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10 Tax Forms You Need to Know About this Tax Year

The IRS has a tax form for every occasion. One quick search on the IRS website will promptly bring up over 900 different results. Most of these forms are for extreme niches and you don’t need to know about them. But there are 10 forms you do need to be aware of before you file for this tax year.

Three of these forms will likely be sent to you in advance. These are the W-2, 1098, and 1099, based on your employment status. The other forms could also form part of your tax returns, though. Let’s look at ten of them.

  1. Form 1040 (You Really Need This One)

form 1040 online

The main tax form you’ll focus on will be Form 1040, as well as 1040EZ and 1040A. This is the form where you’ll concentrate on adding up all your streams of income and putting in all your deductions. The longest version of this form is two pages with 70 different lines you must fill in.

But what are the other 1040 forms for?

The Form 1040EZ can be used for people who have extremely simple tax affairs. If you aren’t claiming any tax credits or deductions this is the form for you. Take note that your total taxable income must be under $100,000. You can fill out this form without the help of a professional since it’s so simple.

The Form 1040A, however, has a twist that comes with it. If you’re claiming some of the most common tax credits and deducting common things like student loan interest, you can use it. Again, your taxable income needs to be below $100,000.

However, anyone can use the original Form 1040, even if they’re eligible to use the other two versions.

  1. Schedule A for Itemized Deductions

Schedule A is the primary form for those taxpayers who will be making several itemized deductions. These deductions could include mortgage interest, charitable contributions, medical expenses, and property taxes. Schedule A is great for reducing your tax bill and, hopefully, you’ll be using it on a regular basis.

  1. Schedule B for Investors with an Income

If you’re lucky enough to have investments delivering a regular income, you’ll be using the Schedule B form. It compiles all taxable interest and dividends. You only need to use this form if it all comes to above $1,500. Remember that this only applies to taxable income. Anything you get from an IRA or 401(k) doesn’t count towards your taxable investment income.

  1. Schedule C for Freelancers and the Small Business

Freelancers can either use the full Schedule C or the much simpler Schedule C-EZ. Small businesses can also use Schedule C to report profits and losses. This form also has an area where you can deduct expenses related to growth and development. For example, you can deduct things like advertising and expenses for setting up your home office.

If your expenses come in at below $5,000 you can use Schedule C-EZ. However, if you have things like depreciation deductions and employees you’ll need to use the standard Schedule C.

  1. Schedule D for Investors

Traders of stocks and bonds will need to use Schedule D. You’ll calculate all your capital gains and capital losses for the last tax year. You can report both your good and bad investments. Remember that, as of this tax year, up to $3,000 of losses can be deducted from your total tax bill.

To complete this form, you’ll need to use the information from your 1099.

  1. W-2 for the Average Joe

When you start a job, you’ll hand over a W-4 to your new employer. This tells the employer how much tax they need to withhold from your paycheck. The W-2 form is the one you’ll get from your employer around tax time (in January or February).

The W-2 form tells you everything you’ve earned, how much you contributed to the company pension plan, and the taxes withheld from your paycheck. A copy of the W-2 also goes to the IRS, so it’s imperative that this information is correct before it gets sent.

On a side note, if you got a big tax refund you should use a W-4 to reduce the withholding for the next tax year. There’s no need to give the government a free loan.

  1. Form 1098 for Students and Homeowners

Anyone with a mortgage will receive Form 1098 through the mail. This is a report of the interest you paid on your mortgage in the last tax year. This mortgage interest is deductible. Students will likely receive Form 1098-T, where they report tuition payments. And if they’ve already graduated they’ll receive Form 1098-E, which reports the interest paid on their student loans.

These are important forms because interest on mortgages and many student loans are deductible from your overall tax bill.

  1. Form 1099 for the Multitasker

If you have a lot going on in your life financially you’ll be using the Form 1099, or one of its brothers. There are four main 1099 variations you need to consider. These are 1099-DIV, 1099-OID, 1099-INT, and 1099-MISC. These are the forms for income you earned from someone other than your employer.

If you received any of these forms through the mail, the same form will have already gone to the IRS, so this needs to be accurate.

For example, 1099-INT is a report of any interest you earned on your investments. 1099-OID is the form you get when you buy a bond for under its face value. And 1099-MISC is for all other forms of income you got from something other than an investment. This could be from freelance work done in your spare time.

  1. Form 1040X for Fixing Mistakes

Making an error on your tax returns is frustrating, but you always have a chance to fix that mistake. This is where Form 1040X comes in. Request this form and fill it out. It needs to be submitted through the mail, rather than online. Make sure you take a copy for your records in case the form gets lost. You should use tracked mail so you can monitor it all the way.

If you need to pay more than you did before, this can be done online. You’ll also get a direct deposit if you discover the IRS owes more than initially expected.

  1. Form 4868 for People Who Need an Extension

An organized person should never need more time to file their taxes. But if you do need an extension Form 4868 must be filed by the April deadline put in place by the IRS. You can even extend until October if you’re willing to pay. But to get an extension you need to send in at least a little bit of the money you owe, based on a reasonably accurate estimate.

And if the amount you owe is bigger than the amount you thought before the extension you’ll have to pay interest on this amount. For every month or partial month you’re late, the IRS will add 5% of the amount due as a form of penalty.

The moral of this article: File swiftly and file accurately to avoid getting into trouble!

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All You Need to Know About the 1099 Form 2018, 2019

If you have a professional tax accountant on your side, you don’t need to know much about the different tax forms. But it’s always best to know as much as possible about what your accountant is doing. Most of us are aware of W-2s given to you by an employer, but not so many people are aware of 1099s.

