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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Weekly Tax Tip

  • Employee vs. contractor tax differences -- It's beginning to look a lot like the holiday hiring season. Companies across the country are adding short-term workers to handle the seasonal customer crush. That's especially joyous for the folks who finally find a job. But make sure you don't lose a big chunk of that extra income to taxes. What you owe the Internal Revenue Service and how you pay it depends how you're classified by your new, temporary employer. If you are considered an independent contractor instead of an employee, you could face some tax troubles at filing time. (Nov. 19, 2014)

  • Tax Tip; click pencil for all tax tip links

    Check out all the latest post-April 15 advice at Weekly Tax Tips 2014.

    You also can get a refresher of the Daily Tax Tips posted earlier this year on their respective monthly collection pages: January, February, March and April.

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End of Tax Year Countdown

  • Your 2013 tax duties are finally over. Now keep an eye on the calendar so you don't run out of time to make tax moves that can cut your 2014 IRS bill.

Time for Tax Tasks


  • monthly tax moves

  • Nov. 1: Hello November! We're thrilled you're here. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. But the only bird you want is the nicely browned one on your dinner table later this month.

    Thanksgiving turkey stuffed and cooked

    To ensure that's the case, it's time to make some moves to avoid tax turkeys that could cost you on your 2014 return.

    Nov. 4: On this election day, voters will have a major voice in more than just electing candidates for local, state and federal offices. Citizens nationwide will have a say on 146 ballot questions. In 11 states, 20 tax-related initiatives are on the ballots. Be sure to vote!

    Nov. 7: Looking for or already landed a seasonal job to bring in much-needed income or to earn some extra money for gift buying? Pay attention to how you're paid. Whether you're an independent contractor or an employee will make a difference in your taxes. As a contractor, you're responsible for paying self-employment taxes, as well as the income taxes that are usually withheld from employees' paychecks.

    Nov. 10: Does your job include tips? If so and you received $20 in tips in September, use Form 4070 to report them today to your employer. And don't forget to include the value of atypical tips.

    Nov. 15: Does it look like you'll get a big refund next filing season? Or, yikes!, end up owing Uncle Sam a lot on April 15? Either way, adjust your withholding now. The payroll changes in these last few checks of 2014 can help make sure that you more closely pay the income taxes you'll owe the Internal Revenue Service when you fill out your tax return next spring.

    Nov. 19: Analyze your portfolio. Roughly calculate your stock profits and losses so far this year so that you can do some tax planning before Dec. 31. If you have gains, they are taxed at rates generally lower than ordinary income; for some taxpayers, the capital gains rate is zero!

    But even losses could be tax winners. They can help offset any gains to reduce your potential overall tax bill. And if you have more losses than gain, you can deduct up to $3,000 a year against your ordinary income until you use up those losses.

    P.S. -- If you have that much in losses to keep carrying forward, get a new investment adviser!

    Nov. 26: If you're heading over the river and through the woods to grandma's for Thanksgiving, your travel costs are all your own.

    But if you're doing some business traveling this holiday week or any other time of the year, document it so you can deduct those costs. For business driving, you can claim either the actual miles you drive or take the standard mileage deduction.

    Nov. 27: Happy Thanksgiving! Take a break from taxes for turkey, football, and time with your family.

    Nov. 30: The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends today.



    If you're not already prepared, get that way. The ol' blog's special Natural Disasters Resources page can help with preparation, recovery and ways to help others who sustain storm damages.

    Small Business Tax Calendar: Important filing, deposit and record keeping dates throughout the year that your company needs to know. You also can view the full year's important business tax dates in IRS Pub. 509.

State Tax Help

  • Don't forget your state taxes!
    Forty-three states and D.C. collect personal income taxes. But even if you live in of the seven states without an income levy, you still face other state (and local) taxes.

    State Tax Departments provides links to your state's Web page. The companion page, Tax Tidbits, is the compilation of blurbs about each state's tax laws. And for more state tax news, check out all our state tax bloggings.

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  • Numbers

    Taxes are all about the numbers.
    Check out these (mostly) weekly
    By the Numbers figures.

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  • It's no wonder Uncle Sam is not very happy here. His vault is empty. Don't Mess With Taxes aims to keep him cranky by providing tax and personal finance tips and advice that will put more money in your bank account, not the government treasury.

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  • AKA Disclaimer:
    I am a professional journalist who has been covering tax issues since 1999.
    I am not a professional tax preparer.
    The content on Don't Mess With Taxes is my personal opinion based on my study and understanding of tax laws, policies and regulations. It’s provided
    for your private, noncommercial, educational and informational purposes only. It’s not a recommendation or endorsement of any company or product. In other words, specifically the words in Treasury Circular 230 Notice, any U.S. tax advice on this blog is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed on this blog. That's why when it comes to filing your taxes,
    I urge you to get additional, professional, paid-for guidance from an accountant, Enrolled Agent or other qualified tax professional who is familiar with your individual tax circumstances.

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