Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4811/all en-US Are You Withholding the Right Amount of Taxes from Your Paycheck? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tax_refund_money.jpg" alt="Tax refund money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2017, the IRS received 152,235,000 tax returns &mdash; and of those returns, more than 73 percent were granted a refund. With the average refund last year standing at $2,895, you might think getting a windfall in the spring is a good thing. But rather than giving the government an interest-free loan all year, wouldn't you have preferred to have an extra $241.25 per month in your paycheck?</p> <p>On the other hand, the 27 percent of taxpayers not receiving a refund may be getting the opposite &mdash; a big tax bill. They may not be having <em>enough</em> money withheld from their paychecks for taxes.</p> <p>This is why it's important to withhold the right amount of taxes out of your paycheck. Let's review how to cover your projected tax liability while minimizing your refund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bigger-paycheck-or-bigger-tax-refund-which-should-you-pick?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bigger Paycheck or Bigger Tax Refund &mdash; Which Should You Pick?</a>)</p> <h2>Meet the IRS Withholding Calculator</h2> <p>With the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many Americans are still trying to figure out the full effects of this legislation on their paychecks. In an effort to help taxpayers make sense of recent changes to the tax law, the IRS updated its <a href="https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/" target="_blank">Withholding Calculator</a> on February 28, 2018.</p> <p>While the IRS recommends that all taxpayers take a second look at how much in taxes they're taking out of their paychecks, the agency highly encourages the following groups to check their withholdings for 2018:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Two-income families.</p> </li> <li> <p>People with two or more jobs at the same time or who only work for part of the year.</p> </li> <li> <p>People with children who claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit.</p> </li> <li> <p>People who itemized deductions in 2017.</p> </li> <li> <p>People with high incomes and more complex tax returns.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>How to use the IRS Withholding Calculator</h2> <p>Here's your game plan to achieve a &quot;Goldilocks&quot; withholding rate on your paycheck this year.</p> <h3>1. Gather your latest pay stub(s) and latest tax return</h3> <p>If you don't receive a pay stub in the mail, contact your human resources office to get a copy or learn how you can download one online from your company portal. Depending on your unique financial situation, you may also want to find your 2016 return (or your 2017, if you've completed it) to more accurately estimate your 2018 income, budget, expenses, and list of tax credits.</p> <h3>2. Provide general information and list potential tax credits</h3> <p>In the first two sections of the IRS Withholding Calculator, indicate your filing status, whether or not anybody can claim you as a dependent, how many jobs you and your spouse (if applicable) have, how many dependents you will claim on your return, and whether or not you or your spouse will be 65 or older on January 1, 2019.</p> <p>Additionally, you will need to list any applicable tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. This is why it's helpful to have past returns handy to help you estimate those credits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-return-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Tax Return Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a>)</p> <h3>3. Detail your wage income and withholding</h3> <p>Next, enter your gross wages, salaries, tips, and any bonuses you expect to receive in 2018. Using your most recent pay stubs, enter the total federal income tax withheld to date in 2018 and the federal income tax withheld from your last salary payment. Indicate how frequently you receive your paychecks, and, if applicable, when you started this job in 2018, and when you expect this job to end in 2018.</p> <p>If you receive any other taxable income, make sure to include it as well. The IRS Withholding Calculator is only as accurate as the information you enter, so leaving that income out may result in a higher tax liability.</p> <h3>4. List deductions</h3> <p>Here is one of the biggest changes implemented by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. If your standard deduction ($12,000 for individuals, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married filing jointly) is more than your total itemized deductions, your standard deduction will be used to calculate your withholding. Otherwise, your total itemized deduction amount will be used. So, this is why it still pays to keep track of all of those deductions throughout the year.</p> <p>Use your latest return to estimate your 2018 itemized deductions, including medical and dental expenses, paid taxes (up to $5,000 for single filers and $10,000 for married filers for applicable state and local income taxes, property taxes, or sales taxes), gifts to charity, and other itemized deductions. Remember that beginning in 2018, job and certain miscellaneous expenses are no longer deductible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</a>)</p> <h3>5. Adjust your W4</h3> <p>Once you have entered all the data, the IRS Withholding Calculator will provide you with clear instructions on how to update your W4 with your employer. Depending on your situation, some action items may include changing your filing status, adjusting your number of allowances, and withholding an extra amount every paycheck.</p> <p>Following the instructions from the calculator, you'll cover your tax liability just right.</p> <h2>Revisit the IRS Withholding Calculator as necessary</h2> <p>Don't set it and forget it. If your job (Promotion? Salary bump? Side gig?) or life situation (Married? Baby?) changes, revisit the IRS Withholding Calculator. The calculator will help you make sure you have the right amount of tax withheld from your paycheck at work.</p> <p>The IRS recommends submitting your updated W4 to your employer as soon as possible. Withholding takes place throughout the year, so it's better to take this step right away.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fare-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FAre%2520You%2520Withholding%2520the%2520Right%2520Amount%2520of%2520Taxes%2520from%2520Your%2520Paycheck_.jpg&amp;description=Are%20You%20Withholding%20the%20Right%20Amount%20of%20Taxes%20from%20Your%20Paycheck%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Are%20You%20Withholding%20the%20Right%20Amount%20of%20Taxes%20from%20Your%20Paycheck_.jpg" alt="Are You Withholding the Right Amount of Taxes from Your Paycheck?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-have-a-tax-lien-on-your-house">What to Do If You Have a Tax Lien On Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Get Audited</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes">6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxes-on-irregular-income">Taxes on irregular income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-pay-your-taxes">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Pay Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes calculator IRS owing money pay stubs paychecks refunds tax bills w4 withholding Tue, 03 Apr 2018 08:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 2122339 at http://www.wisebread.com It's Your Last Chance to Claim These 8 Tax Deductions http://www.wisebread.com/its-your-last-chance-to-claim-these-8-tax-deductions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-your-last-chance-to-claim-these-8-tax-deductions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/a_clock_with_tax_time_sticky_note.jpg" alt="A clock with tax time sticky note" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The deadline to file your tax return is quickly approaching, so it's a good idea to wrap things up and double check for any deductions or credits you might have missed.</p> <p>It's extra important to pay close attention and make sure you're getting the most of deductions this year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminates several popular deductions for the 2018 tax year, which means this is the last chance you'll have to claim them on your return.</p> <p>To minimize your tax bill and increase your chances of getting your refund, make sure you take advantage of your last opportunity to claim these deductions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</a>)</p> <h2>1. Unreimbursed work expenses</h2> <p>If you were not reimbursed for required work expenses, such as a job uniform, work-related education, business travel, or union fees, those costs are tax deductible for tax year 2017. The new tax law eliminates this deduction.</p> <h2>2. Job-related moving expenses</h2> <p>If you've moved in the last year for work, you may be able to deduct certain expenses like hiring movers or renting a truck. To qualify under the current rules, you must have moved at least 50 miles from your previous address, your moving date must correspond to when you started your new job, and you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after your move. This deduction will no longer be available for the 2018 tax year and beyond.</p> <h2>3. Tax preparation</h2> <p>The new law eliminates your ability to deduct tax preparation expenses, such as the cost of using software or hiring someone to do them for you. If you spent money for tax preparation in 2017, this will be your last year to claim that deduction.</p> <h2>4. Casualty and theft losses</h2> <p>Under the current tax law, you can deduct any casualty and theft losses that you experienced during the tax year. For individual taxpayers, you can deduct losses due to a fire, storm, or from theft. Under the new law, you will only be able to deduct casualty losses if the loss is attributable to a disaster as declared by the president, such as a hurricane.</p> <h2>5. Alimony deductions</h2> <p>If you've gone through a divorce and you pay alimony, the money you pay your former spouse under a divorce or separation agreement is currently tax deductible. Depending on how much you pay in alimony, the tax deduction can be significant.</p> <p>Under the new tax plan, alimony payments will no longer be deductible. The change will apply to any divorce or separation that occurs after December 31, 2018.</p> <h2>6. Personal exemptions</h2> <p>With the current tax structure, you can claim a personal exemption of $4,050 for yourself, your spouse, and each of your dependent children. The new tax plan eliminates personal exemptions.</p> <p>Instead, the plan increases the standard deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for single filers, from $12,700 to $24,000 for married filing jointly, and from $9,350 to $18,000 for heads of household. Although some people will benefit from the change to a higher standard deduction, the elimination of the personal exemption could hurt families with multiple children, lower incomes, or single parents.</p> <h2>7. Mortgage interest deduction</h2> <p>Currently, you can deduct the interest you paid on a mortgage or home loan balance as large as $1 million. For mortgages that originate after December 15, 2017, the limit is lowered to $750,000. Although that number is still high, it could affect homeowners in areas with sky-high real estate prices.</p> <h2>8. State and local tax deductions</h2> <p>Current law allows you to deduct the full amount of either your state income taxes or state and local taxes. You can also deduct property taxes. For those in areas with a high cost of living, this deduction is a significant help.</p> <p>The new tax law merges the three taxes together and caps the deduction at $10,000. With a smaller deduction available for state and local taxes, some families could face a higher tax bill.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fits-your-last-chance-to-claim-these-8-tax-deductions&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIt%2527s%2520Your%2520Last%2520Chance%2520to%2520Claim%2520These%25208%2520Tax%2520Deductions.jpg&amp;description=It's%20Your%20Last%20Chance%20to%20Claim%20These%208%20Tax%20Deductions"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/It%27s%20Your%20Last%20Chance%20to%20Claim%20These%208%20Tax%20Deductions.jpg" alt="It's Your Last Chance to Claim These 8 Tax Deductions" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-your-last-chance-to-claim-these-8-tax-deductions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-last-minute-ways-to-cut-your-2016-tax-bill">7 Last-Minute Ways to Cut Your 2016 Tax Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tax-deductions-you-can-never-take">3 Tax Deductions You Can Never Take</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes alimony business expenses last chance losses mortgages personal exemptions tax cuts and jobs act tax deductions tax reform Thu, 29 Mar 2018 09:30:24 +0000 Kat Tretina 2122418 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Things You Need to Know About Gift Tax http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-gift-tax <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-gift-tax" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bunch_of_american_dollars_for_a_christmas_gift.jpg" alt="Bunch of American dollars for a Christmas gift" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recurring question each tax season centers on financial gifts; what they are and how they are taxed. Gifting money, property, or valuables to your friends and loved ones can be complicated if your gift exceeds certain monetary limits. Once your gift has exceeded these limits, it becomes subject to gift tax.