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Pennsylvania has Proclaimed Enrolled Agent Week
Individuals May Get New Health Care Information Forms This Year
Choosing the Correct Filing Status
Six Tips about Individual Shared Responsibility Payments
Here's How Your Job Hunt Could Help Cut Your Taxes
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Pennsylvania has Proclaimed Enrolled Agent Week

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Individuals May Get New Health Care Information Forms This Year

Starting this year, you may receive one or more forms providing information about the health care coverage that you had or were offered during 2015. Much like Form W-2 and Form 1099, which include information about the income you received, these forms provide information about your health care coverage that you may need when you file your individual income tax return.


Two of these forms are new this year and on is a form that was sent to some taxpayers in 2015.
The new forms are:

Form 1095-B, Health Coverage.

Health insurance providers send this form to individuals they cover, with information about who was covered and when.


 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.

The deadline for insurers, other coverage providers, and certain employers to provide Forms 1095-B and 1095-C is 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; it is not necessary to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C in order to file.


The form that was first issued last year is:


 Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement

The Health Insurance Marketplace sends this form to individuals who enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace. The form includes with information about the coverage, who was covered, and when. The deadline for the Marketplace to provide individuals with Form 1095-A is February 1, 2016. If you are expecting to receive a Form 1095-A, you should wait to file your 2015 income tax return until you receive that form. You are likely to get more than one form if you had coverage from more than one coverage provider, if you worked for more than one employer that offered coverage or if you enrolled for coverage in the Marketplace for a portion of the year and received coverage from another source for part of the year. You are also likely to get more than one form if you changed coverage or employers during the year or if different members of your family received coverage from different coverage providers. You should not attach any of these forms to your tax return but should keep them with your tax records.

Choosing the Correct Filing Status

It’s important to use the right filing status when you file your tax return. The status you choose can affect the amount of tax you owe for the year. It may even determine if you must file a tax return. Keep in mind that your marital status on Dec. 31 is your status for the whole year. Sometimes more than one filing status may apply to you. If that happens, choose the one that allows you to pay the least amount of tax.


Here’s a list of the five filing statuses:

1. Single. This status normally applies if you aren’t married. It applies if you are divorced or legally separated under state law.

2. Married Filing Jointly. If you’re married, you and your spouse can file a joint tax return. If your spouse died in 2015, you can often file a joint return for that year.

3. Married Filing Separately. A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This may benefit you if it results in less tax owed than if you file a joint tax return. You may want to prepare your taxes both ways before you choose. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.

4. Head of Household. In most cases, this status applies if you are not married, but there are some special rules. For example, you must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Don’t choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules.

5. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. This status may apply to you if your spouse died during 2013 or 2014 and you have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.

Six Tips about Individual Shared Responsibility Payments

For any month during the year that you or any of your family members don’t have minimum essential coverage and don’t qualify for a coverage exemption, you are required to make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your tax return.

Here are six things to know about this payment:

   1. You are not required to make a payment if you had coverage or qualify for an exemption for each month of the year.

 2. If you did not have coverage and your income was below the tax filing threshold for your filing status, you qualify for a coverage exemption and you should not make a payment.

3. If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, and are not lawfully present in the United States, you are exempt from the individual shared responsibility provision and do not need to make a payment. For this purpose, an immigrant with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status is considered not lawfully present and therefore is exempt. You may qualify for this exemption even if you have a social security number.

 4. If you are responsible for the individual shared responsibility payment, you should pay it with your tax return or in response to a letter from the IRS requesting payment. You should not make the payment directly to any individual or return preparer.

  5. The amount due is reported on Form 1040 in the Other Taxes section, and in the corresponding sections of Form 1040A and 1040EZ. You only make a payment for the months you or your dependents did not have coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption.

6. In most cases, the shared responsibility payment reduces your refund. If you are not claiming a refund, the payment will increase the amount you owe on your tax return.

Here's How Your Job Hunt Could Help Cut Your Taxes

These days a lot of Americans find themselves pounding the pavement in quest of a new job, whether they've gotten the pink slip or expect to get one soon. The good news: The search may help you cut your tax bill because under certain circumstances, job-hunting expenses are tax deductible. New job, same field... First, your hunt for new work must be in the same field in which you're currently or were formerly employed. Uncle Sam won't help out if you decide to totally switch career gears. Second, you can't decide to chill out for a while and then expect the Internal Revenue Service to help when you decide it's time to get back on the career track. Deductions aren't allowed for employment-search costs when there is a "substantial break" between your last job and when you begin looking for a new one. Finally, recent graduates are out of luck. The costs you incur in getting your first job aren't deductible, because the tax law only allows you to write off expenses incurred in searching for another position in your present occupation. But if you're on the lookout for a new position, start saving those job-search receipts. What you can write off

•Employment and outplacement agency fees.
•Resume services.
•Printing and mailing costs of search letters.
•Want-ad placement fees.
•Telephone calls.
•Travel expenses, including out-of-town job-hunting trips.

