Eight Tips About The New ACA Information Statements (1095-B and 1095-C)

This information comes from IRS Issue Number HCTT 2015-84.  It pertains to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.  

Many individuals will receive new ACA information statements for the first time in 2016:

Here are eight tips about these new statements that can help you file your taxes.  

  1. While the forms may help you complete your tax return, they are not required to file. You can file your federal tax return even if you have not received one of these statements.
  2. Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, is used by providers to report information to the IRS and to taxpayers about individuals who are covered by minimum essential coverage and therefore aren't liable for the individual shared responsibility payment.
  3. Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage is used by companies with 50 or more full-time employees to report the information required about offers of health coverage and enrollment in health coverage for their employees. 
  4. Form 1095-C is also used by employers that offer employer-sponsored self-insured coverage to report information about individuals who have minimum essential coverage under the employer plan and therefore are not liable for the individual shared responsibility payment for the months that they are covered under the plan.
  5. Individuals who worked for multiple employers that are required to file Form 1095-C may receive a Form 1095-C from each employer.
  6. For your protection, form 1095-B and 1095-C may only include only the last four digits of your social security number or taxpayer identification number. 
  7. These forms will be mailed to you, unless you consent to  paperless (electronic) statements with your health insurance company. 
  8. Health insurance providers should furnish a copy of Form 1095-B, to you if you are identified as the “responsible individual.”

This sounds complicated, but it's not that bad.  That's the best thing about using software to do your taxes - we ask you simple questions, crunch the numbers, and put everything in it's place, just the way Uncle Sam likes it.  

IRS e-File Opens January 19, 2016

 

Following a review of the tax extenders legislation signed into law last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.  That’s one day earlier than last year’s start date (January 20, 2015).

You can file your taxes before January 19th with most tax software providers and they will be stockpiled until IRS is open. When e-file is ready, returns will be submitted to IRS in the order they were received.

As mentioned earlier, Tax Day is pushed out a bit this year. Tax Day is on Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than April 15, 2016.

“We look forward to opening the 2016 tax season on time,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Our employees have been working hard throughout this year to make this happen. We also appreciate the help from the nation’s tax professionals and the software community, who are critical to helping taxpayers during the filing season.”

Koskinen noted the new legislation makes permanent many provisions and extends many others for several years. "This provides certainty for planning purposes, which will help taxpayers and the tax community as well as the IRS," he said.

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.


When can I file my 2016 taxes?

 

Great question!  But what you really meant to ask is – when can I file my 2015 taxes?  It’s a bit confusing.  In 2016 you will be filing your 2015 taxes, settling up with Uncle Sam on the income you made in 2015.


The short answer is – now!  File your taxes today.  For more important tax dates and deadlines, read on.

 

November 2015

TaxAct opened its virtual doors and started preparing 2015 tax returns.

 

January 19, 2016

IRS e-file goes live and begins processing returns.  If you file your taxes before this date, TaxAct will transmit your return as soon as IRS is ready to process it.

 

February 1, 2016

Deadline for your employer to mail you your 2015 W-2.  Note this is a mailing deadline, not a receipt deadline, so if your company is slacking, it may take a few extra days to get it via snail mail.  Many employers offer electronic versions via the same website you can view your pay checks.

If you received unemployment income, this is also the deadline for the state(s) to provide you with a 1099-G.

Finally, this is deadline for banks to supply you with a 1099-INT reporting bank account interest you made.  Note that banks are only required to issue a 1099-INT if you made at least $10 of interest during the year, however you are still required to report it even if they don’t send you one.  If you made less than $10, use your bank statements or online banking to determine the amount of interest you made.

 

April 18, 2016

Tax Day. Yes, you read that right, it's April 18th in 2016 instead of April 15th

You can thank Washington, D.C., for the extra time. Washington will celebrate Emancipation Day on April 15. This is a federal holiday, so the IRS will be closed. Emancipation Day is typically celebrated on April 16. However April 16 falls on a Saturday in 2016, so Emancipation Day was celebrated on Friday April 15, and Tax Day was pushed back to Monday April 18.

Didn't file your 2015 taxes on time?  No worries, we'll let you in on an industry secret – if you're getting a refund, you can file for up to 3 years with no late fees or penalties! If you owe additional taxes, your penalties are racking up, so file your return as soon as possible. Either way, it's not too late to file your 2015 taxes.  File Now or Learn More.

 

October 15, 2016

If you filed an extension and owe additional taxes, this is your deadline to file your completed return and pay any remaining taxes owed.

 

 

File Your Taxes Late With No Penalty

tax-day-cropped.jpg

Didn't file your 2015 taxes by April 18, 2016? Yes, tax day was the 18th this year instead of the 15th. No worries, we'll let you in on an industry secret – if you're getting a refund, you can file for up to 3 years with no late fees or penalties! If you owe additional taxes, your penalties are racking up so file your tax return as soon as possible to stop the clock on them. Either way, it's not too late to file your 2015 taxes. Read more about your specific situation below.

If you're getting a refund on your 2015 tax return:

  • You can file through April 18, 2019 (October 18, 2019 if you filed an extension) with no late fees or penalties.  
  • The IRS stops accepting e-files for 2015 returns in November 2016.  If you don't file by then, you'll need to print and file by mail.  Don't worry, we'll walk you through that, too.  
  • If you don't file by 2019, you forfeit your refund.
  • Your refund is an interest free loan you've given Uncle Sam, so why give him any longer to pay you back?  And it’s not a small loan – the average refund is around $2,800 this year!  File today and get your refund back!

If you owe additional 2015 taxes:

  • There is no penalty if you filed an extension and paid 90% or more of taxes owed by April 18, 2016 as long as you file your return by October 18, 2016.
  • A late filing penalty applies if you owe taxes and didn't file your return or an extension by April 18, 2016.
    • The late filing penalty is 5% of the additional taxes owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
    • The late filing penalty is 10 times higher than the late payment penalty. If you can't pay your tax bill and didn't file an extension, at least file your return as soon as possible! You can always amend it later.
    • A late payment penalty applies if you didn't pay 90% or more of taxes owed by April 18, 2016, whether you filed an extension or not.
      • The late payment penalty is 0.5% (1/2 of 1 percent) of the additional tax owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) the owed tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 25%.

If you're not sure if you owe or are getting a refund in 2015:

  • If there's a chance you owe, the penalties are racking up, so don't wait another day.
  • Most of our customers complete their taxes in minutes, so file now and get it over with.

 

This article also answers these questions: 2015 federal tax return 2015 file taxes 2015 tax 2015 tax filing 2015 tax form 2015 tax forms 2015 tax return 2015 tax returns 2015 taxes 2015 taxes due can i file my taxes late can i file taxes late can you file taxes late can you file your taxes late failure to file tax return penalty federal taxes 2015 file 2015 tax file 2015 tax return file 2015 taxes file a late tax return file late tax file late tax return file late taxes file my 2015 taxes file my taxes late file tax 2015 file tax for 2015 file tax late file tax refund file tax return late file taxes 2015 file taxes deadline file taxes for 2015 file taxes late file taxes late refund filed taxes late filed taxes late refund filing 2015 taxes filing 2015 taxes late filing a late tax return filing a late tax return with a refund filing a tax return late filing for taxes late filing late tax return filing late tax returns filing late tax returns 2015 filing late taxes filing late taxes 2015 filing my taxes filing my taxes late filing tax late filing tax return late filing tax returns late filing taxes 2015 filing taxes a year late filing taxes deadline filing taxes for 2015 filing taxes late filing taxes late 2015 filing taxes late penalty filing taxes late refund filing your taxes filing your taxes late fine for filing taxes late how do i file a late tax return how do you file late tax returns how late can i file my taxes how late can i file taxes how late can you file a tax return how late can you file taxes how to file 2015 tax return how to file 2015 taxes how to file a late tax return how to file a late tax return 2015 how to file late tax return how to file late tax returns how to file late taxes how to file late taxes 2015 how to file my taxes late how to file taxes a year late how to file taxes late how to file your taxes late how to find out if you owe taxes if i file my taxes late if you file taxes late irs late file irs late filing irs penalties for late filing irs penalty for late filing is it too late to do my taxes is it too late to file 2015 taxes is it too late to file my 2015 taxes is it too late to file my taxes is it too late to file taxes is it too late to file taxes 2015 late file penalty late file tax return late file taxes late filing income tax return late filing of taxes late filing penalty late filing penalty irs late filing tax penalty late filing tax return late filing tax return penalty late filing taxes late filing taxes 2015 late irs filing late on filing taxes late penalty for filing taxes late tax file late tax filing late tax filing 2015 late tax filing penalties late tax filing penalty late tax penalties late tax penalty late tax return late taxes late taxes filing pay taxes late paying taxes late paying your taxes late penalties for filing late tax returns penalties for filing taxes late penalties for late filing penalties for not filing taxes penalties for paying taxes late penalty filing taxes late penalty for filing late tax return penalty for filing late taxes penalty for filing tax late penalty for filing tax return late penalty for filing taxes late penalty for late filing penalty for late filing of tax return penalty for late filing tax return penalty for late filing taxes penalty for late tax filing penalty for late taxes penalty for not filing tax return penalty for not filing taxes penalty for not filing taxes on time penalty for not paying taxes penalty for paying taxes late tax filing 2015 tax filing late tax forms 2015 tax late tax late file tax late filing tax late filing penalty tax late penalty tax refund 2015 tax return 2015 tax return late tax return late filing tax return refund tax returns 2015 taxes 2015 taxes deadline taxes filed late taxes for 2015 taxes late taxes late filing what are the penalties for filing late taxes what are the penalties for filing taxes late what happens if file taxes late what happens if i am late filing my taxes what happens if i file my taxes late what happens if i file taxes late what happens if i pay my taxes late what happens if my taxes are late what happens if taxes are late what happens if u file taxes late what happens if you are late filing taxes what happens if you file taxes late what happens if you file your tax return late what happens if you file your taxes late what happens if you forget to file your taxes what happens if you pay taxes late what happens if you pay your taxes late what happens if your late filing taxes what happens if your taxes are late what happens when you file taxes late what happens when you file your taxes late what if i file my taxes late what if i file taxes late what if taxes are late what if you file taxes late what if you file your taxes late what is penalty for filing taxes late what is penalty for late filing of tax return what is the penalty for filing late taxes what is the penalty for filing taxes late what is the penalty for filing your taxes late what is the penalty for not filing taxes on time what is the penalty for paying taxes late what you need to file your taxes when is it too late to file taxes when is it too late to file your taxes when is the deadline for filing taxes when is too late to file taxes where can i file my taxes late where to file late tax returns where to file taxes late

Don't File a Tax Extension, File Your Return

Haven't filed your taxes yet?  Considering filing a tax extension?  Read this article before you do, because tax extensions are fool's gold.  Why? You may not need to file an extension and if you do file an extension, you still have to pay the taxes you owe. The following info applies to federal tax returns, many states have different rules.  