</p> <p>Understanding gift tax can be enormously beneficial to you and the receiver of your gift. Whether you are trying to pass on money or expensive items to a family member or friend, understanding the gift tax can help you save over the long run.</p> <h2>What is the gift tax?</h2> <p>The gift tax is a tax on anything with a tangible value that is given to someone without receiving anything, or less than the item's full value, in return. The gift tax is <em>paid by the donor </em>in most situations. The point of such a tax is to prevent people from gifting away all of their assets before they die in an attempt to avoid estate taxes.</p> <p>For example, if a loved one gifts you their old car for less than its fair market value, it could be subject to the gift tax. For the purposes of gift tax, the IRS defines fair market value as &quot;the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.&quot;</p> <h2>How the gift tax actually works</h2> <p>Only gifts that exceed a certain tangible value in a year are subject to the gift tax. For tax year 2017, that exclusion was $14,000. In 2018, the federal gift tax exclusion will rise to $15,000. For a couple, these exclusions are per person. So, a married couple in 2018 could gift an adult child $30,000 to buy a home without being subject to gift tax, so long as the gift is deemed to be split between the two parents.</p> <p>If your gift is more than the exclusion amount, you will need to complete IRS Form 709: U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax. You must complete this form every year you make a qualifying gift.</p> <h2>When you actually have to pay gift tax</h2> <p>To make matters confusing, you don't actually have to <em>pay</em> gift tax until you surpass the lifetime gift limit. (It's the same amount that's exempt from estate tax, by the way.) That limit was $5.49 million per person for tax year 2017, but was increased to $10 million, indexed to inflation, with the passage of the new tax law in December 2017. The IRS recently announced the recalculated lifetime limit for decedents who pass in 2018 has been <a href="https://www.irs.gov/irb/2018-10_IRB#RP-2018-18">set at $11.18 million</a>. Any gifts that fall under the annual exclusion limits do not count against that lifetime limit. Regardless of whether or not you have to pay up, you still have to file Form 709 each year you gift more than the exclusion amount.</p> <p>If you have three children, and you give each of them $18,000 in 2018, you have surpassed the exclusion by $3,000 per child, or $9,000 total. That $9,000 will count against your lifetime tax-exempt gift limit of $11.18 million.</p> <h2>What isn't subject to gift tax?</h2> <p>A number of gifts are exempt from the gift tax. Exempt gifts include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>College tuition. If you are willing and able to pay the tuition for your child, grandchildren, relatives, or friends, you do not have to pay the gift tax.</p> </li> <li> <p>Political contributions. Political contributions, as long as they remain within the legal limit, are tax exempt. Be sure that you still file the required tax documents to record any political contributions.</p> </li> <li> <p>Medical bills. Like tuition, payments made directly to a medical institution to cover the cost of care or medical bills for a loved one are exempt from the gift tax and do not need to be declared on your taxes.</p> </li> <li> <p>Gifts to your spouse. If you buy your spouse a gift, such as an expensive piece of jewelry, that gift is not taxable.</p> </li> <li> <p>Charitable donations. Any gifts you make to a qualifying charity, including cash or valuables, are not subject to the gift tax.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Be sure to speak with a tax expert, wealth management firm, or estate manager if you have more complicated questions or concerns in regard to gifts and the gift tax. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-best-tax-preparer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Choose the Best Tax Preparer</a>)</p> <p>[<em>Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the lifetime gift tax exemption. The exemption is $11.18 million for 2018, and not $5.6 million.</em>]</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-things-you-need-to-know-about-gift-tax&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Things%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Gift%2520Tax.jpg&amp;description=4%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Gift%20Tax"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Gift%20Tax.jpg" alt="4 Things You Need to Know About Gift Tax" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-gift-tax">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-tax-preparer-makes-a-mistake">What to Do When Your Tax Preparer Makes a Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck">Are You Withholding the Right Amount of Taxes from Your Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-places-to-get-free-tax-advice">6 Great Places to Get Free Tax Advice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-lost-my-tax-documents-now-what">I Lost My Tax Documents… Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes estate tax exclusions exemptions gift tax giving money IRS limits Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:30:15 +0000 Kat Tretina 2120794 at http://www.wisebread.com Tariffs: What They Are and How They Impact Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/tariffs-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tariffs-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/international_container_cargo_ship.jpg" alt="International Container Cargo ship" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>President Trump recently announced new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, in a move that got mixed reviews from business and political leaders. The new tariffs would increase levies on aluminum by 10 percent and steel by 25 percent.</p> <p>There is much debate about the sensibility of these tariffs, but rather than wade into that morass, let's examine what tariffs are and how they impact the economy and your investments.</p> <h2>What is a tariff?</h2> <p>A tariff is essentially a tax that the government places on imported items. For example, the government may choose to place a tax on foreign cars or imported cotton. There are tariffs placed on an eye-popping number of products, from building materials and vegetables, to chemicals and even live animals. Tariffs can be imposed on a per-item basis, by weight or size, or by percentage of value.</p> <p>Tariffs can even vary depending on the country. For example, the U.S. may impose a tariff on shirts made in China, but not in Vietnam. The United States imposes tariffs on imports from many countries, but also has free trade agreements with many nations that allow both parties to import goods without tariffs.</p> <h2>Why do tariffs exist?</h2> <p>The first tariffs in the United States came shortly after the nation ratified the Constitution, and were motivated largely by the government's need for revenue. Tariffs played a big role in funding the government in the days before income taxes.</p> <p>Tariffs today still produce billions in revenue for the government, but they are also designed to help protect U.S.-based industries and companies. In essence, tariffs imposed on imported goods make those goods more expensive, thus giving a competitive advantage to American firms. But opponents of tariffs say they can hurt international trade and ultimately lead to lower economic growth worldwide.</p> <h2>How does a tariff impact prices?</h2> <p>Tariffs impact the cost of many of the products we buy. Just look at the label on the shirt you're wearing or your child's toy. Even if a product is manufactured or assembled in the United States, it may be made with materials that were produced overseas. Given that there are levies placed on thousands of imported goods, it's almost impossible to hold a product that isn't made more expensive by tariffs.</p> <p>The specific impact on price varies, however. Some tariffs are relatively small and are barely noticed by consumers. Even significant tariffs may not impact the cost of an individual item by very much. (One analysis said the cost of a can of Campbell's soup may go up less than one cent as a result of Trump's higher tariff on steel.) At various times in history, however, tariffs have led to problematic increases in prices. For example, tariffs on agricultural imports during the Great Depression, which were designed to support American farmers, led to higher food prices at a time when people were struggling financially.</p> <h2>What industries are impacted by tariffs?</h2> <p>Nearly every business is impacted by tariffs to some extent, either directly or indirectly. A tariff on steel, for example, will impact the steel industry overseas but in turn could make costs higher for American construction companies that use steel. Similarly, a tariff on aluminum could mean higher costs for the beer industry because its beverages are sold in aluminum cans.</p> <p>The U.S. has placed relatively high tariffs on clothing manufactured overseas, while electronics have tariffs that are much lower.</p> <h2>How does this impact my investments?</h2> <p>While tariffs are designed to protect and bolster U.S. industries, the actual impact on a company's bottom line &mdash; and investors &mdash; is not easy to predict. Consider the auto industry. There have long been tariffs on imported cars and automotive parts, but foreign car companies including Toyota and Honda have still recorded high sales while the U.S. auto industry has gone through struggles.</p> <p>After President Trump's announcement regarding steel and aluminum tariffs, the S&amp;P 500 dropped more than 1.3 percent. But analysts have downplayed any fear of a broader economic downturn, suggesting that companies and the national economy are too large for it to be impacted by any one tariff. Moreover, since many investors have diverse portfolios, the impacts may even out, as some companies may benefit from tariffs while others might see negative impacts.</p> <p>&quot;It usually takes more than cost pressures in one or two sectors to cause a recession,&quot; Fisher Investments wrote regarding the recent tariff order. &quot;We don't mean to dismiss the personal impact any of this can have on workers and small business owners, but markets are callous, and at times like this, we think investors are best off thinking like markets.&quot;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ftariffs-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-your-finances&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FTariffs_%2520What%2520They%2520Are%2520and%2520How%2520They%2520Impact%2520Your%2520Finances.jpg&amp;description=Tariffs%3A%20What%20They%20Are%20and%20How%20They%20Impact%20Your%20Finances"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Tariffs_%20What%20They%20Are%20and%20How%20They%20Impact%20Your%20Finances.jpg" alt="Tariffs: What They Are and How They Impact Your Finances" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tariffs-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-expiring-bush-tax-cuts-what-s-the-fuss">The Expiring Bush Tax Cuts: What’s the Fuss?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-government-helps-disaster-victims-recover">6 Ways the Government Helps Disaster Victims Recover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-us-savings-rate-has-tanked-heres-why-that-matters">The U.S. Savings Rate Has Tanked — Here&#039;s Why That Matters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet">6 Ways a Donald Trump Presidency Could Impact Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-world-currencies-that-took-a-hit-in-2016">8 World Currencies That Took a Hit in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Taxes aluminum donald trump Economy higher prices imported goods imports Manufacturing steel tariffs trade Fri, 16 Mar 2018 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 2119352 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Odd American Taxes You May Have to Pay http://www.wisebread.com/15-odd-american-taxes-you-may-have-to-pay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-odd-american-taxes-you-may-have-to-pay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/the_cowboy.jpg" alt="The Cowboy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Benjamin Franklin famously said, &quot;In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.&quot; What we can also be certain of is that strange, sometimes archaic taxes will always endure. For whatever reason, the following tax laws still exist, and they continue to bewilder the average taxpayer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-oddest-things-america-has-ever-taxed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 11 Oddest Things America Has Ever Taxed</a>)</p> <h2>1. The coffee cup lid tax</h2> <p>Colorado has a strange idea of what is essential packaging, and what is superfluous to requirements. As it turns out, the disposable cup that holds your morning coffee or tea is required, but the lid that stops it splashing everywhere (especially in the car) is &quot;nice to have.&quot; As it's a nonessential, it is subject to an additional 2.9 percent tax. If you drink a $4 coffee every day, that adds up to an extra $40 every year.</p> <h2>2. The candy tax</h2> <p>Willy Wonka would be no fan of the Prairie state. For some reason, Illinois has decided that any sweet candy or other sugary treat is liable for an additional 5 percent sales tax, on one condition &mdash; that the snack contains no flour. So, something like a Kit Kat or Milky Way bar will not be subject to the tax, whereas a 3 Musketeers bar or chocolate covered raisins come with that extra charge.</p> <h2>3. The fur coat tax</h2> <p>First thoughts on this tax? Good. With advances in fabrics and science, there's no need to kill an animal purely for its fur. However, it still happens. While many clothing items are exempt from sales tax in Minnesota, garments that have three times more fur than any other material are subject to an additional 6.875 percent sales tax. If you want the fur look, faux fur is just as good and is exempt from the tax. Also, if the garment has only a little fur, perhaps on the collar or cuffs, it also escapes the tax.