Easy Online Tax Filing

Online Tax Filing Software & Calculators

H & R Block 2017 Tax Refund Calculator

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H&R Block 2017 offers three different kinds of free tax calculators, namely, a tax refund calculator for determining your tax refund amount, a self-employed tax estimator, and a health care estimator for individuals.

H & R Block 2016 Tax Refund CalculatorThe H&R Block tax refund calculator can be used for estimating the amount of tax refund that you will receive or the amount you owe.

This tax tool is very easy to use, and you can answer all the questions in a relatively short time if you do not have a complicated tax situation. It asks questions in a very straightforward manner, and it does not require you to reveal your identity.

It makes calculation based on information about your income and expenses, as well as the tax deductions that you are eligible for. As long as you submit all the required information correctly, you will get an accurate estimate of your IRS tax refund.

Tax Refund Calculator Instructions

You will start off by entering information such as, filing status, age, income amount, withholding amount, state withholding and unemployment income. This information will be on your W-2 tax form, or other tax forms. If you are married filing jointly, then your spouse will need to answer the same questions.

After you have answered the simple questions just mentioned, you will see along the side the total income amount, total deductions, total exemptions and what tax bracket you are placed into.

The HR Block Tax Refund Calculator is Quick and Easy!

Free online programs such as H&R Block are perfect for estimating your refund. If you have never used the software before, it will only take a few minutes for you to answer the questions and get a close estimate of your tax refund amount.

The tax refund calculator will know right where you stand in your income tax return. Then you can decide if you want to e-file. It’s easy, accurate, safe, and will get you your largest return or lowest tax due that you deserve and are entitled to. Wouldn’t you like that peace of mind?

See H&R Block’s New Features Video

 

Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction for 2016, 2017

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Mortgage Interest Tax DeductionDid you know you are able to deduct the interest charges which you pay on your home loan once the loan meets IRS mortgage specifications?

When paying back a home loan, the installments are almost totally made of interest instead of principal in the initial couple of years.

Even afterwards, the interest element could still be a considerable part of your installments. Which means, you may be eligible for the Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction.

Home Mortgage Specifications

To ensure that your home mortgage meets the criteria for the interest deduction, the loan has to be secured by your house, and the money from the loan must have been utilized to purchase, construct or enhance your primary dwelling.

You can also deduct the interest for a 2nd house you may own which you also use for personal needs.

In the event you rent out the 2nd house to renters in the course of the year, then it’s not being utilized for personal needs and isn’t be eligible for the mortgage interest deduction. Even so, rental properties are eligible when you also utilize it as a dwelling for the more than 15 days per year or over 10 % of the days it is tenanted.

Mortgage Balance Limitations

The IRS puts many restrictions on how much interest you can deduct annually. In case you obtained the mortgage loan before Oct. 14, 1987, all of the interest charges on the home loan are deductible irrespective of the sum of money you borrowed. For any other home loans, you could only deduct the interest charges that accrue on the initial $1 million of home mortgages.

For instance, in case you are single with a home loan on your primary residence for $800,000, plus a home loan on your summer time house for $400,000, you only get to deduct the interest charges on the initial $1 million, despite the fact that both of them are under the $1,000,000 restriction.

Including Mortgage Discount Points

Mortgage loan discount points, also called prepaid interest, are often the charges you pay at closing to get a reduced rate of interest on your mortgage loan. These kind of fees are often deductible during the year that you bought the house; but if not, you can deduct these over the payback period.

For instance, when you pay $3,000 in points to get a reduced rate of interest on your home loan, you are able to raise your mortgage loan interest reduction by $3,000 in the tax year you closed on your property.

Claiming the Mortgage loan Interest Deduction

It is not possible to claim a home loan interest deduction except if you itemize your deductions. This calls for you to make use of Form 1040 to submit your tax returns, and Schedule A to state your listed expenditures.

The interest installments and points you pay are put together with other such breaks you declare on Schedule A; the full amount that decreases your earnings which are subject to income tax on the 2nd page of the income tax return.

