2014 Tax Tip: Tax videos from IRS available to help you file in 2014

The 2014 tax filing season begins on Jan. 31. To help you prepare for it, the IRS has several short and informative YouTube videos on a variety of tax topics. These videos are available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL).

IRS videos have received nearly 6.5 million views. Find them here:

You may find some of these videos especially useful as you prepare to file in 2014. They include:

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tax videos from the IRS to help you file in 2014

The 2014 tax filing season begins on Jan. 31. To help you prepare for it, the IRS has several short and informative YouTube videos on a variety of tax topics. These videos are available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). IRS videos have received nearly 6.5 million views.

Tax videos from the IRS to help you file in 2014:

You may find some of these videos especially useful as you prepare to file in 2014. They include:

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

5 Ways to get organized before tax season

Taxes are challenging, especially when you’re self-employed. Use these five tips to streamline your tax process and save time this coming year.

1. Maintain an organizational system to save time

Since you need the same basic documentation every year, even the simplest steps to getting organized will save you time. Begin by reviewing the list of needed materials, which includes receipts and forms demonstrating all income and expenses (e.g., W2s, 1099s and interest statements from stocks and bonds). Review all bank statements for deductible expenses, such as business lunches, business cards, office flowers and professional training. As Intuit notes, the IRS often takes a closer look at solo entrepreneurs, especially those that take a home office deduction. Get your records in order now so that they’re ready in the event of an audit.

2. Track down information to minimize delays

As you get organized, you may discover you’re missing documents. Get on top of this now by calling clients, reaching out to your bank to get duplicate bank statements, reviewing your bank and credit card accounts for discrepancies and so on. At this time, determine how to handle any expenses that are both business and personal. If you bought a new truck to haul supplies but also use it for grocery shopping, do your best to evaluate its personal use vs. professional use now. Any information you need to prove your business use, obtain at this time.

3. Understand how to classify contractors and employees

As a solopreneur, you may have hired a part time or temporary employee—and this person needs to be classified properly for tax purposes. Generally, you’ll be using a contractor so you do not have to withhold tax money. If you try to get by with a contractor who should be an employee, you can run into trouble. Have that person complete a 1099 form so you can report her earned income to the government. If you use Intuit payroll services, you can easily complete the needed paperwork and send it directly within the system.

4. Start saving for your SEP tax

Solopreneurs are subject to a self-employment or SEP tax, which is around 15.3 percent. In essence, you are responsible for paying your own taxes since no company is withholding income and sending it to the IRS for you. Consider using a money tracking app like Mint to establish a savings goal and automate regular savings. This way, you can pay your taxes without cutting into your cash flow.

5. Seek help early

If you’re confused or short on time, look for an accountant who specializes in solopreneur taxes. You’re best off finding an accountant before mid-April, so she can devote the full time needed to your finances and maximize your deductions.

For more tax organizing tips visit In Order to Succeed on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tax Tip: Home Office Deduction

If you use part of your home for your business, you may qualify to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. Here are six facts from the IRS to help you determine if you qualify for the home office deduction.

  1. Generally, in order to claim a deduction for a home office, you must use a part of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes. In addition, the part of your home that you use for business purposes must also be:
    • your principal place of business, or
    • a place where you meet with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of your business, or
    • a separate structure not attached to your home. Examples might include a studio, workshop, garage or barn. In this case, the structure does not have to be your principal place of business or a place where you meet patients, clients or customers.
  2. You do not have to meet the exclusive use test if you use part of your home to store inventory or product samples. The exclusive use test also does not apply if you use part of your home as a daycare facility.
  3. The home office deduction may include part of certain costs that you paid for having a home. For example, a part of the rent or allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and utilities could qualify. The amount you can deduct usually depends on the percentage of the home used for business.
  4. The deduction for some expenses is limited if your gross income from the business use of your home is less than your total business expenses.
  5. If you are self-employed, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure the amount you can deduct. Report your deduction on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business.
  6. If you are an employee, you must meet additional rules to claim the deduction. For example, in addition to the above tests, your business use must also be for your employer’s convenience.

For more information, see Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home. It’s available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Last Minute Tax Tip: Seven Things to Know About Filing an Extension

Many taxpayers may still need more time to file their tax return. If you need extra time, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS.

Here are seven important things you need to know about filing an extension:

1. File on time even if you can’t pay If you completed your return but you are unable to pay the full amount of tax due, do not request an extension. File your return on time and pay as much as you can. To pay the balance, apply online for a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement application at www.irs.gov or send Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your return. If you are unable to make payments, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss your options.

