Chapter from TaxAssurances’ Book: Educator Expenses

The following post is a chapter in the TaxAssurances’ book, “Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed. Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes.”

You can purchase the full book on Amazon.

Chapter 11 Educator Expenses

Every year TaxAssurances prepares tax returns for a number of people in the education profession. They all spend countless hours preparing to help educate young children. Along with that time, these educators spend their own money helping educate children. The IRS rewards that effort in a small way by providing a tax benefit.

As a result, the IRS allows teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aides that work at least 900 hours in elementary or secondary schools deductions of up to $250 of any unreimbursed expenses.

Those expenses include:
• books
• supplies
• computer equipment
• Other equipment that they use in the classroom.

The IRS does have these following requirements on taking these expenses as a deduction:

“Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent a number of such expenses exceed the following amounts for the tax year:

• The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,

• Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income,

• Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell education savings accounts,

• Any reimbursed expenses not reported to you in box 1 of your Form W-2 (PDF).”

For more information about the educator expense deduction, read IRS Topic 458 on the IRS.gov website.

Again, You can purchase the full book on Amazon.

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Chapter from TaxAssurances’ Book: Marriage

The following post is a chapter in the TaxAssurances’ book, “Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed. Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes.”

You can purchase the full book on Amazon.

Chapter 7 Marriage

Not only is a marriage a union based on love and trust it also offers tax benefits. For instance, married couples that file their taxes together have higher standard deductions and exemptions than individuals that file single, head of household or married filing separately. As a result, married couples most likely have lower tax bills.

There are couples however that decide to file their tax returns separately. While they do have it as a option, here’s how the IRS describes what they are giving up:

• “If you choose married filing separately as your filing status, the following special rules apply. Because of these special rules, you usually pay more tax on a separate return than if you use another filing status you qualify for.

• Your tax rate generally is higher than on a joint return.

• Your exemption amount for figuring the alternative minimum tax is half that allowed on a joint return.

• You cannot take the credit for child and dependent care expenses in most cases, and the amount you can exclude from income under an employer’s dependent care assistance program is limited to $2,500 (instead of $5,000). However, if you are legally separated or living apart from your spouse, you may be able to file a separate return and still take the credit. For more information about these expenses, the credit, and the exclusion, see chapter 32.

• You cannot take the earned income credit.

• You cannot take the exclusion or credit for adoption expenses in most cases.

• You cannot take the education credits (the American opportunity credit and lifetime learning credit) or the deduction for student loan interest.

• You cannot exclude any interest income from qualified U.S. savings bonds you used for higher education expenses.

• If you lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year:

• You cannot claim the credit for the elderly or the disabled, and

• You must include in income a greater percentage (up to 85%) of any social security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits you received.

• The following credits and deductions are reduced at income levels half those for a joint return:

• The child tax credit,

• The retirement savings contributions credit,

• The deduction for personal exemptions, and

• Itemized deductions.

• Your capital loss deduction limit is $1,500 (instead of $3,000 on a joint return).

• If your spouse itemizes deductions, you cannot claim the standard deduction. If you can claim the standard deduction, your basic standard deduction is half the amount allowed on a joint return.

So as the list above suggests, if you’re married or getting married, file your tax return together. There are some real tax benefits.

For more information about being married and filing tax returns, read “Filing Status” on the IRS.gov website.

Again, You can purchase the full book on Amazon.

For more on TaxAssurances, check out our reviews, photos and links on Google Reviews.

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Alimony’s Tax Consequences (Guest Blogger: Arlene Perry )

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I haven’t the slightest idea where 2016 went. I blinked, it came roaring in and I blinked again and 2017 is here. Another tax year will be upon us. So it’s time to start sharing some tax info so that you’re prepared to stand up to greedy Uncle Sam.

This particular blog post will be geared more towards women than men only because the majority of alimony recipients in the United States just happen to be of the female gender.

There are over 400,000 people in the US receiving alimony. And only 3% are men. This is even though census figures show about 40% of women earn more money than their male counterparts.

Male female gender roles that are difficult to break or cross over, remain the main culprit for this lopsided alimony payment imbalance.

However, it doesn’t matter to Uncle Sam who gets the alimony. He will be standing by with his greedy little hand out.

If you think that you got your slime ball ex over a barrel because he or she was ordered to pay you some alimony, you might want to rethink that. To the person receiving the alimony, you will find out at year’s end, you are liable for taxes.

Yes, alimony receivers, that money is fully taxable and MUST be reported on your 1040 each year. Now to really make you frown; your lowdown ex, gets to deduct his or her payments to you, thus giving them a tax benefit.

Now, let’s get serious and talk about what constitutes taxable and deductible alimony payments:

Divorce agreements or court orders do not decide if alimony has a tax implication. Certain things MUST be in place in order for it to be taxable or deductible. Here they are:

Amounts paid under divorce or separate maintenance decrees or written separation agreements entered into between you and your spouse or former spouse are considered alimony for federal tax purposes if:

  • You and your spouse or former spouse do not file a joint return with each other
  • You pay in cash (including checks or money orders)
  • The payment is received by (or on behalf of) your spouse or former spouse
  • The divorce or separate maintenance decree or written separation agreement does not say the payment is not alimony
  • If legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, you and your former spouse are not members of the same household when you make the payment
  • You have no liability to make the payment (in cash or property) after the death of your spouse or former spouse, and
  • Your payment is not treated as child support or a property settlement

***You Do Not Have To Itemize (Sch A) To Get This Deduction, You Must Use A 1040 Form***

Now for the people receiving the alimony, you will have to claim the money received as income. Your ex will be putting your name and social security down on his or her 1040 when preparing their taxes. So just claim the money upfront to avoid receiving that nasty little letter from the IRS stating you owe additional taxes and interest along with penalties.

 

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Arlene Perry, MBA is the owner of Arlene’s Unlimited Services; a full service tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll business. Having had the business since 1998,  she serves the Manhattan and Bronx areas of New York City.

Within this time, Ms. Perry has worked with a variety of small businesses in different industries. They include security and retail as well as the bookkeeping of non-profit organizations.

Arlene graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in Business from Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York.

Prior to returning to college, Ms. Perry worked for the City of New York as a Police Officer. While serving, she prepared the tax returns for many of her co-workers and kept the financial records of a non-profit youth group that she was a part of.

Presently, Ms. Perry is working for a great non-profit organization focusing on keeping our youth out of the prison system. She’s also creating a side Baking Business. She’s a proud member of Real Sisters Rising, M & M Projects and Administrator of a Bookkeepers and Food Groups on FaceBook.

For more on TaxAssurances, check out our reviews, photos and links on Google Reviews.

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