tax obligations (if any) 2

  • Credit or debit card for the $50.00 PTIN user fee

  • If applicable, any U.S.-based professional certification information (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary, certified acceptance agent, or state license) including certification number, jurisdiction of issuance, and expiration date

Once you gather all of your information, just follow four easy steps to obtain your PTIN:

  • Create Your Account — First, you must create an account by providing your name, email address and security question information. The system will then email your temporary password, which you will change when you go back to enter your information in the PTIN application

  • Apply for Your PTIN — You will complete the online application by providing personal information, information about your previous year’s tax return, professional credentials, and more as shown above.

  • Pay Your Fee — The application will transfer you to our partner bank where you will make your payment of $50.00 by credit card or direct debit.

  • Get Your PTIN — After the bank confirms your payment, your PTIN is provided online.

5 BUSINESS EXPENSES THAT ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE

1. Education:

• Webinars

• Seminars

• Workshops (in-person and online)

• Conferences (in-person and online)

• E-Books

• Online Courses

• Business/Inspiration Books

2. Advertising:

• Facebook Ads

• Pinterest Ads

• Instagram Ads

• Google Ads

• Print Ads

• Various forms of blog advertising including sidebar ads and sponsored posts

3. Online Specific:

• Domain Names

• Hosting Fees

• Site Design and Maintenance

• Site Security and Backup

• Software Subscriptions

• Email Marketing (i.e. MailChimp, ConvertKit, etc.)

• Course Development (i.e. Teachable, WebinarJam, etc.)

• Stock Photography

• Fonts

4. Supplies:

• Notebooks

• Paper

• Pens

• Highlighters

• Planners

• Sticky Notes

• Items specifically used for recipe or stock photo development

5. Equipment:

• Camera

• Webcam

• Tripod (for your iPhone, too!)

• Other Photography Equipment (i.e. Reflectors, Flash, Lights, Lenses)

• Microphone

• Computer

• Desk

• Bookshelves

• Filing Cabinets