The Child Tax Credit may save you money at tax-time if you have a qualified child. Here are six things you should know about the credit.
1. Amount. The Child Tax Credit may help reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child that you are eligible to claim on your tax return.
2. Additional Child Tax Credit. If you qualify and get less than the full Child Tax Credit, you could receive a refund even if you owe no tax with the Additional Child Tax Credit.
3. Qualifications. For this credit, a qualifying child must pass several tests:
• Age test. The child must have been under age 17 at the end of 2014.
• Relationship test. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister. The child may be a descendant of any of these individuals. A qualifying child could also include your grandchild, niece or nephew. You would always treat an adopted child as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
• Support test. The child must not have provided more than half of their own support for the year.
• Dependent test. The child must be a dependent that you claim on your federal tax return.
• Joint return test. The child cannot file a joint return for the year, unless the only reason they are filing is to claim a refund.
• Citizenship test. The child must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or a U.S. resident alien.
• Residence test. In most cases, the child must have lived with you for more than half of 2014.
4. Limitations. The Child Tax Credit is subject to income limitations. The limits may reduce or eliminate your credit depending on your filing status and income.
5. Schedule 8812. If you qualify to claim the Child Tax Credit, make sure to check whether you must complete and attach Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your tax return. For example, if you claim a credit for a child with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, you must complete Part I of Schedule 8812. If you qualify to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, you must complete and attach Schedule 8812. Visit IRS.gov to view, download or print IRS tax forms anytime.
6. IRS E-file. Electronic filing is the best way to file your tax return. IRS E-file is the safe, accurate and easiest way to file.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
All income is taxable unless the law excludes it. Here are some basic rules you should know to help you file an accurate tax return:
- Taxed income. Taxable income includes money you earn, like wages and tips. It also includes bartering, an exchange of property or services. The fair market value of property or services received is taxable.
Some types of income are not taxable except under certain conditions, including:
- Life insurance. Proceeds paid to you because of the death of the insured person are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount that you get that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable.
- Qualified scholarship. In most cases, income from this type of scholarship is not taxable. This means that amounts you use for certain costs, such as tuition and required books, are not taxable. On the other hand, amounts you use for room and board are taxable.
- State income tax refund. If you got a state or local income tax refund, the amount may be taxable. You should have received a 2014 Form 1099-G from the agency that made the payment to you. If you didn’t get it by mail, the agency may have provided the form electronically. Contact them to find out how to get the form. Report any taxable refund you got even if you did not receive Form 1099-G.
Here are some types of income that are usually not taxable:
- Gifts and inheritances
- Child support payments
- Welfare benefits
- Damage awards for physical injury or sickness
- Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy
- Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses
Friday, February 20, 2015
Gathering documents and maintaining well-organized records make it easier to prepare a tax return. They can also help provide answers if the IRS needs to follow-up with you for more information.
You will not need to send the IRS proof of your health coverage. However, you should keep any documentation with your other tax records. This includes records of your family’s employer-provided coverage, premiums paid, and type of coverage. You should keep these – as you do other tax records – generally for three years after you file your tax return.
When preparing 2014 tax returns, most people will simply have to check a box to indicate they and everyone on their tax return had health care coverage for the entire year. You will not need to file any additional forms, unless you are claiming the premium tax credit or a coverage exemption.
You will attach Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions to your tax return to claim a coverage exemption. Do not attach supporting documentation to the tax return. If you applied for an exemption from the Marketplace and received an Exemption Certificate Number, or you have other documentation to support your exemption claim, keep these with your tax records.
You will attach Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit to your tax return to claim the credit. Do not attach the Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement that you use to complete Form 8962. Keep Form 1095-A with your tax records.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
When you sell a capital asset the sale results in a capital gain or loss. A capital asset includes most property you own for personal use or own as an investment. Here are 10 facts that you should know about capital gains and losses:
1. Capital Assets. Capital assets include property such as your home or car, as well as investment property, such as stocks and bonds.
2. Gains and Losses. A capital gain or loss is the difference between your basis and the amount you get when you sell an asset. Your basis is usually what you paid for the asset.
3. Net Investment Income Tax. You must include all capital gains in your income and you may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax. This tax applies to certain net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts that have income above statutory threshold amounts. The rate of this tax is 3.8 percent. For details visit IRS.gov.
4. Deductible Losses. You can deduct capital losses on the sale of investment property. You cannot deduct losses on the sale of property that you hold for personal use.
5. Long and Short Term. Capital gains and losses are either long-term or short-term, depending on how long you held the property. If you held the property for more than one year, your gain or loss is long-term. If you held it one year or less, the gain or loss is short-term.
6. Net Capital Gain. If your long-term gains are more than your long-term losses, the difference between the two is a net long-term capital gain. If your net long-term capital gain is more than your net short-term capital loss, you have a net capital gain.
7. Tax Rate. The capital gains tax rate usually depends on your income. The maximum net capital gain tax rate is 20 percent. However, for most taxpayers a zero or 15 percent rate will apply. A 25 or 28 percent tax rate can also apply to certain types of net capital gains.
8. Limit on Losses. If your capital losses are more than your capital gains, you can deduct the difference as a loss on your tax return. This loss is limited to $3,000 per year, or $1,500 if you are married and file a separate return.
9. Carryover Losses. If your total net capital loss is more than the limit you can deduct, you can carry over the losses you are not able to deduct to next year’s tax return. You will treat those losses as if they happened in that next year.
Monday, February 9, 2015
In most cases you get your W-2 forms by the end of January. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows your income and the taxes withheld from your pay for the year. You need your W-2 form to file an accurate tax return.
If you haven’t received your form by mid-February, here’s what you should do:
• Contact your employer. Ask your employer (or former employer) for a copy. Be sure that they have your correct address.
• After Feb. 23. If you can’t get a copy from your employer, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 after Feb. 23. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. You’ll need the following when you call:
o Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;
o Your employer’s name, address and phone number;
o The dates you worked for the employer; and
o An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2014. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.
• File on time. Your tax return is normally due on or before April 15, 2015. Use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if you don’t get your W-2 in time to file. Estimate your wages and taxes withheld as best as you can. The IRS may need more time to process your return while it verifies your information. If you can’t finish your tax return by the due date, you can ask for more time to file. Get an extra six months by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You can also e-file a request for more time. You can do this for free with IRS Free File.
• Correct if necessary. You may need to correct your tax return if you get your missing W-2 after you file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.
Note: Important New Health Insurance Form. If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should have received a Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. You will need the new form to help you complete an accurate federal tax return. You will use the information from the Form 1095-A to calculate the amount of your premium tax credit. The form is also used to reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit made on your behalf with the amount of premium tax credit that you are eligible to claim.
If you did not receive your Form 1095-A, you should contact the Marketplace from which you received coverage to get a copy. You are not required to send in proof of health care coverage, including Form 1095-A, to the IRS when filing your tax return. However, it’s a good idea to keep these records on hand to verify coverage.
Additional information about the Form 1095-A is available on IRS.gov/aca and on HealthCare.gov/taxes.