Gotcha: The Alternative Minimum Tax

Tax Act

Gotcha: The Alternative Minimum Tax

The Alternative Minimum Tax was established in 1969 as an alternative tax system for individuals that were able to avoid paying taxes while still earning above average incomes. The system is not indexed to inflation and over time has been applied to more and more medium income households. Recent changes to the tax code have attempted to minimize this negative and unexpected event.

Taxpayers find when their taxable income reaches a certain level and they have the right mix of tax adjustments that the AMT applies and increases their taxes for the year. Accountants are … Read more at 2009 Taxes

Tax Act

Gotcha: The Alternative Minimum Tax

The Alternative Minimum Tax was established in 1969 as an alternative tax system for individuals that were able to avoid paying taxes while still earning above average incomes. The system is not indexed to inflation and over time has been applied to more and more medium income households. Recent changes to the tax code have attempted to minimize this negative and unexpected event.

Taxpayers find when their taxable income reaches a certain level and they have the right mix of tax adjustments that the AMT applies and increases their taxes for the year. Accountants are at times able to move spouses out of the AMT tax by filing them separately and shifting mortgage deductions and child deductions to the spouse will less income.

For 2009, the AMT levels were raised which will help reduce it’s affect on middle America. Based on your filing status the levers are now $70.950 for married couples filing jointly and widows/widowers, $46,700 for single filers and heads of households, and $35,475 for married couples filing separately. There are a couple deductions for AMT including tax on the purchase of a new automobile, and state and local taxes.

Know Your Tax Record Basics

Tax Act

Know Your Tax Record Basics

A significant number of citizens have grown responsible and started filing their tax returns. But what bothers most to these responsible citizens is keeping their tax record safe. The most pertinent question that they ask themselves is: “What is my tax record and how long do I have to keep them with me?”

Your tax records are your tax returns and the set of documents that have been furnished along with your returns. The supporting documents that you need to keep are various receipts, your bank statements and 1099s, etc. If you ever … Read more at 2009 Taxes

Tax Act

Know Your Tax Record Basics

A significant number of citizens have grown responsible and started filing their tax returns. But what bothers most to these responsible citizens is keeping their tax record safe. The most pertinent question that they ask themselves is: “What is my tax record and how long do I have to keep them with me?”

Your tax records are your tax returns and the set of documents that have been furnished along with your returns. The supporting documents that you need to keep are various receipts, your bank statements and 1099s, etc. If you ever have to face the auditing of your accounts, your tax record will be essential to protect you from the IRS.

Keeping the Tax Returns

A nasty audit can ruin you, particularly when you fail to keep your tax returns in place where you can get to them when asked to produce them by the auditor. Misplacing your tax returns can make you vulnerable to IRS. People who have a habit of doubting every good or bad circumstance might see a lost return as an attempt to hide tax fraud. But the fact is that millions of returns bombard the IRS over the course of three months and there is indeed a fair chance of returns being misplaces. So, it is always prudent to keep copies of your tax returns.

Now, have a look at the IRS e-file program. You may prefer to file your tax return electronically, but you need to be sure that you get copies of your return. The company filing your return is responsible for providing you with a paper copy of your tax return.

How long?

You need to keep your tax records safe for a minimum of six years. This period is counted from the date when your return was actually filed. In most cases, the IRS audits your accounts which are no further than three years old from your filing date. For instance, if you filed your tax return of 2005 on March 31, 2006, the IRS will initiate an audit by March 31, 2009. You need to keep in mind that in the case you filed an extension; the IRS waits three years from the date the return was filed.

However, there are some exceptions that prevail upon this time period. If you filed a tax return that kept many questions answered to the IRS, they are will not be satisfied by a simple three-year audit period. If more than 25% of your gross earnings are not reported adequately, the IRS will surely go back even further, up to an additional three years. So, a six year period is always wise to keep your tax record safe.

Maintaining Your Property Records

So, you own a property? You may need a filing cabinet to keep your many property related documents. A property kept for an extended duration requires maintaining various kinds of documents. For example, if you purchased a property in 2000 for $10 million and incurred expenses of $1, 00,000 in improvements; you will have to keep the purchase records, mortgage deeds as well as the receipts related to the improvements. In case you want to sell the home, these records will be required to ascertain the tax related consequences and the profit realized from the sale. When the IRS questions your reported profit, you will need to have your tax records handy to answer their queries. When you sell your property, you must keep all your tax records for six years.