</p> <h2>4. Drug dealers and thieves must report their income</h2> <p>Mark this one down as very strange but true. You may think that a drug dealer or thief wouldn't care too much about reporting their income on a tax return, however, let's not forget that taxes, not murder or racketeering, sent Al Capone to Alcatraz. According to the IRS, &quot;Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.&quot;</p> <h2>5. The arrow excise tax</h2> <p>If you hunt with a bow and arrow, or partake in the sport of archery, your wallet could be getting hit with a hefty fee of 43 cents per arrow. The tax goes back to 1937's Wildlife Restoration Act, with the proceeds from the tax going to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If your arrows are longer than 18 inches, or are used with a specific kind of bow with a certain amount of draw, you'll get hit with the tax. Shorter arrows, and certain arrows for children's bows, are exempt.</p> <h2>6. The tattoos and piercings tax</h2> <p>Hey there body-modders of Arkansas, this one stings. Did you know that since 2002, your state has added an additional tax on any tattoos or piercings you get? It amounts to a 6 percent sales tax, which may not seem like a lot, but can add up over time. So, why did Arkansas impose this strange tax? To discourage people from getting them done, of course. However, anyone who is ready to endure hours of pain or the burn of a tattoo is probably not going to be put off by a sales tax.</p> <h2>7. The starving artist tax break</h2> <p>Are you a performing artist? A busker perhaps, or someone that sketches tourists on the streets of your city? Well, you're in luck &hellip; if you're broke. That's the irony of the starving artist deduction, which has some bizarre specifications. First, you must have worked for at least two employers and received at least $200 in income from each one during the year. Second, your expenses must be more than 10 percent of the income you receive from performances. And finally, your adjusted gross income must be less than $16,000. If you qualify, you can deduct paints, brushes, dancewear, or anything else you need to ply your trade.</p> <h2>8. The hot air balloon tax</h2> <p>Here's an odd one form the state of Kansas, which can have an impact on anyone that makes a living from hot air balloon rides. If you use the hot air balloon to do sightseeing jaunts, soaring high above the landscape for miles, you don't get taxed. But, if the balloon just goes up and down, staying tethered at all times, it stops becoming a mode of air transportation and is instead considered an amusement ride. In Kansas, that's subject to an amusement tax of 6.5 percent.</p> <h2>9. The 100th birthday tax break</h2> <p>In England, if you manage to stay alive long enough to hit triple digits, you actually get a congratulatory card from the Queen. In New Mexico, you get an even better gift. Providing you have resided in the state for at least six months, are a resident on December 31, and are not listed as a dependent on someone else's taxes, you will become completely exempt from state income taxes. Now that's worth a party in itself.</p> <h2>10. The vending machine fruit tax</h2> <p>If you're looking for a tax to make you scratch your head in disbelief, this is a contender. California, which considers itself a healthy state, incentivized fresh fruit purchases by exempting them from tax. Great, right? Well, there's a loophole. And wherever there's a loophole, there's a way to make money. If that fruit is sold from a vending machine, it somehow loses its healthy status, and gets taxed at a whopping 33 percent of the sale price.</p> <h2>11. The flush tax</h2> <p>When you gotta go, you gotta go. But the folks in Maryland are paying a little more than the rest of us to do so. In fact, the &quot;flush tax&quot; that was established in 2004 doubled from $30 per year to $60 per year in 2012, meaning every resident of the Old Line State is paying around $5 per month more than the rest of us just to go to the bathroom. However, it's all for a good reason. The local CBS affiliate reported last year that additional money raised by the tax has lead to state of the art upgrades that reduce nitrogen and solid waste by millions of pounds per year.</p> <h2>12. The belt buckle tax</h2> <p>If you had to take a wild guess on which state would impose a tax on belt buckles, Texas would probably be last on your list. After all, ornate, decorative, and patriotic belt buckles are as much a part of the Texan wardrobe as boots and hats. However, it's perhaps this predominance of buckles that made one lawmaker see dollar signs. So, get ready to pony up the dough, because you'll get taxed an additional 6.25 percent sales tax on every belt buckle you buy in Texas.</p> <h2>13. The sexually explicit business tax</h2> <p>Utah has a tax that doesn't go over well with adult service providers. According to the Utah State Tax Commission, the sexually explicit business tax is an additional tax on &quot;admission and user fees, retail sales of tangible personal property including food and drinks, and services occurring in a business with nude or partially nude individuals.&quot; How much is it? An additional 10 percent tax on top of regular sales and use taxes. In short, if you're going to do naughty things in Utah, you have to have a slightly bigger wallet.</p> <h2>14. The exceptional tree tax break</h2> <p>Do you live in Hawaii? Do you have a magnificent specimen of a tree in your backyard or front lawn? Well, congratulations. A strange but perfectly legitimate tax break still exists that allows you to write off up to $3,000 in qualified costs and expenditure on your tree maintenance. Exceptional doesn't mean, &quot;Wow, my tree looks awesome!&quot; In this case, the state takes into account age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic quality, endemic status, and if it is, in fact, worthy of preservation. If you check all those boxes, you get the write-off.</p> <h2>15. The blueberry tax</h2> <p>The state of Maine is the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world. Whether you're eating blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie, or blueberry muffins, chances are the delicious fruits came from Maine. Not only that, but they were helped along by the Maine Wild Blueberry Tax. This tax imposes 1.5 percent tax on every pound of wild blueberries sold. The money is used for investment and research that keeps Maine's hugely successful blueberry business thriving.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-odd-american-taxes-you-may-have-to-pay&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Odd%2520American%2520Taxes%2520You%2520May%2520Have%2520to%2520Pay.jpg&amp;description=15%20Odd%20American%20Taxes%20You%20May%20Have%20to%20Pay"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Odd%20American%20Taxes%20You%20May%20Have%20to%20Pay.jpg" alt="15 Odd American Taxes You May Have to Pay" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-odd-american-taxes-you-may-have-to-pay">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Get Audited</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-real-estate-tax-shelters-of-the-rich">3 Unbelievable Real Estate Tax Shelters of the Rich</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes american laws deductions food and drink Sales Tax take breaks tax laws weird Fri, 16 Mar 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 2119354 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Countries With No (Or Very Low) Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-with-no-or-very-low-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-countries-with-no-or-very-low-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/monaco_monte_carlo_sea_view.jpg" alt="Monaco Monte Carlo sea view" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Though it may seem unthinkable to U.S. citizens, there are many countries all over the world that offer residents the benefit of no, or very low, income taxes. But before you start packing your suitcase and heading overseas for a tax-free life, keep in mind that U.S. taxation is based on citizenship, not residency. This means that regardless of what tax haven you base yourself in, you're still subject to U.S. tax regulations. As a U.S. citizen, you are obligated to inform the U.S. government of any income and assets held or earned overseas, and you will be taxed accordingly.</p> <p>It's not all bad news, though. There are many ways that you could still significantly reduce the amount of tax you pay, including heading to one of the following destinations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tax Myths That Can Be Costly for Expats</a>)</p> <h2>1. The Bahamas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/amazing_caribbean_beach_at_nassau_bahamas_1.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Bahamas is a little slice of tropical paradise that's long been a favorite getaway for warm weather lovers, boasting over 300 days of sunshine per year. Made up of around 700 islands blessed with countless white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and incredible coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving, it's easy to see why. Though the islands lie just north of Cuba and slightly south of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean, they are considered Caribbean.</p> <p>As if living on an exotic island doesn't sound enticing enough, the Bahamas also offers zero income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, and wealth tax. You only have to obtain residency, rather than citizenship, to access the tax-free benefits, but the country specifically aims to attract wealthy transplants. Though there are various ways to gain residency, purchasing a property of $1.5 million gets your application fast-tracked.</p> <h2>2. Monaco</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/monaco_monte_carlo_sea_view.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>A tiny sovereign nation lodged into the southeast corner of France and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the French Riviera. Despite its diminutive size, this principality oozes glitz and glamour. The harbor brims with impressive yachts owned by the rich and famous, luxurious cars cruise up and down the palm-lined streets, and the beach is overlooked by some of the world's most expensive real estate.</p> <p>One of the main reasons for its status as a magnet for the wealthy is its policy of not levying income taxes. To become a resident of Monaco, you need to get a temporary residence card, which will allow you to live in Monaco for 12 months. But you only need to live in Monaco for three months out of that year to maintain your residency.</p> <p>Thanks to its location in the heart of Europe and convenient transportation, it's been a popular base for high roller individuals for decades. Many work elsewhere while maintaining residency in Monaco, allowing them to benefit from the lax tax regs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a>)</p> <h2>3. United Arab Emirates</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/burj_khalifa_the_highest_building_in_the_world.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Made up of an alliance of seven individual regions, each with their own absolute monarchy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the Middle East's most wealthy economic hubs. The country enjoys an opulent reputation for luxury shopping, seven-star hotels, fine dining, and extravagant night life options. Probably the best known state is Dubai, which has a magnificent skyline packed with skyscrapers, including the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest structure.</p> <p>There are over three times as many expats living in the UAE as there are citizens, which highlights just how attractive life here is for outsiders. The main reason for this is the lack of income tax, in addition to high wages and good job opportunities. The UAE has, however, recently implemented excise tax and it launched a value added tax (VAT) at the beginning of 2018, meaning the cost of living will rise, if only slightly.</p> <h2>4. Bermuda</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/hamilton_bermuda_waterfront_from_a_ferry.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Another slice of Caribbean paradise, Bermuda is known for its pink sand beaches, incredible scuba diving sites, and for sharing its name with the mysterious and contentious Bermuda Triangle. Though it's a British island territory, it displays diverse and vibrant influences from the U.S., Africa, and European countries such as Portugal. This little island has many natural wonders to discover and an active calendar of arts and entertainment to enjoy.</p> <p>As an established offshore financial center, Bermuda has a thriving financial industry that attracts many expats. It doesn't have any income tax, but there is a payroll tax in place, of which companies can pass up to 6 percent onto the employee.</p> <p>Be warned, however: the cost of living in Bermuda is exorbitantly high, with rent for a 900-square-foot apartment topping $4,500, according to Expatistan. That could offset any benefits gained by low taxes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-countries-where-you-can-live-on-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Countries Where You Can Live on $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>5. British Virgin Islands</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/aerial_view_of_white_bay_jost_van_dyke.