File Your Taxes Now

 

tax extension

 

Why Don't I Need to File a Tax Extension?

Tax extensions are one of the most misunderstood options you have when filing your taxes. There are two important reasons that filing a tax extension is a waste of time:

  1. If you're getting a refund, as two-thirds of all taxpayers are, you are not required to file a tax extension if you choose to file your taxes after April 15th.  You have three years to file your return with no late fees or penalties.  April 15th is a payment deadline, not necessarily a filing deadline.
  2. If you're NOT getting a refund (you owe additional taxes), you still have to pay at least 90% of the taxes you owe by April 15th.  That's right, an extension does't buy you any extra time to pay the taxes you owe.  Plus, you still have to prepare enough of your tax return to determine if you owe and how much you owe.  Once you've done this much work, you might as well go the last mile and just finish and file your return.

 

So What Should I Do Instead of Filing a Tax Extension?

File your tax return!  As mentioned above, if you're getting a refund there is no need to file an extension.  Don't get us wrong, we're not suggesting that you extend the interest free loan you've given Uncle Sam, but if you can't file by 4/15 and you're sure you're getting a refund - don't sweat it.  Just file when.  We do recommend you file in 2015, as most tax software companies raise their prices for prior year returns.

If you owe additional taxes, then you definitely should file by April 15th. Otherwise you must:  1) File an extension by April 15, 2015, 2) pay 90% or more of taxes owed by April 15th, 3) File your return and pay remaining taxes owed by October 15, 2015.

  • If you don't file your return or an extension by April 15, 2015, a late filing penalty applies:
    • The late filing penalty is 5% of the additional taxes owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
    • The late filing penalty is 10 times higher than the late payment penalty. If you can’t pay your tax bill and didn’t file an extension, at least file your return as soon as possible! You can always amend it later.
  • And, a late payment penalty applies if you don’t pay 90% or more of taxes owed by April 15, 2015, whether you filed an extension or not.
    • The late payment penalty is 0.5% (1/2 of 1 percent) of the additional tax owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) the owed tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 25%.

In other words, you're not getting off the hook for the taxes you owe and you're going to expose yourself to more late fees, penalties, and headaches.

 

What Else Do I Need To Know About Tax Extensions?

As mentioned above, an extension does NOT give you any extra time to pay the IRS the taxes you owe.  If you're stuck and unable to pay the taxes you owe, contact the IRS immediately and work out a payment plan.

We're not advocating filing late or taking unnecessary risks.  If there is any chance you owe additional taxes, you need to pay them by April 15th and file your tax return or an extension.  We recommend you spend that time and energy completing your return, not filing an extension.

 

File Your Taxes Now

    This article also answers these questions: 1040 extension 1040 tax extension 4868 e file 4868 extension online 4868 tax extension apply for tax extension applying for tax extension april 15 tax extension due date automatic extension irs automatic tax extension can i file a tax extension can i file a tax extension online can i file an extension on my taxes can i file for a tax extension online can i file for tax extension online can i file tax extension online can you file a tax extension online can you file for a tax extension online can you file for tax extension online can you file tax extension online deadline for filing tax extension deadline for filing taxes with extension deadline for tax extension deadline to file tax extension deadline to file taxes with extension e file 4868 e file a tax extension e file extension e file extension form 4868 e file extension online e file federal tax extension e file for tax extension e file form 4868 e file tax extension e file tax extension form 4868 e file tax extension irs efile 4868 e-file federal tax extension online efile tax extension e-file tax extension for free efile tax return electronic tax extension electronically file tax extension electronically file tax extension online extend tax deadline extension for filing taxes extension for taxes extension form extension form for taxes extension irs extension on taxes extension tax extension tax form extension taxes extension to file extension to file taxes extension to pay taxes fed tax extension fed tax extension form federal extension federal extension form federal income tax extension due date federal income tax extension form federal income tax extension online federal tax extension federal tax extension deadline federal tax extension due date federal tax extension form federal tax extension form 4868 federal tax extension form online federal tax extension forms federal tax extension online federal tax extension to pay federal tax extensions federal tax filing extension federal tax form extension federal tax payment extension federal tax return extension form federal taxes extension federal taxes extension form file a extension on taxes file a federal tax extension file a free tax extension online file a tax extension file a tax extension electronically file a tax extension online file a tax extension online for free file a tax return extension file an extension file an extension for taxes file an income tax extension file an irs extension file an tax extension file an tax extension online file and extension for taxes file business tax extension file extension file extension for taxes file extension irs file extension on taxes file extension online file extension tax file extension taxes file extension with irs file extensions file federal income tax extension online file federal tax extension file federal tax extension online file federal tax extension online free file for a tax extension file for a tax extension online file for a tax extension online free file for an extension file for extension file for extension taxes file for federal tax extension file for income tax extension file for irs extension file for tax extension file for tax extension online file for tax extension online free file for tax return extension file free tax extension file free tax extension online file income tax file income tax extension file income tax extension online file income tax extension online free file irs extension file irs extension online file irs extension online free file irs tax extension file irs tax extension online free file late file online tax extension file personal tax extension file tax deadline file tax extension file tax extension 4868 file tax extension electronically file tax extension electronically for free file tax extension for free file tax extension form file tax extension free file tax extension online file tax extension online free file tax extensions file tax return extension file tax return extension electronically file taxes deadline file taxes extension file taxes online irs filing a federal tax extension filing a tax extension filing a tax extension online filing a tax return extension filing an extension filing an extension for taxes filing an income tax extension filing an irs extension filing an tax extension filing extension filing extension for taxes filing federal tax extension filing federal tax extension form filing for a federal tax extension filing for a tax extension filing for an extension filing for an extension on taxes deadline filing for extension filing for extension on taxes filing for federal tax extension filing for income tax extension filing for tax extension filing for tax extension online filing for tax return extension filing income tax extension filing income tax extension online free filing irs extension filing tax extension filing tax extension deadline filing tax extension online filing tax extension online for free filing tax extensions filing tax return extension filing taxes extension filing taxes extension deadline form 4868 form 4868 online form 4868 tax extension form for extension to file taxes form for filing tax extension form for tax extension form tax extension form to file extension form to file for tax extension form to file tax extension free e file tax extension free e file tax extension online free efile tax extension free federal tax extension free file tax extension free irs extension online free irs tax extension online free online tax extension free tax extension free tax extension file online free tax extension filing free tax extension form free tax extension online get a tax extension get tax extension get tax extension online getting a tax extension how can i file a tax extension how can i file for a tax extension how do i file a federal tax extension how do i file a tax extension how do i file a tax extension for free how do i file an extension for my taxes how do i file for a tax extension how do i file for a tax extension electronically how do i file for an extension on my taxes how do i file for income tax extension how do i file for tax extension how do i file tax extension how do i get a tax extension how do i get an extension on my taxes how do you file a tax extension how do you file an extension for taxes how do you file an extension on your taxes how do you file for a tax extension how do you file for an extension on taxes how do you file for an extension on your taxes how do you file for tax extension how do you file taxes how do you file your taxes how do you get a tax extension how file a tax extension how file tax extension how long is a tax extension how to apply for a tax extension how to apply for tax extension how to do a tax extension how to e file tax extension with the irs how to extend tax filing deadline how to file a extension for taxes how to file a federal tax extension how to file a tax extension how to file a tax extension electronically how to file a tax extension online how to file a tax extension online for free how to file a tax return extension how to file an extension how to file an extension for taxes how to file an extension on taxes how to file an extension on your taxes how to file an extension with the irs how to file an income tax extension how to file an irs extension how to file an irs tax extension how to file an tax extension how to file extension how to file extension for taxes how to file extension on taxes how to file federal income tax extension online how to file federal tax extension how to file for a extension on taxes how to file for a federal tax extension how to file for a tax extension how to file for a tax extension online how to file for a tax extension online free how to file for a tax return extension how to file for an extension how to file for an extension for taxes how to file for an extension on taxes how to file for an extension on your taxes how to file for an income tax extension how to file for an irs extension how to file for an tax extension how to file for an tax extension electronically how to file for extension how to file for extension on tax return how to file for extension on taxes how to file for extension with irs how to file for federal tax extension how to file for income tax extension how to file for irs extension how to file for tax extension how to file for tax extension electronically how to file for tax extension online how to file for tax return extension how to file income tax extension how to file irs extension how to file irs tax extension how to file tax extension how to file tax extension electronically how to file tax extension electronically free how to file tax extension online how to file tax extension online free how to file tax return extension how to file taxes extension how to file taxes online how to get a tax extension how to get a tax extension online how to get an extension on taxes how to get an extension on your taxes how to get extension on taxes how to get tax extension how to get tax extension online how to request a tax extension how to request tax extension how to tax extension income tax deadline income tax extension income tax extension deadline income tax extension due date income tax extension form income tax extension forms income tax extension online income tax extensions income tax filing extension income tax return extension individual tax extension individual tax extension due date individual tax extension form individual tax return extension individual tax return extension due date irs 4868 e file irs automatic extension irs e file extension irs e file extension 4868 irs e file extension online irs e file form 4868 irs e file tax extension irs e-file 4868 irs extension irs extension deadline irs extension form irs extension forms irs extension online irs extension to file irs extension to file form irs extensions irs federal tax extension irs file an extension irs file extension irs file extension form irs file for extension irs file tax extension irs file taxes irs file taxes online irs filing an extension irs filing extension irs filing extension form irs filing forms irs filing taxes irs form 4868 online irs form extension irs form for extension irs form for tax extension irs form tax extension irs forms extension irs forms tax extension irs income tax extension irs income tax extension form irs personal tax extension irs tax deadline extension irs tax deadlines irs tax extension irs tax extension deadline irs tax extension electronically irs tax extension form irs tax extension form e file irs tax extension form online irs tax extension forms irs tax extension online irs tax extension online free irs tax extensions irs tax file extension irs tax filing extension irs tax filing extension form irs tax filing extension forms irs tax form extension irs tax forms extension irs tax return extension irs tax return extension form irs taxes extension irs.gov tax extension last day for tax extension last day to file tax extension last day to file taxes with extension military tax extension need to file a tax extension online federal tax extension online tax extension online tax extension filing online tax extension form online tax extension free penalty for filing tax extension personal income tax extension personal tax extension personal tax extension deadline personal tax extension form personal tax return extension personal taxes extension due date request a tax extension request extension for taxes request tax extension request tax extension online submit tax extension online tax day extension tax deadline extension tax extension tax extension 4868 tax extension deadline tax extension due date tax extension e file tax extension efile tax extension federal tax extension file tax extension filing tax extension filing deadline tax extension for business tax extension for llc tax extension form tax extension form 4868 tax extension form irs tax extension form online tax extension forms tax extension irs tax extension irs e file tax extension online tax extension online free tax extension online irs tax extension penalty tax extension request tax extensions tax file extension tax file extension deadline tax file for extension tax filing extension tax filing extension deadline tax filing extension form tax filing extensions tax form 4868 tax form extension tax form extension deadline tax form for extension tax forms extension tax payment extension tax refund extension tax return extension tax return extension deadline tax return extension form tax return extensions tax returns extension taxes due extension taxes extension taxes extension deadline taxes extension form taxes file an extension taxes file extension taxes file for extension taxes filing extension us tax extension us tax extension deadline us tax extension form what is a tax extension what is the deadline for tax extension when is the last day for tax extension when to file tax extension where to file federal tax extension where to file form 4868 where to file tax extension where to mail tax extension who can file a tax extension

Tax Day 2015

tax filing deadline

 The deadline to file your taxes in 2015, also known as Tax Day, is April 15th.