2. Extra time to file An extension will give you extra time to get your paperwork to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April 17 deadline, plus you may owe penalties.

3. Form to file Request an extension to file by submitting Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to the IRS. It must be postmarked by April 15, 2013. You also can make an extension-related electronic credit card payment. For more information about extension-related credit card payments, see Form 4868.

4. E-file extension You can e-file an extension request using tax preparation software with your own computer or by going to a tax preparer who has the software. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 15, 2013. The IRS will acknowledge receipt of the extension request if you e-file your extension.

5. Traditional Free File and Free File Fillable Forms You can use both Free File options to file an extension. Access the Free File page at www.irs.gov.

6. Electronic funds withdrawal If you ask for an extension via one of the electronic methods, you can also pay any expected balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account. You will need the appropriate bank routing and account numbers. For information about these and other methods of payment, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov or call 800-TAX-1040 (800-829-1040).

7. How to get forms Form 4868 is available for download from the IRS website or you can pick up the form at your local IRS office.

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tax Tip: Seven Things to Know About Filing a Tax Extension

Many taxpayers may still need more time to file their tax return. If you need extra time, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS.

Here are seven important things you need to know about filing a tax extension:

1. File on time even if you can’t pay If you completed your return but you are unable to pay the full amount of tax due, do not request an extension. File your return on time and pay as much as you can. To pay the balance, apply online for a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement application at www.irs.gov or send Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your return. If you are unable to make payments, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss your options.

2. Extra time to file An extension will give you extra time to get your paperwork to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April 17 deadline, plus you may owe penalties.

3. Form to file Request an extension to file by submitting Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to the IRS. It must be postmarked by April 15, 2013. You also can make an extension-related electronic credit card payment. For more information about extension-related credit card payments, see Form 4868.

4. E-file extension You can e-file an extension request using tax preparation software with your own computer or by going to a tax preparer who has the software. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 15, 2013. The IRS will acknowledge receipt of the extension request if you e-file your extension.

5. Traditional Free File and Free File Fillable Forms You can use both Free File options to file an extension. Access the Free File page at www.irs.gov.

6. Electronic funds withdrawal If you ask for an extension via one of the electronic methods, you can also pay any expected balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account. You will need the appropriate bank routing and account numbers. For information about these and other methods of payment, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov or call 800-TAX-1040 (800-829-1040).

7. How to get forms Form 4868 is available for download from the IRS website or you can pick up the form at your local IRS office.

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

2013 Last Minute Tax Tip: Eight Tax-Time Errors to Avoid

If you make a mistake on your tax return, it usually takes the IRS longer to process it. The IRS may have to contact you about that mistake before your return is processed. This will delay the receipt of your tax refund.

The IRS reminds filers that e-filing their tax return greatly lowers the chance of errors. In fact, taxpayers are about twenty times more likely to make a mistake on their return if they file a paper return instead of e-filing their return.

Here are eight common errors to avoid.

  1. Wrong or missing Social Security numbers.  Be sure you enter SSNs for yourself and others on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.
  2. Names wrong or misspelled.  Be sure you enter names of all individuals on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
  3. Filing status errors.  Choose the right filing status. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, to help you choose the right one. E-filing your tax return will also help you choose the right filing status.
  4. Math mistakes.  If you file a paper tax return, double check the math. If you e-file, the software does the math for you. For example, if your Social Security benefits are taxable, check to ensure you figured the taxable portion correctly.tax booklet carefully.
  5. Errors in figuring credits, deductions.  Take your time and read the instructions in your tax booklet carefully. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit and the standard deduction. For example, if you are age 65 or older or blind check to make sure you claim the correct, larger standard deduction amount.
  6. Wrong bank account numbers.  Direct deposit is the fast, easy and safe way to receive your tax refund. Make sure you enter your bank routing and account numbers correctly.
  7. Forms not signed, dated.  An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s invalid. Remember both spouses must sign a joint return.
  8. Electronic signature errors.  If you e-file your tax return, you will sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. For security purposes, the software will ask you to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally-filed 2011 federal tax return. Do not use the AGI amount from an amended 2011 return or an AGI provided to you if the IRS corrected your return. You may also use last year’s PIN if you e-filed last year and remember your PIN.

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tax Tips: Errors to Avoid on Your Taxes

If you make a mistake on your tax return, it usually takes the IRS longer to process it. The IRS may have to contact you about that mistake before your return is processed. This will delay the receipt of your tax refund.

The IRS reminds filers that e-filing their tax return greatly lowers the chance of errors. In fact, taxpayers are about twenty times more likely to make a mistake on their return if they file a paper return instead of e-filing their return. These tax tips can save you time and money.

