Tax Effects of Divorce or Separation

If you are divorcing or recently divorced, taxes may be the last thing on your mind. However, these events can have a big impact on your wallet. Alimony and a name or address change are just a few items you may need to consider. Here are some key tax tips to keep in mind:

  • Child Support. Child support payments are not deductible and if you received child support, it is not taxable.
  • Alimony Paid. You can deduct alimony paid to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation decree, regardless of whether you itemize deductions. Voluntary payments made outside a divorce or separation decree are not deductible. You must enter your spouse’s Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on your Form 1040 when you file.
  • Alimony Received. If you get alimony from your spouse or former spouse, it is taxable in the year you get it. Alimony is not subject to tax withholding so you may need to increase the tax you pay during the year to avoid a penalty. To do this, you can make estimated tax payments or increase the amount of tax withheld from your wages.
  • Spousal IRA. If you get a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of your tax year, you can’t deduct contributions you make to your former spouse’s traditional IRA. You may be able to deduct contributions you make to your own traditional IRA.
  • Name Changes. If you change your name after your divorce, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on SSA.gov or call 800-772-1213 to order it. The name on your tax return must match SSA records. A name mismatch can cause problems in the processing of your return and may delay your refund. Health Care Law Considerations.
  • Special Marketplace Enrollment Period. If you lose health insurance coverage due to divorce, you are still required to have coverage for every month of the year for yourself and the dependents you can claim on your tax return. You may enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period, if you lose coverage due to a divorce.
  • Changes in Circumstances. If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit. If you do, you should report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace throughout the year. These changes include a change in marital status, a name change, a change of address, and a change in your income or family size. Reporting these changes will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance. This will also help you avoid getting too much or too little credit in advance.
  • Shared Policy Allocation. If you divorced or are legally separated during the tax year and are enrolled in the same qualified health plan, you and your former spouse must allocate policy amounts on your separate tax returns to figure your premium tax credit and reconcile any advance payments made on your behalf. Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit, has more information about the Shared Policy Allocation. For more on this topic, see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals.

SOURCE:  IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2016-23

How Selling Your Home Can Impact Your Taxes

Usually, profits you earn are taxable. However, if you sell your home, you may not have to pay taxes on the money you gain. Here are ten tips to keep in mind if you sell your home this year.

1. Exclusion of Gain. You may be able to exclude part or all of the gain from the sale of your home. This rule may apply if you meet the eligibility test. Parts of the test involve your ownership and use of the home. You must have owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.

2. Exceptions May Apply. There are exceptions to the ownership, use and other rules. One exception applies to persons with a disability. Another applies to certain members of the military. That rule includes certain government and Peace Corps workers. For more on this topic, see Publication523 , Selling Your Home.

3. Exclusion Limit. The most gain you can exclude from tax is $250,000. This limit is $500,000 for joint returns. The Net Investment Income Tax will not apply to the excluded gain.

4. May Not Need to Report Sale. If the gain is not taxable, you may not need to report the sale to the IRS on your tax return.

5. When You Must Report the Sale. You must report the sale on your tax return if you can’t exclude all or part of the gain. You must report the sale if you choose not to claim the exclusion. That’s also true if you get Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions.

6. Exclusion Frequency Limit. Generally, you may exclude the gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years. Some exceptions may apply to this rule.

7. Only a Main Home Qualifies. If you own more than one home, you may only exclude the gain on the sale of your main home. Your main home usually is the home that you live in most of the time.

8. First-time Homebuyer Credit. If you claimed the first-time homebuyer credit when you bought the home, special rules apply to the sale. For more on those rules, see Publication 523.

9. Home Sold at a Loss. If you sell your main home at a loss, you can’t deduct the loss on your tax return.

10. Report Your Address Change. After you sell your home and move, update your address with the IRS.

Are you required to file a Form 1099 or other information return?

If you made or received a payment during the calendar year as a small business or self-employed (individual), you are most likely required to file an information return to the IRS.

Made a Payment

If, as part of your trade or business, you made any of the following types of payments, use the link to be directed to information on filing the appropriate information return.

