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Monday, April 07, 2014

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Daily Tax Tip

  • Where's my tax refund? -- That's a question that millions of taxpayers who file early anxiously ask every year. The Internal Revenue Service offers several ways for you to track down your refund. After you find it, then all you have to do is decide whether to spend or save the tax cash. (Feb. 26, 2015)

  • Tax Tip; click pencil for all tax tip links
  • Did you miss a daily tip posted above? No worries. They're collected
    in the 2015 Daily Tax Tips pages, one
    for each month of the filing season: January, February, and, coming soon, March and April. And stay tuned for Weekly Tax Tips, coming after we survive the April 15 filing deadline!

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Counting Down to Tax Day

  • Tax filing day 2015 will be here before you know it, but our countdown clock to the 11:59 p.m. April 15 deadline will help make sure you don't miss it.

Time for Tax Tasks


  • monthly tax moves

  • Feb. 1: Are you ready for some Super Bowl!?! Of course you are, especially
    if your team is in the NFL championship game or you like placing a few bets. Even nonsports fans get in on the myriad prop bets. Remember, though, that whenever you win, that gambling money is taxable income.

    Feb. 2: Happy Groundhog Day!

    Fat Groundhog; click image for Groundhog Day details

    Don't get caught in a Bill Murray loop and end up doing your taxes over and over. Get your 2014 return right the first time by getting organized, which means being on the lookout early this month for all the tax statements you'll need to file. New to the list this year is Form 1095-A, issued to folks who bought Affordable Care Act-mandated health insurance coverage through the marketplace.

    Feb. 6: Get tax help dealing with the winter weather that just won't go away. If you made some residential energy upgrades last year, you might be able to claim a tax credit of up to $500 for them on your 2014 return. The energy-efficient home improvements tax credit is in effect for the 2014 tax year thanks to Congress' last-minute and one-year approval of the extenders.

    Feb. 10: Does your job include tips?

    Restaurant tip; click image for tipping guidelines

    If so and you received $20 in tips in January, use Form 4070 to report them today to your employer. And don't forget to include the value of atypical tips.

    Feb. 14: Happy Valentine's Day!
    Do you and your better half file a joint return? Most married couples do. That choice is available to more couples now, as courts have stricken same-sex marriage bans in many states. So all you newlyweds celebrating your first married Valentine's Day, congratulations and make sure you've complied with these tax to-do's after saying "I do."

    Feb. 16: Today is Presidents Day, the federal (three-day, yay!) holiday that's come to commemorate the contributions of all our Commanders in Chief. But we've got to give a special shout out to Abraham Lincoln, who signed into law an income tax to help pay Civil War costs.

    Nowadays, however, this and other Monday holidays are spotlighted as special shopping days. And if you itemize, you can claim your state and local sales taxes paid in 2014 (again thanks to the one-year extenders bill) on your tax return if that consumer tax amount is larger than the state and local income taxes you paid.

    Feb. 17: If you claimed exemption
    from income tax withholding last year, it expires today. To continue the exemption, you must file a new W-4 now to continue your exemption for 2014.

    Feb. 23: OK, maybe you're glad that all the hearts and flowers are over with. You and your ex split up long ago. But if you're still paying or receiving alimony, you're still connected for tax purposes. Alimony payments are deductible to the ex-spouse writing the checks. And the ex who's cashing them must report the payments at income.

    Feb. 28: You filed as soon as the Internal Revenue Service opened for business this year (that was way back on Jan. 20) because you're expecting a refund. If you're still waiting, track it down using the IRS' Where's My Refund? online search tool.

    And if you're just now getting ready to file, don't forget about Free File.

    IRS Free File; click image for details

    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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Kudos Et Cetera

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Keep Uncle Sam cranky!

  • 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.

I gotta tell ya ...

  • 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 of any specific tax action(s) you should take. Similarly, mentions of products or services are not endorsements. In other words, my ramblings on the ol' blog are free advice and you know what they say about getting what you pay for. 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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