 

Tax Day 2015

April 15th.  If you know one date about taxes, it's this one.  However the most well known date in the tax code is also the most misunderstood.  Most people think it's the deadline for filing their personal income taxes.  That's pretty close and there's no reason why you shouldn't file by 4/15.  However if you're getting a refund, which most taxpayers are, you don't have to file by tax day.  In fact you have 3 years to file with no late fees or penalties. Note this info applies to federal returns, many states have different rules.

 

So What Does Tax Day Really Mean?

Tax Day is a payment deadline, not necessarily a filing deadline.  The meaning differs if you're getting a refund vs. if you owe taxes. The following information applies to Tax Day 2015 (filing taxes on the money you made in 2014).

If you’re getting a refund:

  • You can file for 3 years, through April 15, 2018 with no late fees or penalties.  You don't need to file an extension, just file whenever you like.
  • If you don’t file by 2018, you forfeit your refund.
  • Although you don't have to file by April 15, we recommend you do.  Your refund is an interest free loan you're giving Uncle Sam, why give him any longer to pay you back?  And it's not a small loan - the average refund is $2,893 this year!  File today and get yours!

If you owe additional  taxes:

  • There is no penalty if you file an extension and pay 90% or more of taxes owed by April 15, 2015 as long as you file your return by October 15, 2015.
  • A late filing penalty applies if you owe taxes and don't file your return or an extension by April 15, 2015.
    • The late filing penalty is 5% of the additional taxes owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
    • The late filing penalty is 10 times higher than the late payment penalty. If you can’t pay your tax bill and didn’t file an extension, at least file your return as soon as possible! You can always amend it later.
  • A late payment penalty applies if you don't pay 90% or more of taxes owed by April 15, 2015, whether you filed an extension or not.
    • The late payment penalty is 0.5% (1/2 of 1 percent) of the additional tax owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) the owed tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 25%.

If you’re not sure if you owe or are getting a refund:

  • If there’s a chance you owe, the penalties could be racking up, so don’t risk it by waiting.  File by April 15.
  • Most of our customers complete their taxes in minutes, so file now and get it over with.

 

What About Filing an Extension?

Extensions are fool’s goldyou still have to pay at least 90% of taxes owed.  That means you have to do enough of your taxes to determine how much you owe.  You might as well just spend a few more minutes and finish your taxes.  And if you're getting a refund, federal extensions are unnecessary.  You have 3 years to file, without filing an extension.

 

What If I Miss the Tax Filing Deadline?

As mentioned above, it depends if you're getting a refund or owe taxes.  If you're getting a refund, you can file for 3 years, through April 15, 2018, with no late fees or penalties.  If you are unable to pay the taxes you owe, contact the IRS and work out a payment plan.

 

File Your Taxes Now

This article also answers these questions: 2014 tax deadlines 2014 tax filing 2014 tax filing date 2014 tax filing deadline 2015 tax deadlines 2015 tax filing 2015 tax filing date 2015 tax filing deadline amended tax return deadline april 15 tax deadline april 15th tax deadline april tax deadline deadline file taxes deadline filing taxes deadline for filing taxes deadline for tax deadline for tax documents deadline for tax extension deadline for tax filing deadline for tax return deadline for taxes deadline taxes deadline to file taxes deadline to file taxes 2015 deadline to pay taxes estimated tax deadline estimated tax deadlines estimated taxes due date extend tax deadline extended tax deadline extension deadline extension for filing taxes extension for taxes extension of tax filing deadline extension of tax return deadline extension on filing taxes extension tax deadline extension to file taxes extensions for taxes deadline fed tax deadline federal income tax deadline federal income tax deadlines federal income tax extension deadline federal income tax filing federal income tax filing deadline federal tax deadline federal tax deadline extension federal tax deadlines federal tax extension federal tax extension deadline federal tax filing deadline federal tax filing deadlines federal tax return deadline federal taxes 2014 federal taxes deadline federal taxes due federal taxes due date file a tax extension file an extension for taxes file extension for taxes file extension on taxes file extension taxes file federal tax extension file for a tax extension file for extension file for extension taxes file for tax extension file income tax online file tax deadline file tax extension file tax extension electronically file tax return deadline file taxes deadline file taxes extension filing a tax extension filing amended tax return deadline filing an extension filing an extension for taxes filing extension filing extension for taxes filing federal tax return filing for a tax extension filing for an extension filing for an extension on taxes deadline filing for extension filing for extension on taxes deadline filing for tax extension filing income tax filing tax deadline filing tax extension filing tax extension deadline filing taxes after deadline filing taxes deadline filing taxes extension filing taxes extension deadline free tax extension how to extend tax deadline how to file a tax extension how to file an extension how to file an extension for taxes how to file an extension on taxes how to file an extension on your taxes how to file extension for taxes how to file extension on taxes how to file federal tax return how to file federal taxes how to file for a tax extension how to file for an extension on taxes how to file for extension on tax return how to file irs extension how to file tax extension how to file taxes extension income tax dates income tax deadline income tax deadline extension income tax deadlines income tax extension income tax extension deadline income tax filing deadline income tax filing deadlines income tax filing extension income tax return deadline income taxes income taxes deadline individual tax deadline individual tax extension deadline irs deadline irs deadlines irs extension irs extension form irs file an extension irs file extension irs file for extension irs filing deadline irs filing extension irs income tax extension irs refund irs refund schedule irs tax deadline irs tax deadline extension irs tax deadlines irs tax extension irs tax extension deadline irs tax filing deadline irs tax filing deadlines irs tax filing extension irs tax return deadline irs tax return extension irs taxes deadline irs taxes due date is it too late to file an extension is it too late to file an extension 2015 last date for filing tax return last day for filing taxes last day for income tax last day for tax filing last day of tax filing last day to file income tax last day to file tax return last day to file taxes with extension missed tax deadline missed the tax deadline my irs refund non profit tax filing deadline october 15 tax deadline october tax deadline pay taxes deadline personal tax deadline personal tax extension deadline personal tax filing deadline personal tax return deadline quarterly tax deadlines small business tax deadlines tax amendment deadline tax date tax day tax day 2015 tax day deadline tax deadline date tax deadline dates tax deadline extended tax deadline extension tax deadline for corporations tax deadline irs tax deadline penalty tax deadline postmark tax deadline time tax deadline us tax deadline usa tax deadlines tax document deadline tax due date tax extension deadline tax extension deadlines tax extension filing tax extention deadline tax file date tax file deadline tax file extension tax filing 2014 tax filing date tax filing dates tax filing deadline tax filing deadline extension tax filing deadline for corporations tax filing deadline time tax filing deadlines tax filing due date tax filing extension tax filing extension deadline tax filing last date tax filling deadline tax forms 2014 tax payment deadline tax refund deadline tax refund tracker tax report deadline tax return 2014 tax return deadline tax return deadline extension tax return deadlines tax return extension tax return extension deadline tax return extension form tax return filing dates tax returns 2014 tax returns deadline tax submission deadline tax w2 deadline taxes 2014 taxes deadline taxes due date taxes extension deadline taxes file extension taxes filing date taxes filing deadline us income tax deadline us income tax filing deadline us tax deadline us tax deadlines us tax due date us tax extension deadline us tax file deadline us tax filing dates us tax filing deadline us tax return deadline us taxes deadline usa tax deadline what day is tax day what is tax deadline what is the deadline for filing taxes what is the deadline for filing taxes 2015 what is the deadline to file taxes what is the deadline to file taxes 2015 what is the tax deadline what is the tax filing deadline when is income tax deadline when is tax day 2015 when is the deadline for filing taxes 2015 when is the deadline to file taxes when is the extension deadline when is the income tax deadline when is the last day you can file taxes when is the tax deadline when is the tax deadline for 2014 taxes when is the tax deadline 2015

What is eFile?

What is efile? How do you efile your taxes?  We explain it all in this short and sweet article.  

IRS efile logo

 

What is efile?

eFile, also known as e-file or electronic filing, is a system for submitting tax information to the IRS through the internet or a direct connection, usually without having to submit any paperwork.  IRS developed eFile in 1986 to lower cost and paper usage and it has grown into the most popular way for individuals and businesses to send their tax returns to IRS.  Think of it as online bill pay for your taxes.

 

How do I efile my taxes?

The easiest way to efile is to use online tax software.  Both IRS and all major tax software providers recommend efile as the best way to submit your tax return.  Here's how to efile your taxes:

  1. Select the tax software / website that best meets your needs.  If you have relatively simple finances, we hope you'll give Common Form a try. If you have more complicated taxes, check out our friends at TaxAct.
  2. Use the software you selected to prepare your tax return.  Don't worry, the best software packages make it very easy.  You don't need to know anything about taxes and they do all the math for you.
  3. Once you're done preparing your return, you'll be asked if you want to efile your taxes or print and mail your return to the IRS.
  4. You'll verify your identity and "sign" your return electronically.
  5. The tax software you're using will securely transmit your return to the IRS.

 

How much does efile cost?

The IRS does not charge you or the tax software company you use for efile.  They want us all to use is because it's easier for them and better for the environment.  Many tax companies do charge a modest fee for preparing your tax return with them.  We have to pay our employees, buy and maintain secure servers, and have the normal expenses that any business does after all.  Most software sites allow you to start for free and not pay until the end, so you can see which one you like best before committing.  Watch out for those upgrade offers and add-ons, though.  Trust me, you do NOT need audit insurance!

 

How do I get my refund?

This is the most important question of course!  As you're efiling your taxes, you'll be able to select how you want to receive your refund.  The fastest way is to have it direct deposited into your bank account.  You can chose to have IRS send you a paper check, but that takes several weeks longer.  Some tax companies offer pre-paid debit cards and other offers that are essentially payday loans.  We strongly recommend you avoid them - they are loaded with hidden fees and the interest rates (APR) can be astronomical.  Most refunds are issued within a few days after IRS receives your efile, so you won't have to wait long.

 

How do I check the status of my refund?

Once you've filed, you can use the IRS's Where's My Refund tool or IRS2Go mobile app to check the status of your refund.  These tools are updated around once a day.

 

 

That's all there is to it! The IRS is far from perfect, but efile is a good system especially when compared to the alternative.  Who wants to print their return, attach a paper copy of their W-2, and mail it all in?

