Average Itemized Deductions for 2015

The IRS provides a wealth of preliminary tax data for tax year 2015 in the Spring 2017 Statistics of Income Bulletin (SOIB). The data is based on a sample of 257,083 individual income tax returns for 2015, processed between January and late September of 2016, out of a total of 150.6 million returns. The preliminary…

5 Biggest IRA Mistakes

For many individuals, IRAs are significant assets that need to be protected. Last year it was reported that the average balance per IRA owner was $127,600, and many have even more squirreled away. Unfortunately, many make mistakes that can cost them, and their families, dearly. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid. 1. Failing to maximize…

5 Ways to Pay Your Tax Bill

You probably have been paying taxes throughout the year—through withholding on wages and certain other payments or with estimated taxes. However, when it comes time to file your return, you may find that your payments are less than what you owe. Here are five ways to settle up your tax bill. 1. Write a check…

Finding Lost Tax Dollars

The U.S. Treasury may be holding tax dollars that are owed to you. Unless you file for a refund, you won’t get the money; the government doesn’t voluntarily send it to you. Here are some situations in which you may be owed money and can file an original or amended return to claim it. 1.…

Do You Have a Qualifying Child?

There are many tax breaks that you may take if you have a qualifying child. Unfortunately, there is no single definition for all of these tax breaks. Here are the different definitions; you may be eligible for one or more of these tax breaks. Basic definition The same definition of a qualifying child is used…

What to Know About This Filing Season

As you file your 2016 return, there are some new considerations. Here are 5 things you need to know. 1. Key dates for the filing season Mark your calendar for important dates impacting your 2016 federal income tax return. January 23, 2017: the date that the IRS will begin processing 2016 individual income tax returns.…

Distinguishing Alimony from Property Settlements

In the course of a marital dissolution, spouses may divvy up their financial assets. Some may take the form of property settlements, which are tax-free events, or alimony, which is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payer. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear how certain property transfers or payments should be treated. Income payments…

5 Year-End Investment Mistakes to Avoid

The stock market has been up for the year and the real estate market is solid in many parts of the country. Between now and New Year’s Eve, you may want to take actions—buying and selling—to improve your investment holdings. When doing so, take tax implications into account. Don’t make the following mistakes: 1. Buying…