LOOK AT TAXES

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241 Days
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Tax Articles

2014 Tax Extenders Bill Has Been Signed

On Friday December 19, 2014 the President signed the Tax Extender Bill. With the Extenders individual taxpayers would still be able to claim on their 2014 returns such items as:
  • itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes
  • above-the line deduction for higher education tuition and fees
  • deduction for up to $250 in educator out of pocket expenses
  • itemized deduction for private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums
  • energy-efficient home improvement tax credit
  • extra first-year depreciation for 50% of qualified property
Also taxpayers who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale also don't have to worry about counting any of those transactions forgiven debt as income. Commuters who take public transit will see their tax-free employer-provided benefit for such travel remain. And IRA owners age 70½ can roll their required minimum distribution for 2014, due by Dec. 31, directly to a qualified charity. A small number of items did not get included and expired. They include:
  • Health care tax credit for displaced workers
  • Section 30D plug-in electrical vehicle credit
  • Partial expense of refinery equipment
  • Section 45M energy-efficient appliance credit
  • New York Liberty Zone tax-exempt bond financing

2014 Tax Return Filing Requirements

The requirement to file a return can be difficult to determine if you don’t know your exact gross income. You need to also know your filing status, age and the types of income you have. The filing status for most taxpayers is clear. However if you are married but living apart, a single person with children or a child under 19 with income it can be difficult. The minimum amount of gross income you need for 2014 for each filing status is as follows:

  • Single Taxpayers -At least $10,150 if you are under age 65 and $11,700 if you are 65 or older.
  • Married Filing Jointly - At least $20,300 if both of you are under age 65, if one was at least age 65 it is $21,500 or more and if both were 65 or over, it is $22,700 or more.
  • Married Filing Separately - If you are any age and your gross income is at least $3,950, you must file.
  • Head of Household - If your gross income is at least $12,850 if under age 65 and $14,350 if at least age 65, file a return for Tax Year 2014.
  • Qualifying Widow or Widower – If your spouse died, the two years after the date of death qualifies you for this special filing status but only if you have a dependent child. You have to file if your gross income is at least $16,350 if under age 65 and $17,550 if at least age 65.

There are some special situations not dependent on gross income, age or filing status. If someone is a dependent of someone else they will need to file if they received more than $1000 in unearned income (interest, dividend, or investments) or more than $6,200 in earned income (Wages) or gross income of larger of $1,000 or earned income (up to $5,850) plus $350.

There are new filing requirements based on the new Healthcare Laws. You must file a return starting in 2014 if advance payments of the premium tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You should have received Form(s) 1095-A showing the amount of the advance payments, if any.

Some of the other most common ones based on type or source of income are as follows:
  • Self-Employment Earnings - If your profits from self-employment (Schedule C filers) are $400 or more, you must file a return.
  • You Have Taxes Due - You need to file if you owe FICA or Medicare taxes on unreported tips or other reported income that were not collected. You must also file a tax return if you are liable for any alternative minimum tax. You must file a return if you owe taxes on a distribution from an IRA account, HSA account, or an employer pension or retirement plan.
  • Church Income - You must file if you are employed by a church or a qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer-paid FICA and Medicare taxes and you have income of at least $108.28.

The penalties for not filing when you are required can grow to a very large number since the interest on unpaid taxes continues until the taxes are paid. If you are not certain of your filing requirement or you think you have a special situation, it would be best to seek help from a tax professional.

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