Here are eight common errors to avoid.

  1. Wrong or missing Social Security numbers.  Be sure you enter SSNs for yourself and others on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.
  2. Names wrong or misspelled. Be sure you enter names of all individuals on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
  3. Filing status errors.  Choose the right filing status. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, to help you choose the right one. E-filing your tax return will also help you choose the right filing status.
  4. Math mistakes.  If you file a paper tax return, double check the math. If you e-file, the software does the math for you. For example, if your Social Security benefits are taxable, check to ensure you figured the taxable portion correctly.tax booklet carefully.
  5. Errors in figuring credits, deductions.  Take your time and read the instructions in your tax booklet carefully. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit and the standard deduction. For example, if you are age 65 or older or blind check to make sure you claim the correct, larger standard deduction amount.
  6. Wrong bank account numbers. Direct deposit is the fast, easy and safe way to receive your tax refund. Make sure you enter your bank routing and account numbers correctly.
  7. Forms not signed, dated.  An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check that’s invalid. Remember both spouses must sign a joint return.
  8. Electronic signature errors.  If you e-file your tax return, you will sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. For security purposes, the software will ask you to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally filed 2011 federal tax return. Do not use the AGI amount from an amended 2011 return or an AGI provided to you if the IRS corrected your return. You may also use last year’s PIN if you e-filed last year and remember your PIN.

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

2013 Tax Tip: Five Tax Credits that Can Reduce Your Taxes

A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you must pay. A refundable tax credit not only reduces the federal tax you owe, but also could result in a refund.

Here are five credits the IRS wants you to consider before filing your 2012 federal income tax return:

    1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit for people who work and don’t earn a lot of money. The maximum credit for 2012 returns is $5,891 for workers with three or more children. Eligibility is determined based on earnings, filing status and eligible children. Workers without children may be eligible for a smaller credit. If you worked and earned less than $50,270, use the EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you qualify. For more information, see Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
    2. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is for expenses you paid for the care of your qualifying children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent. The care must enable you to work or look for work. For more information, see Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
    3. The Child Tax Credit may apply to you if you have a qualifying child under age 17. The credit may help reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child you claim on your return. You may be required to file the new Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your tax return to claim the credit. See Publication 972, Child Tax Credit, for more information.
    4. The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver’s Credit) helps low-to-moderate income workers save for retirement. You may qualify if your income is below a certain limit and you contribute to an IRA or a retirement plan at work. The credit is in addition to any other tax savings that apply to retirement plans. For more information, see Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).
    5. The American Opportunity Tax Credit helps offset some of the costs that you pay for higher education. The AOTC applies to the first four years of post-secondary education. The maximum credit is $2,500 per eligible student. Forty percent of the credit, up to $1,000, is refundable. You must file Form 8863, Education Credits, to claim it if you qualify. For more information, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

Make sure you qualify before claiming any tax credit. You can always visit IRS.gov to learn about the rules. The free IRS publications mentioned are also available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tax Tip: How to Reduce Taxes with These Five Tax Credits

A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you must pay. A refundable tax credit not only reduces the federal tax you owe, but also could result in a refund.

Here’s how to reduce taxes with these five credits the IRS wants you to consider before filing your 2012 federal income tax return:

    1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit for people who work and don’t earn a lot of money. The maximum credit for 2012 returns is $5,891 for workers with three or more children. Eligibility is determined based on earnings, filing status and eligible children. Workers without children may be eligible for a smaller credit. If you worked and earned less than $50,270, use the EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you qualify. For more information, see Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
    2. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is for expenses you paid for the care of your qualifying children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent. The care must enable you to work or look for work. For more information, see Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
    3. The Child Tax Credit may apply to you if you have a qualifying child under age 17. The credit may help reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child you claim on your return. You may be required to file the new Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your tax return to claim the credit. See Publication 972, Child Tax Credit, for more information.
    4. The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver’s Credit) helps low-to-moderate income workers save for retirement. You may qualify if your income is below a certain limit and you contribute to an IRA or a retirement plan at work. The credit is in addition to any other tax savings that apply to retirement plans. For more information, see Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).
    5. The American Opportunity Tax Credit helps offset some of the costs that you pay for higher education. The AOTC applies to the first four years of post-secondary education. The maximum credit is $2,500 per eligible student. Forty percent of the credit, up to $1,000, is refundable. You must file Form 8863, Education Credits, to claim it if you qualify. For more information, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

Make sure you qualify before claiming any tax credit. You can always visit IRS.gov to learn about the rules. The free IRS publications mentioned are also available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.