How Turbo Tax Can Help You

When you file your taxes with TurboTax, you can be insured that you are going to be able to get you a tax deduction for your mortgage interest. Turbo Tax is able to recommend you with the best choices and show you which deductions and credits you qualify for.

If you try their free tax refund calculator, you can even see just how large your refund is going to be before tax season even arrives. Additionally, keep in mind that if you file with Turbo Tax you will not need to know the tax law or which tax schedules to fill out because they put your information on all the appropriate tax forms for you.

 

What is the IRS 1040 Tax Form?

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IRS 1040 Tax FormThe IRS Form 1040 is just one of the authorized documents that U.S. taxpayers are able to use to submit their yearly income tax return.

The form is separated into parts that allow you to record your earnings and deductions to figure out the total taxes you have to pay or the tax refund you are going to receive. Based on the kind of earnings you claim, you might be required to complete additional forms or schedules.

Reporting Your Earnings

The very first page of Form 1040 is the place you compute your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). The first part requires that you input details on all types of revenue like your paycheck and salary, dividends, tips, capital gains, alimony, interest, taxable state and local tax rebates, farm revenue, company income, IRA and pension distributions, unemployment income and Social Security benefits.

You will also see a box on the form to report “other income” you obtain that doesn’t easily fit in with any other sections. You have to state all income you get, irrespective of where it stems from, unless of course it’s tax-exempt. The sum of these revenue items is referred to as your total income.

Deductions for AGI

From your total income, the IRS lets you claim certain deductions or corrections to get to your AGI. Permitted adjustments include things like one-half of your self-employment income tax payments, alimony installments, IRA contributions, repayments of student loan interest fees and health savings program contributions, to mention a few. Your AGI is a crucial quantity because numerous deduction restrictions are influenced by it.

Deductions and Exemptions

The 2nd page of Form 1040 starts with your AGI and enables you to decrease it even more with either the regular deduction or the over-all total of your listed deductions. Listed deductions consist of expenditures like mortgage loan interest fees, unreimbursed company operating expenses and surplus medical expenditures along with many more.

If the over-all total of your listed deductions does not surpass the regular deduction for your submitting status, in that case your taxable earnings is going to be lower once you claim the regular deduction.

After picking the best deduction, you are able to bring down your taxable earnings further by one exemption for you, and one for every of the dependents you claim. After deducting your exemptions, you will be left with your taxable revenue, which is the sum subject to income tax.

When using TurboTax online, they’ll perform this for you and suggest if opting for the regular deduction provides you with the most beneficial results.

Computing the Tax and Claiming Credits

You have to now determine the amount of income tax you have to pay on your taxable earnings by referring to the tax charts in your instructions. But, when you use TurboTax to prepare and file online, the tax is going to be automatically computed for you.

Checking your over-all total tax withholding to your tax charge at the bottom part of Form 1040 will confirm if you have to make an extra payment or if you should count on a refund. Should you be entitled to any of the income tax breaks outlined on the form, be sure you decrease the sum of tax you owe by every credit before finishing your Form 1040.

Yet again, TurboTax will perform all of this on your behalf, so that you get the highest possible refund, guaranteed.

How to Import W2 Tax Form Online

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The import feature found in TurboTax securely retrieves W-2, 1099, and 1098 data from hundreds of participating employers and financial institutions, saving time and data entry errors.

Depending on the availability of these documents from your financial institution and employer, this feature will make your w-2 accessible in TurboTax on January 1, 2016.

However if your employer does not have this service available, then your employer must have your W-2 post marked by January 31st. If you did not receive your W-2 by this deadline, then first call your employer for a copy. Or you can click here if you need a blank printable w2 tax form

What to do if You Can’t Find Your W-2:

If you still do not receive your W-2 or cannot reach your past employer due to a number of circumstances, you can contact the IRS and get help in locating your W2 tax form. You will need to call the IRS at (800) 829-1040, and be prepared to provide the following information:

  • The employer’s name and complete address, including a zip code and telephone number.
  • The employer identification number (EIN), if possible. If you’ve worked for this employer for more than one year, you might find the EIN on your last year’s W-2 form. You might also find it on one of your pay stubs. It’s not necessary to have it, but it’s very helpful.
  • An estimate of your wages and withholding amounts. You can generally get this from your most recent pay stub with that employer or you can add all your previous pay stubs to come up with an amount.
  • The date that you began and ended your employment with the employer.