  • Payments, in the course of your trade or business: (1099-MISC) (Note: It is important that you place the payment in the proper box on the form. Refer to the instructions for more information.)
    • Services performed by independent contractors or others (not employees of your business) (Box 7)
    • Prizes and awards and certain other payments (see Instructions for Form 1099-MISC, Box 3. Other Income, for more information)
    • Rent (Box 1)
    • Royalties (Box 2)
    • Backup withholding or federal income tax withheld (Box 4)
    • Crewmembers of your fishing boat (Box 5)
    • To physicians, physicians’ corporation or other supplier of health and medical services
      (Box 6)
    • For a purchase of fish from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish (Box 7)
    • Substitute dividends or tax exempt interest payments and you are a broker (Box 8)
    • Crop insurance proceeds (Box 10)
    • Gross proceeds of $600 or more paid to an attorney (generally, Box 7, but see instructions as Box 14 may apply)
  • Interest on a business debt to someone (excluding interest on an obligation issued by an individual) (1099-INT)
  • Dividends or other distributions to a company shareholder (1099-DIV)
  • Distribution from a retirement or profit plan or from an IRA or insurance contract (1099-R)
  • Payments to merchants or other entities in settlement of reportable payment transactions, that is, any payment card or third party network transaction (1099-K)

Received a Payment and Other Reporting Situations

If, as part of your trade or business, you received any of the following types of payments, use the link to be directed to information on filing the appropriate information return.

  • Payment of mortgage interest (including points) or reimbursements of overpaid interest from individuals (1098)
  • Sale or exchange of real estate (1099-S)
  • You are a broker and you sold a covered security belonging to your customer (1099-B)
  • You are an issuer of a security taking a specified corporate action that affects the cost basis of the securities held by others (Form 8937)
  • You released someone from paying a debt secured by property or someone abandoned property that was subject to the debt (1099-A) or otherwise forgave their debt to you (1099-C)
  • You made direct sales of at least $5,000 of consumer products to a buyer for resale anywhere other than a permanent retail establishment (1099-MISC)

Not Required to File Information Returns

  • You are not engaged in a trade or business.
  • You are engaged in a trade or business and
    • the payment was made to another business that is incorporated, or
    • the sum of all payments made to the person or unincorporated business is less than $600 in one tax year (unless the recipient is an attorney or law form, see specific instructions for 1099-MISC for further details).

All information comes from : https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/am-i-required-to-file-a-form-1099-or-other-information-return

Federal Student Tax? No such thing!!!

The Federal Trade Commission recently released a statement warning college students not to fall for a new scam: the federal student tax scam.

Students from many colleges are telling the FTC that the calls go something like this: the so-called IRS agent tells you that you owe a “federal student tax,” and often has some piece of information that makes the call seem legit. Sometimes it’s the name of your school, or another piece of information about you. The caller demands that you wire money immediately, by MoneyGram or another untraceable method. And, if you don’t act quickly enough, the caller might threaten to report you to the police. If you hang up on the caller, they might make follow-up calls with spoofed caller-ID information. So, while caller ID might say it’s 911 or the U.S. Government calling, it’s not. It’s all fake.

As with all variations of these types of scams, you need to know a few simple things that will keep you safe:

  • No one from the IRS will ever ask you to wire money, or pay by sending any sort of reloadable prepaid cards.
  • The IRS will never contact you by phone first. If you owe money for an actual tax, the IRS will send a letter first.

If you get one of these calls, hang up immediately. Do not give out any personal information — no matter how mundane it may seem. Hang up, and report the call to the FTC.

For the news release from the FTC on this, visit here.

Getting Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit?

Getting Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit? Remember to Report Changes in Circumstances

If you purchased 2016 health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may have chosen to have advance payments of the premium tax credit paid to your  insurance company to lower your monthly premiums. If this is the case, it’s important to let your Marketplace know about significant life events, known as changes in circumstances.

These changes – such as those to your income or family size – may affect your premium tax credit. Reporting the changes will help you avoid getting too much or too little advance payment of the premium tax credit.  Getting too little could mean missing out on premium assistance to reduce your monthly premiums. Getting too much means you may owe additional money or get a smaller refund when you file your taxes. If your income for the year turns out to be too high to receive the premium tax credit, you will have to repay all of the payments that were made on your behalf, with no limitation.   Changes in circumstances that you should report to the Marketplace include:

  • an increase or decrease in your income
  • marriage or divorce
  • the birth or adoption of a child
  • starting a job with health insurance
  • gaining or losing your eligibility for other health care coverage
  • changing your residence

Changes in circumstances may qualify you for a special enrollment period to change or get insurance through the Marketplace. In most cases, if you qualify for the special enrollment period, you will have sixty days to enroll following the change in circumstances. You can find Information about special enrollment at HealthCare.gov.

The Premium Tax Credit Change Estimator can help you estimate how your premium tax credit will change if your income or family size changes during the year. This estimator tool does not report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace. To report changes and to adjust the amount of your advance payments of the premium tax credit you must contact your Health Insurance Marketplace.

Find out more about the premium tax credit and other tax-related provisions of the health care law at IRS.gov/aca

Tax refunds will be delayed for many taxpayers next year

On Sunday, Forbes posted an article explaining a part of the new Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 that will affect many taxpayers: their refunds will be delayed next year.