If you found this information helpful, we appreciate the chance to earn your business.  We pride ourselves on being the most user friendly tax software on the market.  Most of our customers get their taxes done in just a few minutes and we won't try to sell you a bunch of extra stuff you don't need.

 

File Your Taxes Now

 

 

This article also answers these questions:

1040 e file 1040 e file free 1040 efile can i efile can i file taxes online can you file taxes online e file e file federal e file federal return e file federal tax e file federal tax return e file federal taxes e file federal taxes for free e file for free e file for taxes e file free e file irs e file pin e file refund e file software e file tax e file tax forms e file tax preparation e file taxes e file taxes for free e file taxes free e file taxes free online e file taxes online e file taxes online free e file with irs e file your taxes e file your taxes for free e filing irs e filing taxes e tax filing easy efile efile efile 1040 efile federal taxes efile for free efile free efile free tax return efile free taxes efile irs efile my taxes efile pin efile status efile tax calculator efile tax free efile tax refund efile tax return efile tax returns efile tax software efile taxes for free efile taxes free efile w2 efile with irs efiles efiletaxreturns efiling efiling income tax efiling taxes efilling electronic e file electronic file taxes electronic filing electronic filing of taxes electronic tax filing electronic tax filing free electronic tax forms etax ezfile federal e file federal e file free federal efile federal free efile federal income tax efile federal tax efile free federal tax return efile federal taxes efile file for free file irs file my taxes file my taxes for free file my taxes free file my taxes online for free file taxes irs file taxes online irs filetaxes filing my taxes filing my taxes for free filing my taxes online filing my taxes online free filing software free e file free e file federal free e file federal and state free e file federal and state taxes free e file for taxes free e file irs free e file software free e file tax free e file taxes free e filing free e filing taxes free efile free efile irs free efile tax free efile tax return free efile taxes free efiling free electronic filing free electronic tax filing free federal and state efile free federal e file free federal efile free federal tax efile free file free file irs free filing free income tax efile free income tax efiling free irs e file free irs efile free irs filing free irs forms free irs tax filing free state tax return efile free tax e file free tax e filing free tax efile free tax efiling free tax filing irs free tax return efile how do you e file how long does efile take how to e file how to e file federal taxes how to e file federal taxes for free how to efile how to efile for free how to efile tax return how to efile taxes how to efile taxes for free how to efile taxes free how to efile your taxes how to file my taxes i can e file income tax efiling income tax efiling india irs 1040ez efile irs e file irs e file free irs e file online irs e file pin irs e file taxes irs e filing irs efile irs efile pin irs efiling irs efiling pin irs electronic file irs electronic filing irs ez file online irs file irs file online irs file tax irs file taxes irs file taxes online irs filing irs filing online irs filing taxes irs forms online irs free efile irs free file irs free filing irs free tax irs free tax file irs free tax filing irs free tax preparation irs free tax return irs free taxes irs online irs online file irs online filing irs online tax return irs refund e file irs tax efile irs tax file irs tax file online irs tax filing irs tax online irs taxes online irs.gov free efile irsefile is efile free online filing irs tax e file tax efile free tax electronic filing tax return efile tax return electronic filing what is e file what is e file taxes what is e filing taxes

Common Form Teams Up With LawnStarter

Common Form has teamed up with tech startup LawnStarter to provide tax preparation software for lawn care companies and landscapers. “Common Form is a huge value add for these guys. They work 60 hour weeks mowing lawns and trimming bushes so our homes can look nice. A 5 minute tax solution is perfect for them” says COO Ryan Farley. Looking for lawn care service here in town? Check out their San Diego lawn care page to learn about the services they provide.

The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the South

  Recently, some folks here at Common Form Tax Software began a virtual journey across the U.S. to find the top accounting schools in each region of the country. As a follow up to our previous rankings of the The Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast, the West, and the Midwest, we are proud to present Top 10 Accounting Schools in the South.

 

The criteria used to evaluate these schools include:

  • Job placement rates and average starting salary for graduates
  • Awards and recognition
  • Faculty and staff
  • Funds generated and allocated for research

 

Our fingers still stained with BBQ sauce, we present to you the very best that the South has to offer in accounting education, The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the South.

 

 

10. University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Haslam College of Business Administration

 

University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Haslam College of Business Administration logo

 

Starting us off at #10 on our list is The Haslam College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Tennessee, the birthplace of the blues and the home of Jack Daniels, is known for excellence and Haslam College of Business is no exception. The Haslam school ranked 24th in the Public Accounting Report. The Master of Accountancy program at University of Tennessee prides itself on their commitment to improving the world. Graduates of the Accountancy program find themselves receiving offers from the Big Four accounting firms and other notable companies. There is a 90% placement rate for its graduate accounting students, with expected mid-career average earnings of $77,000. Alumni become a Vol for Life, being inducted into the network that spans the globe.

 

 

9. University of Alabama, Culverhouse School of Accountancy

 

University of Alabama, Culverhouse School of Accountancy  logo

 

The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse School of Accountancy has rolled in at a very respectable 9th on our rankings. Culverhouse is no stranger to being in the top 10, as it has found its way onto TaxTalent’s top 10 rankings as well. The University of Alabama is one of the oldest and largest institutions of higher education in the state. Culverhouse offers a Master of Accountancy with a strong mentor program that provides valuable networking opportunities, coaching, and often leads to job offers. Upon graduation 91% of students find themselves gainfully employed with a mid-career salary of $ 74,000. Roll Tide!

 

 

8. University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce

University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce logo

Coming in at #8 is the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce. We aren’t the only ones who think they're stellar. TaxTalent ranked them 6th in their top 10, and Public Accounting Report has them ranked 23rd nationally. One facet of the program that sets McIntire apart is The Galant Center for Entrepreneurship. Founded in 2008 by proud alumnus Mark E. Galant, their mission is "to encourage, educate, and empower students—past and present— to take on crucial roles in the new venture community, thereby impacting the world in which we live and creating value of all kinds.” 95% of the graduates of the School of Commerce find employment with average Mid-career earnings of $112,000. Wah-hoo-wah UVA!

 

 

7. Wake Forest University, School of Business

Wake Forest University logo

Our 7th place pick is a prestigious private school located in North Carolina, Wake Forest University’s School of Business.  Wake Forest University distinguishes itself by providing a small class size and a high faculty to student ratio. Wake Forest professors found that More Female Executives Means Less Tax Evasion, research that was featured in Bloomberg. Wake Fores had the number one CPA pass rate in 2013 and the class of 2014 had a 100% employment rate upon graduation. The average mid-salary earnings of a WFU graduate are $105,000. Well done Demon Deacons!

 

 

6. University of Georgia, Terry College of Business

 

 

University of Georgia Terry College of Business logo

 

 

The Bulldogs using their brawn in research to bully their way into 6th place. The University of Georgia, Terry College of Business is also well known for its excellent faculty. They've been recognized by AAA Auditing Section Outstanding Educator Award and the American Tax Association Outstanding Manuscript Award. Even more impressive is that five of Terry faculty members are considered the most productive researchers being in the top 5% over the last 50 years. With extraordinary faculty like that, it is no wonder the school’s employment placement rate in 2013-2014 was 97%. Alumni of the Accounting program can expect to earn average mid-career salaries of $92,000. Congrats Uga and high-five, Hairy Dawg!

 

 

5. University of Mississippi, Patterson School of Accountancy

 

University of Mississippi logo

 

Flim Flam, Bim Bam, OLE MISS BY DAMN!  And the #5 ranking goes to the University of Mississippi, Patterson School of Accountancy. University of Mississippi is the largest university in the state and the largest employer in Lafayette, MS. Patterson is unique in that the university made it a separate school in 1979. The school placed fifth in the national rankings of Public Accounting Report. Along with remarkable faculty and small class size, the accounting school is home to the National Tax History Research Center and the National EDP Audit Archival Center. 94% of grads are offered employment within 6 months with average mid-career wages of $84,000. Way to fight Rebel Black Bears!

 

 

4. Texas A&M University, Mays Business School

 

Texas A & M University Mays Business School logo

 

Texas A&M University, Mays Business School is next, grabbing a top 4 spot on our list. This is one of two premier Texas business schools in our line-up. A&M got its start as a military and agricultural school. Those roots are still visible today in campus architecture and culture, but that hasn't stopped it from developing a top tier accounting school. Mays Business School was ranked #4 in Washington Monthly's 2014 "National Universities Rankings” based on three broad categories: social mobility, research, and service. The Master of Science in Accounting program from Mays provides students with technical accounting skills in addition to soft skills like teamwork and communication. Texas A&M is viewed as one of the nation’s top four (again) most affordable public universities with the highest ROI (what graduates are projected to earn in their first 20 years of careers divided by cost of attendance). The Texas A&M grads become part of an elite alumni network and 96% find employment. They can expect an average mid-salary income of $ 98,000. Gig 'em, Aggies!

 

 

3. University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration

 

University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration logo

 

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration wins the bronze medal as our third ranked school in the South. Their Master's program offers three tracks, including taxation. The University of Florida is one of the largest research universities in the nation and the accounting department is no exception. Their International Center for Research in Accounting and Auditing focuses on advancing the overall educational and academic goals at the same time as increasing global visibility. As a testament to the fine instruction the students receive, in 2013, Warrington students ranked 12th in CPA pass rate among 262 schools. 93% of graduates receive job offers within 90 days of graduating with average mid-career earnings of $87,000. Give a cheer for the Orange and Blue!

 

 

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School

 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School logo

 

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School comes in a close second place. This beautiful university known for specializing in medicine and law also has an elite business school. Their accounting program has received top 10 national rankings in U.S. News and World Report, Public Accounting Report, and TaxTalent. Kenan-Flagler’s Master of Accounting program prepares students to “make an impact in the business world.” Their world-class faculty helps students achieve a 98% job placement rate and mid-career salaries $104K on average. A hearty congratulations to the Tar Heels!

 

 

1. University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

 

University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business logo

 

Brimming with pride from coming in first place, the blue ribbon winner is the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business.  True, UT is our CEO’s alma mater, but we're not biased. U.S. News and World Report lists them as the top accounting school in the country in its most recent rankings.  They offer a Master in Professional Accounting (MPA) degree program with a fast track from Bachelor's to Master's in as little as 12 months. Distinguishing McCombs is its focus on creating an individual plan for success in the workplace based on each student’s goals and strengths. The Texas Exes have a tight-knit network of business partners to help students find jobs and 94% do so within 90 days of graduation. The average mid-career salary is a healthy $107,000. Hook 'em Horns!

 

Five Key Facts About Unemployment Benefits

Much of the content of this post comes from IRS Tax Tip 2014-30. Sample 1099-G Form reporting Unemployment Income

 

If you lose your job, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. The payments may serve as much needed relief. But did you know unemployment benefits are taxable? Here are five key facts about unemployment compensation:

1. Unemployment is taxable.  You must include all unemployment compensation as income for the year. If you received unemployment in 2014 you should receive a Form 1099-G from the state that paid you by February 2, 2015. This form shows the amount paid to you and any federal income tax withheld.