The W-2 is a record of your salary paid to you throughout the year. The 1099, and its variations, are designed for reporting any additional sources of income. If you were 1099freelancing on the side or you earned any income from investments, you would report them via one of the 1099 forms.

These forms won’t always be submitted to you. It’s your job to download them yourself and fill them in. Your tax accountant will help you with this.

What are the Different Types of 1099s?

There are lots of different 1099 forms you might receive. You’ll need to look into this based on your circumstances, but we’re going to go through some of the most common ones.

The 1099-INT, 1099-MISC, and 1099-DIV forms are the ones you likely already know about for reporting things like interest income and dividend income.

But if you have debts that were cancelled you may also need the 1099-C form for cancellation of debt. Other forms to report changes include the 1099-CAP for corporate control changes and 1099-S to report any proceeds from the sale of real estate.

You also need to report government payments on Form 1099-G and long-term care benefits on 1099-LTC. Other forms include the 1099-OID for any original issued discounts, 1099-R for distributions from things like pensions and annuities, as well as the 1099-SA for distributions from an HSA.

Keep Things Organized

Keep in mind that even if you don’t receive the 1099 form you still need to report your income. Not receiving a form is not an excuse for late filing or failing to file at all. You must be aware of your own tax affairs and you need to be able to keep things organized.

Create a separate area of your home for your various tax records so you’re prepared when tax time comes around. TurboTax online makes tax filing quick and easy, which is why we recommend that you use them when filing your taxes this year.

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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 or to use online tax software such as TurboTax online.

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 2017 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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Earned Income Credit Table Amounts and Qualification

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit that is for low to moderate-income taxpayers to get ahead and have more money in their pockets. It can boost refunds significantly if you are able to meet the criteria’s required to claim it.

See the earned income credit table amount

For example, if you are employed, but your income is considered “low” by the IRS you may be able to take advantage of this credit, which currently has a maximum credit amount of $6,242.

To determine your credit amount all you have to do is enter your information into the tax software and it will automatically calculate the amount you will receive.

Below you will find some of the most common questions that taxpayers have about the Earned Income Credit.

Do I qualify even if I did not have tax withheld from my pay and I am not required to file taxes?

Yes, you can qualify for the EITC and get a refund. This is a refundable credit, however, in order to receive it you have to file even if you are not required to file.

Does my income have to be very low to qualify?

If you do not have qualifying children, you must have a low income to be able to claim this tax credit. For 2015, you have to have earned less than $14,820 to qualify ($20,330 for couples) if you have no children. However, if you only have one qualifying child the income limit is $39,131.

How much are the credit table amounts?

Dependents       Maximum Credit          Adjusted Gross Income

0

              $487.00          $14,340.00
(Jointly $19,680.00)

1

$3,250.00

         $37,870.00
(Jointly $43,210.00)

2

$5,372.00

         $43,038.00
(Jointly $48,378.00)

  3+

$6,044.00

         $46,227.00
(Jointly $51,567.00)

Who qualifies for the EITC?

In order to qualify for the EITC you have to meet the income criteria’s for the current year. However, you, your spouse, and children can qualify as long as you all have social security numbers and you should be working for yourself or as an employee. You aren’t able to claim this credit if you use the status “married filing jointly” and you must be a U.S. citizen or married to one.

If you can be claimed by another person as a qualifying child or are not between the ages of 25 and 65 you will not be able to claim. You also cannot have to file Form 2555 or any variation and you are not allowed to have more than $3,400 in interest, dividends, or other investment income.

Video – Who qualifies for the earned income tax credit?

Will military combat pay affect my credit?

If you have received military combat pay, you do not have to disclose this information. Usually, this income does not affect your taxable income. However, it depends on your total earned income and family size whether or not you will receive this credit and the amount. Sometimes it could be beneficial to include combat pay as taxable income so you could receive the EITC. Lastly, if you decide to include your combat pay, remember that it is “all or nothing”.

Can the credit be added to my paycheck during the year?

The IRS used to allow the Advance Earned Income Credit throughout the year. However, this ended in 2010.

Can I claim this credit if my child’s other parent claims him as a dependent?

Usually, if your child lived with you for majority of the year, you would be able to claim this credit without having to claim the dependency exemption.

It is important to remember that the number of children that are claimed, as dependents are not always the same number that qualify you for this valuable credit. In the event that the time evens out amongst parents, the parent with the highest AGI takes the credit. Only one person can claim the child and noncustodial parents are not allowed to claim children for the EITC.

Determining if your child qualifies for the EITC

  • Age or disability – The child has to be under 19 or younger than 24 if they are a full time student for at least 5 months. The child must be younger than you. If they are permanently and totally disabled, they can be any age.
  • Relationship – The child has to be your son, daughter, stepchild, sibling, stepsibling, foster or adopted child, or a descendent of any of these.
  • The child must have resided with you in the US for more than six months.
  • Your child cannot be required to file a joint return.

Can I go back and claim the EITC if I qualified but didn’t do it in past years?

You can file an amended return to receive the EITC for past years that you qualified but didn’t claim.

If you did not get the credit because you didn’t file or you were not sure if you could claim a child that lived with you, you have to file a separate return for all of the years you qualified. However, you cannot go back indefinitely. Usually, you are only able to file amended returns for three years back.

Claim your credit the easy way by filing online

Keep in mind, if you file online with H&R Block or TurboTax they will ask you the correct questions to let you know which deductions you qualify for and guarantee you will receive the largest refund ever.

Their online filing services have the ability to import your W2 information into your tax return so you can avoid worrying about your forms being delivered via snail mail. You can also use their free tax refund estimator to see how much of a refund you can expect.

 

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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.