Taxes

Understanding Income and Tax Brackets

There is a good reason so many people seek professional help with preparing their income taxes. It’s because the tax is complicated, and at the heart of the convoluted system are tax brackets. Federal income tax rates are divided into seven brackets that are based on income and range from 10% to 39.6%. If that was …

Categories: Taxes

Six Big Financial Differences Between a Normal Job and Self-Employment

In 2008, I took the leap from a traditional white collar job into self-employment, mostly on the back of a small side gig I had built for myself that was mostly based around The Simple Dollar. It was a scary change, as I walked away from the stable salary and relative security of my previous …

Top Tax Scams to Watch Out for in 2015

Every year, Americans lose untold billions of dollars to a host of tax scams that range from identity theft to return-preparer fraud. While most of these scams can happen at any time, they tend to be most active during tax season, from January through April 15. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen urges taxpayers to “use caution …

TurboTax Refund for Deluxe Customers

Taxpayers and investors alike have expressed outrage this tax season over recent changes made by TurboTax. The company’s “Deluxe” package, a popular choice in recent years, has reduced critical features forcing some users to upgrade to a higher-priced package. TurboTax Issues $25 Refund to Deluxe Customers Now, TurboTax is responding to the screw-up by issuing a …

Debt Forgiveness and Taxes

In 1726, author Daniel Defoe wrote in “The Political History of the Devil” that, “Things as certain as death and taxes can be more firmly believed.” A modern twist on that time-honored quotation would be, “Few things can affect your taxes more than debt.” Exactly how much debt are we talking about? As of March …

Categories: Debt Management, Taxes

TurboTax Discount Code – Free Offer Promotion

Tax preparers usually need a TurboTax discount code to get a great deal on the software for tax season. However, TurboTax is running a limited-time offer that could get simple filers to complete their federal and state taxes for $0. No Turbotax Discount Code Required The Simple Dollar has learned that: For the first time …

Tax Changes for 2015

It’s nearly impossible to talk about taxes without remembering Benjamin Franklin’s observation: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Ben was correct, but his take on taxes does not go far enough. Not only are taxes a certainty, but changes in tax laws and rules are inescapable. Each …

Categories: Taxes

The Facts About E-Filing Your Taxes for Free

If it’s free, it’s for me! With few exceptions, no one really enjoys filing their taxes, so why not reduce the sting by doing it for free? Free is everyone’s favorite price for anything. However, there are restrictions on who, how, and what can be e-filed for free. These filers aren’t invited to the party: Businesses …

Categories: Taxes

Tax Guide for College Students

College is a huge step toward adulthood. Going to class, homework and studying, holding down a job, figuring out a way to pay for college, and trying to make yourself marketable for a job after graduation – that’s exhausting just to type. One more step to adulthood is filing taxes. As a college student, filing taxes can …

Categories: Education, Taxes

Guide to Self-Directed IRAs

The history of retirement plans in the United States is neither as old nor as extensive as most people think. The first private pension fund was introduced by the American Express Co. in 1875 as a means of improving employee retention. By 1900, there were only 13 private pension funds in the entire country, and …

Four Tips for Using FSA Money Before New Year’s

At the end of the year, we can all get a little scatterbrained. Between work deadlines, gift shopping, baking treats for the kids’ holiday parties, making travel arrangements, and stressing over what to write in the greeting card, there’s just not enough time to get everything done. So we forget stuff — important stuff like our flexible …

Quick Year-End Tax-Saving Ideas

Holiday stress is boiling over, and the last thing you want to worry about are your taxes due next April. But while enjoying a good year financially thanks to increased earnings and the stock market’s all-time highs is great news, it means your tax bill is going to increase as well. Ideally, you’ve been working taxes into …

Betterment Review

As I explained last week, I’m on a quest to find the best retirement plan to roll over my old 401(k). I’m going to conduct the most thorough research I can — publicly — and then put my money where my mouth is, literally rolling over my old 401(k), worth approximately $85,000, into the best …

How Do The Rich Pay Lower Taxes? And How Can You Do It?

Erin wrote in with a wonderful question that I started to address in Monday’s reader mailbag, but the answer quickly escalated into many, many paragraphs. Here’s her question: I don’t understand how billionaires who bring in millions a year can pay less in taxes than someone working hard at a job and making $50K a …

Categories: Taxes

A Roth IRA and The Future of Taxes

A few years ago, I wrote an article looking at the differences between a Roth IRA and a 401(k) with regards to how taxes will change in the future. If taxes go up, then a Roth IRA (or Roth 401(k)) is better. If taxes go down, then a 401(k) is better. When I’m offering financial …

Categories: Retirement, Taxes

The Ultimate Tax Guide for Veterans

As a veteran, there are specific benefits you can take advantage of to maximize your return when you file your individual income taxes. It is extremely beneficial to identify which types of pay and compensation are exempt from taxes so you know what is excluded from your gross income on your return. Eligibility for Veteran …

Categories: Taxes

The 5 Best Free Tax Software for 2015

The first thing to know about free tax preparation software is that every legitimate online tax software offers a free version. However, not every free version is legitimate. Brand, ease of use and reputation still matter for getting the job done right, especially when dealing with the IRS. LIMITED TIME OFFER from TurboTax Update: 1/9/2015 …

Categories: Saving Money, Taxes

3 Reasons To File Your Taxes Early

This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. People like to wait until the last minute to file their taxes. The reason is obvious: filing taxes can be pretty dull. It’s not a task that anyone relishes and, because of that, people often put it off for as long as they can. …

Categories: Taxes

Five Simple Steps to Start Preparing for Tax Season

Like many Americans, I loathe tax season. Collecting documents, filling out forms, sending money to Uncle Sam – it adds up to a process that I frankly don’t really enjoy. Still, it has to be done each year and the time to do so is nearly upon us. Here are a few steps to take …

Categories: Taxes