A Look At The Tax Deadline

The 2014 Tax Deadline

Like most years, the tax deadline for 2014 falls on April 15. Failure to file federal income taxes by this date results in penalties. Most people seek to avoid these financial penalties and get their taxes in on time. Still, thousands of taxpayers run into trouble and can’t meet this deadline each year. Each American adult is required to pay taxes, and taxpayers should strive to meet these deadlines.

English: Protesters standing near the United S...
English: Protesters standing near the United States Capitol during the Taxpayer March on Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many late filers simply procrastinate until the very end and pay the price. Without a doubt, taxpayers should start gathering their documents as soon as possible. Companies and stock firms usually send out necessary tax forms by the middle of February. Two months is more than ample time to file one’s federal taxes. Therefore, the average taxpayer doesn’t have a good excuse for not meeting the tax deadline 2014.

For 2014, the six-month extension lasts until October 13, 2014. That date is static and won’t be changed by the government shutdown. Anyone can take advantage of this extension, but they must apply for it. Fortunately, each taxpayer is guaranteed an extension, and many states offer automatic extensions. A simple extension doesn’t free a person from accrued interest on their tax burden, though.

In the end, tax deadline 2014 is much like every other year. A taxpayer can’t wait too long to file their taxes. They could otherwise find themselves spending hundreds or thousands on penalty fees. Sadly, such penalties can push a person into financial distress quite quickly. It’s always a better idea to file taxes as early as possible on an annual basis.

Are Annuities a Good Investment

Are Annuities a Good Investment

There are two different types of annuities: deferred annuities and immediate annuities. The type of annuity you choose depends on how soon you expect to receive payments. If you are looking for a long term investment where you plan on making withdrawals once you reach retirement then you might choose a deferred annuity. If you are looking to make withdrawals sooner than you may want to choose an immediate annuity.

English: Types of Annuities
English: Types of Annuities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Either type of annuity can be fixed or variable. A fixed annuity acts like a CD from a bank but in this case it is an investment with an insurance company. You have a fixed interest rate that you receive for the annuity and it is usually a higher percentage than a normal CD would bring at a bank.

The guaranteed interest payment from these fixed annuities as well as the minimum amounts that you have to invest makes the fixed annuities appealing for those who are not confident in the ways of the stock market.

Another nice thing is that you do not have to pay taxes on the interest gained until you decide to start withdrawing the money from the annuity. A disadvantage with fixed annuities is that the interest rates might be high to begin with but can drop after the first year of having the annuity. This unknown factor can be a turn off for some who are hoping that they can maintain the rates that they first received when they started their annuity.

If you do not like the new rates and want to withdraw your annuity before it matures then you might be stuck paying surrender charges that will cut into your profits. With a variable annuity you can choose from a variety of investments to put your money into and the rate of payment you receive depends on how well the investments performed. With variable annuities you invest in several different stock or bond like accounts that will help your investment grow over a long period of time. Just like with the fixed annuities you pay no taxes on your gains until you begin withdrawing from your account.

Although with variable annuities you may have an opportunity to have greater growth potential with your investment there are some drawbacks as well. The investments you chose may take a turn for the worse causing your potential growth to plummet. There are drawbacks with the tax rates when you decide to withdraw you money,as well as fees if you decide to withdraw early and there can be high sales commission fees. It is good to do your research before you decide which annuity is best for you or even if an annuity is a good investment.

Tax Carnival Ecstasy – July 18, 2013

Little Book of Common Sense Investing
Little Book of Common Sense Investing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to the July 18, 2013 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. In this edition we have 5 great articles starting with Daniel’s letter to the IRS disputing an insufficient funds charge. Bill Smith looks at reasons to adjust your w-4 withholding at work this year. And John Schmoll has investment advice for your retirement investing. Hope you like all the articles, bookmark, share, tweet and come back real soon.

Bill Smith presents Why Investors Should Be Interested In Bank Of America – FastSwings.com posted at FastSwings, saying, “There are several reasons that investors are starting to look into Bank of America stocks: the first being that for now, they are still fairly cheap because the bank is still paying off debts and has yet to reach its potential for profits.”

Daniel presents My Letter To The IRS Disputing Their Insufficient Funds Charge posted at Sweating The Big Stuff.

filing

Bill Smith presents Top Five Reasons To Adjust Your Withholding In 2013 posted at 2013 Taxes, saying, “Your withholding is the amount of money you have taken out of each paycheck to apply toward income taxes.”

retirement

John Schmoll presents Finding Strength in Our Lack of Investment Control posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Investing in the stock market can be rife with emotion as stocks go up and down. While there is a lot we can’t control, there is much we can. By focusing on what we can control you can set yourself up for effective investing and start you down the road of investing for long term needs like retirement.”

John Schmoll presents What Makes a Company Worth Investing In posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “There are many things that you can look at if you’re interested in investing in stocks. By following some of the basics you can start to build a stock portfolio that will serve you well and help set you up for long term needs like retirement.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Filing Your Taxes Online

Filing Your 2011 Taxes Online

Every year, many people race to tax preparation offices to have their annual taxes prepared, making sure to beat the April 15 deadline. Long waits and high fees are common, and many people find getting their taxes done a chore. Preparing your own taxes can save you time, money and hassle.

