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Christine Harrell's Articles in Taxes

  • Mileage Deductions And Tax Return Preparation
    If you are required to travel for urgent care or other related tasks (picking up medicine, etc) you are usually able to list that when you file. The definition of medical use is fairly broad, including travel for dental work, psychiatric care as needed, and pharmacy visits. The typical rate is 16.5 cents per mile for this type.
  • Accessing Emergency Funds: 5 Ways To Get Cash Quickly In Times Of Need
    Probably the easiest and most favorable option, borrowing from someone you know can nonetheless have pitfalls. The flexibility and understanding you'll likely receive as you pay back the money is a big benefit.
  • Getting Ready For A Career As A Tax Preparer
    There are many different kinds of people who do prep work, and each requires a different level of education. The people who prepare individual returns require limited study. However, that's just the first level of return work. Most people who choose to be career workers will tend to continue on and specialize in a more advanced area.
  • Tax Consultant Rules: Understanding Who Can Represent You Before The IRS
    A CPA, or certified public accountant, can also represent individuals before the IRS. These people are highly trained, and required to maintain certifications and demonstrate their competency throughout their career. However, the focus of a CPA is accounting, of which taxes are simply one element.
  • Income Tax Preparation: Itemized Vs. Standard Deduction
    When you choose to itemize, a fairly wide range of things can qualify. The most commonly known one is charitable contributions. In general, anything that you donate, whether it's pure cash or goods/services, can be reimbursed at fair market value.
  • How To Tell Which Local Tax Locations Will Give The Best Service
    Typically, the best service is provided in the best neighborhoods. If you're short on time, it's often best to start your search in neighborhoods known to be particularly wealthy or business-centric. These neighborhoods tend to charge more in rent, which means only businesses which can draw that kind of revenue can afford to stay there.
  • Do You Qualify For Free Tax Return Service?
    The idea behind government-organized services is simple: they are designed to fill a hole and provide for individuals who might need assistance with their paperwork but not have the means to afford it. These programs fall into two general categories: assistance for the elderly and assistance for those with limited financial means.
  • Tax Office Locations: When To Avoid Going To The Closest One
    By definition, when you have your returns prepared, you're going to be entrusting personal information to someone else. The vast majority of prep workers are professionals, and the vast majority of companies are highly secure and very trustworthy. But depending on where you live, the ones in your neighborhood may not conform to these standards.
  • Personal Income Tax And Your IRA
    The traditional IRA and Roth IRA are roughly mirrors of each other. With a traditional setup, you deposit money until the year you turn 70 and a half, at which point you are required (in most cases) to start withdrawing funds of a certain amount each year.
  • Tax Filing FAQ: Earned Income Tax Credit
    The EIC is potentially available to individuals and married couples filing jointly. If you are married and file separately, you are not eligible for it. In addition, you must have earned qualifying money in the year that you intend to claim the EIC.
  • Three Common Mistakes That Can Delay Your Tax Refund
    Most taxpayers know that electing to have funds deposited directly into their bank account can save time because there is no need to mail a check. But unless you select the option and correctly enter your information, actually getting those funds in your account can be a hassle. Check this area carefully before you send anything off.
  • Tax Return Preparation: How Hard Is It Really?
    The most important component required for tax return preparation isn't a form or program: it's knowledge. All of the programs and all of the assistance that is available is designed to provide expert knowledge to individuals who otherwise wouldn't know anything about IRS code.
  • Exploring Tax Preparation Service Guarantees: What Do They Really Mean?
    This is the most common form of promise. Its result is simple: the company guarantees that the refund it provides for you will be the largest available, meaning the largest permitted under the law. You should be surprised if you don't see this offered by a company you're considering.
  • Understanding The New Paid Income Tax Preparer Requirements
    The goal behind this program is to ensure that everyone who offers filing service is qualified to do so. Many states previously instituted requirements, including specific certifications for education courses and other specific knowledge requirements. But never before had the Federal government actually instituted any kind of formal assessment.
  • How To Find Free Income Tax Preparation
    VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and is meant to help people with a low budget who require help to file their required forms. In order to qualify, you must make less than $50,000 annually. The volunteers who work with VITA are not typically qualified to provide advanced assistance, and are usually not conversant with the more complicated forms.