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Located in the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands are made up of four main islands and around 50 smaller cays and islands that include some of the most exclusive in the region. Thanks to its geographical makeup, it's extremely popular among sailors, who, with members of a large yachting community, drop their anchors near the largely uninhabited islands they come across.</p> <p>There are virtually no taxes levied on the British Virgin Islands, meaning there is zero capital gains tax, inheritance tax, estate duty, and corporation tax. Though there is technically an income tax, rates are set at zero, effectively making it null.</p> <p>Gaining residency for the British Virgin Islands is not an easy process, though. You need to have already lived within the territory for 20 years. You are also only permitted to leave the territory for a maximum of 90 days per year unless it's for education or due to illness.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-countries-with-no-or-very-low-taxes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Countries%2520With%2520No%2520%2528Or%2520Very%2520Low%2529%2520Taxes.jpg&amp;description=5%20Countries%20With%20No%20(Or%20Very%20Low)%20Taxes"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Countries%20With%20No%20%28Or%20Very%20Low%29%20Taxes.jpg" alt="5 Countries With No (Or Very Low) Taxes" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-with-no-or-very-low-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-semi-retire-abroad-right-now">What You Need to Semi-Retire Abroad Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-travel-warnings-you-shouldnt-ignore">8 Travel Warnings You Shouldn&#039;t Ignore</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-of-the-safest-countries-to-visit-in-2018">5 of the Safest Countries to Visit in 2018</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats">5 Tax Myths That Can Be Costly for Expats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-get-sick-while-traveling-abroad">What to Do if You Get Sick While Traveling Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes Travel low taxes no taxes retiring abroad tax tips travel abroad travel tips Mon, 05 Mar 2018 09:30:06 +0000 Nick Wharton 2111737 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Myths That Can Be Costly for Expats http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_at_beach_working_on_laptop.jpg" alt="Woman at beach working on laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Benjamin Franklin once famously said, &quot;In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.&quot; You might assume that by no longer living in the U.S. you've defied the tax half of this statement. That even if you have not yet cracked the secret to everlasting life, by skipping the country, you're able to fly quietly under the IRS's radar. However, you'd be very, very wrong. Here are five tax myths that can be costly for expats and digital nomads. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores</a>)</p> <h2>1. You're out of sight, out of mind for the IRS</h2> <p>There are still an unsettling number of people who believe that if you no longer live in the U.S., you're no longer liable to pay taxes here. Unfortunately, this could end up being a catastrophically costly mistake. The fact is that the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that bases its tax system on residency <em>and</em> citizenship.</p> <p>It doesn't matter whether you live, work, and earn your income elsewhere. The same tax system still applies even if you're paying taxes into your new country's tax system. As an American citizen, you're still obligated to file your tax returns in the U.S. every year if you have a certain level of income ($10,400 for a single person in 2017).</p> <p>Filing doesn't necessarily mean you're going to actually have to pay taxes, as there are various exemptions you may qualify for (which I'll mention below). But essentially, the U.S. government says that's not for you to determine on your own, and your income must still be reported annually. Failing to do so will potentially lead to you being pursued by the IRS for moneys owed. You can be fined or even have your passport revoked.</p> <h2>2. You must renounce U.S. citizenship to lower taxes</h2> <p>Because you're required to file taxes no matter where in the world you are, some people think that the only way to lower their taxes is to renounce citizenship. Though this might be true in some extreme instances, there are actually many ways to retain your citizenship and still lower your U.S. taxes.</p> <p>The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion was designed to help you avoid double taxation, and will allow you certain tax exclusions provided you meet the criteria. These might include foreign earned income as well as foreign housing, and the IRS offers a simple way to check if you're eligible through its <a href="https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/can-i-exclude-income-earned-in-a-foreign-country" target="_blank">Interactive Tax Assistant Tool</a>.</p> <p>To receive these exemptions you do actively have to claim them by filling out the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/figuring-the-foreign-earned-income-exclusion" target="_blank">relevant tax forms for the foreign earned income exclusion</a>, so don't be fooled into believing that because you qualify, you don't have to file for them. You also need to declare your earnings in full; this is not an opportunity to not report the earnings that may be excluded. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-return-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Tax Return Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a>)</p> <h2>3. If none of your balances in foreign bank accounts are over $10,000, you don't have to declare them</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/report-of-foreign-bank-and-financial-accounts-fbar" target="_blank">Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts</a> (FBAR) regulations are often misinterpreted. Some people take them to mean that if none of your foreign bank accounts have a balance of over $10,000 dollars, you don't have to report them. In reality, the rules clearly state that you must submit an FBAR if &quot;the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.&quot;</p> <p>This means that if you have one or more foreign accounts, you need to add the balances together rather than count them separately. It's not just bank accounts, either, and includes any &quot;bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account.&quot; It's also not limited to your own accounts; it covers any account in which you have a financial interest or have signature authority over.</p> <p>If at any stage throughout the year they cumulatively totaled more than $10,000, you need to fill out the FBAR. Failure to do so can be punishable with a fine of up to $100,000, or up to 50 percent of the balance of the accounts at the time of the violation, for each violation.</p> <h2>4. Failing to file tax returns for many years will mean you owe back taxes</h2> <p>There are a significant number of U.S. citizens who have lived outside the country for many years without realizing they need to pay taxes. For those people, it can be daunting to think they suddenly have to start filing taxes again and declare earnings to cover the entire period of living outside the U.S. Nobody wants to become liable for thousands of dollars of back taxes, and it can be tempting to think you've gotten away with it for so long, so why change now?</p> <p>Luckily, in recent years, the government has made it far easier to manage taxes owed with introduction of what is known as <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/streamlined-filing-compliance-procedures" target="_blank">streamlined filing compliance procedures</a>.</p> <p>Essentially, you have to certify that your nonpayment of taxes was due to &quot;non-willful conduct&quot; rather than deliberate avoidance, and you'll be able to come clean consequence-free. It's beneficial for both the government, who gets taxes they otherwise wouldn't be collecting, and the taxpayer, who no longer needs to live in fear.</p> <h2>5. The IRS is never going to catch you</h2> <p>Even if you're living off the grid on some far-flung desert island and haven't been back to the U.S. in years, if you have a bank account, you're probably traceable. Under the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/businesses/corporations/summary-of-fatca-reporting-for-us-taxpayers" target="_blank">Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2010</a> (FATCA), foreign financial institutions must pass on data relating to the assets of any of their clients who are U.S. citizens. Your financial records are transparent, so regardless of whether you report your accounts or not, the IRS can still access them.</p> <p>Though you might think it's unlikely that you'll be investigated unless you're a wealthy individual, don't bank on it. The IRS has explicitly claimed it's getting harder and harder to avoid detection, and if you're still operating outside of the regs, the net is closing in.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not worth it to try to avoid the IRS, even if you&rsquo;re living overseas. Facing up to your responsibilities will ultimately be easier in the long run.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Myths%2520That%2520Can%2520Be%2520Costly%2520for%2520Expats.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Myths%20That%20Can%20Be%20Costly%20for%20Expats"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Tax%20Myths%20That%20Can%20Be%20Costly%20for%20Expats.jpg" alt="5 Tax Myths That Can Be Costly for Expats" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-with-no-or-very-low-taxes">5 Countries With No (Or Very Low) Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-ways-to-relieve-stress-during-tax-season">5 Creative Ways to Relieve Stress During Tax Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes Travel 2018 taxes digital nomads doing taxes while abroad expats tax myths tax tips Tue, 27 Feb 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Nick Wharton 2110073 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What to Do If You Get Audited http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/uncle_sam_with_warning_that_you_owe_taxes.jpg" alt="Uncle Sam with Warning that You Owe Taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We often exaggerate the phrase, &quot;My worst nightmare,&quot; but when it comes to getting audited, it's true. Audits are many people's worst nightmare &mdash; but they don't automatically have to mean financial disaster. To help navigate the unwelcome process, consider these important steps to take as suggested by tax professionals.</p> <h2>1. Don't panic</h2> <p>A lot of folks' first response to receiving their audit notice is to panic. Just the word &quot;audit&quot; has the ability to throw everything into a tizzy. But in all probability, if you've reported your taxes accurately (or at least tried to), the situation is likely not as bad as you think.</p> <p>&quot;It can be easy to fly off the handle and make what can be simple requests for information into a pressure-filled, stress-inducing scenario,&quot; says certified financial planner Joel Ohman. &quot;This need not happen if you have someone &mdash; a CPA, tax attorney, or other trusted professional &mdash; representing you and counseling you.&quot;</p> <p>Slow down, take a deep breath, and call whoever does your taxes. Trust them; rely on their advice.</p> <h2>2. Read the notice carefully</h2> <p>Take a good look at the audit notice you received. Many audits are desk audits or computer document-matching audits rather than the complete tax return audits done in-person.</p> <p>&quot;If the audit request is a document-matching audit, they will typically ask you to verify certain lines on the return,&quot; explains Grafton &quot;Cap&quot; Willey, CPA and managing director of the New England division of CBIZ MHM. &quot;Very often they will propose an adjustment based on the information they have received. They will state that you reported 'such and such' and they have additional documents that they do not see reported.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Prepare the required documents</h2> <p>Documentation is the key to success in audits. Provide organized documents such as 1099s, K-1s, W-2s, and canceled checks, and reconcile them to the amounts claimed on the return. If you do not have adequate documentation, it's more likely that you won't get the deduction.</p> <p>&quot;IRS information is not always correct, so look it over carefully and make sure that they have the correct information,&quot; Willey adds. &quot;Investment gains and losses are often misrepresented and very often the IRS will assume a zero-cost basis on unreported transactions. Providing corrected information will usually satisfy them.&quot;</p> <p>When going through your documentation, if you come up with more deductions than you claimed, don't be afraid to submit them in your response. The IRS can be very strict on accepting documentation for charitable donations and business expenses, however.</p> <h2>4. Submit your documents on time</h2> <p>Don't make matters worse by missing deadlines. An audit is a serious matter that can result in heavy fines, and you don't want to put more stress on the process by being uncooperative. Follow the guidelines and get your documents submitted by the date expected. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a>)</p> <h2>5. Don't let your mouth get you in more trouble</h2> <p>The IRS is very good at making people feel nervous about being audited, and when people are nervous, they tend to ramble &mdash; sometimes to harsh consequences.</p> <p>&quot;Remember the IRS's job is to appropriate your money for government needs, and your job is to justify why you should keep the money yourself,&quot; explains CFP Brent Dickerson, owner of Trinity Tax Advisory. &quot;They are not your friend, and they are not there to help you keep money for yourself; many people in an audit situation fail to remember this fact. They let down their guard and often say things that they don't even realize can bite them. Therefore, it's in your best interest to have a representative work on your behalf with the IRS.