2. Unemployment is paid under U.S. or state law.  There are various types of unemployment compensation. Unemployment includes amounts paid under U.S. or state unemployment compensation laws.

3. Union benefits may be taxable.  You must include benefits paid to you from regular union dues in your income. Other rules may apply if you contributed to a special union fund and those contributions are not deductible. In that case, you only include as income any amount that you got that was more than the contributions you made.

4. You may have tax withheld.  You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment. You can have this done using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. Most people don't do this, and pay taxes owed when they file their tax return.

5. Visit IRS.gov for help.  If you’re facing financial difficulties, you should visit the IRS.gov page: “What Ifs” for Struggling Taxpayers. This page explains the tax effect of events such as job loss. For example, if your income decreased, you may be eligible for certain tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you owe federal taxes and can’t pay your bill, contact the IRS. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease your financial burden.

 

IRS makes it sound more complicated than it is. We ask you all the right questions, put the numbers in the right places, and do the math so you get the biggest refund possible.

 

File Your Taxes Now

 

This article also answers these questions: 1099 and taxes 1099 and unemployment 1099 benefits 1099 for unemployment 1099 form 1099 form irs 1099 g form 1099 g form for unemployment 1099 g online 1099 income 1099 income tax 1099 income tax form 1099 statement 1099 tax 1099 taxes 1099-g unemployment about unemployment about unemployment benefits are unemployment benefits taxable income are unemployment benefits taxed articles about unemployment articles on unemployment benefits unemployment by unemployment benefits can you collect unemployment claim unemployment claim unemployment benefits claiming unemployment collect unemployment collecting unemployment compensation unemployment contact unemployment dc unemployment dc unemployment benefits deductible income unemployment define unemployment benefit definition for unemployment definition of unemployment compensation do you have to report 1099 income does unemployment count as earned income does unemployment count as income edd unemployment estimate unemployment benefits extended unemployment benefits federal income return federal unemployment federal unemployment benefits federal unemployment compensation federal unemployment form federal unemployment taxes fill for unemployment for 1099 for unemployment for unemployment benefits form 1099 form 1099 g unemployment form 1099 irs form 1099-g form for unemployment free 1099 form free income tax return from 1099 gov unemployment gov unemployment benefits government unemployment government unemployment benefits how are unemployment benefits taxed how can i collect unemployment how can you collect unemployment how do i file a 1099 form how do i get my 1099 g from unemployment how do i get my 1099 g online how do i get my 1099-g how do i get my unemployment tax form how do i know if i have to pay taxes how do i know if i should file taxes how do you know if you have to file taxes how do you know if you have to pay taxes how does unemployment work how is unemployment paid how is unemployment taxed how to claim unemployment how to collect unemployment how to collect unemployment benefits how to do income tax how to do taxes with 1099 how to file 1099 taxes how to file a 1099 tax return how to file taxes 1099 how to file taxes with 1099 how to file taxes with a 1099 how to file unemployment tax return how to get 1099 g form how to get 1099 g from unemployment how to get 1099 g online how to get 1099-g how to get a 1099 g form from unemployment how to get form 1099-g online how to get my 1099 g online how to obtain unemployment how to report 1099 income how to report unemployment on taxes how to unemployment benefits how unemployment works i received a 1099 g what do i do in unemployment benefits income return income tax 1099 income tax benefit income tax on unemployment income tax return 2009 income tax unemployment info on unemployment involuntary unemployment insurance irs 1099 form irs 1099 g irs form 1099 irs form 1099-a irs form 1099-g irs unemployment form is unemployment benefits taxable is unemployment compensation earned income is unemployment compensation taxable is unemployment considered earned income is unemployment considered income is unemployment earned income is unemployment federal or state is unemployment income earned income is unemployment income taxable is unemployment state or federal is unemployment taxable income is unemployment taxed job unemployment nys unemployment benefits online unemployment online unemployment benefits pa state unemployment partial unemployment print 1099 form qualifications for unemployment questions about unemployment questions about unemployment benefits register for unemployment reporting unemployment on taxes social security unemployment social security unemployment benefits state unemployment state unemployment compensation state unemployment taxes tax 1099 tax 1099 form tax for 1099 tax form for unemployment tax form for unemployment benefits tax form unemployment tax on unemployment tax on unemployment benefits tax on unemployment compensation tax on unemployment income tax return unemployment tax unemployment tax unemployment benefits taxable unemployment benefits taxes 1099 taxes and unemployment benefits taxes benefits taxes for unemployment taxes on 1099 taxes on unemployment taxes on unemployment benefits taxes on unemployment benefits 2014 taxes unemployment taxes unemployment benefits taxes withheld from unemployment unemploy unemployed benefits unemployement unemployment unemployment 1099 form unemployment 1099 g form unemployment 1099 g online unemployment account unemployment agency unemployment and income tax unemployment and taxes unemployment benefit unemployment benefit online unemployment benefits unemployment benefits and taxes unemployment benefits calculator unemployment benefits claim unemployment benefits form unemployment benefits number unemployment benefits questions unemployment benefits rules unemployment benefits status unemployment benefits tax unemployment benefits tax return unemployment benefits taxable unemployment benefits taxes unemployment benefits.gov unemployment benfits unemployment benifits unemployment by state unemployment check unemployment checks unemployment comp unemployment compensation unemployment compensation rules unemployment compensation tax unemployment compensation tax form unemployment compensation tax return unemployment compensation taxes unemployment compensations unemployment contact unemployment coverage unemployment current news unemployment earned income unemployment form unemployment form 1099-g unemployment form for taxes unemployment form online unemployment forms unemployment guidelines unemployment help unemployment income calculator unemployment income protection insurance unemployment income tax unemployment income tax calculator unemployment income tax form unemployment income taxable unemployment info unemployment insurance unemployment insurance benefits unemployment job unemployment latest news unemployment money unemployment on tax return unemployment on taxes unemployment online unemployment online benefits unemployment online form unemployment page unemployment papers unemployment percentage of income unemployment social security unemployment state unemployment statement unemployment statements online unemployment tax unemployment tax form unemployment tax form 1099 unemployment tax form 1099 g unemployment tax return unemployment tax return form unemployment tax statement unemployment taxes unemployment taxes withheld unemployment unemployment unemployment unemployment benefits unemployment web unemployments benefits updated unemployment benefits what about unemployment benefits what are the unemployment benefits what do i do with form 1099 g what is 1099 income what is a form 1099-g what is irs form 1099 what is unemployment what is unemployment compensation what is unemployment income what is unemployment tax when do i have to file a tax return when do you have to file a tax return when do you pay taxes when is unemployment paid where can i get my 1099 g online where to report 1099 income

 

What is a W-2?

What is a w-2
What is a w-2

What is a W-2?

Simply put, a W-2 is a tax form your employer sends you, known as a Wage and Tax Statement. Sounds simple, then why are there so many boxes and codes? Familiarizing yourself with the most important parts of this form can help you understand the income you made, taxes you paid, and prepare you for filing your tax return.

W-2, wages and withholding

Most taxpayers are considered employees and will receive a W-2 from their employer(s) by February 2, 2015. In addition to the wages, salaries and tips you made, the W-2 reports the amount of federal, state, and other taxes withheld from your paycheck. If you are not considered an employee, then your income will be reported on a different form. Independent contractors typically receive a 1099-MISC.

Why is your tax withholding important?

Your employer withholds money from your paycheck for federal income taxes. When you prepare your tax return, you compare the amount withheld to the amount of tax you owe. If too much was withheld, you get a tax refund. If too little was withheld, you owe additional taxes.

What are all those boxes and codes on the W-2 Form?

This is the best part of using TaxAct - they deal with all of this for you. Our easy to use software helps you enter this data in the right place and we do all the calculations for you. If you're the curious type, here's what the most frequently used boxes mean.

  • Box 1:Wages, tips, and other compensation. This is the amount of your total taxable wages or salary being reported to the IRS for federal income tax purposes. This amount includes any wages, salary, tips you reported, bonuses, and other taxable compensation.
  • Box 2:Federal income tax withheld. This is the total amount of Federal Income Tax withholdings from your paychecks. This represents the amount of federal taxes your employer has withdrawn throughout the year.
  • Box 3:Social Security wages. Box 3 reports the total amount of wages subject to the Social Security tax.
  • Box 4:Social Security tax withheld. This box reports the entire amount of Social Security taxes withheld from your paychecks. Usually, the Social Security tax2 is a flat tax rate of 6.2% on your wage income, up to a maximum wage base of $117,700 (for tax year 2014).
  • Box 5:Medicare wages and tips. Box 5 is the amount of wages subject to the Medicare tax. Medicare wages includes any deferred compensation, 401(k) contributions, or other fringe benefits that are excluded from the federal income tax.
  • Box 6:Medicare tax withheld. This is the amount of tax withheld from your paycheck for the Medicare tax. The Medicare tax is a based on a 1.45% flat tax rate of your total Medicare wages.
  • Box 12:Deferred Compensation and Other Compensation. Box 12 will have a single or double letter code followed by a dollar amount. It can report many types of income, such as a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or a Health Savings Plan (HSA). Often box 12 is for your information only. Here's a detailed list of box 12 codes.

There are several other boxes on your W-2 that may have information in them, but boxes 1 - 6 are the most common. If you have data in those other boxes, enter them into Common Form and we'll deal with them appropriately.

Attaching your W-2

When you finish your tax return and get ready to file it, remember that a copy of your W-2 must be attached. If you e-file using tax software then your W-2 information is sent along with your tax return. However, if you are filing by mail then you need to include a copy of your W-2 in the envelope.