  • Knowing When To Pay Personal Income Tax To Multiple States
    The entire goal behind the personal income tax is to ensure that states receive a cut of profits made inside their borders. These profits can then be used to help the state provide services which further benefit businesses within their borders. In that sense, it's a mutually beneficial and logical relationship.
  • Where Do You Need To File A State Tax Return?
    There are many places - especially on the east coast - where you may live in a different state from where you work. Even if you're not on the east coast, border towns are fairly common, and traveling for business is common as well. However, a good understanding of what's actually due to each state is not common at all.
  • How To Select A Tax Return Service
    The first thing to do is rule out anything that doesn't have locations nearby. Most of the nationwide franchises such as Liberty Tax Services, Jackson Hewitt, and H&R; Block have offices close to virtually every city.
  • A Day In The Life Of An Income Tax Preparer
    There is no typical time for an income tax preparer to wake up. The reason is simple: especially during busy season, there is a lot of variety in how long you can work and when your hours are. Stores may be open for 12 hours or more when most people are trying to get prep work done, which means that there is a lot of room to maneuver you are creating your schedule.
  • 5 Facts About Tax Return Preparation
    How much do you know about tax return preparation? If you're like many people who pay the government, you don't know a lot about what you're paying, or why you're paying it. These facts will help you understand the process.
  • Exploring The Positives And Negatives Of A Refund Anticipation Loan
    The refund anticipation loan is a simple concept. If it is determined that you are due to receive money back from the government, it is relatively certain that you will have those funds arriving within the near future. Based on the expected amount, a loan can be issued against that amount. If approved, you would receive a portion of those funds sooner.
  • Personal Income Tax: A History
    The first incident of a charge on personal gains occurred in 10 CE. A Chinese emperor decided to institute a new charge, which instead of asking for payments based on property or population would instead take fees from certain working individuals.
  • Tax Filing Options For Individuals With No Set Residence
    The first thing to consider is where you might owe. If you are working in a state or multiple states throughout the year and receive a W-2 for it, then you'll likely need to file paperwork with all of those locations.
  • Income Tax Preparation: Do You Need It If You're Unemployed?
    If you are presently unemployed and receiving compensation for that, you should receive a 1099-G form at the beginning of the next year. The 1099-G should provide exact details, including the amount that you received, as recorded by any sources that sent it to you. This is considered in the same fashion as most other sources of revenue.
  • What Does It Take To Be A Local Tax Preparer?
    The first step is simple: you have to know the actual regulations, restrictions, and codes that apply to each individual state. If you plan to work in a particular location, you should consider focusing on that local tax code. It is quite difficult to be sufficiently expert to cover more than one particular set of rules.
  • Ask A Tax Consultant: 5 Common Questions And Answers
    Audits happen when something about your return or filing raises a red flag within the IRS. This is more common the more complex your forms and the larger your estimated liability. In essence, the best way to reduce the chance of an audit is by filing as accurately as you possibly can.
  • What To Look For In An Arizona Tax Preparation Service
    One of the best ways to determine whether a company is actually qualified to assist with Arizona-specific code is by checking how many offices they operate within the state. If there are a large number of offices, it's likely that they have a lot invested in AZ and are more willing to update their information as thoroughly as possible.
  • Tax Office Locations: Does Same State Matter?
    If you conducted business in more than one state, you will almost certainly need to file separate returns with each of them. The reason is simple: when you were working outside the state you live in, you were technically producing within that state, which gives them the right to a portion of any proceeds you received.
  • Tax Locations That Are Good For Business
    Utah is one of the most favorable tax locations, with a low rate for large corporations (5%) and a lot of growth. It is known for having a particularly active, vibrant, and growing population, as well as low costs for energy. All of these combine to make it one of the most favorable choices for a headquarters or a substantial expansion.
  • Liberty Tax Service, H&R; Block, Or Jackson Hewitt: Comparing Prep Options
    The basic process is similar at all three services. You will walk in and be connected with a prep expert, who will talk with you to determine what forms need to be filed and then complete the process. Then, you will instruct them to e-file for you, file by mail, or provide the paperwork for you to mail in yourself.
  • Starting Your Own Tax Prep Business Vs. Franchising
    At first glance, avoiding the fees associated with a franchise seems like a solid idea. For most contracts, the parent corporation takes a flat percentage of your gross in addition to an initial fee. If you start your own unaffiliated with any existing brands, then you can skip a lot of those costs. However, there is a reason why those charges exist.
