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What is IRS Notice 433 – Interest and Penalty Information?

IRS Link to Notice — Found Here Notice 433 describes penalties and the applicable interest rates for various years of non-payment when corporate taxes are not paid in a timely manner. This does not apply to individuals unless they are incorporated, and is not to be confused with Forms 433-A, -B, -D, or -F which are for individual purposes and concern applications for a Compromise Notice 746 updates the interest rates for more recent years. Continue reading...

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Bitcoins?

The IRS currently requires that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies be reported as personal property and capital assets. The IRS has published guidance that, yes, you do have to report gains/losses/income in the form of bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies.” Generally, the IRS treats bitcoin as property, instructing taxpayers to follow the existing IRS guidelines for personal property taxation. You can claim them as a capital asset, allowing you to treat them as stocks, essentially, with the ability to only pay long-term capital gains taxes on them if you hold them for a while. You can get paid in bitcoin by your employer, but employers must still withhold the usual amount of taxes, and you must report your bitcoin income the same way you would your regular income. Continue reading...

What Qualifies You as a "Trader," and How Do You Report Income and Expenses?

If you buy and sell securities, you may qualify for tax status as a ‘trader,’ which importantly may qualify you for certain business tax breaks. The rules governing this status can be confusing, however, making it difficult to determine whether you qualify as a trader, investor, or dealer. Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for traders as defined by the IRS, as well as how to report income and expenses if qualified. Continue reading...

What are Federal Tax Brackets?

Income taxation in the United States is done by assigning different tax rates to each specific range of income. Generally the lower income amounts will correspond to lower percentage toward federal income tax than higher income amounts. This is called a progressive tax and is frequently misunderstood. Many people mistakenly think that if they “fall into” a specific tax bracket based on their income that they will owe that higher tax rate that corresponds to the bracket on all of their income. Continue reading...

How is a Roth IRA Different from a Traditional IRA?

The most basic difference is that the Roth contributions are made after-tax while the Traditional IRA contributions are usually deductible from income. Both Roth and Traditional IRAs provide for tax-deferred growth of your assets. However, the contributions you make into your IRA are pretax (or, more accurately, tax-deductible), and contributions you make to your Roth IRA are after-tax. The annual contribution limits for each are usually the same, and, in fact, a person can contribute up to this amount in either of these combined in a given year. Continue reading...

What is Adjusted Gross Income?

For tax purposes, Adjusted Gross Income is the basis of an individual’s income tax calculations, before “below the line” deductions. Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is Gross Income (all of an individual’s earnings for the year) minus above-the-line deductions such as retirement plan contributions, education and medical expenses, Health Savings Accounts, alimony, military exemptions, and so on. After these adjustments, a person can take the standard federal deduction or itemize their other deductions. These are known as below-the-line deductions. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax?

Income tax is paid to the government based on the amount of income earned. There are federal income taxes, and some states have their own income taxes, too. As an employee for a company, income taxes will be withheld from paychecks using the company’s best estimation of your annual earnings. At the end of the year it may turn out that they withheld too much, and the government may give you a tax refund for what was overpaid. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS guide gives taxpayers and businesses an idea of how to calculate the appropriate amount of withholding to do and how to continually estimate tax rate on an ongoing basis for an entire year. It is about 60 pages long and touches on many issues related to tax withholding. Tax withholding applies to payroll needs, self-employed reporting, as well as some retirement planning applications, among other things. Continue reading...

What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

A homeowner’s association (HOA) will exist in many planned communities and subdivisions, and the association will usually expect dues to be paid from all residents in a community. They will have a board of directors, usually, who make it their business to help maintain the quality of the neighborhood by making sure common areas are taken care of and that residents are complying with the community rules. A HOA may have rules in place that make a place unpleasant to live in for some people. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax Payable?

Income Tax Payable is an account on a company’s ledger where they reserve amounts that will be used to pay the tax liability in the current quarter or year. This account tends to be separate from payroll taxes and sales taxes. This account will typically be empty at the end of the fiscal year. Corporations must pay income taxes based on their gross income, and the funds to pay them are held in the Income Tax Payable account on their company ledger. Continue reading...

