Tax preparation tricks and providers? Harvest Your Capital Losses: If you own stocks that have lost money, you can sell them and deduct up to $3,000 on your federal taxes. Just be careful not to violate the wash-sale rule, which would disallow the deduction. This rule states you cannot purchase the same or a substantially similar stock within 30 days before or after the sale. “Some people think it’s OK if I do it using two accounts,” Zollars says. They may think they can sell a stock from a taxable account and then immediately purchase similar securities in an IRA. However, this is not allowed. “That’s not the way the rule works,” he says.
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After the employee’s debt has been paid, the procedure for stopping the garnishment will vary depending on the type of garnishment. For federal levies, employers will receive a 668-D form, for child support the employer will receive a notice or letter from the state, and creditors will send employers a “Notice of Termination/Release of Wage Garnishment Order” for creditor garnishments. Employers should have a basic understanding of garnishments and a plan in place to respond when they occur. Consider working with a professional to ensure your plan and procedures are compliant with applicable laws based on your specific situation. Using a garnishment payment service can help you remit funds to the correct agency and help protect against undue liability and lawsuits.
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Collect Pertinent Income and Expense Information: Around the end of January each year, employers, vendors, financial institutions, and others prepare and forward various tax forms and information pertinent to your filing. Create a set of files – whether that’s a large multi-pocketed accordion file, a group of large manila envelopes, or a digital filing system on your hard drive – to sort and separate the data into one of the following categories: Personal Information. This information should include your legal name, as well as the legal names of your spouse and all dependents. You also need their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. I also keep my primary bank information – account number and bank routing number – so I can request a direct deposit refund if circumstances warrant. Income. Common forms include W-2s from employers; 1099 forms for other types of income, such as self-employment, investments, and retirement distributions; and K-1s for any partnerships in which you participate. Keep a separate folder for security transactions so you can quickly determine holding periods from buy and sell dates to ensure you qualify for capital gains treatment wherever possible.
Look back to last year’s return? Hopefully by now you’ve filed your tax return for last year, or filed for an extension. If you’ve already filed your taxes for the current tax year, look back and think about areas that were problematic or extra stressful. Then think about how you can alleviate that stress for next year. For example, if you did your own taxes and had trouble with the math, consider using a free online tax-preparation service like Mtptaxes next year. If you had trouble verifying contributions you made to charity, plan how you’ll keep better records so it’s easier to claim a charitable deduction.
State sales taxes: This write-off makes sense primarily for those who live in states that do not impose an income tax. You must choose between deducting state and local income taxes, or state and local sales taxes. For most citizens of income-tax-states, the income tax deduction usually is a better deal. IRS has tables for residents of states with sales taxes showing how much they can deduct. But the tables aren’t the last word. If you purchased a vehicle, boat or airplane, you get to add the state sales tax you paid to the amount shown in IRS tables for your state, to the extent the sales tax rate you paid doesn’t exceed the state’s general sales tax rate. The same goes for home building materials you purchased. These items are easy to overlook. The IRS even has a calculator to help you figure out the deduction, which varies by your state and income level. Beginning in 2018, your itemized deduction for state and local taxes is limited to $10,000 per year. You still will only be allowed to deduct either state and local sales tax or state and local income taxes, but not both. Find extra information at this site.