Even self-employment efforts could count at tax-filing time. The costs associated with investigating or attempting to start your own business, as long as it's in the same field as your current profession, may be tax-deductible. Itemizing limits Careful tracking of these expenses is critical because they are classified as miscellaneous itemized deductions. You itemize them on line 21 of Schedule A. But you can't automatically subtract your job-hunting costs from your income -- just those that, when added to all your miscellaneous deductions, come to more than 2% of your adjusted gross income. So hang on to those job-hunt vouchers. They can help push that miscellaneous amount to the allowable level, even if you don't get new work.

Refund Transfer

As tax season has started we have had new customers come in to do Refund Transfers Tax Returns through Santa Barbara Bank. We have saved them quite a bit of money from other national and local tax preparation firms. Keep more of your tax refund folks!!!




The Individual Shared Responsibility Provision – The Basics

The individual shared responsibility provision requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance, a health coverage exemption, or make a payment for any months without coverage or an exemption when you file. If you, your spouse and dependents had health insurance coverage all year, you will indicate this by simply checking a box on your tax return.

Here are some basic facts about the individual shared responsibility provision.
What is the individual shared responsibility provision? The individual shared responsibility provision calls for each individual to have qualifying health care coverage – known as minimum essential coverage – for each month, qualify for an exemption, or make a payment when filing his or her federal income tax return.

Who is subject to the individual shared responsibility provision? The provision applies to individuals of all ages, including children. The adult or married couple who can claim a child or another individual as a dependent for federal income tax purposes is responsible for making the shared responsibility payment if the dependent does not have coverage or an exemption.

How do I get a health coverage exemption? You can claim most exemptions when you file your tax return. There are certain exemptions that you can obtain only from the Marketplace in advance. You can obtain some exemptions from the Marketplace or by claiming them on your tax return. You will claim or report coverage exemptions on Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, and attach it to Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ. You can file any of these forms electronically. For more information on Form 8965, see the instructions. For any month that you or your dependents do not have coverage or qualify for an exemption, you will have to make a shared responsibility payment

What do I need to do if I am required to make a payment with my tax return? If you have to make an individual shared responsibility payment, you will use the worksheets found in the instructions to Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, to figure the shared responsibility payment amount due. You only make a payment for the months you did not have coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption. To learn more, visit the Reporting and Calculating the Payment page on irs.gov/aca, or use our interactive tool, Am I Eligible for a Coverage Exemption or Required to Make an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment? What happens if I owe an individual shared responsibility payment, but I cannot afford to make the payment when filing my tax return? The IRS routinely works with taxpayers who owe amounts they cannot afford to pay. The law prohibits the IRS from using liens or levies to collect any individual shared responsibility payment. However, if you owe a shared responsibility payment, the IRS may offset that liability against any tax refund that may be due to you.

IRS Provides Tax Relief to Mississippi Storm Victims; Tax Deadline Extended to May 16

Mississippi storm victims will have until May 16, 2016 to file their returns and pay any taxes due, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief.

Following this week’s disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in Benton, Coahoma,  Marshall, Quitman and Tippah counties will receive this and other special tax relief. Other locations in Mississippi and other states may be added in coming days, based on damage assessments by FEMA.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Dec. 23, 2015. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until May 16, 2016 to file their returns and pay any taxes due. This includes 2015 income tax returns normally due on April 18. It also includes the Jan. 15 and April 18 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments. A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the Feb. 1 and May 2 deadlines for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns and the special March 1 deadline for farmers and fishermen who choose to forgo making estimated tax payments.
In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Dec. 23 and before Jan. 7 if the deposits are made by Jan. 7, 2016. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.
The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.   

The Individual Shared Responsibility Provision and Your 2015 Income Tax Return

The Affordable Care Act requires you, your spouse and your dependents to have qualifying health care coverage for each month of the year, qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment when filing your federal income tax return. If you had coverage for all of 2015, you will simply check a box on your tax return to report that coverage.
However, if you don’t have qualifying health care coverage and you meet certain criteria, you might be eligible for an exemption from coverage. Most exemptions are can be claimed when you file your tax return, but some must be claimed through the Marketplace.

If you or any of your dependents are exempt from the requirement to have health coverage, you will complete IRS Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions and submit it with your tax return. If, however, you are not required to file a tax return, you do not need to file a return solely to report your coverage or to claim an exemption. For any months you or anyone on your return do not have coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption, you must make a payment called the individual shared responsibility payment. If you could have afforded coverage for yourself or any of your dependents, but chose not to get it and you do not qualify for an exemption, you must make a payment. You calculate the shared responsibility payment using a worksheet included in the instructions for Form 8965 and enter your payment amount on your tax return.

January 2016 Individual Due Dates

January 11 - Report Tips to Employer -
If you are an employee who works for tips and received more than $20 in tips during December, you are required to report them to your employer on IRS Form 4070 no later than January 11.

January 15 - Individual Estimated Tax Payment Due - It’s time to make your fourth quarter estimated tax installment payment for the 2015 tax year.

January 15 - Farmers & Fishermen Estimated Tax Payment Due - If you are a farmer or fisherman whose gross income for 2014 or 2015 is two-thirds from farming or fishing, it is time to pay your estimated tax for 2015 using Form 1040-ES. You have until April 18, 2016 to file your 2015 income tax return (Form 1040). If you do not pay your estimated tax by January 15, you must file your 2015 return and pay any tax due by March 1, 2016 to avoid an estimated tax penalty.