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What is the Standard Deduction?

standard deduction

The standard deduction grew significantly under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). However, despite the standard deduction growing in 2018, the rise was less groundbreaking in 2019.

For taxpayers, the standard deduction is incredibly valuable. It’s available to all taxpayers and is used to reduce total taxable income, which can lower the amount of tax owed. Most taxpayers are eligible to take the standard deduction, and most do take it.

Some taxpayers decide to itemize their deductions, however.

Let’s take a look at the latest standard deduction amounts.

What are the Standard Deduction Amounts for 2019?

If you’re single or married but filing separately, the standard deduction is $12,200. For married couples filing jointly, the standard deduction is $24,400. For heads of household, it is $18,350.

The IRS also allows taxpayers over 65 or those who are blind to also take the standard deduction. This is because if you were claimed as a dependent the amount would be much lower.

You’ll use these numbers when filing your 2019 tax return in early 2020.

Why Does the Standard Deduction Change Every Year?

The IRS makes alterations to the standard deduction due to things like inflation. The IRS also uses other factors when deciding how to change the standard deduction.

These include the changes to the alternative minimum tax exemption for single filers, the foreign earned income increase, and the fact the upper thresholds for all tax brackets have increased.

Does it Matter if I Took the Standard Deduction Last Year?

No, you can choose to itemize or take the standard deduction whenever you like. Your previous choices have no impact.

There are some situations, though, where you may not be eligible to take the standard deduction.

For example, if you’re married but filing separately and one party decides to itemize you also need to itemize.

Pros and Cons of Taking the Standard Deduction

Reasons to take the standard deduction:

  • The standard deduction is a lot bigger than it was before the TCJA. Previously, many taxpayers would need to itemize to get the same deduction.
  • It’s easier. You don’t need to provide additional documentation. The standard deduction is available to all no questions asked.

Reasons to itemize on your tax return:

Should You Itemize or Take the Standard Deduction?

That depends on your tax situation. It’s generally recommended that you run the numbers through both ways and see which deduction is bigger.

There are plenty of online tax preparation options to help you work this out.

Since the tax deduction was increased by such an amount, the majority of taxpayers will find it better to claim the standard deduction over itemizing.

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When Can I File My Taxes?

Are You Wondering When Can You File Taxes in 2020?

Now, anyone can get started with early online tax filing and get a head-start on their tax refund. TurboTax and H&R Block will both securely hold and then submit customers’ tax return to the IRS as soon as they begin accepting returns.

There is no faster way for taxpayers to get their tax refunds!

If you file your taxes online you can easily prepare and file your own taxes. Online software offers advanced tools to help you file your taxes and pay the least amount possible. They also provide extremely fast refunds.

How Soon Can I File Taxes?

first day when can you file taxes

When does tax season start in 2020? The first day to file taxes usually starts on Jan 15.

However, you can start on your taxes now, and have your taxes automatically filed the minute the IRS begins accepting tax returns.

Which means you’ll get your refund back before everybody else.

The reason why taxpayers won’t be able to submit their returns until the January start date is because the IRS has been testing its security systems and stress testing their tax processing systems in readiness for the tax season ahead. They also want to assess the impact of the latest legislation on the tax returns submitted.

As part of the Security Summit initiative, the IRS has been working closely with tax industry professionals and state revenue departments in an attempt to combat identity theft for taxpayers during this tax season.

Deadline for Filing Taxes

The filing deadline for 2020 will most likely be April 18th.

The IRS website also has a wide variety of tools and information available that can make preparing taxes easier. In addition, it is recommended that you e-file and chose direct deposit as the way to receive your refund. This ensures you keep your information safe, your return is accurate, and that you receive your refund in the fastest amount of time.

Once again, the IRS has projected that nine out of ten returns will receive their refunds in less than 21 days. If you qualify, you should also take advantage of free tax options available. You can go to the IRS.gov to the “filing” tab to see what options may be available to you.

Additional Tax Filing Facts to Keep in Mind

  • 70% of taxpayers are eligible to file their taxes via IRS Free File. Other commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand name software to 100 million individuals and families who make less than $62,000.
  • Online tax forms allow you to have electronic versions of IRS paper forms regardless of your income. They can be prepared and filed by you if you are comfortable preparing your own income taxes.
  • VITA and TCE provide free tax help to those who qualify. You can learn more about them by going to the IRS website and entering “free tax prep” in the search box. Alternatively, you can download the IRS2Go mobile app on your phone and find a free tax prep provider that way.