As part of the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH ) Act of 2015,” (P.L. 114-113) signed into law on December 18, 2015, the IRS must wait until February 15 to issue refunds to taxpayers who claimed the earned-income tax credit (EITC) or the child tax credit (CTC).

Read the whole article here.

Social Security Benefits May Be Taxable

What do you mean my Social Security Benefits are taxable??

We hear this question often, and much to many’s dismay — yes, Social Security Benefits can indeed be taxable. A recent tax tip from the IRS broke down this phenomenon.

  • Form SSA-1099.  If you received Social Security benefits in 2015, you should receive a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, showing the amount of your benefits.
  • Only Social Security.  If Social Security was your only income in 2015, your benefits may not be taxable. You also may not need to file a federal income tax return. If you get income from other sources you may have to pay taxes on some of your benefits.
  • Tax Formula.  Here’s a quick way to find out if you must pay taxes on your Social Security benefits: Add one-half of your Social Security to all your other income, including tax-exempt interest. Then compare the total to the base amount for your filing status. If your total is more than the base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable.
  • Base Amounts.  The three base amounts are:
    • $25,000 – if you are single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child or married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for all of 2015
    • $32,000 – if you are married filing jointly
    • $0 – if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Additional IRS Resources:

Retirement age?

A question that comes up often is, “What is my normal retirement age?” A great question!

The Social Security Administration has a “Retirement Planner: Benefits By Year Of Birth” anyone can refer to for that answer. We definitely recommend visiting the site and looking through all the information regarding how your age affects retirement benefits.

A quick glance at at what you’ll find on that page is below.

Retirement
1. If you were born on January 1st, you should refer to the previous year. 2. If you were born on the 1st of the month, we figure your benefit (and your full retirement age) as if your birthday was in the previous month. If you were born on January 1st, we figure your benefit (and your full retirement age) as if your birthday was in December of the previous year. 3. You must be at least 62 for the entire month to receive benefits. 4. Percentages are approximate due to rounding. 5. The maximum benefit for the spouse is 50% of the benefit the worker would receive at full retirement age. The % reduction for the spouse should be applied after the automatic 50% reduction. Percentages are approximate due to rounding.

 

 

 

What is this Form 1095?

Remember that pesky question, “Did you have health insurance last year?”  If you were enrolled in health coverage for 2015, you may receive a Form 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095-C, which will answer that question for you.  In addition, if you were an employee of an employer that was an applicable large employer in 2015, you may receive a Form 1095-C.  If you don’t fall in either of these categories, you won’t receive a form.

So what is the difference between A, B and C?

  • Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.  The Health Insurance Marketplace sends this form to individuals who enrolled in coverage there, with information about the coverage, who was covered, and when.
    1095-A
  • Form 1095-B, Health Coverage.  Health insurance providers (for example, health insurance companies) send this form to individuals they cover, with information about who was covered and when.
    1095-B
  • Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.  Certain employers send this form to certain employees, with information about what coverage the employer offered. Employers that offer health coverage referred to as “self-insured coverage” send this form to individuals they cover, with information about who was covered and when.
    1095-C

Note: The deadline for the Marketplace to provide Form 1095-A is February 1, 2016.  The deadline for insurers, other coverage providers and certain employers to provide Forms 1095-B and 1095-C has been extended to March 31, 2016.  Some taxpayers may not receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2015 tax return. While the information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, they are not required. Individual taxpayers will generally not be affected by this extension and should file their returns as they normally would.
For more information on the various nuances of these forms (like why you COULD get more than one), visit the IRS’s Questions and Answers about Health Care Information Forms for Individuals (Forms 1095-A, 1095-B, and 1095-C)

Who Can Represent You Before the IRS?

Many people use a tax professional to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a return for a fee. If you choose a tax pro, you should know who can represent you before the IRS. There are new rules this year, so the IRS wants you to know who can represent you and when they can represent you. Choose a tax return preparer wisely.

Representation rights, also known as practice rights, fall into two categories:

  • Unlimited Representation
  • Limited Representation

Unlimited representation rights allow a credentialed tax practitioner to represent you before the IRS on any tax matter. This is true no matter who prepared your return. Credentialed tax professionals who have unlimited representation rights include:

Limited representation rights authorize the tax professional to represent you if, and only if, they prepared and signed the return. They can do this only before IRS revenue agents, customer service representatives and similar IRS employees. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare. They cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question. For returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, the only tax return preparers with limited representation rights are Annual Filing Season Program Participants.

The Annual Filing Season Program is a voluntary program. Non-credentialed tax return preparers who aim for a higher level of professionalism are encouraged to participate.

Other tax return preparers have limited representation rights, but only for returns filed before Jan. 1, 2016. Keep these changes in mind and choose wisely when you select a tax return preparer.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

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