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Bring your CPA with you to your in-person audit</h2> <p>If the audit is an in-person audit, consider bringing along a tax professional to represent you at the audit.</p> <p>&quot;The IRS is not afraid to try to intimidate a taxpayer representing themselves,&quot; Willey says. &quot;A tax professional that has experience with tax audits should be aware of the rules and know when the agent may be fishing for issues. Very often, giving a tax professional a power of attorney authority may avoid the taxpayer from having to sit down with the IRS agent, which many taxpayers would like to avoid.&quot;</p> <p>Make sure your records are well organized and well documented; make it easy for the agent to follow. If they have confidence that you're presenting good documentation, they will be more likely to accept what is presented to them.</p> <h2>7. Don't be afraid to disagree and negotiate</h2> <p>Sometimes a tax audit is a negotiation &mdash; you may have to concede to some changes on smaller items in order to not have big changes on larger items. It really depends on the agent. Some agents nitpick minor items, while other agents go straight for the big issues.</p> <p>&quot;In my experience, IRS field agents tend to rigidly apply the law in favor of the Treasury,&quot; says Matthew T. Eyet, Esq. of Sandelands Eyet LLP. &quot;If at the end of the audit you think the agent got it wrong, file a protest to take your case to the Office of Appeals where the appeals officers are typically more taxpayer-friendly in their analysis.&quot;</p> <p>In addition, he adds, unlike field agents, appeals officers are allowed to consider the hazards of litigation when negotiating a settlement. This almost always means a better result for you.</p> <h2>8. Hire an enrolled agent if you're caught red-handed</h2> <p>If you've really dug yourself a hole and committed criminal acts by submitting fraudulent taxes, you'll need more than a CPA to help you. An enrolled agent is a tax expert and recognized by the IRS as having unlimited right of representation. They're your best hope of the least amount of recourse.</p> <p>&quot;If you are facing counts of criminal charges, you'll need a lawyer,&quot; says Dickerson. &quot;If your business is being audited or if you have a sole-proprietorship with lots of accounting needs, then you may want to opt for a CPA. All of these professionals have their own specialties when it comes to tax and each is able to represent clients in front of the IRS &mdash; but only attorneys can represent in cases of criminality.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons You Should Really Fear an IRS Audit</a>)</p> <h2>9. Pay what you owe ASAP</h2> <p>You want this situation to be over, and the best way to accomplish that is to pay what you owe immediately. If you don't, you run the risk of added interest and penalties with late fees on top of that.</p> <p>If you don't pay the balance in full in the first 21 days of receiving notice of what you owe (for balances less than $100,000), penalties begin accruing. The faster you can get this squared up and put behind you, the better.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520What%2520to%2520Do%2520If%2520You%2520Get%2520Audited.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20What%20to%20Do%20If%20You%20Get%20Audited"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20What%20to%20Do%20If%20You%20Get%20Audited.jpg" alt="Heres What to Do If You Get Audited" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-pay-your-taxes">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Pay Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-tax-preparer-makes-a-mistake">What to Do When Your Tax Preparer Makes a Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes">Don&#039;t Get Audited! How Your Side Gig Needs to Handle Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes audits back taxes deductions fees IRS lawyers negotiation owing money penalties Tue, 27 Feb 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 2107315 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Creative Ways to Relieve Stress During Tax Season http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-ways-to-relieve-stress-during-tax-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-creative-ways-to-relieve-stress-during-tax-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_practicing_meditation_at_the_office_desk.jpg" alt="Young woman practicing meditation at the office desk" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tax season is upon us, which means millions of Americans will be stressing out about filing their IRS forms correctly and whether they will receive a refund this year.</p> <p>But just because getting ready for Tax Day can be emotionally taxing (see what I did there?) doesn't mean it has to be. In fact, you can find fun ways to de-stress while preparing your taxes and waiting on your refund check. Here are five ways to let off some steam this tax season. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes</a>)</p> <h2>1. Have a tax-themed movie marathon</h2> <p>Watching movies is a time-honored way of getting out of your own head for a little while. If you choose comedies to watch, you'll reap even more stress-relief benefits as laughter releases <em>neuropeptides </em>that help fight stress and cause the body to release its own painkillers. Put that together and it's clear that a tax-themed comedy movie marathon could be just ticket to feeling less overwhelmed by tax season.</p> <p>Can't think of any tax-themed comedies? There's a surprisingly large number of films that fit the bill:</p> <ul> <li> <p><em><a href="http://amzn.to/2BXvtuk" target="_blank"><em>Stranger Than Fiction</em></a> features Will Farrell as a tax auditor who discovers that he is actually a fictional character in a famous author's book.</em></p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2DyrDZb" target="_blank"><em>The Blues Brothers</em></a> kick off their mission from the big man upstairs when they learn the orphanage where they were raised owes $5,000 in back taxes and will have to close if they can't pay the IRS.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2CoXrAq" target="_blank"><em>Happy Gilmore</em></a> begins with the title character's grandmother owing $270,000 in back taxes. High jinks ensue as Gilmore (played by Adam Sandler) realizes his ice hockey skills make him an excellent golfer.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2BVnFcC" target="_blank"><em>The Producers</em></a> shows what happens when a Broadway producer and his accountant realize they can keep all of their investors' money if they intentionally produce a flop. This tax fraud is a major problem when their flop turns out to be a smash hit.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>2. Write a profane limerick about paying taxes</h2> <p>While simply shouting &quot;You forking IRS buttheads!!&quot; (or something a little more profane) each time you get frustrated filling out your 1040 form will certainly help you to relieve your tax-related stress, taking the time to really savor the profanities you'd like to spout about your annoyance can make this even more fun. Plus, expressing your feelings verbally allows you to blow off steam and release those feelings so they aren't stuck in your mind.</p> <p>Limericks are traditionally both profane and funny, and you can challenge your friends to each come up with their own tax limericks. Whoever comes up with the funniest or most foul-mouthed poem wins.</p> <h2>3. Dance it out</h2> <p>There are a surprising number of tax-related songs out there, which means having a tax dance party would be brilliant way to dance your stress away. Not only does dancing get your heart rate up, which is an immediate mood booster, but cutting a rug to the following songs can remind you that tax woes are so universal that even famous musicians have to deal with them. (See also: These <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a>)</p> <ul> <li> <p>&quot;Taxman&quot; by The Beatles</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Mo Money Mo Problems&quot; by The Notorious B.I.G.</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Sunny Afternoon&quot; by The Kinks</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Movin' Out&quot; by Billy Joel</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Money&quot; by Pink Floyd</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Host a potluck</h2> <p>Socializing is an important part of reducing stress, and if you're worried about money because your tax bill is about to be due, hosting a potluck can be a great way to spend time with friends without emptying your wallet, or theirs. Each person can be assigned a dish, or bring desserts or beverages, and you can collectively commiserate over how you all wish you could stick it to The Man. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throw-an-awesome-potluck-dinner-with-these-6-easy-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Throw an Awesome Potluck Dinner With These 6 Easy Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use extra IRS forms to make papier-mâché</h2> <p>Tax time is an ideal opportunity to get back in touch with your artistic side, and if you can use some of the infuriatingly complex tax forms to create your work of art, all the better. Creating a papier-mâché bowl or vase out of your excess IRS forms can feel immensely satisfying while also relieving your tax-related stress.</p> <p>If it's been awhile since you last made papier-mâché, don't worry. It's easy! Gather together your excess IRS forms, as well as some extra newspaper or other scrap paper to make sure you have enough paper for your project. Find a large plastic bottle or other large base for your papier-mâché project. Tear or cut the paper into one-inch wide strips. Mix one part water to three parts white glue. Dip your paper strips in the glue mixture, and start layering those bad boys on your base, placing no more than four layers of paper at any spot.</p> <p>Let it dry completely, pull the papier-mâché shell from the base, and start painting it however you like. Consider painting the words &quot;I survived filing my taxes!&quot; across it and making it as a keepsake of this year's tax season.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-creative-ways-to-relieve-stress-during-tax-season&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Creative%2520Ways%2520to%2520Relieve%2520Stress%2520During%2520Tax%2520Season.jpg&amp;description=5%20Creative%20Ways%20to%20Relieve%20Stress%20During%20Tax%20Season"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Creative%20Ways%20to%20Relieve%20Stress%20During%20Tax%20Season.jpg" alt="5 Creative Ways to Relieve Stress During Tax Season" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-ways-to-relieve-stress-during-tax-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-myths-that-can-be-costly-for-expats">5 Tax Myths That Can Be Costly for Expats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-actually-relax-over-the-holidays">8 Ways to Actually Relax Over the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuck-at-the-airport-relax-with-these-14-easy-self-care-tricks">Stuck at the Airport? Relax With These 14 Easy Self-Care Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-relieve-your-money-stress">10 Ways to Relieve Your Money Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-cheap-easy-ways-to-survive-a-terrible-workday">11 Simple Ways to Survive a Terrible Workday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Taxes 2018 taxes money stress self-care stress stress relief tax day Tax Season tax tips Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2086764 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About Canceled Debt and Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-canceled-debt-and-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-canceled-debt-and-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_checking_her_computer_and_holding_coffee_cup.jpg" alt="Woman checking her computer and holding coffee cup" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine having years of punishing credit card debt canceled and gaining the clean slate you've always wanted. Then, out of nowhere, you receive a form in the mail that says you actually owe money for having that debt wiped away.</p> <p>That situation happens all the time to consumers who have had part or all of a debt forgiven. The reality is, canceled debt may help you regain control of your finances, but the IRS still wants its share of what it sees as income you received. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</a>)</p> <h2>How debt is canceled</h2> <p>To understand the tax ramifications of canceled debt, it helps to know how this phenomenon works in the first place. How does someone get their debt canceled?</p> <p>According to Steven J. Weil, president of RMS Accounting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, debt can be forgiven on credit card balances, mortgages, auto loans, or nearly any other type of loan. This debt can become canceled in a variety of ways. One way is when consumers use a debt settlement company to negotiate a payment of less than they owe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>Another example is when consumers who owe more than their homes are worth get their mortgage company to forgive the remaining balance during what is called a &quot;short sale.&quot; A short sale is when the net proceeds from selling the property fall short of the debts secured by liens against the property. All the lien holders must agree to accept less than the amount owed on the debt in order for a short sale to go through.