  • Tax Franchise Management Tips
    Remember that your revenue cycle is unique because of the busy season and subsequent lull. You will be at your most profitable between January and April. During this time, you should be saving substantially in order to cover costs when you are not in peak time.
  • Advantages Of A Tax Franchise
    When your business is filing returns, you are uncommonly restricted because you can't do anything if there are no returns to be processed. The Federal government requires that returns be filed within a certain window of time, usually from January 1 to April 15.
  • What Is A Refund Anticipation Loan?
    The idea behind a RAL is that you get a loan on your refund quickly if approved, and then pay it back when your actual cash arrives from the IRS. As such, a RAL is only available to individuals who are entitled to an actual refund, and the amount that you can get as part of the refund loan is capped based on what you expect to receive.
  • How To Get Your Refund Faster
    Having your funds placed right into your bank account means that you have access to the cash much faster. It eliminates the need for the IRS to mail you anything, which cuts down on days of transit time. As soon as your paperwork has been processed and approved, the government can simply place the funds directly into your account. It's the fastest method of receiving your money directly.
  • Tax Preparer: A Fresh Look At An Established Career
    At the moment, only Oregon and California have any kind of formal requirement for testing or certification to prep returns. Virtually no tax preparer office will accept a new hire without training them, but previously there was no requirement to do it. Starting in 2013, everyone who wants to be a return professional will need to pass a mandatory test designed and administered by the IRS.
  • How To Use The IRS Tax Resource Center
    You'll find a wealth of information by visiting the IRS website and then clicking the relevant link. For most people, that means clicking on individuals, but businesses, nonprofits, tax professionals, etc can also find information by clicking elsewhere. This will get you right into the heart of the information. From here, there are many places you can go.
  • Tax Filing Guidelines For Independent Contractors
    Generally speaking, individuals who are specifically trained by a company are considered employees of it. It is important to note that just because a company has decided you will be treated as an IC doesn't mean that's the correct definition - a lot of companies will try to make you an IC in order to avoid shouldering the burdens and legal responsibilities associated with an employee.
  • Exemptions, Dependents, And More: Tax Information For Families
    Marriage is another game changer. Tax information for married couples is usually submitted jointly, although that isn't a requirement. The standard deduction and other figures change when you file jointly because they now have to take into account two people rather than just one.
  • Education Tax Resource Center: Exploring The American Opportunity Credit
    Up to $2500 in credits on your taxes is available from a full AOC. It covers 100% of tuition, related fees, additional course materials, and other certain paid expenses. The limit of coverage for these is $2000. If you spend less, then you will receive less of a credit. If your tuition exceeded $2000 in that particular year, you are eligible for further coverage.
  • A Simple Guide To Tax Filing
    Tax filing starts with organizing all the information that you are going to need. This includes the obvious items, such as all forms sent to you by your employer, or anything else clearly marked as an important document. Remember to collect any relevant information from dependents, and make sure that if you and your spouse are filing together, both of you provide the necessary information.
  • Choosing The Right Tax Service
    The first place to begin your search is with some simple searching. Write down a list of all the local places that you can think of. This might include franchised tax service providers such as H&R; Block, Liberty Tax Service, and Jackson Hewitt, but it can also include purely local offices that may exist only in your city.
  • 5 Things You Didn't Know About How To Prepare Tax
    A lot of people who file returns don't end up using any of the deductible expenses that they create throughout the year. The reason is simple: there are two ways to deduct (generally), either using itemized deductions or taking the standard deduction. For most people, the standardized option is better and leads to a bigger refund.
  • Finding Tax Courses In Your Neighborhood
    There are three basic types of tax courses that will be offered in any particular area. The first is very local, run by an individual who may do nothing but classes. These can vary dramatically in quality because there is limited oversight and no guarantee that the instructor knows anything about the codes and regulations.
  • How Do I Efile Taxes?
    Experts and individuals agree: submitting your return online is the way to go. But how should you get started with this technology if you've never used it before? Whether you're experienced with preparing your own returns or submitting for the very first time, there is a way for you to get started.
  • A Guide To Reading The Text Of Tax Rules
    Don't expect to be able to breeze through a tax document. Like any legal writing, it's designed to hold a lot of information in every sentence. Focus on unpacking individual words, discerning their meaning, and then putting them back into their place.