Tax preparation help at the library
Tax preparation help at the library (Photo credit: Newton Free Library)

Even if you have never prepared your own taxes, you will find filing your 2011 taxes online simple and easy. Online tax prep programs provide you with step by step instructions and guide you through the process of getting your taxes done. Simply gather your income information and basic documents and let the software do the rest.

Most people dread trying to figure out tax items like deductions, tax credits and multi-state taxes. When you complete your 2011 taxes online, the program will search for any applicable deductions and credits for you. The program will also help you to easily input information if you work in one state and live in another.

Don’t stress out about preparing your own taxes. With easy to use online programs that do all of the work, you can prepare your taxes without worry or hassle. With live phone support available, you can consult tax experts that can provide you with advice and guidance.

Waiting in long lines at the tax office is a thing of the past. File your 2011 taxes for free online and take the hassle out of tax filing. Gather your paper work and file your 2011 taxes online today.

TurboTax Fights Filing Reform

TurboTax Fights Filing Reform

TurboTax has come under fire recently after a report from Propublica revealed that Intuit, TurboTax’s parent company had launched a massive lobbying effort against what is known as return-free tax filing.

TurboTax Fights Filing Reform
TurboTax app (Photo credit: fixedgear)

This method, which is already used in other countries, would have the IRS prepare an estimate of the taxpayer’s liability. The recipient would have the option to accept the estimate, make corrections to it, or reject it and prepare his own return, using a tax preparation company or other option.

This process puts the onus on the IRS to use the information that employers and banks have already provided to them to prepare these files. The taxpayers who would benefit most from this process are those who file simple forms with no itemization.  Up to 40% of taxpayers could benefit from this system.

TurboTax 2013 would have suffered a clear loss of revenue by implementation of this plan.  Fewer taxpayers would actually need to file, and TurboTax, being the largest online tax preparation firm, would certainly feel the loss of preparation fees.

Other tax firms and some political figures have opposed return-free filing because they feel the plan expands government control and that receiving a “bill” from the government might intimidate taxpayers into paying the amount without question.

Free Turbo Tax 2013 preparation would not have been necessary if the return-free plan had been adopted. Considering that TurboTax 2013 garners much business by selling consumers upgrades to more expensive packages, the company’s opposition is understandable from a financial standpoint.  They cannot, however, claim an impartial interest in the matter.

Return-free filing is not a new idea and has been endorsed by two Presidents and a host of consumer advocates.  Other countries have already successfully adopted such a plan, but strong lobbying efforts by TurboTax and other tax preparation firms have so far kept it from becoming a reality in the United States.

Intuit’s PAC Lobbies Against IRS Filed Taxes

Should taxpayers determine how much are owed on their taxes or is this a job for the government? TurboTax lobbying has led to millions of dollars being spent against IRS filed taxes. The IRS could make doing taxes easier on Americans by filing the taxes of citizens instead. Intuit is the parent company behind the TurboTax software and has used its public action committee (PAC) to spend millions to oppose every effort to make tax day less painful.

Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax has lobbied extensively against the “return-free” filing, decreasing the stress of Americans who file complex taxes. This represents the continuation of having to file taxes which take up a great deal of time, despite Obama’s efforts in 2007 towards taxes being prepared by the IRS.

TurboTax and other similar companies are partly responsible for Americans not being able to go without filing their taxes for years. It’s possible that this would have previously been made a law, however, tax professionals have expressed their opposition to this. American’s being able to go without filing taxes for such long periods of time would be detrimental to the businesses that profit from this.

TurboTax’s public opposition to IRS government tax preparation is a clear indication the business knows their long term profits would be affected. Intuit’s PAC has spent over $5 million contributing to certain politicians with the biggest donation to one individual being $1 million.

What Do The IRS And Your Ex-Girlfriend Have In Common?

You Don’t Want To Hear From Either One Of Them

What does getting an email from the IRS and getting an email from your crazy ex-girlfriend have in common? They are both something that you don’t want to open. The best advice is, don’t. If you get one of the IRS emails, it is best to not open it, or even altogether ignore it. We all know that the IRS is anything but a friend of yours, so why would they be sending you an email? They probably wouldn’t. It is just one of the latest scams that impostors are trying to pull off.

Exterior of the Internal Revenue Service offic...
Exterior of the Internal Revenue Service office in midtown New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scammers know that when you see the IRS come up on any document, your first reaction is fear, and the second is that you had better answer it quickly to avoid penalty. When you use Turbo Tax 2013, you will have direct access to the IRS email, but they will never have a reason to reply unless it is an auto response. As a general rule, if you ever receive an email from any company asking you for personal information, don’t answer it. Any doubts you have about its authenticity, which there should be many, can be addressed by contacting them directly. If you are the one to contact them using official channels, than you can feel secure about any information that you supply to them.

It is best, if you receive IRS emails, to pick up the phone and contact them directly. After all, nothing ever gets settled through email, you will have to follow up any issue with a live representative anyway. So, it’s best to do with that email what you would with your ex-girlfriend’s, ignore it.