When you get a Divorce

When you decide to divorce your spouse, you must keep copies of all of your tax records with your other financial documents. You need to keep copies of all documents and court orders pertaining to your divorce that have any mention of your property and finances. After a divorce, the tax implications can be shattering for some couples, if they fail to maintain their tax records. At times, you may have to ask for information from your ex-spouse. Keep all your tax records safe to avoid any future complications.

Nobody feels happy when required to show their tax records to the IRS. But if you ever have to ever face an audit, maintaining your tax records can often protect you from the negative consequences.

Tax Tip: Double Check Payroll Withholding

Tax Act

Tax Tip: Double Check Payroll Withholding

The IRS has released a new tax tip for 2009 which describes why it is important to double check your payroll withholding during the year so you will not be surprised when you file you taxes and did not without enough federal tax. With the reductions in withholding under the Making Work Pay Credit passed by the government, some Americans may not be withholding enough tax based on their incomes.

Affected Groups

Groups that might fall into this category include multiple job holders, spouses that both work, and workers that are claimed as dependents … Read more at 2009 Taxes

Tax Act

Tax Tip: Double Check Payroll Withholding

The IRS has released a new tax tip for 2009 which describes why it is important to double check your payroll withholding during the year so you will not be surprised when you file you taxes and did not without enough federal tax. With the reductions in withholding under the Making Work Pay Credit passed by the government, some Americans may not be withholding enough tax based on their incomes.

Affected Groups

Groups that might fall into this category include multiple job holders, spouses that both work, and workers that are claimed as dependents on their parents tax return. If these groups do not adjust in time to collect additional taxes during the year, they may owe taxes when they file in 2010.

Making A Change

Taxpayers can visit the IRS website to learn more about adjusting their withholding and can also read the instructions that accompany the W-4, Withholding Allowance Certificate, form. Once completed, returning the form to your employer will correct any necessary withholding issues that you currently have.

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Do You Need to File a Tax Return?

Tax Act

Do You Need to File a Tax Return?

Most American citizens need to file a tax return but there are some individuals due to age, filing status and income that are not required to do so. An example is a married couple filing jointly that earned less than $17,900 during 2008. The exception to the rule is if one of the individuals is self employed. Self employed individuals always need to file a return if they earned over $400 for the tax year.

Choose to File

If you contact a tax specialist or call the IRS and determine that you … Read more at 2009 Taxes

Tax Act

Do You Need to File a Tax Return?

Most American citizens need to file a tax return but there are some individuals due to age, filing status and income that are not required to do so. An example is a married couple filing jointly that earned less than $17,900 during 2008. The exception to the rule is if one of the individuals is self employed. Self employed individuals always need to file a return if they earned over $400 for the tax year.

Choose to File

If you contact a tax specialist or call the IRS and determine that you do not need to file a return there are cases where you would want to file a return anyway. For instance, if you paid taxes to the federal government through payroll deductions and are expecting a refund. Other cases include if you are eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit, if you can claim the Earned Income Credit, or you are a first time home buyer and eligible for a tax credit.

2 Important Changes in the Tax Law this Tax Season

Tax Act

2 Important Changes in the Tax Law this Tax Season

The Standard Mileage Rates for travel in 2008 have improved to help compensate for higher gas prices experienced during the year. While the Kiddie Tax has been adjusted to include more children.

1. Standard Mileage Rates Change

The only standard mileage rate to not change is the mileage rate for volunteer travel. But all other forms including business and medical travel have increased. The mileage rate for business travel increases to 50.5 cents a mile for the first half of the year while the second half of the year gets … Read more at 2009 Taxes

Tax Act

2 Important Changes in the Tax Law this Tax Season

The Standard Mileage Rates for travel in 2008 have improved to help compensate for higher gas prices experienced during the year. While the Kiddie Tax has been adjusted to include more children.

1. Standard Mileage Rates Change

The only standard mileage rate to not change is the mileage rate for volunteer travel. But all other forms including business and medical travel have increased. The mileage rate for business travel increases to 50.5 cents a mile for the first half of the year while the second half of the year gets a very favorable 58.5 cents a mile. The medical travel rates have similar increases with the first half of the year being 19 cents a mile while the second half of 2008 increases to 27 cents a mile.

2. The Children Investment Tax Have Been Changed

The so called “Kiddie Tax” has expanded to include older children and not just children younger than 18 years old. If your child is 18 years old and did not provide for at least 50% of their support during the year they will now have to have their investment income taxed at the parents tax rate. Or if you child is 18 to 24, a student, and did not support themselves above 50% of needed funds they will also have investment earnings taxed at the higher parental rate.