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Where to Find IRS Form 1040 and Instructions

Are you aware that there are a few different kinds of IRS form 1040 and instructions? It’s best to know which income tax form suits with your specific circumstance and lets you declare the earnings, deductions, credits, etc. that relate to you.

The Most Common 1040 Forms and Instructions:

  • IRS Tax Form 1040 (Individual Income Tax Return in the U.S.)
  • The Long Form or Form 1040 (Individual Income Tax Return in the U.S.)
  • The Short Form or Form 1040A (Individual Income Tax Return in the U.S.)
  • Form 1040EZ (Income Tax Return for Unmarried and Combined Filers Who Have No Dependents)
  • Form 1040NR (U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return)
  • Form 1040NR-EZ (U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Non-resident Aliens Who Have No Dependents)

There are various methods to get tax form 1040 & instructions. The quickest and most effective choice is to download the tax form to your computer. In addition, almost all post offices and neighborhood libraries have tax forms and instructions available throughout tax season, and forms are also available from a tax center or an IRS office.

Additionally, you could ask for a tax form to be delivered to you from the IRS by U.S. Mail.

IRS 2016 Form 1040 is Known as the Long FormIRS form 1040 and instructions

Form 1040 is the usual federal income tax form widely used to record an individual’s gross earnings (e.g., income, products, real estate, and services). It is usually referred to as “the long form” since it is more in depth compared to the shorter 1040A and 1040EZ income tax forms.

Also in contrast to the various other tax forms, IRS form 1040 permits taxpayers to claim several expenditures and tax incentives, list deductions, and modify income. Although the 1040 usually takes more time to fill out, it rewards taxpayers by offering them extra possibilities to reduce their income tax bills.

The 2017 – 1040 Form is usually due by April 15th 2018, except if you request an automatic tax extension. Should you not submit by this date, you are usually subject to fines and/or overdue charges. It is possible to ask for a tax extension by sending in IRS Tax Form 4868 by the initial submitting due date (April 15).

When Getting Ready to Fill out Your Tax Forms

Even before you start doing your 1040 tax forms, you need to have the following material ready:

  • Valid identification
  • Submitting status and Residency status
  • Social Security Numbers for yourself (and also your partner and any dependents)
  • Birth dates for yourself (along with your partner, plus any dependents)
  • A duplicate of your previous income tax return
  • Documents of salary received (e.g., W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, etc.)
  • Statements of interest/dividends from finance institutions, brokerages, etc.
  • Evidence of any tax credits, tax deductions, or tax exemption
  • Your checking account number and routing number (for Direct Deposit)

Keep in mind that IRS Tax Form 1040, with payment amount, is owed by April 15th. A 6-month tax continuance may be allowed (with IRS Tax Form 4868) for overdue submitting, however payments still have to be made by April 15th. You can file Form 1040 by paper mail, via IRS e-file, or by way of a certified tax preparer.

1040 Tax Form Video by TurboTax

Get Your Refund Faster by Filing Online

Filing income taxes online is usually safer, quicker, and simpler ― and you can get your tax refund a lot faster should you opt for the Direct Deposit method. While there are a few income tax forms to pick from when preparing your federal income taxes, a reliable option is to use IRS Form 1040 when you are not sure if you will be eligible for the 1040A or 1040EZ.

  • The standard guideline is: If uncertain, submit Tax Form 1040.
  • You have to submit Form 1040 once any of the following apply:
  • You have taxable earnings of $100,000 or higher
  • You have self-employment earnings of $400 and up
  • You had income tax being taken from paychecks
  • You made anticipated income tax payments, or have overpayment that is applicable to the current tax year
  • You have listed deductions (e.g., mortgage, interest fees, or charitable donation)
  • You generate revenue from a company, S-corporation, partnership, trust, rental, or farm
  • You have sold real estate, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  • You are claiming revenue alterations (for tuition, educator fees, relocating costs, or health savings accounts)
  • You got an advance payment for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from a company
  • You have a W-2 that indicates uncollected tax (from tips or group term life insurance coverage), or a W-2 that demonstrates a code Z (earnings from a 409A non-qualified deferred payment program)
  • You owe excise tax on insider stock payment (from an expatriated enterprise)
  • You are a person in debt in a Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy case (submitted after October 16, 2005)
  • You make foreign income, paid foreign income taxes, or are claiming tax treaty benefits
  • You are obligated to repay any further special taxes (e.g., recapture taxes, household employment tax, alternative minimum tax, etc.)