  • How To Prepare Tax On A Limited Budget
    This is probably the easiest answer for how to prepare tax when money is tight. For one relatively low fee, you gain access to the program and can use it to fill out and file your return paperwork. The software itself is designed to help guide even a complete novice through the completion process. It is designed to be step-by-step and prevent errors.
  • Benefits Of Tax Education
    Trusting someone else to prepare your tax is always somewhat risky. Even if you choose a company that is known for being reliable and good, you could still run into a single individual whose experience and knowledge are not up to par. In this case, it's a big help to have a basic understanding of the topic yourself.
  • Eco-Friendly Taxes: IRS Efile
    In the past, the thousands of pages printed each year during the busy season became so overwhelming that the IRS wasn't sure how to store it all. Every return had to be printed, and each one required multiple pages of paper in order to be printed completely. Even with recycling, the impact of all of that on the environment was substantial.
  • A Guide To Online Tax Courses
    Since being opened to the public, the web has become an incredible resource for information. However, not all of this information is accurate. Anyone can say anything online, and without anything to back it up, it could be completely worthless.
  • Benefits Of Efile Taxes
    When you submit electronically, your return arrives at the IRS almost instantly. This means that it can be processed a lot faster. One advantage of submitting your taxes this way is that you will receive a notice of acceptance or rejection within 48 hours.
  • 5 Smart Ways To Use Your Tax Refund
    Paying off debts isn't exciting, but it's a really solid way to use your funds. Debt just continues to build on itself, and carrying it has a negative impact on your overall credit score. A particularly hefty check from the government can have a big impact, even if you have substantial debt.
  • Should You File Taxes Online?
    The majority of people who resist using the internet for returns are concerned about a perceived lack of security. While there is certainly some risk, there is always risk involved whenever personal information is shared - even when it is only meant to be shared with the IRS.
  • Audits And Filing Tax Online: What You Need To Know
    By the IRS's own description, it decides who to investigate by comparing returns it receives against determined norms for that particular return. The forms filed are identical whether they are completed electronically or mailed in, which means that whether you file tax online or in person has no bearing on whether or not you are at higher risk.
  • Is It Safe To Efile Taxes?
    Whenever you communicate via the web, your information is being sent outside your computer. Everything you say could in theory be overheard. And sometimes it is: that's how hacking, information theft, and other chronic internet problems arise. However, there are a lot of ways to keep yourself safe from this kind of intrusion. You are probably already using most of them without even knowing it.
  • The History Of E File
    Today, it's hard to imagine a world before e file. But back in the 1980s, the program was in its infancy, running with a skeleton staff and struggling to catch on. From an inefficient system at inception to the streamlined high-volume system of today, learn how e file came to be.
  • Tax Preparer Vs. Preparation Office: Which Is Right For You?
    Every year, consumers face a choice: rely on an individual to prepare your income tax return, or choose to work with an established company? Making the right decision about who to trust for your needs can mean the difference between successful filing and potential audit problems and fines.
  • Exploring Online Tax Preparation Programs
    Never trust any free software unless you obtain it directly from the IRS website. Remember that the data you submit during online tax preparation is inherently very sensitive. Trusting any company to handle that information without knowing that they are responsible and honest is a major mistake.
  • What Happens After You File Taxes Online
    In today's world, virtually everything happens online. Paper money, checks, and even actual credit cards are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead of actually swiping a card, you just enter the information online. No money changes hands anymore. The same thing is true of taxes: now you can file taxes online with the IRS and with states as well.
  • How To Find Tax Office Locations
    The easiest way to find a tax office is by using the internet. Thanks to search engines, the internet has become an exceptionally potent tool for searching, especially locally. To find your nearest preparer, simply type something like tax return or preparation into your search box.
  • How To Reach Tax Office Locations Without A Car
    There are more tools than ever before to help plan and plot routes by foot. Google Maps has an option for walking now, which provides detailed directions and generally accurate time estimates. While it can't account for variables such as weather, it can give you an idea of whether or not the walk might be feasible.
  • How To Learn About Tax Online
    The web has the answer to virtually any question. Getting started is as simple as typing your desired search query into a major search engine like Google. You'll immediately see answers that Google (or whatever other company you might be using) believes are relevant.

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