Your past employer must report your wages to the IRS when they file their tax return so the IRS will have record of it at some point.

As a last resort you may file a form 4852. Form 4852 is a substitute wage and tax statement that you can use as an absolute last resort. Form 4852 should only be filed if you can’t get your actual W-2 form by the tax filing deadline date of April 15th. It can’t be used simply as a convenience for the employee, as opposed to trying to track down your employer and receiving your W-2 tax form.

Once you have received your W-2 or you are ready to file your income taxes and need to file a form 4852 you can prepare your taxes online. However you will not be able to e-file and you must print and mail your income tax return to the IRS.

Visit TurboTax Online today to learn more about W-2’s and you get the necessary tax forms to file your federal income tax return.

 

Capital Gain Taxes on Real Estate

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If you sold your primary home and profited you may be able to exclude that profit from your taxable income. In this article, we are going to explain exactly how this works.

$250,000 Exclusion on the Sale of a Main Home

Individuals can exclude up to $250,000 profits from selling their primary home ($500,000 for married couples) as long as they have owned and lives in the home for at least two years.

The best part is these two years do not have to be consecutive. In five years prior to selling your home, you must have resided there for at least 24 months. This rule can be used each time you sell or exchange your main home. However, you will only be able to use it once every two years.

Exceptions to the 2 out of 5 Year Rule

If you have resided in your home for fewer than 24 months, you may be able to exclude a portion of your gain. Some exceptions are allowed if you sold because your job location changed health concerns, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Job Location Responsible for Move

If you have resided in your home for less than two years, you are eligible to exclude a portion of your gain on the sale of your home if you are selling because your work location has changed.

Health Concerns

If you have to sell, your home for medical or health reasons make sure that you can document those reasons and have documentation from your physician. You will not have to file it with your tax return yet you are going to want to make sure that you keep it in your personal records in case the IRS asks to see it.

Unforeseen Circumstances

If you are selling your home because of unforeseen circumstances, make sure that you are prepared to show what the reasons are. An unforeseen circumstance is an event that could not have been anticipated before purchasing a home and occupying it.

The IRS states unforeseen circumstances as natural disasters, acts of war, change in employment/unemployment that leaves you unable to meet your basic living expenses, terrorism acts, death, divorce, separation, or multiple births from the same pregnancy.

Partial Exclusion

You can exclude a portion of your gain when selling your home after you have lived there for fewer than two years if you meet one of the exceptions that were previously discussed. This exclusion is based on the time that you resided in the home. What you are going to have to do is count the number of months that you stayed in your home and divide the number by 24.

Then, you are going to multiple that number by $250,000 (not married) or $500,000 (married). The result is going to be the amount that you can exclude from your taxable income.

For example, let us say that you resided in your home for twelve months then decided to sell because your employer asked you to relocate to a different office. You are not married so you would calculate your exclusion by dividing twelve months by twenty-four months and multiplying it by $250,000. The result is going to be $125,000. Therefore, if your gain is more than $125,000 you will be taxed on income over $125,000.

Loss on the Sale of a Home

If you lose money when selling your home, you are not able to deduct this loss.

Reporting the Gain on the Sale of Your Home

When you are reporting a gain on the sale of your home, it will be reported on Schedule D as a capital gain. If you owned your home for a year or less the gain is going to be a short-term capital gain. If you owned your home for a year or longer it is going to be reported as a long-term gain.

Calculating Your Cost Basis and Capital Gain

The formula for calculating the gain or loss involves subtracting your cost basis from your selling price. The formula for doing so is as follows below:

  • Purchase price
  • Purchase costs
  • Improvements
  • Selling costs
  • Accumulated Depreciation
  • Cost Basis

Calculating your profit or loss would be:

  • Selling price
  • Cost basis
  • Gain or loss

Lastly, to calculate your taxable gain:

  • Gain
  • Minus maximum or partial exclusion
  • Taxable gain

Remember, when you file with TurboTax Online, we’ll ask you simple questions about your situation and recommend the filing status, credits and deductions that will get you the biggest refund or least amount of tax.

