5 Tax Tips That Could Save You Thousands Of Dollars In 2020

Tax Tips

“People used to have more ability to optimize their deductions.” The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the bar on who will itemize, as you now must surpass the 2019 standard deduction of $12,200 for singles or $24,400 for married filing jointly. When mailing a tax return to the IRS, even if you send it Registered Mail, Certified Mail, or Priority Mail with a delivery receipt, always include a small check. Since the checks are made out to the Treasury Department, there is a separate set of internal controls regarding the receipt of payments. The check will be logged in separately from the return, recorded, cashed and deposited. On the copy of the check will be the information needed to prove the return was received by the IRS. A few times, a return sent by the above methods has not been recorded.

Or you could find yourself scrambling to find someone who’s not too busy to help you. If you’re not having enough tax withheld from your paycheck, you will owe Uncle Sam at tax time.

Fees apply if you have us file a corrected or amended return. How long do you keep my filed tax information on file?

Taxpayers can find more details on taxable unemployment compensation in Tax Topic 418, Unemployment Compensation, or in Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, on IRS.gov. If you have the information ready to file your return, you can file your tax return online for free – using iFile for individual income taxes or bFile for sales and use tax and withholding tax returns. If you need assistance, call us at one of the numbers listed below under Contact Information. These days, you can file your tax return online in your pajamas at the stroke of midnight on Tax Day, but you may end up paying more to file. Some tax software providers increase their prices as the tax deadline approaches. But if you had income of less than $72,000 in 2020, you can prepare and file your federal tax return for free through the IRS Free File program, which is a partnership between the IRS and private software providers. Your best bet, typically, is to file your tax return electronically and request direct deposit if you’re owed a refund.

It is important to note that the self-employment tax refers to Social Security and Medicare taxes, similar to FICA paid by an employer. When a taxpayer takes a deduction of one-half of the self-employment tax, it is only a deduction for the calculation of that taxpayer’s income tax. It does not reduce the net earnings from self-employment or reduce the self-employment tax itself. The Australian Taxation Office recently announced the introduction of a new shortcut that will make it easier for people to claim tax deductions for working from home. At Taxtips we have professional trained tax accountants and tax preparers that know how to maximise your tax refund ensuring you get all these tax benefits including the new shortlist method. If you need longer than 72 months to pay your debt or you owe more than $50,000, the IRS will request a Collection Information Statement (Form 433-AorForm 433-F).

  • But don’t just sign up with a stranger at a kiosk you run across — ask for strong recommendations from friends or family or look into nearby enrolled agents and interview a few before selecting who to hire.
  • Especially, if you plan on using the itemized deduction method.
  • This is when tax prep software can come in handy since it does the math automatically.
  • At one such audit, opposing counsel read my report, looked at his file and said, “Gentlemen, she’s exactly right.” I nearly fainted.
  • Although you do not report these tips to your employer, you must report them on your tax return.

Don’t assume that a letter from the IRS is the end of the matter. “Many people think that it’s conclusory, but they always give you time to respond to demonstrate that you get the deduction or whatever,” Lipman says. “If you respond to them, they really do want to work with you. If you do not respond, they’ll assess the deficiency and start the collection action.” Aside from charitable giving, consumers can accelerate tax deductions, such as a property tax bill due early next year or a big medical bill. These can be beneficial when itemized using the “bunching” method. She also warns against “shopping a refund” to find a preparer who promises to get you a bigger refund.

Think of the employer match as an immediate return on your money. And all those funds are tax-deferred and grow tax-free. Severe penalties may be imposed for contributions and distributions not made in accordance with IRS rules.

Don’t assume that your tax-free municipal bonds are completely free of taxes. Having this type of information at your fingertips will save you another trip through your files. If you didn’t pay enough to the IRS during the year, you may have a big tax bill staring you in the face. Plus, you might owe significant interest and penalties, too. If you’re not satisfied, return it within 60 days of shipment with your dated receipt for a full refund (excluding shipping & handling). If you’re not satisfied, return it to Intuit within 60 days of purchase with your dated receipt for a full refund.

And when you work for someone else, you’re indirectly paying the employer portion because that’s money your employer can’t afford to add to your salary. If you’re self-employed, it’s important to review what you are allowed to deduct each year in order to make your business as profitable as possible. Insurance and annuity products are offered through Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc., a licensed insurance agency and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.

More Information About The Eip3

This provision is effective for expenses incurred after Dec. 31, 2020, and expires at the end of 2022. However, you can deduct 100% of the additional cost of long-distance business calls or the cost of a second phone line dedicated solely to your business. The simplified option lets you multiply an IRS-determined rate by your home office square footage. To use the simplified option, your home office must not be larger than 300 square feet and you cannot deduct depreciation or home-relateditemized deductions.

