A Checklist and Books from TaxAssurances for the Tax Season

Tax season is here and TaxAssurances is here to help tax payers prepare for it. Every year we give our clients a checklist for all the information we need in order to prepare their returns. Here is that checklist.

TAX PREP CHECKLIST

At TaxAssurances we also recognize that many people want to prepare their own tax return. Here are two books we’ve published to help.
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The first book, Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed: Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes is for tax payers that file simple tax returns but want to make sure they take advantage of all the tax benefits possible.

The second book, Top 23 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed: Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes is for tax payers that file complex and complicated tax returns.

Both books help self filers make sure they uncover all the possible deductions they have available. We hope they help.

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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.

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

Also, here is a link to our Signup Form to subscribe to our list.

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 Yelp.

Also, here is a link to our Signup Form to subscribe to our list.

Chapter from TaxAssurances’ Book: Child Tax Credit

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 1 Child Tax Credit

Besides being a blessing to a parent’s life, children can provide some real tax benefits. There are a few to consider.

First and foremost, they increase the number of exemptions and deductions a parent can have on their tax return. That’s a great start. But in this chapter, we’ll specifically discuss the child tax credit.

The $1,000 credit per child helps lower a parent’s tax liability for the year. And parents can use the credit for each one of their children.

There are some requirements to take the child tax credit and the IRS has provided some guidance. Here’s exactly what they say:

A qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit is a child who:
1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, adopted child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),
2. Will be under age 17 at the end of the year,
3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for the year,
4. Lived with you for more than half of the year (with certain exceptions),
5. Is claimed as a dependent on your return,
6. Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid), and
7. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien. For more information, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child, later.

Now, it is worth noting that the IRS imposes limits on taking the credit. Also, some parents may not be able to take the credit at all. Here’s what they says about those limits specifically:

You must reduce the maximum credit amount of $1,000 for each child if either (1) or (2) applies.

1. The amount on Form 1040, line 47; Form 1040A, line 30; or Form 1040NR, line 45, is less than the credit. If this amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is not any tax to reduce. But you may be able to take the additional child tax credit. This credit is for certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the child tax credit. The additional child tax credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.

2. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than the amount shown below for your filing status.
a. Married filing jointly – $110,000.
b. Single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
– $75,000.
c. Married filing separately – $55,000.

Now if that seems confusing don’t worry. The tax prep software works out the details for you. Just know that it is a credit that should appear on your tax return if you qualify.

So if you’re a parent that meets all of these qualifications, make sure you include all your child’s information on your tax return. It can help lower your taxes and potentially get you a larger tax refund.

For more information about the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit, read IRS Publication 972 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 Yelp.

Also, here is a link to our Signup Form to subscribe to our list.

Book Trailer for: Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed

Here is the book trailer for the recently released, “Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed: Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes” by TaxAssurances. We hope you like it.

To purchase the book, please visit us on Amazon.

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

Also, here is a link to our Signup Form to subscribe to our list.

Book Release from TaxAssurances

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We’re proud to announce the release of our first book, “Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed. Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes” on Amazon (link in picture).

Every year, our tax clients ask what other tax benefits they can take advantage of. And with every client, that answer is different and depends on their individual circumstances.

But even though every client has a different set of circumstances, some tax benefits are standard and basic under the IRS tax code. And people may not be aware of them. Why?

Because the IRS tax code is long and complicated. Even some of what we have in this book is somewhat detailed. There are a lot of situations for the IRS to consider. But most people don’t have the time, interest or energy to go through it all. That’s our job here at TaxAssurances, LLC.

This book highlights some basic benefits available to taxpayers they may not be aware of. And most importantly, we provide exact IRS wording on what they want in specific situations.

We do offer this word of caution. For those individuals that aren’t sure if they have a simple or complicated tax return, we strongly recommend that they seek professional, personalized tax help. TaxAssurances and other firms are here for that. The savings and clarity are worth it.

Also, because of specific personal circumstances, readers should not solely rely on this book for guidance.

We put this Top 12 list together for people who file simple tax returns. Nothing complicated or complex. It’s designed to complement them as they prepare their own tax returns.

They’ve gone to the store and bought the prep software for $30 or $40 and are comfortable doing their own returns. Also, they don’t want to pay a tax preparer a bunch of money for a simple return. And the last thing they want to do is sit in an office waiting for the preparer to finish the return. They want this process to be quick and easy.

These tax filers do understand however that there might be simple and easy tax benefits that they can take advantage of that they might not be aware of. This book helps them out.

This book does not cover itemized deductions or handling homeownership. It also doesn’t cover having investments or rental properties.

The layout and chapters are simple. They match up with the tax benefits themselves. So if a reader wants a quick overview, they can just go through the table of contents. There they can find the benefit that may apply to their life and go to that chapter.

So hopefully this book provides just what readers are looking for in tax benefits for their life.

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

Also, here is a link to our Signup Form to subscribe to our list.