File Your Taxes Now

This article also answers these questions: 2014 w-2 w2 w2 instructions what is a w2 form w2 box 1 w2 box 2 w2 box 3 w2 box 4 w2 box 5 w2 box 6 w2 box 7 w2 box 8 w2 box 9 w2 box 10 w2 box 11 w2 box 12 what is w2 w2 online what is a w2 w2 form access w2 access w2 online access your w2 online adp w-2 blank w-2 blank w-2 form blank w-2 forms blank w2 blank w2 form can you get w2 online can you get your w2 online copies of w-2 copies of w2 copy of w-2 copy of w-2 form copy of w2 copy of w2 form copy of w2 online corrected w-2 create w-2 create w-2 online free download my w2 download w-2 download w-2 form download w2 download w2 form duplicate w-2 duplicate w2 e-file w-2 early w2 early w2 access electronic w-2 electronic w2 employee w-2 employee w-2 form employee w2 employee w2 form employer w2 federal form w-2 federal income tax withheld on w2 federal tax form w-2 federal w-2 form federal w-2 forms federal w2 federal w2 form file taxes without w2 file w-2 file w-2 online file w-2 online free file w2 file w2 forms online file w2 online file w2 online free filing w-2 filing w-2 online filing w2 filing w2 forms filing w2 online filing w2 online free fillable w-2 fillable w-2 forms find my w-2 find my w-2 online find my w2 find my w2 online find w-2 find w-2 online find w-2 online free find w2 find w2 online find w2 online free find your w-2 online find your w2 find your w2 online finding w2 online form w-2 form w-2 c form w-2 codes form w-2 instructions form w-2 wage and tax statement form w2 forms w-2 forms w-2/w-3 online free w-2 free w-2 form free w-2 forms free w2 free w2 form free w2 online get a w2 online get copy of w2 online get my w2 get my w2 online get w2 get w2 from irs get w2 online get w2 online free get your w2 get your w2 online get your w2 online free getting my w2 online getting w2 online getting your w2 online how do you get your w2 online how to access w2 online how to file a w2 how to file taxes with w2 how to file w-2 how to file w2 how to file w2 online how to find w2 online how to get a copy of w2 how to get a copy of w2 online how to get a copy of your w2 how to get a w2 how to get a w2 online how to get copy of w2 how to get copy of w2 online how to get my w-2 form how to get my w2 how to get w 2 forms from previous years how to get w-2 forms how to get w-2 forms online how to get w2 how to get w2 form how to get w2 form online how to get w2 forms how to get w2 online how to get your w-2 form how to get your w2 how to get your w2 online i lost my w-2 i lost my w-2 form i lost my w2 i need my w2 i never received my w2 irs form w2 irs w2 irs w-2 irs w2 form irs w2 forms kelly services w2 lost my w-2 lost my w2 lost w-2 lost w-2 form lost w-2 forms lost w2 lost w2 form missing w-2 missing w2 my w-2 my w2 need my w2 old w-2 old w-2 forms online w-2 online w-2 form online w-2 forms online w2 access online w2 filing order w-2 forms past w-2 print my w2 print w-2 print w-2 form print w-2 forms print w2 printable w-2 printable w-2 form printable w-2 forms printable w2 printable w2 form printable w2 forms request w-2 request w2 from irs sample w-2 sample w2 sample w2 form social security w-2 forms state tax withheld on w2 tax form w-2 tax form w2 tax forms w-2 tax forms w2 tax w-2 tax w-2 form tax w2 taxes w-2 taxes w2 u.s. form w-2 unemployment w-2 w 2 forms printable w w2 w-2 w-2 1099 w-2 blank form w-2 c w-2 calculator w-2 copies w-2 copy w-2 deadline w-2 download w-2 early access w-2 envelopes w-2 filing w-2 form w-2 form download w-2 form online w-2 form printable w-2 form tax w-2 form tax return w-2 forms w-2 forms for employers w-2 forms online w-2 instructions w-2 management w-2 mate w-2 online w-2 online filing w-2 pdf w-2 program w-2 software w-2 software free w-2 tax w-2 tax calculator w-2 tax form w-2 tax forms w-2 tax return w-2 taxes w-2 template w-2 wage and tax statement w-2 withholding w-2 withholding form w-3 tax form w2 w2 access w2 and 1099 w2 calculator w2 code w w2 copy w2 download w2 early access w2 electronic w2 filing w2 finder w2 for w2 for taxes w2 form w2 form download w2 forms w-2 from w2 help w2 information w2 lookup w2 online access w2 online filing w2 online free w2 questions w2 reprint w2 search w2 services w2 statement w2 tax w2 tax form w2 tax forms w2 taxes w2 wage and tax statement what are w-2 forms what are w2 forms what is a w-2 form what is a w2 employee what is a w2 tax form when are w2 forms issued where can i get w-2 forms where can i get w2 forms where is my w-2 where to get my w2 where to get w-2 forms where to get w2 forms Medicare tax Social Security tax withholding Tax withholding

Meaning of Box 12 of Your W-2

The codes and amounts in Box 12 of your W-2 are important for preparing your return. Some codes affect your current year income tax return, and other codes are simply for your information. Enter them into Common Form and we'll handle them appropriately. Here's a summary of the codes that pertain to your tax return and how we handle these amounts for you:

  • A and B: Uncollected social security and Medicare tax on tips. This represents the social security and Medicare tax on the tips you reported to your employer. There will be an amount here if your employer didn't withhold social security or Medicare taxes on these tips.
  • C: Taxable cost of group-term life insurance. You received group-term life insurance valued at more than $50,000 from your employer. The amount is also reported in Boxes 1, 3 and 5 of your W-2 and appears in Box 12 for your information only.
  • D, E, F, G, S, and H: These codes give you information about contributions to your retirement plan at work, and they are for your information only:
    • D: 401(k) plan
    • E: 403(b) plan
    • F: 408(k)(6) plan
    • G: 457(b) plan
    • S: 408(p) salary reduction SIMPLE retirement account
    • H: 501(c)(18)(D) plan
  • J: You received non-taxable sick pay.
  • K: Excise tax for excess golden parachute payments.
  • L: Your employer reimbursed you for employee business expenses that you paid out of your own pocket and the amount you received as a reimbursement is greater than the amount you actually spent. This amount isn't included in your income in Box 1, so you cannot deduct any of the expenses related to this reimbursement.
  • M and N: Uncollected social security and Medicare tax on group-term life insurance. If your employer pays for life insurance for you, you have to pay tax on premiums for the life insurance coverage that is in excess of $50,000. The amount of the excess premiums are included in Box 1 of your Form W-2, so you'll pay income tax on them when you file your return. Your employer didn't withhold any social security or Medicare taxes on the amount, so you cannot file a Form 1040EZ.
  • P: Exclusionary moving expense reimbursements. This amount isn't included in your income in Box 1.
  • R: Your employer made contributions to an Archer MSA (medical savings account) for you. If you have to pay tax on any of the contributions, the amount is already included in Box 1 of your W-2.
  • T: Employer-provided adoption benefits.
  • V: Your income from the exercise of non-statutory stock options. This amount is included in Box 1 of your W-2.
  • W: Employer contributions (including amounts the employee elected to contribute using a section 125 (cafeteria) plan) to your health savings account. Reported on Form 8889, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  • Y: Deferrals under section 409(A) on an nonqualified deferred compensation plan.
  • Z: Income under section 409(A) on a nonqualified deferred compensation plan. This amount is also included in Box 1. It is subject to an additional 20% tax plus interest.
  • AA: Designated Roth contributions under a section 401(k) plan.
  • BB: Designated Roth contributions under a section 403(b) plan.
  • DD: Cost of employer sponsored health coverage.  This amount is not taxable.
  • EE: Designated Roth contributions under governmental section 457(b) plan. This amount does not apply to contributions under a tax-exempt organization section 457(b) plan.

 

File Your Taxes Now

 

 

The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Midwest

  Recently, some folks here at Common Form began a virtual journey across the U.S. to find the Top Accounting Schools in each region of the country. As a follow up to our two previous rankings, The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the West and The Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast, we braved tornados and the Wicked Witch of the East to find the top schools in the Midwest. While we didn’t find Oz, we did find accounting gold spun out of straw.

 

The criteria used to evaluate these schools include:

  • Job placement rates and average starting salary for graduates
  • Awards and recognition
  • Faculty and staff
  • Funds generated and allocated for research

 

We present to you the very best that the Midwest has to offer in accounting education, The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Midwest.

 

10. Northern Illinois University, College of Business

 

Northern Illinois

 

Starting our list off in fine form with a ranking of #10 is Northern Illinois University, College of Business. This mighty Illinois business school beat out two well-known alternates to secure its rank in our top 10 list. “Finish the Fight!” Well done Huskies! What sets this university apart is the offering of a Master of Accounting Science in Leadership.  A rare degree taught by their notable faculty. This program provides students with leadership skills and the ability to effectively make important business decisions. Having the distinction of being ranked #1 in Illinois by Businessweek for providing the greatest return on investment (calculated by salary earned per annual tuition dollar spent). A degree from NIU is money well spent.  Students from NIU are expected to make a mid-career salary of $ 120,000 with 94% being offered employment upon graduation.

 

9. University of Missouri, Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business

 

missouri logo

 

Next in the line-up with a solid #9 is University of Missouri, Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business and they MIZ BIZ! 2014 was a memorable year for the university, marking the 100 year anniversary of the school’s existence. This birthday hasn’t slowed down the University of Missouri a bit, even if it is a centenarian, as they recently launched their Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program. This is a highly selective entrepreneurial program for students including a 10 week paid summer internship. University of Missouri didn’t stop there. The year was also notable for faculty member Elaine Mauldin, as her research on audit fees was published by the Wallstreet Journal. All this bodes well for students with an advanced degree from Trulaske, as they can expect an average mid-career salary of $125,000,with 96% of students finding employment soon after graduation.

 

8. Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business

 

Michigan State University Logo

 

Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business pulls in an honorable #8 in our ranking. The Master of Science in Accounting program boasts that it “readies students to become leaders in the accounting industry.” The Eli Broad College of Business ranked #13 in the Accounting Degree Review 2014 Best Accounting School Super Ranking. This ranking combines BusinessweekPublic Accounting Report, and U.S. News & World Report and that is why it is super! Research plays a role in deciding those rankings and Michigan State College of business takes it quite seriously with 6 research centers total. Two of which include the Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance (CVCPEEF)  and the Demmer Center for Business Transformation. The school is also known for the Ernst & Young Communication Center which offers students career preparation, so it comes as no surprise that 99% of Eli Broad graduates find themselves quickly employed with an average mid-career salary rounding out the $92,000 a year range.

 

7. Indiana University – Bloomington, Kelley School of Business

 

Indiana University Kelley School of Business logo

 

Indiana University – Bloomington, Kelley School of Business is Breaking Away from the pack as these Indiana Hoosiers earn the highly coveted lucky #7. The accounting program has also been recognized by U.S. News and World Report and TaxTalent as a top 10 graduate accounting program. The curriculum at Kelley School of Business “mirrors real-world situations.” Students are expected to participate in consulting projects in cooperation with top corporations. Kelley accounting faculty is unrivaled by other larger institutions. Patrick Hopkins was honored by the American Accounting Association for his research uncovering companies that hid poor accounting practices to make their bottom line look better than it really was. With remarkable faculty like Patrick, students are well prepared to take on a career in accounting and are highly sought after for a close to 100% employment rate and an average mid-career salary of $103,000.

 

6. University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

 

Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

 

The University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business is located in Northern Indiana and while there is no hunchback lurking in the school bell tower, legend has it that you can still hear echoes of “Rudy, Rudy” being chanted through the stadium corridors. These “fighting Irish” do business as well as they do football, earning a respectable #6 on our list. The Accounting department is recognized for its Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE), whose objective is to “strengthen the bridges between accounting research, accounting education, and accounting practice.” According to Public Accounting Report and TaxTalent Mendoza College placed 4th in the nation and is a highly favored institution among tax hiring authorities. It makes perfect sense, that 99% of Mendoza College graduates had an immediate job offer and enjoy an average mid-career salary of $119,000 a year.