</p> <p>Forgiven debt doesn't just go away, says Weil. &quot;Whether it's consumer debt, auto debt, or any other type of debt, it becomes income to the consumer when they don't pay off their debt. The government rectifies this situation by charging taxes on forgiven amounts.&quot;</p> <p>Unfortunately, consumers don't always know they are required to pay income taxes on forgiven debt. So, imagine their surprise when they receive a 1099-C in the mail that could lead to a larger tax bill.</p> <h2>What the tax law says</h2> <p>Creditors and debt collectors that accept at least $600 less than the amount you owe them are required by law to file 1099-C forms and send consumers a copy to use when they file their taxes.</p> <p>As Weil notes, the form should clearly list the amount of debt you had forgiven &mdash; not the amount of debt you once owed.</p> <p>Weil uses the following example to explain how forgiven debt is figured. Imagine you ran up your Visa card with a $10,000 balance (including principal, interest, and late fees) and cannot keep up with the monthly payments. After the debt is sent to collections, you work with a debt settlement company to reach a settlement that says you'll pay $3,000 to have the entire debt forgiven. In this case, the $7,000 in forgiven debt would end up on the 1099-C, says Weil. This form is then sent by the creditor that accepted the settlement to the consumer.</p> <p>At least that's the way it <em>should </em>work. In some cases, consumers don't receive the 1099-C for whatever reason. But not receiving the form doesn't remove your liability, says Weil.</p> <p>When your debt is forgiven, it becomes income to you &mdash; even if the creditor you work with fails to send a 1099-C. &quot;If you don't get the form, you need to call the creditor and ask for it,&quot; says Weil.</p> <p>Weil also says that, when somebody tells you they will forgive your debt, you need to get documentation of the event in writing. An official letter from the creditor acknowledging your forgiven debt amount will suffice when you're filing your taxes in the absence of a 1099-C, he says. Further, getting the agreement in writing will also protect you down the line if the details of your forgiven debt get jumbled somehow between your creditor and the IRS. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-pay-your-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Happens If You Don't Pay Your Taxes</a>)</p> <h2>Exceptions to the rule</h2> <p>Weil notes that the IRS offers several exceptions that let consumers in certain financial situations avoid paying taxes on forgiven debts. Those exceptions include insolvency. If after your debt is forgiven you have no cash or assets to sell to pay taxes on your debt, you won't have to pay income taxes.</p> <p>But note that the exclusion applies only to the amount by which you were insolvent. So if you had $10,000 of credit card debts canceled at a time when you had $2,000 in assets, the insolvency amount is $8,000. You'll report $2,000 ($10,000 minus the $8,000 insolvency amount) as income on your tax return.</p> <p>Also, if debt forgiveness makes you solvent, then it's taxable, notes Weil.</p> <p>Other exceptions that let you avoid paying taxes include debt discharged in bankruptcy, debt given as a gift by a friend or family member, and certain business real estate and farm exclusions, he says.</p> <p>If you're curious whether you'll qualify for an exclusion, Weil says it's best to speak with a tax professional who can look at the details of your unique tax situation.</p> <h2>When consumers aren't informed</h2> <p>If you're a consumer who has been hit with this surprise tax in the past, you may be wondering why you weren't informed of your tax liability. According to Weil, it's up to consumers to educate themselves on the best ways to handle their debts, including forgiven debt. Ideally, the different companies we work with will warn us about taxes we might owe, but you should never count on it.</p> <p>Weil says debt settlement companies in particular should really be doing their part to educate consumers on their tax liability. These companies, which may be for-profit or nonprofit, usually tell consumers to stop paying their bills and save money for debt settlement in a joint escrow account instead. This way, when (or if) the debt settlement company strikes a deal to settle your debts, you'll have the cash on hand to pay the agreed-upon settlement amount.</p> <p>Considering the fact that debt settlement companies can charge high fees and are<em> supposed</em> to be on the side of consumers, one would think these companies would lay out all the details for those they help. But they don't always.</p> <p>&quot;There's a lot of nondisclosure,&quot; says Weil. Because of this, &quot;consumers should be very careful of debt consolidation and settlement agencies, particularly those that are for-profit.&quot;</p> <p>The bottom line: You may owe taxes on forgiven debts, and you may receive a 1099-C in the mail from your creditor. If you don't receive the form, the onus is on you to figure out your tax liability.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-canceled-debt-and-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-13-extra-a-week-0">What can you do with $13 extra a week?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-erase-your-medical-debt">How to Erase Your Medical Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Taxes canceled debt debt debt collections debt tips doing your taxes tax time tax tips Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Holly Johnson 2103698 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern_business_lady_at_paperwork.jpg" alt="Modern business lady at paperwork" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No doubt about it, being a freelancer is hard. From serving clients to staying on top of your money game, there's no shortage of work to do. Sometimes, things may be overlooked or set on the back burner while you tackle pressing business matters. However, there is one major thing that just can't be ignored &mdash; taxes.</p> <p>As your own chief financial officer you'll need to be aware of major tax missteps that could ultimately ruin your business. Ideally, you'll engage the help of an experienced small business accountant who knows the ins and outs of tax strategies for freelance business owners. However, you've got to have your ducks in a row to double and triple check their suggestions and advice, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Freelancers and Side Giggers Need to Know About Income Taxes</a>)</p> <p>These are the top tax mistakes freelancers really need to stop making.</p> <h2>1. Not paying self-employment tax</h2> <p>As a freelancer, you probably have a number of clients that pay you without deducting any taxes. Because you are a contractor, you are responsible for any and all taxes on your income.</p> <p>Self-employment tax is a term that covers two main taxes: Social Security and Medicare. As an employee of a company, your employer would cover part of this tax. However, lucky you, since you are your own employer, you get to pick up the tab on the entire tax bill.</p> <p>On the other side of paying all these taxes, you do get some reprieve by deducting a portion of these payments from your gross income, which can reduce the amount of taxes you owe overall.</p> <p>Just know that it's very important to pay self-employment taxes on your freelance income. If your client issues you a 1099 form, it's also transmitted to the IRS. The IRS becomes aware of this income and can demand you to make an accounting for that money if they suspect you owe taxes on it.</p> <h2>2. Not having an accounting system</h2> <p>Making a lot of money as a freelancer can also increase your tax liability. If you don't have a good system in place to track all of your income and expenses, you could end up paying more (or less) taxes than you're supposed to.</p> <p>Charleen Fariselli is a CPA who has worked with small businesses for over 10 years. She says that freelancers who don't accurately track income and expenses are at a disadvantage. &quot;This affects their taxes because they don't have a good accounting system and are often losing deductions so they pay more in tax,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Charleen also adds that a lack of a good accounting system can have an impact on making timely, accurate tax payments: &quot;These freelancers can't calculate what their taxable income is each quarter for making tax payments, so they over or underpay, if they pay at all.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that there are many accounting software options out there to help you organize your books, including QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, and Freshbooks. You can also use a simple Google Sheets document. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Mixing business with pleasure</h2> <p>One of the worst things a freelancer can do is allow their business expenses and income to spill over into their personal finances. For example, a business owner may use a business credit or debit card to cover a personal expense like purchasing groceries for their family.</p> <p>The biggest problem with this behavior is how it affects record keeping for tax filing purposes. Joshua Zimmelman of Westwood Tax &amp; Consulting says that bad record keeping can cause confusion for freelancers at tax time. &quot;Too many freelancers miss out on deductions because their finances are not organized,&quot; he says. &quot;Separating your expenses from the start makes filing your tax return so much easier.&quot;</p> <p>If you need help keeping your personal and business finances separate, you can opt for a business checking account or credit card. You could also use both.</p> <p>If you do have to use money from your business dealings to cover personal expenses or vice versa, make sure you keep a record of such transfers. A small business CPA can help you categorize (loan, owner draw, paycheck, etc.) the transactions so that you don't run into problems with record keeping or tax liabilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. Neglecting retirement savings</h2> <p>The freelance life can be a roller-coaster ride of feast or famine, but it's still important to keep savings in the equation &mdash; especially retirement savings. Saving for retirement is not only critical for your golden years, but can also help you save on taxes.</p> <p>When you put money away for retirement, it reduces the amount of your income tax withholding. Joanna Zarach is a consultant who helps freelancers plan for retirement. She says, &quot;Solo retirement plans are the most effective way to lower your tax bill now and to build tax-free growth in your investment accounts.&quot;</p> <p>There are different options to save for retirement. Some smart options include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Individual 401(k): This type of account is ideal for solopreneurs who want higher contribution limits. You can save with pretax dollars while receiving tax deductions for employer contributions (you are the employer) as well.</p> </li> <li> <p>SEP IRA: Tax-deductible contributions are made by the employer (in this case, you). Growth is tax-deferred until withdrawal.</p> </li> <li> <p>ROTH IRA: With this type of retirement account, you save after-tax income that grows tax-free forever.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Neglecting health care contributions</h2> <p>Paul Jacobs is a CPA, EA, and officer at Palisades Hudson Financial Group. He says he often sees freelancers, &quot;Forgetting to deduct health insurance premiums. A great tax break that is available to the self-employed is the ability to deduct this expense.&quot;</p> <p>As a small-business owner, there are tax benefits when you pay insurance premiums for yourself and family members. Premiums for medical, dental and, in some cases, long-term health insurance qualify.</p> <p>Reporting these premiums on your taxes can reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI) which can make you eligible for certain tax breaks. The only caveat here is that you may now have to itemize deductions in order to take advantage of this deduction come tax time due to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Mistakes%2520Freelancers%2520Need%2520to%2520Stop%2520Making.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making.jpg" alt="5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Taxes accounting bookkeeping deductions freelance health care medicare retirement savings self employment social security tax mistakes Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2095995 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Scams You Should Know About for 2018 http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_unhappy_man_talking_texting_on_phone_displeased.jpg" alt="Worried unhappy man talking texting on phone displeased" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;">Tax season is underway. While no one really enjoys doing their taxes, everyone looks forward to getting a tax refund. It's no wonder why. According to the IRS, over 80 percent of tax returns resulted in a refund for tax year 2015. And the average refund was a whopping $3,120.</p> <p>However, all that money makes tax season one of the busiest times of the year for scam artists. Each year, criminals target taxpayers to steal their personal information or their tax refunds.</p> <p>Most scammers prey on vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or first-time tax filers, but anyone can be at risk. These are the top tax scams you should be aware of in 2018. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a>)</p> <h2>1. Threatening phone calls</h2> <p>A common tax scam involves aggressive phone calls. You'll receive a call &mdash; sometimes from a number that shows up on caller ID as from a Washington D.C. area code&mdash; and the person on the line will claim to be a representative of the IRS.</p> <p>They can be very convincing. They may know your full name, your mother's maiden name, and even the last few digits of your Social Security Number.