Last minute tax tips/new updates from IRS.gov

Posted on March 3 2014

Being informed about the latest tax updates and changes to this year's tax laws can help you file correctly and get as much money back as possible. During the height of tax season, IRS.gov provides regular updates and daily tax tips to help you understand your taxes. Here are some of the latest tips that you may find useful as you prepare your return at OnePriceTaxes.

1. Same-sex marriages are now recognized on federal income tax returns

Given the Supreme Court ruling on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the IRS now recognizes same-sex marriages. If you have been legally married in any of the 50 states, even if you do not currently live in that state, you are considered to be married when you file your tax return. Therefore, you can choose between married filing jointly and married filing separately. You also count as being married for tax purposes when contributing to an IRA on your spouse's behalf or claiming deductions and tax credits.

In addition to filing together this year, same-sex couples are also eligible to file an amended tax return for any tax return within the statute of limitations, which is three years. Therefore, if you would like to change your filing status to married filing jointly for past returns, you can fill out Form 1040-X for each applicable year. Amending your return may increase your tax refund from that year.

2. Check whether you are eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit

One of the most beneficial tax credits for low-income households in the United States is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). However, many households that are eligible neglect to claim this credit. OnePriceTaxes will determine your eligibility through the interview questions on the tax return, so enter your answers to all questions accurately. Eligibility is based on several factors, including family size, filing status, and the amount of your earned income.

If you are eligible for the credit, it can not only reduce your tax bill, but also increase the amount of your refund. Even if you have no tax liability at all, the Earned Income Tax Credit will be increase your tax refund. This money can help families struggling make ends meet. If you get the tax credit, consider how to best use it to improve your financial situation. For example, you could pay down your credit card debt to decrease your monthly bill and decrease the amount of interest you pay every month. Another idea is to put it into savings so you can pay unexpected expenses next year.

3. Buying through the Health Insurance Marketplace? You might get the Premium Tax Credit

The Affordable Care Act has changed the face of health insurance this year, and it could affect your tax return. In particular, if you have purchased insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit to help you pay the premiums. In general, the credit is available to moderate-income taxpayers who aren't eligible for health insurance through an employer or any government programs.

The way you get the tax credit depends on what you did when you purchased your health insurance. You had the option at that time to estimate the amount of your tax credit and apply it toward paying your monthly premiums. If you did this, your federal tax return will calculate the actual amount of your credit and adjust the tax you owe or the refund you will get, depending on whether the estimate was high or low. If you did not apply your tax credit toward monthly payments, you will get the full amount of the credit when you file your tax return.

4. Tips to get your refund as quickly as possible

If you're due a refund, you probably want to know exactly when you will have that money available. In most cases, you will receive your federal tax refund within 21 days of filing your tax return. You can do a few things to increase the chance that you will get your refund quickly:

•File your return early. You can't get your refund until after you file, so dragging your feet is just delaying the refund. Plus, processing times for refunds tend to be shorter if you file before the peak of tax season.

•Complete your tax return accurately so it does not run into processing delays, which could result if you failed to report income from one of your W-2s or made another similar error.

•E-file your tax return rather than mailing in a paper return. This allows the IRS to receive your tax return instantly and process it more quickly because the data is electronic.

•Enter your bank account routing number and account number on your tax return to receive your refund through direct deposit. This is much faster than having a check mailed to you and having to deposit the check and have it clear the bank.

5. Get an Electronic Filing PIN online

Are you planning to e-file your tax return through OnePriceTaxes? You will need to electronically sign your return and authenticate your identity with one of two methods. The first is to enter the AGI (adjusted gross income) you entered on your 2012 tax return. If you don't have this information available, the other option is to get an electronic filing PIN from the IRS. You can get the number through the IRS website by entering personal information, including your Social Security Number, name, date of birth, and mailing address. You will receive your PIN instantly and can use it to authenticate your tax return when you're ready to e-file it.



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