Tips for Filing Your Taxes

  • Organize – Make sure that you have everything that you need before you even begin working on your returns.
  • E-File – E-filing comes with so many benefits such as ease of use, quickness of filing, and identity protection.
  • Sign Up For Direct Deposit – If you want to receive your tax refund in the quickest amount of time, you need to sign up to have it direct deposited.
  • Ask Questions if Needed – If you are unsure about something ask questions. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

How to Get a Fast Tax Refund

When 2020 rolls in you can start preparing your tax return online. Once you have it completed, you will be among the first of taxpayers who have their returns processed and their refunds issued.

Keep in mind when you file your taxes with TurboTax or H&R Block the process is easy. They provide you with the largest refund possible by insuring that they ask the correct questions to find out which deductions and credits you qualify for.

You can also use their free tax refund calculators to see how much your tax refund will be. When you file your taxes online there is no way that, you can go wrong and many taxpayers are able to file their federal tax returns free or at a discount.

What to Do if You Have Not Received Your W-2

You need a w-2 form when you file a tax return

Before you can file your tax return, you have to have all of the documents needed, including your W-2. All of your employers are responsible for sending you this yet they do have until February 2nd to do so. In the event that you have not received your W-2 yet, you can follow these steps.

Contact Your Employer – If you have not received your W-2 yet, you need to contact your employer to see when they put it in the mail. It is possible that it was returned to them due to incorrect mailing details. Once you have contacted them and found out the status give it a reasonable amount of time for your W-2 to arrive.

Contact The IRS – If you have not received your W-2 after February 14th, it is time to call the IRS at 800-829-1040 for assistance. When calling make sure you have your name, address, social security number and phone number. Additionally, you will need your employer’s name, address, phone number, your employment date, the estimate wages earned from them during the year and estimated federal income tax that was withheld. To make an estimation you should refer to your most recent pay stub.

File Your Return – Even if you do not have your W-2, the IRS expects you to file by April 18, or request an extension. You can use Form 4852 Substitute for Form w-2, Wage and Tax Statement. This form should be attached to your return, however, keep in mind your refund may be delayed since the IRS has to verify your information.

File Form 1040X – If you receive your W-2 after you have filed your taxes, you must amend your return by filing Form 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

To ensure that you receive the maximum refund possible it is suggested that you file your taxes using online software. It makes filing taxes easy and when filing your taxes electronically your tax refund can be returned to you sooner.

Tax Season 2020 Start Date

Remember, if you start on your taxes now, you’ll be the first to get your refund back! You’ll be asked simple questions about your life and income and we’ll fill out all the appropriate tax forms and file them for you. With online tax filing you don’t have to wait for the IRS tax season start date.

You’ll get step-by-step instructions through your taxes, expert help when you need it and every deduction and credit that applies to you. We make sure you get the biggest refund possible.

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What is the Social Security Cap for 2020?

social security cap

The Social Security Administration released several figures pertinent to both workers and retirees. These statistics reveal there’s been a large increase in the worker wage base and a modest boost to retirement benefits.

These figures demonstrate the continuing strength of the US economy. But the social security cap will be changing as a result.

An Increasing Wage Base

The social security cap for 2020 will rise by 3.6% in 2020, to $137,700. This is the amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax. For high-income workers, this will mean a bigger tax bill at the end of the year.

The reason for the increase is the growth in wages. So now the maximum tax for all workers will be $17,074,80. The maximum that can be withheld from a paycheck in 2020 will be $8,537.40. Both employers and employees pay half the total Social Security tax.

Why its Good News for Retirees?

The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is the key figure for retirees to look out for. 63 million retirees will receive a 1.6% COLA increase in 2020. So in 2020, this will mean the average benefit rises by $1,503 per year. A retired couple will see an increase of $2,531 per year in benefit payments.

However, retirees do need to keep in mind that premiums on Part B and Part D Medicare will also increase. For now, though, the official numbers haven’t been released so we don’t know how significant this will be.

What About Earnings Limits for Workers Under Full Retirement Age?

Recipients who are under the age of 66 will see their benefits docked by $1 for every $2 in earnings above the maximum rate limit of $1,520 per month. Any worker who turns 66 in the year 2020 can earn $4,050 per month before their birthday without having their benefits docked.

But anything above this limit means they will lose $1 in benefits for every $3 they earn.

These limits don’t apply to those who have reached full retirement age.

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When Should I Expect My W-2 Form?

w2 form

Businesses have an obligation to provide W-2 Forms for all full-time employees and 1099 MISC forms for all contractors who work for them.

