Identification of stock sales

The stock market continues to have its ups and downs. Therefore, it’s not unusual for an investor to own shares of the same stock purchased at different times and different prices. How are tax gains or losses calculated when a few shares are sold? When in doubt, the IRS assumes the first shares bought are [...]

What documents are acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status?

There are now 13 acceptable documents the IRS will accept as proof of identity. An original, or a certified or notarized copy, of an UNEXPIRED passport is the only document that is accepted for both identity and foreign status. If you do not have a passport, you must provide a combination of current documents that [...]

How do I make sure my tax return is received by the IRS?

The tax court has ruled that a tax return is not considered timely filed if it is lost by the U.S. Postal Service and it was not sent by registered or certified mail. In order to avoid the risk of your return being lost in the mail, and therefore, treated as not received by the [...]

Questions that arise when a loved one departs

What papers will I need? Here is a list of the papers that you will probably need: Certified copies of the death certificate (at least 10). You can purchase them through the funeral director or directly from the county Health Department. Copies of all insurance policies -- which may be in the deceased's safe deposit [...]

Should you pay off credit cards with a home equity loan?

One of Shakespeare's oft-quoted lines — "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" — is sage advice, especially for many cash-strapped Americans. But perhaps you haven't followed Shakespeare's wise counsel. If credit card payments are taking a big chunk from your paycheck, you may wonder if it's a good idea to use your home equity [...]

When is income taxable, and when is it not?

You only have to examine your paycheck to realize certain income is tax-free. For example, health insurance premiums paid by your employer are generally not includible in your income. Do you know the tax status of other types of income? Here's a quiz to test your knowledge. You tell your son he'll be the sole [...]

Tips for saving money on gas

Although gas prices have declined in recent months, inflation isn't dead. In fact, history suggests that over time gas prices will continue their inexorable march upward. That's why prudent consumers should consider ways to trim their auto fueling costs now. Generally speaking, gas costs can be reduced by improving your car's fuel economy, driving more [...]

When are social security benefits taxed?

Are you considering post-retirement employment? If you're collecting social security and thinking of returning to the work force, you may have questions about the effect of that income on the taxability of your benefits. The answer: Under current law, part of your social security benefits may be taxable. How much? The basic rule is that [...]

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Credit (IRC 30 and IRC 30D)

Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles (IRC 30D) Internal Revenue Code Section 30D provides a credit for Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles including passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some low speed vehicles may qualify for the credit if acquired prior to January 1, 2010. The amount of the credit for 2009 is equal to [...]

How to Choose a Tax Return Preparer and Avoid Preparer Fraud

Taxpayers who decide they need assistance when preparing a tax return should choose a tax preparer with care and caution. Even if a return was prepared by an outside individual or firm, taxpayers should remember that they are legally responsible for what they file with the Internal Revenue Service. Most return preparers are professional, honest [...]

Tax Changes for Individuals

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) There are several changes affecting Alternative Minimum Tax for 2009. Child-Related Tax Changes Information on adoption benefits, child's investment income, the definition of a qualifying child, and additional child tax credit. Decreased Estimated Tax Payments for Qualified Individuals With Small Businesses For 2009, qualified individuals with small businesses may be eligible [...]

Benefit from Roth “ordering rules”

For the first time ever, taxpayers can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, regardless of their annual income. Previously, conversions weren't allowed for taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $100,000. But nothing has changed in the rules for Roth IRA distributions. Unless payouts are treated as "qualified distributions," they are subject [...]

Roth IRA conversion in 2010

The buzz about Roth IRA conversions is getting louder. And why not: For the first time ever, higher-income taxpayers can convert their traditional IRAs into a Roth. Beginning in 2010, the prior restriction for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $100,000 is eliminated. Also, you can split the tax bill for a 2010 [...]

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