 

 

5. University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business

University of Iowa School of Management logo

 

University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business comes in at #5 and that is no Field of Dreams! UI is located in the small percentage of the state that is not dominated by farmland. The Tippie Master of Accountancy program puts the power in the hands of the students with four concentrations from which to choose.  Offerings are in Financial/Auditing, Management Information Systems, Managerial Accounting, or Tax. The Accounting department faculty is top in their field. Many have been recognized for their pace-setting curriculum. Ramji Balakrishnan is a bit of a Tippie celebrity on campus with many acclaimed published works in the accounting field, including "The Influence of Institutional Constraints on Outsourcing," published in the Journal of Accounting Research, 2010. 48(4): 767-791. Due to the stellar preparation, Tippie students who took the CPA exam for the first time had an excellent CPA pass rate of around 75%. Graduates of UI often earn an average mid-career salary of $86,000 annually. 93% of students are employed upon graduation.

 

 

4. Miami University (Ohio), Farmer School of Business

 

Miami University logo

 

Don’t be confused by the name, you won't see any farmer’s tans at the Miami University (Ohio), Farmer School of Business. This business school is nestled in the Ohio Valley just miles from Cincinnati and has earned the #4 spot on our list of 10. Farmer School of Business is no novice to this type of recognition. The graduate accounting program routinely falls in the top 20 of Public Accounting Report’s list of top programs. Farmer is extremely competitive only accepting 20-25 students each year. They are well-known for their Experimental Learning including the Center for Business Excellence (CBE), which serves as a bridge that connects faculty, their students and external stakeholders. Another Farmer innovation in education is the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Case Competition, which prepares students by requiring them to work in teams to solve hypothetical problems relating to taxes and tax code. It is no wonder that graduate employment rate is 98% with active recruitment by “The Big Four accounting firms.” Their average mid-career salary runs around $81,000.

 

 

3. DePaul University

 

Depaul University Logo

 

Winning the bronze medal is DePaul University. This school is the highest ranked Chicago business college according to Bloomberg Businessweek's 2014 national rankings of undergraduate business programs. The graduate school was named for Charles H. Kellstadt, the former CEO and chairman of Sears. Roebuck & Co, in 1992. The Accountancy program is credited with three programs ranked in the top 10 according to corporate tax hiring authorities surveyed by TaxTalent.com. The college's Master of Science in Taxation program was ranked No. 2, Master of Science in Accountancy program was ranked No. 3, and the undergraduate accounting program placed No. 6 nationally. Graduates of this fine institution become part of a close-knit alumni network in the accounting field. It follows that an impressive 90% of graduates find themselves gainfully employed within 6 months of graduation and on average earn a mid-career salary of $120,000.

 

 

2. The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business

 

Ohio State University logo

 

Second place is The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business. Earning Fisher this distinction is its unprecedented student-faculty ratio of 3-to-1. This individual attention helps students excel and exceed even their own expectations. Fisher College of Business does not only set the pace for learning, their research centers are impeccable. Charles A. Dice Center for Financial Economics is just one of 10 extraordinary research centers setting the standard for innovation and best practices. The College of Business enjoys a ranking of 11th and 12th in U.S News & World Report and Public Accounting Report, respectively. Another aspect of the program that sets the Buckeye’s apart is its flexibility. 78% of the coursework is made up of electives. Students can pick and choose from: financial reporting, managerial decision making, finance, taxation, and auditing. The school has a strong job placement assistance program FisherConnect. Graduates can expect calls from top firms such as: Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, Limited Brands, and Chase, putting the post-graduate employment rate at 92% with an average mid-career salary of $96,000 a year.

 

1. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, College of Business

 

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign logo

 

The blue ribbon goes to the third Illinois business school in the line-up, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, College of Business. University of Illinois, the second centenarian on our list has been running a remarkable accounting program for 100 years. The university is  in the news not only for putting their controversial mascot Chief Illiniwek to rest, the business school ranked in the top 3 in both U.S. News & World Report and Public Accounting Report. Maybe their next mascot should be King ROI, as they were ranked #5 in a national survey for educational return on investment. Additionally, University of Illinois is leader in research. Two highly regarded research programs on campus include KPMG & UIUC Business Measurement Research Program which supports research on new measurement, reporting and assurance concepts. The V. K. Zimmerman Center was originally known as the Center for International Education and Research in Accounting (CIERA). It remains a leader in the nation conducting research on the study and teaching of international topics as they relate to the field of accounting. 98% of graduates quickly find themselves employed and enjoy a highly successful career in the business world, earning an average mid-career salary of $100,000. Bravo University of Illinois!

 

If you enjoyed The Top Accounting Schools of the Midwest, stay tuned for our next journey through the southern part of the country to find the Top 10 Accounting Schools of the South. It is not all BBQ and Big Hair, many of the country’s finest business institutions call the South home.

 

Free Tax Software Is Bad

One of the tax industry giants suffered a black eye today when they were forced to stop e-filing state tax returns for a period of time while they investigated a potential data breach. They've since announced there doesn't appear to be breach of customer's data, so what really went wrong? Here's my hypothesis. Federal tax return fraud is huge. It's a growing problem that the IRS is struggling to cope with and it's been going on for years. State tax return fraud has been largely non-existent... so non-existent in fact that USA Today reported the state of Minnesota got suspicious when there were 2 reported cases of fraud. So what's going on and why is TurboTax being called out by these states? The rise in federal tax return fraud has grown steadily in relation to the number of software providers offering a free option... the reason we haven't seen state fraud as rampant is because historically it always cost money to prepare your state return with software. What's new this year besides a dramatic increase in state tax return fraud? TurboTax's Absolute Zero campaign. That's right, a lot more people can file their state taxes for free using TurboTax's software. That may seem great at first blush if you qualify, but an unintended consequence is it's now completely free for a fraudster to file a state tax return in addition to a federal one. And even if this doesn't affect you personally it creates a really expensive bill that's footed by all tax payers. If it does affect you personally even worse; the average time to resolve your case is 6 months and if you're due a refund that's a long time to wait.

Creating good tax software is hard. Sure, the math part of it is easy but you've got to make the interface dead simple (after all, everyone has to do their taxes not just professional computer jockeys). You have to figure out wording that is completely unambiguous despite the necessity of IRS language which may be incredible ambiguous. And think about the liability! If you've got a bug that screws up one person's tax return you've got a bug that screws up thousands of tax returns. You can't write tax software for free. Good engineers cost money, good interface designers cost money, and good insurance costs (a lot) of money. So how do you pay those costs and give your software away for free? Obviously you can't. You have to squeeze the money out somehow and there are really only two viable options:

Option 1: You get users in the door with free and then you upsell upsell upsell! Oh hey you want extra guidance? You'll need to upgrade. Ooooh you sold a share of stock and made a $100 profit? Upgrade. Even better, I'll keep throwing upsell screens at you until you accidentally upgrade or get so concerned the free version isn't trustworthy you upgrade just to make the nagging stop. Oh and don't forget the audit insurance. (protip: audit insurance is a lot like blackjack insurance). You know why I hate this strategy so much? Because when you're doing this to a customer they start to become guarded. They stop believing the tax software has their back and start feeling like it's a solar panel salesman. This is particularly bad when they're trusting you to help with a task they already want no part of. We should expect better.

Option 2: Use the customer's data against them. Data is hot right now. Rich personal data, especially hot. Rich personal and financial data? Shut up and take my money. And what better treasure trove of data than your personal income tax data! Luckily the IRS had the foresight to nip this one in the bud: Section 7216 of the Internal Revenue Code sets up stipulations on what a tax preparer can do with with the information you provide them... namely they can use it only to prepare your taxes. Full stop. Well, full stop-ish. If you give your tax preparer permission to use your data for other purposes they can do that. This includes things like targeted credit card offers, Roth IRA offers, 401k offers, and hey how about a wonderful timeshare in Orlando Florida. AND THEY'RE TRICKING YOU IN TO DOING IT. See this little beauty right here:

This bad boy gives your tax software provider permission to use your tax data to sell you stuff.

I grabbed this screenshot from the most recent version of a popular brand of tax software. If you're not careful it almost looks like something you need to sign; note that while the heading is a friendly and chipper "Sign now, save time later" and the beginning of the disclosure text states "Federal law requires this consent form be provided to you" the meat of this baby is "[company name] needs your tax return information to determine if you are eligible... for benefits beyond your refund." Yep. That's marketer-speak to make money off your data. And given how difficult it is to design a dead simple user interface I can't help but assume this one is designed to make it dead simple for customers to give their consent without realizing the implications.

So here we are. To be a viable business in this industry it costs real money to operate but we're racing to the bottom on price, and as a result we're at an all time high on tax fraud and sneaky pricing practices. Free tax software is bad. So what can you do about it? Well, you can email your congressman and complain that things have gone too far. If we all do this we can out-voice the expensive lobbyists. Or you can carefully wade in to the swamp, being extra careful with the buttons you click while second-guessing every screen you're shown... and as long as there are enough suckers in the herd you'll be ok for a few years. Or you can vote with your wallet and support small providers like us. At Common Form we're running a grand experiment to see if people are willing to pay a fair price for honest service. Can tax software be a viable business without resorting to shady tactics? We hope so.

The Top 10 Accounting Schools - East Coast

  Here at Common Form, we dream in triplicate and we are always interested in finding which higher education institutions are churning out the next Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Russell Wilson of Accounting. In other words, who will we be sorting mail for when we are 65? As a follow up to the previous list we compiled on the Top 10 Accounting Schools in the West, we have now assembled a list of the Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast. If you're looking for schools in other parts of the country, check out The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Midwest.

 

The criteria used to evaluate these colleges include:

  • Job placement rates and average starting salary for graduates
  • Awards and recognition
  • Faculty and staff
  • Funds generated and allocated for research

 

Drumroll please….and here they are the Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast:

 

10. Binghamton University, School of Management

Binghamton

 

Beautiful Binghamton University kicks off our list. The campus is spread across 930 acres of wooded hillside above the Susquehanna River in the suburb of Vestal, nestled in the southern-most part of the state of New York, just miles from the Pennsylvania border. The School of Management boasts their undergraduate programs in accounting and management prepare graduates for admission to elite graduate-level programs. 86% of graduates receive job offers and enjoy a beginning average salary of $58,000.

 

 

9. New York University, Stern School of Business

 

NYU Stern

 

Everyone has heard of NYU, most notably for its theater arts program, but the Leonard N. Stern School of Business is no act! NYU’s undergraduate business and accounting programs are often listed among the best in the country and has earned a solid ranking of #9. One of the greatest draws of NYU’s accounting program is the ability to co-major in general accounting and choose a concentration in any of the following specialties: investment banking, securities markets, tax management, personal financial planning and corporate financial management. Graduates holding a B.S in Accounting from Stern are highly sought-out and have an average starting salary of $65,000, earning an average mid-career salary of $114,000.