Help at Tax Time

form 1040 onlineWhen you file your taxes online it will be like an interview. They will ask easy to answer questions while filling in the correct tax forms for you behind the scenes.

The answers you provide will enable them to see which deductions and credits you qualify for. In the event that you are unsure how to answer a question there are tax experts readily available to help you.

Online tax filing insures that you get the largest refund possible. There’s even a free tax refund calculator available that allows you to know the amount of money that you will be getting back.

 

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H & R Block Online Tax Filing Review

H & R Block is one of the names that many Americans know. They have their distinctive green square everywhere when tax season comes near. They are so well known nationally that even small towns have stand-alone shops set up.H & R Block 2016 online

In addition to being an in person tax agency, H & R Block 2017, 2018 also has very popular online tax filing programs and free tax calculators.

They have created software’s that are suitable for tax situations of all sizes. These software’s can be ideal for those who don’t want to waste time waiting in an office or want to avoid having to pay an arm and a leg for the “in person” experience.

H &R Block’s discount pricing is considered one of the most affordable. They always recommend their online services for those who are on a budget and have basic tax knowledge.

Plans, Pricing, and Features

H & R Block uses an interview style when it comes to helping home filers prepare their federal and state returns. The process is thorough too, so you can rest assured that you are completing everything correctly and claiming all of the deductions and credits that you are eligible for.

When you are first starting out, you have four pricing plans to choose from. You can start with the free plan, but if you need to do something that the plan does not cover, you will promptly be directed to upgrade in order for you to continue your return.

Below are the four plans that H & R Block has available.

Free Plan: This version is very basic and is suggested for those who have simple tax returns. You can itemize deductions and report your ordinary dividend or interest income. However, you cannot import prior years and you are unable to calculate or claim the EIC, (Earned Income Credit).

Lastly, while it is free to file your federal return, you have to pay $9.99 to do your state return. See the Free Plan features below:

  • Itemized Deductions: You can file Schedule 1040A and if you are unsure if you need to itemize or not the interview questions can help you decide.
  • Schedule B Support: If you have more than $1500 in ordinary dividend or interest income, you will probably have to file a Schedule B. This version provides support including checking for relevant credits and deductions.
  • W-2 Importing: You can import unlimited W-2’s and record all of your W-2 income.
  • Affordable Care Act Requirements Support: You will be asked a series of questions about your health insurance coverage for the tax year. All H & R Block at Home support forms and documentation required to prove that you had coverage for the year, or to handle penalties if not.
  • 5% Refund Bonus: If your refund is more than $100, H & R Block offers a 5% bonus when you accept part or all of it as a gift card from several dozen retailers, such as Best Buy and Target (you can select multiple retailers).

Basic Plan: This plan has a ton of similarities to the Free Plan.  The major differences are it has better importing capabilities and you can access prior year’s returns. Its free for both federal and state filing with this plan, however, you will have to pay $36.99 per state if you file from your mobile device. It includes all of the free plan features and some additional features too:

  • Schedule EIC Support: Those who qualify for the EIC need this version of the software to claim it.
  • Access to Past Tax Returns: Access past prepared and filed tax returns with H & R Block for the past six years.
  • Past Year Return Importing: Import all of the information from your past years returns from Turbo Tax and TaxACT in PDF form.
  • Support for EITC Filers: This version will provide you with everything that you need in order to claim the EITC.
  • Mobile Apps: You can use the mobile app to file your tax return.

Deluxe Plan: The Deluxe Plan charges you $24.99 to file your federal return and $36.99 per state return. It is recommended for those with capital gains or losses and those who made charitable donations over $500 in the tax year. It even includes a nice refund bonus. You receive all of the benefits from the Basic plan as well as:

  • Support for Charitable Donations: Receive detailed guidance and support for cash and non-cash charitable donations that totaled more than $500.
  • Support for Schedule D: Receive support and a walk thru of all of the relevant credits and deductions if you had capital gains or losses from the sale of securities, real property, and other assets.
  • 10% Refund Bonus: If you go with the gift card refund, you will receive a 10% increase.