 

Claiming Dependents on Your Tax Return

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Most taxpayers know that they can deduct their dependent children when they file their taxes. However, what they may not know is the rules that come along with claiming dependents on taxes – especially regarding other relatives.

There are guidelines as to when dependents can claim themselves and so much more.

If someone else has the ability to claim you as a dependent you will not be able to take an exemption for yourself and you will have a limited standard deduction. If you were to file with TurboTax, the program will help you understand this in detail.

You can claim someone as your dependent if they are a resident of the United States, are not filing a joint return, and can meet the qualifying child or qualifying relative test. We will go into more detail about this below. 

Qualifying Child

Usually people claim someone as a dependent on their taxes because they have a qualifying child. However, in order to determine whether someone is considered a qualifying child, they have to meet the six criteria’s below:

  • Relationship – The child must be your child (i.e. foster, step, adopted, half/step sibling, grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  • Age – The dependent should be younger than 19 as well as younger than you. If they are a full time student, attending school at least five months out of the year, they must be under the age of 24. Alternatively, for age not be a factor they must be totally or permanently disabled.
  • Residency- The child should have lived with you for at least half of the year.
  • Support- The child should not have provided half of their own support during the year.
  • Joint Return- The child should not be filing a joint return with their spouse unless it was to claim a refund only.
  • Special Test- In the case of divorce, only one parent is going to be able to claim the child. However, if both parents could be eligible the child is going to go to the highest gross income unless Form 8332 has been filled out.

Qualifying Relative

If your potential child has not qualified as a qualifying child, it is possible that they will be a qualifying relative, which would still allow you to claim them on your taxes as a dependent. To be a qualifying relative all of the following criteria’s must be met.

  • Not a qualifying child: The dependent is not your qualifying relative if they are already a qualifying child, for you or another taxpayer.
  • Relationship: The dependent must reside with you or if they do not live with you, they must be your child, sibling, parent/grandparent, or a direct descendant of any of the above-mentioned relatives.
  • Gross Income: The relative’s gross income must be lower than $3,800.
  • Support: You must have provided the individual with more than half of their support.

Tax season is right around the corner so it is important to make sure you understand how claiming a dependent on your taxes works as well as when it is appropriate.

Remember, when you file with TurboTax Online, we’ll ask you simple questions about your situation and recommend the filing status, credits and deductions that will get you the biggest refund.

Married Filing Separately Tax Status

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 When tax time rolls around, married couples can choose two different ways of filing their taxes: joint tax returns or married filing separately returns. It is important to recognize and consider all the pros and cons of each type when deciding how to file.

 

Married couples can decide to file tax returns separately. This type of filing status does not receive all the benefits of filing jointly for married people, so it is hardly ever used.

People who file jointly have many benefits that separate filers do not, such as:

 

  •  Earned income credit
  • Tuition deductions
  • Child and dependent care credits
  • Interest on student loan deductions
  • U.S. bond interest exclusions
  • Social Security benefit exclusions
  • Elder and disability care credits

Married couples who file separately must fall into more stringent income ranges in order to get the IRA deduction.

Even if you file separately from your spouse, there are still rules that make you filed in the same way. If one of you takes the standard deduction, the other must as well. This also works with itemized deductions. Spouses cannot take both standard and itemized deductions even when filing separately.

What is the Benefit to File Taxes Separately?

With all of those negative results of separate tax filing, it may seem like it is a bad idea all the time. The main reason and married couples do file separately is that their tax liabilities are separate.

 While it seems like an unpleasant prospect, if you suspect your spouse is evading the taxes or not claiming everything correctly, filing a separate tax return makes sense. This will protect you financially and separate you from any legal proceedings that he may incur. You will also not be involved in any audits.

Can You File Head of Household if Married and Filing Separately?

It is possible for a married person to file as head of household if they meet the following criteria. One, if you and your spouse did not live together during the last six months of the previous tax year. Two, you provided more than half of the care for a child or other qualifying person who lived with you for more than six months.