The agency’s internal watchdog, called the Taxpayer Advocate Service, said the agency is holding more than 29 million tax returns for manual processing. In 2018, about 90% of taxpayers filed their returns online and the agency said about 9 out of 10 refunds were issued in less than 21 days. The Internal Revenue Service announced on Monday an agreement with Free File, Inc. to strengthen a free online filing option for taxpayers. A better option is cash flow to stay within the law by classifying your employees correctly when they are hired, or consulting a tax professional to make the proper changes to your payroll. Most small business tax deductions are more complicated than this brief overview describes—it is the U.S. Tax Code, after all—but now you have a good introduction to the basics. The IRS usually requires you to deduct major expenses over time as capital expenses rather than all at once.

MetaBank® does not charge a fee for this service; please see your bank for details on its fees. Payroll, unemployment, government benefits and other direct deposit funds are available on effective date of settlement with provider. Please check with your employer or benefits provider as they may not offer direct deposit or partial direct deposit. Faster access to funds is based on comparison of traditional banking policies for check deposits versus electronic direct deposit. Free ITIN application services available only at participating H&R Block offices, and applies only when completing an original federal tax return .


The AMT is figured separately from your regular tax liability and with different rules. Originally designed to make sure wealthy people could not use legal deductions to drive down their tax bill, the AMT is now increasingly affecting the middle class. Sometimes accelerating tax deductions can cost you money… if you’re already in cash flow the alternative minimum tax or if you inadvertently trigger it. If you’re on the itemize-or-not borderline, your year-end strategy should focus on bunching. This is the practice of timing expenses to produce lean and fat years. In one year, you cram in as many deductible expenses as possible, using the tactics outlined above.

Tax Tips

As with the home office deduction, it may be worth calculating your deduction both ways so you can claim the larger amount. If you want to use the standard mileage rate on a car you own, you need to use that method in the first year the car is available for use in your business.

The American Rescue Plan also made some tax changes. For the millions of Americans who lost work due to Covid, the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits is now exempt from federal taxes for those with income under $150,000. The exemption is $20,400 for a couple with the same income. Many tax professionals will charge more as the April 15 filing deadline closes in.

You can even deduct the cost of advertising that encourages people to donate to charity while also putting your business’ name before the public in the hope of gaining customers. A sign advertising “Holiday Toy Drive sponsored by Robert’s Hot Dogs,” for example, would be tax-deductible.

A Teachers Guide To The Educator Expense Deduction

Many sources of income will send you end-of-year documents, such as the W-2 form from your employer or 1099 forms from your bank and/or brokerage detailing income from sources such as dividends or interest. That information also makes its way to the Internal Revenue Service, which is expecting you to report it. If you believe that you are not liable for interest for underpayment of estimated tax, please complete Form 502UP with your tax return.

Tax Tips

Our well trained professional accountants can help you decide whether there is a tax benefit to you when preparing your tax return. Don’t you worry, at Taxtips our professional accountants know what to do when they prepare your tax return to ensure you get the maximum tax refund possible within the law. Like the failure-to-file penalty, this penalty can rise as high as 25% of your unpaid taxes. However, unlike the failure-to-file penalty, the failure-to-pay penalty can’t be avoided by you filing for an extension. You have to pay at least 90% of your tax liability by the due date and the balance by the extension date if you want to avoid the failure to pay penalty.

Professional fees to consultants, attorneys, accountants, and the like are also deductible at any time, even if they aren’t startup costs. But you can’t deduct rent expenses on any property that you own, even partially. The need for a reasonableness test typically arises when you and the owner are related, but rent is considered reasonable if it is the same amount you would pay to a stranger.

If your adjusted gross income for 2019 was more than $150,000, you have to pay more than 110% of your 2019 tax liability to be protected from a tax year 2020 underpayment penalty. With year-end approaching, check to see if your employer has adopted a grace period permitted by the IRS, allowing employees to spend 2020 set-aside money as late as March 15, 2021. If not, you can do what employees have always done and make a last-minute trip to the drug store, dentist or optometrist to use up the funds in your account. Don’t worry about figuring out if you can itemize or should take the standard deduction. TurboTax will figure it out for you based on your answers to simple questions about your deductible expenses.

After all, he or she spends a lot of time keeping up with tax laws and knows about available strategies that can minimize your taxes. But don’t just sign up with a stranger at a kiosk you run across — ask for strong recommendations from friends or family or look into nearby enrolled agents and interview a few before selecting who to hire. The EIP3 is not claimed on your 2020 tax return or used to calculate the 2020 Recovery Rebate Tax Tips Credit. “I’m conducting a business in Maryland, making sales in Maryland and have employees in Maryland – but I haven’t filed any returns.” If you make $100,000 in 2021, for example, this means that any healthcare spending in excess of $7,500 can be deductible. And in addition to the obvious expenses, don’t forget to consider things like dental care, prescription eyeglasses, and even the mileage to and from medical appointments.

Tax Tips

On the form, you need to make a reasonable estimate of your tax liability for 2020 and pay any balance due with your request. Requesting an extension in a timely manner is especially important if you end up owing tax to the IRS.

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If your home office occupies 15% of your home, for example, then 15% of your annual electricity bill becomes tax-deductible. Some of these deductions, such as mortgage interest and home depreciation, apply only to those who own rather than rent their home office space.

Author: Gene Marks

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