Premium Plan: This plan is recommended for business owners, property owners, self-employed individuals, and anyone else who has a complex tax situation. It costs $44.99 to file your federal return and $36.99 for each state return. It includes the same features as the Deluxe plan and:

  • Schedule C Support: If you have to pay self-employment tax, you will have to file a Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ. With this plan, you will get all of the support you need to make sure you are getting all of the credits and deductions that you are eligible for.
  • Schedule E Support: If you own and earn income from a rental real estate, you have to file Schedule E. Premium will provide you with support including all of the supplementary forms you need to file and double check for credits and deductions that you are eligible for.

Additional Features

In addition to the standard plans that they have available for customers, H & R Block has introduced some additional features that are beneficial to their customers.

  • Free, Live Phone and Chat Support: You can have access to tax professionals and customer support members via phone and live chat. Normally, this is available Monday-Friday from 10am to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm, but during tax season, 24/7 support is available.
  • Real Time Refund Updates: As you are preparing your return you will see that your refund amount will go up and down (left sidebar) as new information is added in. In addition to tracking changes in real time, you will also be alerted as to why the changes are made. You can also use their online tax refund calculator to see your refund in advance.
  • Create Your Account Later – H & R Block allows you to start your tax return without creating an account. You have to have an account to file and pay, save, return, and exit, but you can test the waters without creating an account.
  • In-Person Audit Support – H & R Block offers free in person audit support to all of their customers. They will help you at your local office to understand the notices, gather documents to respond to the audit, review the findings of the audit, and offer guidance for responding. If you are not an H & R Block customer, you can pay a fee for their assistance.
  • Pay with Refund – H & R Block allows you to use your refund to pay for their services, so you do not have to pay upfront. However, they do charge a $34.99 processing fee for federal returns and a $13 fee for state returns. In addition, you have to pay the filing fee with the return that it originated from.

Advantages

  1. Affordable compared to some alternatives – Thanks to their selection of plans, H & R Block is able to be more affordable than some of their competitors. Discounts can also be found online.
  2. In-Person audit shows they are confident – If you are audited after using their online or in person services, they provide you with free audit assistance. This shows that they are confident that their services are providing you with accurate returns.
  3. Refund bonus is unbeatable – With their refund bonus, you can boost your federal refund by up to 10%. In addition to getting your refund in the form of a gift card, you have a wide selection of retailers to choose from too.
  4. Upfront, detailed information about the Affordable Care Act issues – After you put your personal information in or import your return, you are immediately directed to a series of questions about your health insurance to get the Affordable Care Act out of the way immediately.
  5. Account creation is not required from the start – While you cannot complete a return without an account, they are allowing you to “try before you buy”.
  6. You can pay with federal and state refunds – You can avoid paying your fees upfront by paying the appropriate fee with the corresponding refund amount.
  7. Physical Branches are available – Not only are you able to do live chat and phone support, but if you need in person relations to get your taxes finished, you can easily stop by your local H & R Block branch.

Closing Thoughts

Choosing an online tax preparation program is something that takes careful thinking. You want to make sure that you are doing business with a business that has real people available who have your back throughout the entire filing process and after. Lower your risk of auditing and find filing taxes easier with H & R Block.

 

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Two Websites That Can Calculate Your 2018 Tax Refund

By now, you’ve probably gotten taxes out of the way for the 2017 tax season. However, if you want to be a financially conscious person you should already be preparing for the 2018 tax filing season.

Tax Refund Calculator 2016If you are expecting a tax refund, you probably want to know just how much of a refund you can expect. However, coming up with an accurate estimation is not always easy. Therefore, this article will discuss two websites that offer a free tax refund calculator for 2018.

TurboTax Tax Refund Calculator

An increasing number of people are turning to TurboTax to get their income tax prepared and filed every year. Their user friendly tools take all the hard work and stress out of tax form preparation and will always get you the largest refund.

One popular tool is the TurboTax tax refund calculator because it is very user friendly and it is attractive. The graphics and sliders make understanding taxes very easy and it updates your estimate as you add in information.

Estimating your tax refund or balanced owed does not have to be complex. In fact, the online calculators make it easy for anyone. All you have to do is answer some basic questions and the calculators provide you with an estimate. Many taxpayers find that using the tax refund calculator only takes them a few moments.

H&R Block Refund Calculator

H & R Block has been helping American’s with their taxes since 1955, when their first office opened. Back then, they were offering high interest loans based on someone’s estimated tax refund.

Now that those programs have been discontinued, they still make it their business to help you see what amount you can expect in your tax refund. Just go here if you would like to use the H & R Block tax refund calculator. You can rest assured it’s up to date by the latest IRS tax figures.