</p> <p>That person will say you're behind on your taxes or filed a fraudulent return. They may threaten you with immediate arrest, going so far as to say police are on their way to your home. They'll say the only way to avoid jail is by making an immediate payment with a credit card over the phone.</p> <p>Know that the IRS does not communicate over the phone and does not threaten taxpayers with jail time. If there is a problem with your return, or if you do owe money, you will receive a notification in the mail. If you receive these calls, hang up right away.</p> <h2>2. Information phishing</h2> <p>Similarly, you may receive calls or emails from so-called IRS representatives or tax preparation software companies. They may claim that there's a problem with your return or refund and that they need to verify your information to fix the issue. They'll ask for personal information like your Social Security number, birth date, and place of employment. Then, they use that information to file a fraudulent return in your name to claim your refund.</p> <p>Remember, the IRS will only send you information through the mail. If you're unsure if an email is real, open up a new browser window and log into your account that way, or look up your tax preparer's phone number and call that person directly.</p> <h2>3. Requests for gift card payments</h2> <p>Another scam involves a call from an IRS impostor who claims that your return notification letter was returned as undeliverable. That person will tell you your bill is overdue and that you must make a payment immediately.</p> <p>Instead of asking for your credit card or personal information, they'll ask you to send them a prepaid gift card or debit card. Know that the IRS does not accept payments in this format.</p> <h2>4. Identity theft</h2> <p>Identity theft is a serious issue. You may think that canceling and replacing your credit cards is all you need to do, but the problem can be much more involved than you think. Thieves can use your personal information to submit a fraudulent tax return and collect your refund.</p> <p>If you went through any form of identity theft, or if your personal information was stolen, it's a good idea to place a fraud alert on your credit reports and notify the IRS. If you suspect tax-related identity theft &mdash; for example, when you try to file your return you get a notice that your return has already been filed &mdash; you'll need to fill out IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, and follow the mailing instructions on the form.</p> <p>Moreover, it's a good idea to complete and submit your tax return as soon as possible to ensure thieves cannot submit a return in your name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Reasons You Should File Your Taxes as Soon as Possible</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tax preparer fraud</h2> <p>Fraudulent tax prep &quot;professionals&quot; often advertise their ability to get you the largest refund possible. They do this by falsifying information on your return, such as adding nonexistent dependents, claiming credits or deductions you don't qualify for, and reporting incorrect income. They'll also typically base their rates off a percentage of your refund.</p> <p>The IRS encourages you to ask your tax preparer questions about anything suspicious or confusing, and to look into their credentials and certifications before agreeing to hand over your return. All legitimate tax preparers should have a PTIN (preparer tax identification number).</p> <p>It's important to carefully vet your tax professional and to closely look over any forms before signing. Regardless of whether you've been scammed or not, <em>you</em> will still be on the hook for any fraudulent information reported on your return.</p> <h2>Verifying any IRS activity</h2> <p>Some scam artists can be very convincing. If you're not sure whether it's a con or not, hang up or close your email. Call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. You'll be connected with a real representative who can review your account and let you know if there's anything they need from you. They can also help you report any fraudulent activity or scams.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Scams%2520You%2520Should%2520Know%2520About%2520for%25202018.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Scams%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20for%202018"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Tax%20Scams%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20for%202018.jpg" alt="5 Tax Scams You Should Know About for 2018" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-millennials-can-avoid-of-financial-fraud">3 Ways Millennials Can Avoid Financial Fraud</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes con artists emails fraud gift cards identity theft IRS phishing phone calls scams tax refunds tax returns tax scams Tue, 30 Jan 2018 09:00:05 +0000 Kat Tretina 2095898 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/magnifier_with_tax_on_dollar.jpg" alt="Magnifier with tax on dollar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The long-debated changes to America's tax code are now law. President Trump closed out 2017 by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, bringing sweeping changes to how much individuals and companies will pay in tax beginning this year.</p> <p>What does the new tax law mean for you? Here are some key take-aways.</p> <h2>1. You'll probably pay less in taxes</h2> <p>There's been a lot of debate about who benefits the most from the new tax law, but what's clear is that just about everyone will see at least some decrease in how much they pay. At the very least, your personal tax bracket is likely lower. The new tax brackets are: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent, and 37 percent. (They were previously 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent). A <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/trump-tax-reform-calculator" target="_blank">tax reform calculator</a> can help you grasp how much tax you'll pay under the new law.</p> <h2>2. Corporations will pay less tax, too</h2> <p>The new tax law greatly simplifies and lowers taxes for companies. Corporations will now pay a flat rate of 21 percent on all profits, down from as much as 35 percent under the previous law. This brings the United States' corporate tax rate below the global average. The new law also eliminates the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for corporations.</p> <h2>3. You'll get more money back if you have kids</h2> <p>One of the final provisions added to the new tax bill was an increase in the child tax credit. This is a credit you receive if you have a dependent aged 17 or under. The credit was doubled, from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. The refundable portion of the credit was also increased to $1,400.</p> <h2>4. You can (probably) still deduct mortgage interest</h2> <p>Under the new tax law, the deduction for mortgage interest was capped at $750,000, but if you bought your house before December 15, 2017, it's still $1 million. So for most people, mortgage interest will still be deductible. It's important to note that this only applies to your primary residence; interest on vacation homes is not deductible. (The previous law allowed for a tax break on second homes.)</p> <h2>5. You can deduct property and local taxes, up to a point</h2> <p>There was some debate in Congress about whether property taxes, state taxes, and local taxes would be deductible, and they ultimately will be. However, these deductions will be capped at $10,000. This could mean higher taxes for those people living in certain places, such as California and New York. Some state and local lawmakers are exploring ways to offset that burden.</p> <h2>6. Many deductions are now gone</h2> <p>Under past tax law, you could deduct moving expenses from your taxes. You could deduct many work-related expenses that were not reimbursed from your employer. You could even deduct any costs you incurred when you did your taxes. These deductions and many others are gone. However, it is unclear whether taxpayers will feel the need to itemize deductions in the future anyway.</p> <h2>7. Itemizing may no longer make sense</h2> <p>As we indicated above, the new tax bill does allow for <em>some </em>itemized deductions, but it may not matter. That's because the standard deduction has been doubled, to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. For many people &mdash; especially those who don't own homes &mdash; it may be hard to collect the amount of deductions to make itemizing worthwhile. The Joint Committee on Taxation said that 94 percent of taxpayers may now choose to take the standard deduction, up from 70 percent under the previous law.</p> <h2>8. There are no more personal exemptions</h2> <p>Under the previous tax law, the IRS allowed you to reduce your tax liability by claiming a personal exemption. This exemption was $4,050 during the last two years. The new tax law eliminates personal exemptions and instead significantly boosts the standard deduction ($12,000&thinsp;for singles and $24,000 for married couples). For most people, this still will result in lower taxes.</p> <h2>9. Investment income will be treated roughly the same</h2> <p>There were some adjustments to how investment income is treated, but dividends and capital gains will generally be taxed as they were under the previous law. Long-term capital gains &mdash; investments held for more than a year &mdash; will still be taxed at 15 percent for most people and 20 percent for the highest earners. Short-term capital gains will still be taxed as normal income, though that means the taxation will be less, since income tax brackets are lower under the new law.</p> <h2>10. The &quot;marriage penalty&quot; is almost gone</h2> <p>Under the previous tax law, it was possible for people to be stung by higher taxes if they got married. That's because in some instances, a couple with similar incomes filing jointly would jump to a higher tax bracket. Under the new law, the thresholds for filing jointly are exactly double those for single filers, except for married couples earning more than $300,000.</p> <h2>11. The health care individual mandate may be eliminated</h2> <p>Under the Affordable Care Act, anyone who did not purchase health insurance was subject to a penalty of 2.5 percent of your income or $695, whichever was higher. That penalty will go away in 2019 under the new tax law.</p> <h2>12. None of the changes apply to 2017</h2> <p>It's important to know that when you file your tax return over the next few months, you won't be working with the new tax law. Any money you earned in 2017 is taxed under the previous tax structure. This is important to remember when claiming deductions and trying to figure out proper tax rates for your income. You won't have to worry about the 2018 tax law until you file your tax return in 2019.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F12%2520Things%2520You%2520Should%2520Know%2520About%2520the%2520New%2520Tax%2520Law.jpg&amp;description=12%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20the%20New%20Tax%20Law"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/12%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20the%20New%20Tax%20Law.jpg" alt="12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house">4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes changes Congress deductions exemptions income brackets individual mandate investments mortgage interest tax law tax reform trump administration Thu, 11 Jan 2018 09:30:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2083784 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Get Audited! How Your Side Gig Needs to Handle Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/going_on_a_family_vacation.jpg" alt="Going on a family vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The gig economy is booming. In 2016, a TIME poll found that 45 million Americans offered some kind of good or service through an online platform, whether it was running errands, renting out their homes, or offering rides in their cars. With so many people earning extra income this way, you can bet that Uncle Sam wants its fair share of those earnings. Understanding some basic rules about taxes in the gig economy can help you avoid frustration and penalties.</p> <h2>Renting out your home</h2> <p>At $924 per month, Airbnb hosts command the highest average monthly income out of all others taking part in the sharing economy. Here are some key things to keep in mind if you rent your space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb</a>)</p> <h3>1. The 14-day rule</h3> <p>According to the IRS, if your rental property also serves as your residence, and you rent out the space for no more than 14 days during the year, you don't have to report those earnings as income. Note that you also cannot claim any deductions from rental expenses if you rent for fewer than 14 days per year.</p> <p>Airbnb and similar companies will still report your earnings even if you're under the two-week threshold. But as long as you provide documentation that you meet the 14-day rule, you don't have to include rental income on your federal return. If you do have to report income, use Schedule C or E of Form 1040.</p> <h3>2. Deductible expenses</h3> <p>The IRS allows you to deduct a long list of applicable costs for your rental operation, including advertising, cleaning and maintenance services, utilities, property insurance, and property taxes. Check the rental section on <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p527/ch01.html#en_US_2016_publink1000218979" target="_blank">IRS Publication 527</a> for a full list of eligible expenses.</p> <p>You can deduct 100 percent of direct rental expenses such as fees to Airbnb and rental insurance, and allocate a portion of general expenses such as mortgage interest and utilities. If you only rent out a room that is one-sixth of the size of your home, you can only allocate one-sixth of a general expense.