When they do this, they need to provide a summary of what they’ve done through Form W-3 or Form 1096, unless they’re filing their documents via online.

Employers must send their employees their W-2 forms by January 31st of next year. All other forms mentioned so far must also be provided by this date.

It’s recommended that businesses aim to provide W-2 and 1099-MISC forms online so their employees can get their W2 forms as soon as possible.

Does Your State have an Early Filing Date?

Due to the fact W-2 and 1099-MISC forms are used to file both Federal and state taxes you need to be aware that some states have early filing dates.

If you live in a state that has a filing date earlier than the set Federal date, you must conform to the earlier date. Make sure you prepare for this.

What are the Penalties for Late Filing?

There are filing penalties if you fail to provide W-2 and 1099-MISC forms in time. Penalties largely depend on what you did, whether there was intentional malice involved or whether it was a simple error in judgement. The IRS will also look into your filing history.

Penalties may be charged per return, and the maximum level is determined by the IRS itself, so penalties can easily range into the thousands of dollars.

How Can I File My Employees Forms Online?

If you want to make your life easier, you can also file these forms online. Come 2020, if you have more than 250 forms of each type to distribute then you’re legally obliged to use an online filing method.

This is reduced to 100 forms of each type in 2021. And by 2022 any employer with more than 10 forms of each type must file online, so it’s wise to get started with this system now.

For W-2 forms, you should utilize the Business Services Online Portal, provided by the Social Security Administration. To begin filing 1099-MISC forms the process is a little different. You should use the File Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) portal. You can also use a payroll service or your tax preparation software to do the same thing.

There are instructions on both systems that will guide you through the process.

What Else is Due in January 2020?

As well as the forms detailed above, employers also must file two other payroll tax reports, which are also due by January 31st.

  • Form 941 must be filed for the financial quarter of 2019, which is the quarterly tax form for employers.
  • Form 940 also needs to be filed, which is your unemployment tax report.

This all sounds complicated, but there’s help out there for employers who need some guidance. Plenty of online tax preparation platforms have all the forms you need.

They come with detailed instructions and all you have to do is enter the required information and they’ll input the information into the relevant tax forms.

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TurboTax Discount Promo Code Alert

TurboTax Discount coupon code alert

Each year TurboTax announces a discount for their online tax software which gives users up to 20% off the cost of filing their tax returns.

A live discount link will be posted here as soon as it becomes available! The discount offer is usually available from mid January to mid February and then it’s gone.

Sign-up for TurboTax Discount Alerts!

Now, you can sign-up for TurboTax Discount Alerts so you don’t miss out on this money-saving promo from TurboTax. We will send you an email notice announcing the discount with a live link inside. We promise not to spam you or share your email!


When is the TurboTax Discount Available?

  1. The TurboTax discount coupon code is a limited time offer available at certain times during the tax season.
  2. The discount has to be used with e-filing and is available for all five versions of TurboTax.
  3. Sign-up for TurboTax Discount Alerts and we will notify you as soon as the discounts become available!
  4. Discount links will be posted on this site and you will receive an email with a live discount link inside.

That means that whether you are filing your taxes using the Basic, Deluxe, Premier or the Home and Business Editions you can get a discount.

The TurboTax online tax software makes filing taxes much easier than before and with the discount coupon service code you save money on your tax filing fees.

TurboTax Gives Guided Instructions

The TurboTax online platform is extremely user-friendly giving users guided instruction to complete their tax returns. Filing taxes online has never been simpler or more convenient; the online platform is easily accessible and ensures that tax returns are filed with maximum accuracy and maximum refunds.

With e-file your tax return is simplified and you get up to $20 off the regular price. TurboTax is guaranteed to get you the maximum refund on your tax returns.

When consumers file their taxes on TurboTax, they are able to use their federal refund to purchase an Amazon.com Gift Card. As an exclusive bonus TurboTax is offering an additional 5% – 10% bonus when you purchase you Amazon Gift Card using your tax returns.

Getting the TurboTax Discount is Easy!

The TurboTax Discount Offer usually becomes available in mid January.

A live discount link will be posted here and will only last for a limited time, so it’s a good idea to sign-up for TurboTax Discount Alerts and we’ll let you know as soon as they become available.

This tax season the only way to conveniently file your tax returns, get guaranteed saving and maximum returns is by using TurboTax online.

It’s as simple as that. TurboTax puts the simplicity back into filing taxes and the savings go right back into your pocket.

Sign-up for TurboTax Discount Alerts!