What is Form 706: Estate Tax and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 706 is required not only if there is a tax implication for an estate, but also to claim exclusions. Each person has an exclusion of 5.49 Million as of 2017. For married couples, that goes double, such that heirs to an estate under $11 million probably will not owe any estate taxes. A surviving spouse should still report the inherited portion of the deceased spouse’s estate up to the exclusion amount, otherwise the exclusion will be lost. There are also lines for the lifetime gift exclusion amount and the generation skipping transfer tax. Continue reading...

How Much Does (and Will) Social Security Pay?

Social Security uses a formula that applies a factor to your average monthly income from the 35 years in which you earned the most. The benefit will be calculated for your Normal Retirement Age (67 for most people today), and you should receive statements in the mail keeping you updated on your projected or actual Social Security Retirement Benefits. Every year, you should get a statement from the Social Security Administration that provides you with exact numbers. The amount depends on the age at which you retire, and the contributions you made to Social Security over the years. The formula uses the 35 years in which you earned the most, and divides it by the total number of months in 35 years, which is 420, which leads to your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). Continue reading...

What Amount of Life Insurance Should I Have?

You may hear different things about the amount of life insurance that you need. An easy way some suggest is to take your annual income and multiply it by 10. But that doesn’t take everything into account, such as debts, specific things you want the money to do, or a safe withdrawal rate to give your beneficiaries an income that you want them to have if something happens to you. The right number could be more like 20 times your annual income, but it all depends on the purpose of the money and your financial situation. Continue reading...

How do my IRA Withdrawals Get Taxed During Retirement?

Different IRAs have different tax treatments. Traditional IRAs, as well as SEPs, SIMPLEs, and 401(k)s are all taxed as income in retirement. Roth IRAs are not taxed. Traditional IRAs and the other pretax accounts will have distributions that are also includable in the Modified Adjusted Gross Income calculations which may subject them to 3.8% Medicare surtax, as well as the income calculations which determine what portion of Social Security income may be taxable in retirement. Continue reading...

What is a Consolidated Tax Return?

A consolidated tax return is a single filing that covers several subsidiary companies and their parent company. One of the advantages of doing so is that the capital gains of one can be offset by the capital losses of another. It can also allow a profit sharing plan for the parent corporation to use profits from the subsidiaries. Corporations with subsidiaries can file a consolidated tax return that covers all of the affiliated companies. Continue reading...

What is the Form 6251: Alternative Minimum Tax, Individuals?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 6251 is used to calculate the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for individuals who may have high income but relatively low taxes due after deductions. The individual first computes his or her adjusted gross income, which does not allow for some deductions that may have been taken for the tax filing. If the AMT is higher than the taxes already paid, the individual will have to pay the difference. Continue reading...

Who Pays for Medicare?

Taxes pay for the entirety of Medicare part A. For the optional or supplemental policies which fall under the Medicare moniker, a regular premium may be due, but it’s still better than what premiums would look like if there were no Medicare. The Social Security Administration (website—here), which is funded by taxes deducted from your paycheck under FICA, or as part of the “self-employment tax,” administers both Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading...

What is Assessed Value?

Assessed value is used to determine the property taxes due on real estate. Assessed value is normally lower than the appraised value of a residential property, because it is not looking as much at the value of the home, but rather the value of the property, for property tax assessment. While the assessed value does have to do with the market value of real estate, most calculations only use average home prices the area, found in local real estate listings, as part of the valuation. The “ask” prices are going to be higher than the prices at which they’ll sell. Continue reading...

What is a Dividend Tax Credit?

In Canada, the dividend tax credit eliminates tax liability for eligible dividends. Eligible dividends can come from public companies, foreign-owned companies operating in Canada, and many privately owned companies. It allows Canadian citizens to avoid having their dividends double-taxed. Canada offers a dividend tax credit that allows investors to eliminate their taxes on dividends paid from eligible companies. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax deduction?

Workers who earn income in foreign countries will frequently pay taxes on the income in the country in which the wages were earned. In such cases the worker may be eligible to take deductions for the amount of taxes paid so that their entire income is not subject to taxes again in their country of citizenship. Ex-patriot workers who earn income overseas are generally eligible for tax deductions, credits, or exclusions to account for the taxes that they have already paid on their income in the foreign country. Continue reading...