 Community Property States

In community property states, all property the spouses own is considered jointly owned by both of them. For tax purposes, this means that each spouse must report half of the total communal income if they file separate tax returns. Only half of any deductions for community property can be reported on each return.

Mutual Consent Needed for Joint Filing

Even if one spouse wants to file a joint tax return, they cannot do so if the other spouse is unwilling or unable to sign the joint return. Filing married but separate is necessary in cases like this.

When Should You Decide to File Joint or Separate Returns?

The best time to decide which way you are going to file is the first time you sit down to do taxes in a particular tax year. It is important to file either a joint or two separate tax returns by the April 15th deadline.

Remember, when you file with TurboTax Online, we’ll ask you simple questions about your situation and recommend the best filing status, credits and deductions that will get you the biggest refund. 

 

 

   

Head of Household Tax Filing Status

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Head of Household federal tax filing status is reserved for unmarried people who care for dependents. It is required that you provided at least half of the funds necessary to maintain the home and well-being of these people in order for them to qualify you as head of household.

People who are able to use this filing status get lower taxes and larger deductions than people who must file single. It is important you closely read the criteria for being able to declare yourself head of household.

  • On the last day of the previous tax year, you were unmarried or considered unmarried by the federal government.
  • More than half of the cost of maintaining a home fell on your shoulders.
  • At least one qualifying dependent lived with you in that home for more than six months.

It is possible that you still qualify without meeting the residency requirement listed above. Check IRS publication 501 for more information.

The first criteria of being able to file as head of household is that you are unmarried. This not only means you have never been married but also that you have been married in the past and are no longer in that legal relationship. This could be the cause of legal separation or divorce.

State laws determine the marital status of each Federal tax filer, except when it comes to same sex couples and people in civil unions and domestic partnerships. While people in these types of relationships would have to file as single in the past, new rulings about same sex marriage may have changed these guidelines. Always check the IRS web site for any updated information.

There is a way a married person can be considered unmarried in order to file as head of household. Even if the couple is not legally separated, if they have lived in a separate residence for more than the last six months of the previous tax year, they qualify. The criteria for having a dependent, either a child, step a child or foster child, still exists. The taxpayer would also have to pay for more than half of the upkeep on this home.

A married person who fulfills all the above criteria can file as head of household instead of married filing separately. This makes them eligible for greater tax deductions, such as higher education credits, dependent care credits and earned income tax credit. They can take the standard deduction or use itemize deductions even if their legal spouse is filing in another way.

Who Is a Qualifying Person?

To be eligible to file as head of household, you need a qualifying person living with you for more than 6 months. The person living with you does not have to be a dependent, but does have to fulfill one of the roles listed below:

  • Child – step, adopted, foster, sibling or a descendent of any dependents.
  • A parent who can be claimed as a dependent under qualifying relative rules.
  • Sibling, niece, nephew or grandparent who can be likewise claimed as a dependent.

While residency rules do not apply while determining who is a dependent, they do matter for filing head of household on your federal taxes. The person must live with you for at least 6 months of the previous tax year. If they did not, you may not qualify for head of household status.

Test for Support

Head of household requires that you pay for more than half of home upkeep. This includes mortgage payments, rent, taxes, insurance, utility bills, repairs and maintenance and groceries. Money paid for clothing, transportation, education, medical care, life insurance and vacations are not eligible. A handy worksheet in Publication 501 can help you determine if you qualify.

Test for Residency

While the qualifying person must live with you for more than half of the previous tax year, there are some exceptions. These temporary absences are OK if they are due to education, military service, extended vacations, business trips or illness. The assumption that the person will return to the household after their absence is necessary.

This extra requirement does not exist if the qualifying person is a parent. If you provide more than half the financial upkeep for an elderly parent, they do not have to reside with you and no expectation of moving in with you later is necessary. This allows people to qualify if they are providing for an elderly parent in a nursing home or other care.

Remember, when you file with TurboTax Online, we’ll ask you simple questions about your situation and recommend the filing status, credits and deductions that will get you the biggest refund.