Step 1 – Run Your Numbers in the Tax Refund Calculator

Answer the simple questions the calculator asks. You don’t have to be 100% exact, you just have to give a good estimate. If your tax situation changes you can always come back to the calculator again.

As you answer the questions, you will see that the information that you enter changes. You will even have access to your total income, adjustments, deductions, and other important numbers in the form of a tax summary.

Step 2 – Consider “What If” Scenarios

Did you go through the calculator and find out that your refund is low or your balance due is too high. If so, try playing around with different scenarios so you can reach a number that you are satisfied with. For example, you could increase your charitable contributions or add in some energy saving home improvements.

In the event that you foresee your income changing, you may want to try estimating taxes with a lower or higher income so you can see just how much of a difference it makes when tax time rolls around.

Step 3 – Estimate Again Once Time Has Passed

Anytime something changes with your tax situation you want to come back to the calculator again. This will allow you to ensure that you are always on the right track financially. The more you estimate your taxes, the better prepared you can be when it comes time to file.

Tax laws change throughout the year, but by using a tax calculator, you can make sure that you are prepared. By utilizing a tax refund calculator, you can have a peace of mind knowing that your tax outcome is going to be the best one possible.

Video – How to Use an Online Tax Refund Estimator

When Will You Get Your Refund?

Once you have your return accepted by the IRS your refund is based on the IRS E-file Refund Cycle Dates. It is estimated that if you electronically filed and selected direct deposit as your payment receivable method, you should get your refund in no more than 2 weeks. However, if you are waiting for a paper check it can take an additional week.

get your tax refund faster with efileWhen you eFile, you will be able to check your tax refund in real time using the “Where’s My Refund Tool” by the IRS within 24 hours after it has been received. Paper filing can take up to a month to be able to track your refund status through this tool.

Additionally, in order to use the tool you have to provide your social security number/EIN, filing status, and the exact amount of your projected refund. When you enter this information your estimated refund release date will be added. The date provided is not set in stone, which means you should check the status on a weekly basis.

Closing Thoughts

Estimating your refund does not have to be hard, thanks to the Free TurboTax refund calculator and the Free H&R Block refund calculator. You can plan and make sure that you spend your refund wisely when it arrives. The IRS says that taxpayers should expect to receive their refunds within 21 days after they file their tax returns.

Whether you are looking forward to paying off some debt or taking a vacation, direct deposit will get you your refund the quickest. Additionally, it is the safest way to get your money as paper checks can be lost or even stolen. Keep in mind, the IRS takes at least six weeks to replace a paper check that hasn’t been cashed and if it is cashed it can take even longer.

Lastly, keep in mind the child tax credits, earned income credits, and federal income tax brackets change yearly, therefore, you could be getting an even larger tax refund when the new laws go into place.

 

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IRS Federal Income Tax Form 1040A

tax form 1040aThe IRS form 1040A is one of the three forms you can use when filing your federal taxes. While it is longer than and more complex than form 1040EZ, it is shorter and simpler than form 1040.

To use this tax form you must not have a taxable income that exceeds $100,000 and you must claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing your deductions.

Where to Get a 1040a Tax Form

Form 1040-A  Instructions

Filing Status and Exemptions

You must list out your exemptions and select your filing status before moving on to report your income. This is because each filing status has a different tax bracket for calculating your income.

The good news is your filing status doesn’t affect your exemption amount for yourself and your dependents. Exemptions work like deductions, which mean they reduce your taxable income. Therefore, the more exemptions you have the more your taxable income is reduced, which means the lower your tax liability will be. The top section of the form also includes a section for you to list the name, social security number, and relationship of all of the dependents you are claiming on the form.

Allowable Income on Form 1040A

You can only report specific types of income on this tax form. You are only allowed to include wages, salaries and tips, interest and dividend income, capital gains, IRS, pension and annuity distributions, unemployment compensation, Alaska permanent fund dividends, and social security benefits. Any other type of income, such as self-employment income, must be reported, but you are required to file the full-length form 1040.

Once you have reported all of your income, you will then be able to claim specific adjustments to get to your adjusted gross income (AGI). Some of these deductions include educator expenses, IRA contributions, student loan interest and tuition payments.

Reporting Tax, Credits and Payments on Form 1040A

The second page of this tax form is where you deduct the standard deduction and your exemption allowances from your AGI to get your taxable income. After this, it is time to determine how much you owe in taxes by finding the correct range for your taxable income and filing status using the tax tables in the instructions.