</p> <h3>3. Form 1099-K</h3> <p>When you earn over $20,000 and make over 200 transactions in a calendar year, Airbnb will issue you a Form 1099-K. Airbnb will mail you this form and keep an electronic copy under &quot;Payout Preferences.&quot; This form is an IRS information return used to report certain payment transactions, which improves your voluntary tax compliance.</p> <h3>4. Pay attention to local occupancy taxes</h3> <p>On top of the IRS, you should also keep an eye on state and local government agencies. For example, throughout 2017 the House Finance Committee of Hawaii is evaluating an &quot;Airbnb bill&quot; to collect hotel room and general excise taxes from Hawaii-based short-term and vacation rentals.</p> <h3>5. Report rental losses</h3> <p>In the event that your rental operation goes sour, you can deduct losses up to applicable limits. Let's imagine that you own a $400,000 home and that you spent $400 to get a room ready for rental. However, nobody took you up on your offer. Per the IRS at-risk rule (for property placed in service after 1986), you can write off up to $400,000 in rental losses. So, you can deduct the $400 as a rental loss on your return.</p> <h2>Driving people in your car</h2> <p>Lyft and <a href="https://uber.7eer.net/c/27771/207645/3437?sharedid=000_wisebread.com">Uber drivers</a> make an average $377 and $364 per month, respectively. Here are some tax-related pointers to keep in mind when declaring that income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-more-money-as-an-uber-driver?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get a High Rating and Make More Money as an Uber Driver</a>)</p> <h3>1. Keep track of all 1099s</h3> <p>Unlike a full-time employer, Uber and Lyft won't issue you a W-2. Instead, these and other ride-sharing companies issue two types of 1099 forms to most drivers.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Form 1099-K: Includes all payments that you received from customers directly related to driving.</p> </li> <li> <p>Form 1099-MISC: Keeps track of all other non-driving income, such as payments for referrals and other types of bonuses.</p> </li> </ul> <p>While companies aren't required to issue a 1099-K unless you process 200 transactions or more (and make at least $20,000), and they're not required to issue a 1099-MISC unless you make at least $600, Uber and Lyft generally will issue those forms anyway just to remind you to report your income made through ride-sharing.</p> <p>On Uber, access your tax documents by logging in to partners.uber.com and clicking &quot;Tax Information.&quot; On Lyft, look for tax documents in the &quot;Tax Info'&quot; tab of the &quot;Driver Dashboard&quot; of your Lyft app.</p> <h3>2. Deduct applicable expenses</h3> <p>You'll quickly notice in Box 1a of your 1099-K that the reported amount is actually greater than what you received. The reason is that the reported amount in that box includes Uber's commission and other fees. On your Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business (Form 1040), you can deduct those fees and other applicable expenses. Some examples are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Bottled water and snacks for your passengers.</p> </li> <li> <p>Business taxes and license costs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Highway tolls.</p> </li> <li> <p>Car cleaning expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>Car maintenance costs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Gas.</p> </li> </ul> <p>It's a best practice to keep a copy of all receipts so that you can back up your claims. One great way to do so is to open a bank account or credit card and use it solely for driving-related expenses. That way, your monthly statement becomes your monthly expense report. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-get-a-business-credit-card-over-a-consumer-card?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">When You Should Get a Business Credit Card Over a Consumer Card</a>)</p> <h3>3. Include mileage in your return</h3> <p>Within your 1099s, you'll also receive a summary for &quot;On-Trip&quot; mileage. For all business miles driven in 2017, you can deduct 53.5 cents per mile. So, if you were to drive 2,000 miles, you would deduct $1,070 (2,000 x $0.535) on your return.</p> <p>You may also deduct additional miles that Uber and Lyft didn't report as long as those miles are directly related to your gig. Some examples are miles that you drove before a ride was canceled or on your way to meet an Uber or Lyft inspector. Keep a detailed log of those miles and include date, time, initial mileage, and final mileage.</p> <h3>4. Consider getting a separate smartphone</h3> <p>An internet-enabled smartphone is a key part of your operation. To make it easier for the IRS to identify what mobile phone expenses are related to your driving, get a new phone and use it exclusively for Uber or Lyft. This way you'll be able to deduct 100 percent of all phone costs, including cost of the phone, monthly charges for voice and data, and any essential accessory (chargers or mounts) from your driving income.</p> <h2>Tips for all side giggers</h2> <p>Whatever your gig, be sure you're keeping up with your taxes.</p> <h3>1. Report all income</h3> <p>From assembling furniture through TaskRabbit to delivering business supplies with Postmates, there are plenty of other ways to make money through the sharing economy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams</a>).</p> <p>All companies have to issue you a 1099-MISC once you make $600. Even when you don't hit that threshold and don't receive a form, report the income on your return. The IRS charges a 25 percent inaccuracy penalty on top of applicable taxes and interest for late payments.</p> <p>If you happen to complete additional tasks or services for a client that aren't tracked on an app or website, it's a good idea to still include them in your income. When you're making the bulk of your income through the gig economy, your federal tax return becomes a key document to prove how much you make per year. This can be useful when applying for a credit card or other form of credit.</p> <h3>2. Make estimated federal and state tax payments</h3> <p>Lessen the tax blow by submitting estimated tax payments throughout the year. Use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals to submit tax payments up to four times per year. For tax year 2017, you can submit payments on April 18, June 15, September 15, and January 16, 2018.</p> <p>Most states also allow side-giggers and freelancers to submit estimated tax payments. To learn more about your state tax obligations, contact your local <a href="https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/government-sites" target="_blank">state tax office</a>.</p> <h3>3. Adjust withholding from your day job</h3> <p>Don't pay more taxes than you have to. If a full-time employer is already withholding taxes from your paycheck, use the <a href="https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/" target="_blank">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> to adjust how much is taken out. It has been estimated that 75 percent of Americans pay too much in taxes throughout the year. The calculator will provide you suggestions to adjust your withholding so that you meet your tax liability and keep the most out of your day job paychecks.</p> <h3>4. Hire an accountant</h3> <p>Using Schedule C from Form 1040 is a great way to reduce your taxable income, but is also a way to increase your chances of receiving an audit from the IRS. Individuals using Schedule C are more likely than corporations to get an audit. If you're planning to include a very long list of deductions, paying a professional will be worth your while to hedge against a potential audit. You can deduct what your accountant charges you as a business expense, after all.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Get%20Audited%21%20How%20Your%20Side%20Gig%20Needs%20to%20Handle%20Taxes.jpg" alt="Don't Get Audited! How Your Side Gig Needs to Handle Taxes" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-plan-for-saving-up-a-2000-fun-fund">A Simple Plan for Saving Up a $2000 Fun Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-make-money-while-at-the-beach-this-summer">11 Ways to Make Money While at the Beach This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-get-audited">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Get Audited</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Taxes AirBnb audits deductions earnings expenses freelance gig economy income IRS lyft sharing economy side jobs Uber Thu, 26 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 2038890 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_accounting_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman accounting at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fall is full of wonderful things: pumpkin lattes, crisp autumn air, changing leaves, and tax preparation. OK, tax preparation may not hold the same wonder as fall flavors and vibrant foliage, but this is a critical time to get your financial house in order before the end of the year. In particular, here are six easy tax tasks to take care of before we enter 2018.</p> <h2>1. Re-evaluate your withholding</h2> <p>Did the size of your family change this year? If it did, contact your human resources department to update your withholding so that you aren't overpaying or underpaying your taxes throughout the year.</p> <h2>2. Compare your life situation this year versus last year</h2> <p>Get out your 2016 tax return and consider any changes that have happened in your life since you filed your taxes for that year. Did you move to a new county, city, or state? Did your marital status change, and you'll now be filing jointly? Did you switch jobs or take on some freelance work? All of these changes can impact your tax filing, particularly if you itemize your expenses.</p> <p>For example, let's say you moved to a new city this year and now work full-time from home. You'll want to have any job search expenses, home office and work-related expenses, and any moving costs detailed and organized before you visit your accountant or start the preparation and filing process yourself. All of these costs are potentially deductible on your taxes if you have well-organized records of them.</p> <p>If you moved this year, make sure your employer(s) (full-time and freelance) from 2017 have your updated address so that you get your W-2 forms without delay.</p> <h2>3. Max out your retirement contributions</h2> <p>Are you maxing out contributions to your 401(k), 403(b), and/or IRA accounts? If not, could you afford to increase your contributions to meet or get closer to the max for the year? You can contribute up to a maximum of $18,000 (plus an additional $6,000 if over age 50) to your 401(k) or 403(b) for 2017 until December 31. IRAs give you more flexibility with your 2017 contributions &mdash; you can contribute right up until you file your 2017 taxes or Tuesday, April 17, 2018, whichever comes first. You can contribute up to $5,500 per year to an IRA (or $6,500 if over age 50).</p> <h2>4. Make your freelance income work for your retirement</h2> <p>Do you do freelance work? You still have time to set up and contribute to a retirement account that will have tax benefits for the 2017 tax year. In particular, look into opening a Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement (SEP IRA) account. SEP IRA accounts are specialty retirement accounts that were created for the advantage of business owners and their employees. This applies to you if you're a freelancer.</p> <p>These accounts can be opened and funded independently from any other retirement accounts you have, such as traditional and Roth IRAs as well as 401(k) and 403(b) accounts from employers. Like other IRAs, you have until you file your 2017 taxes or Tuesday, April 17, 2018, whichever comes first, to set up and fund an SEP IRA for 2017. For 2017, contributions to an SEP IRA cannot exceed the lesser of 25 percent of your compensation or $54,000.</p> <h2>5. Prepare your deduction receipts</h2> <p>This is a task I always leave right until the end, but this year I'm trying to get ahead of the game. I itemize my taxes each year and have to keep track of all of my receipts to make sure I itemize properly.</p> <p>Rather than letting my receipts stack up over the year, I've been tracking them in a spreadsheet each month to make my tax filing quicker and easier. Don't forget about any job-hunting expenses, either: Make sure to take special note of those expenses related to job searching, as they will be itemized in their own category.</p> <h2>6. Consider homeownership changes</h2> <p>Did you buy or sell a home in 2017? This change has huge implications on your taxes. Make sure you have all of your home purchase or sale paperwork organized so that you can account for it appropriately in your filing.</p> <p>Fall offers us a slight pause before the rush of the holiday season that ushers us into the new year. Take a little time now to get a head start on tax preparations, and your future self will thank you!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Moves%2520You%2520Should%2520Make%2520Now%2520for%2520Your%25202018%2520Taxes.jpg&amp;description=6%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Now%20for%20Your%202018%20Taxes"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Now%20for%20Your%202018%20Taxes.jpg" alt="6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes" width="250" height="374" />&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck">Are You Withholding the Right Amount of Taxes from Your Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes freelance homeownership itemized deductions organizing paychecks receipts retirement contributions self employment withholding Thu, 19 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 2038829 at http://www.wisebread.com