 

Married Filing Jointly Tax Filing Status

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Married taxpayers can file either joint tax returns or separate ones, depending on their personal finances. Ones who file jointly usually get more tax benefits, but it is important to explore your individual options before deciding which way to file every year. You do not have to file the same way each year as long as your particular circumstances allow for the change.

Legally married people on the last day of the previous tax year can file jointly, no matter what date the marriage took place on. Spouses must agree to file jointly and sign the tax return together. The joint standard deduction is higher that the single one and additional tax benefits may be available.

Joint Tax Return Basics

Basically, a joint tax return is one tax return that covers two legally-joined people. All the income and tax liabilities of both spouses must be declared on this one return in accordance with the rules of the IRS.

They are both responsible for providing completely accurate information and both are equally responsible for paying taxes if applicable. It does not matter who made the money or who actually filled out the papers. The IRS holds each person accountable in the case of an audit or other troubles.

There are options for extreme cases that are outlined in Publication 971: equitable relief, separation or innocent spouse relief that is mostly used in case of criminal issues.

Death of a Spouse

A joint tax return may be filed even if one spouse passed away during the previous tax year. The next tax year will change your status to single, head of household or you can use the unique surviving spouse status. You are, for IRS legal purposes, deemed married if your spouse died during the year, even if they were not alive for more than 6 months.

Separate or Joint Tax Returns?

Most married couples find a greater benefit in filing a joint return. The standard deduction is higher and there are more possible tax benefits they can get. Husbands and wives who file separately may have less financial benefits, but they are also not liable for the other person’s taxes or claims. Explore your options thoroughly and decide what works best for your marriage.

Filing for Same-Sex Married Couples

Couples that are legally married in the state in which they reside can file a joint tax return just the same as opposite sex couples can. They can also file separately if they so choose. This is a recent change due to the Defense of Marriage Act and the changing political climate surrounding same-sex marriage.

When the Supreme Court overruled it as unconstitutional, it changed the terminology of the tax laws. Spouse, husband and wife are now all encompassing when it comes to both opposite and same sex couples, as long as they are legally bound by state marriage.

Same-sex couples who were legally married in a state that recognizes gay marriage and have since moved to a state that does not are still recognized as married by the federal government. They are able to file joint or separate tax returns as married couples. This is a big changed to recent tax laws and, if it applies to your specific status, it is important to keep up-to-date with the information surrounding same-sex marriages and tax laws.

Civil Partnerships and Domestic Unions

In states that do not allow same-sex marriage but do have civil unions or domestic partnerships, no matter what the official title of the union is, couples are not considered married for federal tax purposes. They must file either single tax returns or head of household if they have a qualifying person as outlined in the other article. The IRS does not include people in civil partnerships as married under the laws of their state or the federal government.

Couples in these civil unions must divide any joint property or income to declare it properly on separate tax returns if they reside in a community property state. They cannot take the same deductions or write-offs on the same income or property.

Remember, when you file with TurboTax Online, we’ll ask you simple questions about your situation and recommend the filing status, credits and deductions that will get you the biggest refund.

Single Tax Filing Status

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Single tax filing status is appropriate for people who are not married, legally separated or divorced at the end of the previous year. A single person with one or more dependents or qualifying people should check to see if they fulfill the requirements to file as head of household.

This filing status usually brings more benefits and greater deductions than simply filing as single.

Who is considered unmarried?

State laws concerning marriage are most often are followed by the IRS when determining filing status for federal taxes. In order to file as single you must be either unmarried, legally separated, or divorced completely from your spouse.

While some states have legal civil unions or domestic partnerships, the IRS considers these people single for the purpose of tax filing. The federal government now also acknowledges states with gay marriage laws since the Defense of Marriage act was found to be unconstitutional.

For purpose of income tax, anyone in a civil union is not considered married, while people in same-sex marriages legal in their home state are considered married.

People in these types of relationships will need to separate their assets and property if they live in a community property state. You can research online to figure out if your state is one. This means that there is no such thing as joint income or property that can be filed by both.

Remember, when you file with TurboTax Online, we’ll ask you simple questions about your situation and recommend the filing status, credits and deductions that will get you the biggest refund.