When you have determined your tax, you will then claim limited tax credits that you qualify for. Some of the allowable tax credits include child and dependent care expenses, the credit for the elderly or disabled and education tax credits. These credits reduce your taxes owed by the dollar. Once this is done you then have to lower the number even more by subtracting the tax payments you already made during the year via withholdings from your employer.

When to Use Tax Form 1040A – TurboTax Video

The Difference between Form 1040A and Form 1040

While the filing status and exemption section on the two forms are similar there are differences between these two forms. For example, 1040A is much shorter than the standard 1040 form since you can only report a limited amount of income and make a limited amount of adjustments to your income. The main difference is form 1040A doesn’t allow you to itemize your deductions, but form 1040 does.

Why File with TurboTax?

When you file and prepare your federal taxes with TurboTax, you do not need to know tax forms or tax laws. They ask you simple questions, fill in the correct form, and do all of the mathematical calculations for you.

They even have a free tax refund calculator available that allows you to know the amount of money that you will be getting back in your tax refund. Their online filing services has the ability to import your W2 information into your tax return so you can avoid worrying about your forms being delivered via snail mail.

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TaxCaster 2018 Tax Refund Calculator

Tax season is just around the corner. That means it’s time to start thinking about your tax refund and how much you might be getting back.

taxcaster 2017The TurboTax TaxCaster is an all-in-one online tax tool that helps you work out a range of tax-related figures.

This free tax refund calculator can be accessed online, and because you can use the calculator anonymously, you can rest assured that your personal information is protected.

Let’s look at TaxCaster 2018 and see how it analyzes your income and key tax factors to determine an income tax refund estimate for 2017 – 2018 that you can use to budget accordingly.

How TurboTax TaxCaster Works

The calculator uses information about the deductions and exemptions that you qualify for, and factors them into a calculation to work out your total taxable income.

This total is then used to work out how much you owe the IRS, or how much you should be refunded, again by working out any potential tax credits and outstanding amounts owed to you.

Determining your Deductions

There are certain payments, transactions, and expenses that will be subtracted from your tax payments. These are called tax deductions: tax deductible payments that mean you can claim a refund back from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Here are several common tax deductions:

  • Interest on your mortgage
  • Charitable donations
  • Municipal income taxes (both state and local)
  • Real estate tax
  • Certain medical and educational costs.

Here are 10 more tax deductions you may qualify for:

Tracking these deductions throughout the year will help you to work out both your local and state tax liability, but there’s a much easier way. The TurboTax TaxCaster is programmed to understand your potential deductions, and factors them into your overall tax refund estimate.

Qualifying for Exemptions

Most people do not realize that they could qualify for tax exemptions that can go a long way to reducing their tax bills.

These exemptions are structured on certain tiers, meaning you can qualify for different exemptions. There are personal exemptions, which cover individual costs; dependent exemptions that may apply to costs for your family members, and local city, state, or county exemptions that apply to you based on where you stay or do business.

Qualification for an exemption means that you do not have to pay tax on a certain transaction type or amount, which can go a long way to keeping you in the tax man’s good books. These exemptions are particularly useful if your estimate suggests you are not on track to claim a refund.

Do your research and make sure you keep up to date with the annual changes to tax legislation to not only select, but qualify for, a lucrative tax exemption.

Understanding AMT

AMT stands for Alternative Minimum Tax, and it forms another filter that will be applied when determining your tax status.

AMT is applied to companies, people, and certain types of investment accounts at a consistent rate that is based on the difference between their taxable income and the exemption threshold.

What makes AMT so complex is that it is calculated per different criteria. In addition to normal tax, it factors in asset depreciation and ongoing medical costs meaning the AMT repayment is not automatically the same as your standard tax figures.

Although it sounds complex, the bottom line is that you will be expected to pay the higher of the two tax rates if your federal tax payment is less than the AMT amount calculated. This means that it is essential to know both numbers so that you know what you’re going to pay.

You Can Use the Tax Caster for Free

Unlike the old days when working out your tax payments involved a trip to the tax man, you can use the TaxCaster calculator anywhere, because it is an online tool. For added convenience, you can also download the app.

The tax refund calculator can be accessed any time, meaning you always know exactly where you stand when it comes to your total pay, taxable income, marginal tax rate and whether you will be receiving a refund or a bill come tax time.

It’s an absolute must – try it out today!

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