 

 

8. Bryant University, College of Business

Bryant  Coming in at a very respectable #8 is Bryant University found in the Northern region of the tiny state of Rhode Island. “As a student at Bryant University, you’ll belong to a dynamic community with an atmosphere of purpose.”  Its accounting program is no exception. Their College of Business creates leaders in financial reporting, taxation, auditing and management. Graduates of this program can expect to earn an average starting salary of $52,000 and mid-career salaries of $80,000.

 

 

7. CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business

Baruch

 

You don't hear a lot about of The Zicklin School of Business at CUNY Bernard M Baruch College, at least out here in San Diego. But according to our criteria, it is a major player and is regularly ranked as one of the premiere business schools in the country. We gave it lucky #7 and deservedly so.  This school attracts top faculty and fosters practical accounting and business practices. Baruch College City University New York is found in the center of bustling NYC, blocks from Wall Street “the financial heartbeat of our nation.” Students are a part of the pulse and reap the benefits with graduates being highly sought after landing well-paying jobs and earning an average mid-career salary of $89,000.

 

 

6. University Of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business

 

University of Maryland

 

It comes as no surprise that The University of Maryland, College Park’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is ranked #6. University of Maryland may be the queen of online education, but the accounting program at Robert H. Smith School of Business has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top 10 in the country. Graduates of this fine institution are a favored source for accounting hires. 90% of degree holders find themselves employed and can expect to earn average wages of $ 93,000.

 

 

5. Penn State University, Smeal College of Business

 

Penn State

 

#5 in the line-up are the Nittany Lions, Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business. A dominant presence in the state of Pennsylvania, the Smeal College of Business was named in honor of its benefactors Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal, two Penn State University alumni. “WE ARE” now that’s school pride! The accounting program is known for its many certification programs and five year fast track through Bachelor’s to Master’s program. Graduates of this program can expect to earn $ 101,000 with 90% of the student body finding employment upon completion.

 

 

4. Boston College, Carroll School of Management

 

Boston College

 

We give Boston College, Carroll School of Management a rank of #4, while there is no trophy, the race was hard and BC should be proud! And if not, I think Bostonians could take Villanova accountants in a fight and grab the bronze. Boston College is known for its world-class faculty and the strong success of its graduates. The accounting curriculum with its choice of specialties, adequately prepares graduates for an array of accounting roles. Graduates can enjoy earning an average mid-career salary of $109,000.

 

 

3. Villanova University, School of Business

 

Villanova School of Business

 

The third place medal goes to The Villanova University School of Business and not because the name and crest seem Italian and expensive, they earned it. Another Pennsylvania school this time Catholic with the moto “ignite change and go nova.” The School is all Business offering an accountancy program that prepares students for their careers by incorporating theory and principles with real life experience in current business practices. What sets Villanova apart are the elective offerings in international, real estate and fraud accounting. Villanova graduates can expect to earn an average starting salary of $55,000 and mid-career salaries averaging $107,000.

 

 

2. Bentley University

 

Bentley University

 

The dark horse Bentley University pulled in at a surprising and extremely impressive #2. Tipping the scales was the university’s integration of technology with the Howard A. Winer Accounting Center for Electronic Learning and Business Measurement (ACELAB), “students gain firsthand experience with sophisticated technologies that are reshaping the accounting profession.” The prestigious university is located in Waltham, Massachusetts. The accounting program at Bentley University has held the honor of being named one of the best in the entire country and is a contender for our soon to be formulated Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Nation. Graduates of this top ranked business college can expect an average starting salary of $50,000 with an unprecedented 95% post-graduate career placement rate.

 

 

1. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business

 

Penn Wharton School of Business

 

And finally, the Belle of the Ball, coming in first place at #1 University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. The undergraduate accounting program for the University of Pennsylvania is housed in the prestigious Wharton School. Founded by the famous inventor and patriot, Benjamin Franklin, and American industrialist Joseph Wharton, this university has a record of coming in first. The renowned faculty has developed a multidisciplinary curriculum giving students the tools they need to navigate today’s complex economy. Graduates from this elite institution can expect an average salary of $124,000 with 98% of alumni experiencing heavy recruitment and employment.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed this compilation of the Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast. Stay-tuned for our next trek through corn fields and cow pastures scouring the “Heartland of America” to find the Top 10 Accounting Schools of the Midwest.

 

 

Tax & Financial News of The Week

Happy Friday! Although the weather is a little gloomy in San Diego, our mood is sunny and bright here at Common Form HQ! Why? Business is booming, the Super Bowl is this weekend, and besides, we need the rain. Plus, Monday (2/2/15) is the deadline for employers to mail your W-2. It may take a few days in transit, but soon most Americans will have their most important tax document in their hands and be able to file their taxes and get their refund.  

As usual, here's a quick run down of the financial and tax news that caught my eye this week. Feel free to shoot us any tax stories that interested you to contact@common-form.com.

 

IRS Releases Preliminary Data for Individual Returns from 2013 Tax Season. On Wednesday 1/28/15, IRS released preliminary data for individual returns filed during the 2013 Tax Season. Total returns filed were up 1.9% from 2012 to 147.7M total. 23.4M 1040EZ tax returns were filed in 2013, up 1.5% from 2012.

 

Techstars Closes $150 Million Fund for Early-Stage Investments. Techstars closed a $150 million early-stage fund, a much larger pool of money than it previously had, that will enable the firm to capitalize on the global network of startup founders and advisers it has built out in recent years.

 

Bench Bookkeeping Service Cooks Up $7 Million Series A. Staying in the Techstars family, Bench, the company that matches bookkeepers with businesses, closed a $7 million Series A round. The financing was led by Altos Ventures with participation from Contour Venture Partners.

 

Intuit Cries Uncle, Will Reverse TurboTax Deluxe Changes. Intuit cried Uncle. It announced on Thursday 1/29/15, that it will provide users of its TurboTax Deluxe desktop product free upgrades this year and will next year reverse changes it made that limited the usefulness of the 2014 version.

 

And finally, to send you into the Super Bowl with some light hearted news, checkout this infographic we made on the financial impact of the Super Bowl.

 

Enjoy the Big Game!

Bill

 

Income Tax Basics, The Tax Refund

tax refund check  

The Essentials Of Tax Refunds

It's tax season, and whether this is your first year filing a tax return or your 50th, you probably have some questions about your tax refund. We cover the basics in this short and sweet article. It has five sections:

 

1. What is a tax refund?

2. How is my refund calculated?

3. How do I claim my tax refund?

4. How does the IRS send me my refund?

5. How long will it take to get my refund?

 

1. What is a tax refund?

Every time you get paid, income tax is withheld from your paycheck based on information you gave you your employer. In most cases, you settle up with Uncle Sam once a year, usually by April 15th. If you paid too much, you get a tax refund. If you underpaid you must pay additional taxes. The average tax refund is around $2,800, so be sure to file your taxes and get yours!

 

2. How is my refund calculated?

First, determine your tax obligation for the year. This is somewhat complicated and involves determining how much of your income is taxable vs. not, factoring in deductions and credits, and more. The headline is that your obligation is a percentage of your total income. Then compare your obligation to the taxes you've already paid, usually by the withholdings from your paychecks. If you've paid more than your obligation, you get the difference back in the form of a tax refund. If you paid less than your obligation, then you don't get a refund and you have to write a check for the balance due. This work is what is what most people consider "doing their taxes."

 

3. How do I claim my tax refund?

The only way to get your federal tax refund is to file a tax return. Most Americans use tax software or go to a professional like a CPA. You can also file your taxes by hand, but the IRS is trying to cut down on the paper it has to deal with so paper forms are harder to find these days. If you use software, You enter information about yourself and from the tax information you received in the mail, and the software calculates your refund or balance due then transmits your tax return electronically to the IRS. The IRS processes your return, and you get your tax refund.

 

4. How does the IRS send me my refund?

When you're doing your taxes online, you usually have two options for receiving your refund - direct deposit or have the IRS mail you a paper check. Direct deposit is much faster and is free, so we recommend it. You can also receive your refund in U.S. Savings Bonds. Some software providers offer pre-paid debit cards, too. We only recommend them if you don't have a bank account because there are almost always fees hidden in the fine print.

 

5. How long will it take to get my refund?

We have to quote the IRS on this one:

The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer. The easiest way to check your refund status is by using our automated tools. Where’s My Refund? has the most up to date information available about your refund. The tool is updated no more than once a day so you don’t need to check more often.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article. If it was helpful, your business is the best compliment you can give us.

 

File Your Taxes Now

 

 

This article also covers these topics:

anticipated tax refund average tax refund average tax return best tax refund best tax refund company biggest tax refund check my refund check your refund claim tax refund determine tax refund direct deposit tax refund do i get a tax refund do my taxes online do your own taxes do your taxes doing taxes online early tax refund efile tax return est tax refund express tax express tax refund ez tax refund fast tax refund fastest tax refund fed tax refund federal income tax refunds federal irs federal tax refund delay federal tax refund estimate federal tax refund estimator federal tax refund information file my taxes online file taxes 2014 filing taxes 2014 find my tax refund find tax refund government tax refund how can i estimate my tax refund how can i get an estimate of my tax refund how can you estimate your tax refund how do i calculate my tax refund how do i find out where my tax refund is how do i get a tax refund how do you calculate your tax refund how do you estimate your tax refund how much is my tax refund how much tax refund how much will my tax refund be how to determine tax refund how to do taxes online how to do your taxes how to do your taxes online how to estimate my tax refund how to estimate tax refund how to estimate tax return how to estimate your tax refund how to estimate your tax return how to file taxes online how to maximize tax refund i need my tax refund now in tax refund income tax estimate income tax refund income tax refund calendar income tax refund estimate income tax refund estimator income tax refunds income tax return estimate instant tax refund instant tax refunds internal revenue tax refund irs refund irs refund information irs refunds irs tax form irs tax forms irs tax refund estimator irs tax refund schedule irs tax refund status irs tax refund tracker irs tax refunds irs taxes irs taxes online irs.gov tax refund locate my tax refund maximum tax refund my refund my tax refund my tax refund is late my tax return my taxes refund online tax filing services online tax preparation online tax refund online tax return quick tax refund rapid tax refund refund refundable tax credits refunds status of tax return tax brackets tax estimate tax estimate refund tax estimator refund tax express refund tax on tax refund tax rebate tax refund 2014 tax refund amount tax refund calc tax refund calendar tax refund chart tax refund claim tax refund companies tax refund company tax refund cycle tax refund debit card tax refund delay tax refund delays tax refund direct deposit tax refund estimates tax refund estimation tax refund estimator tax refund express tax refund for 2014 tax refund form tax refund forms tax refund fraud tax refund info tax refund information tax refund locator tax refund online tax refund predictor tax refund questions tax refund return tax refund service tax refund services tax refund sites tax refund table tax refund time tax refund time frame tax refund today tax refund tracker tax refund us tax refund website tax refund when tax refund where is it tax refunds tax refunds 2014 tax refunds delayed tax relief tax return date tax return estimate tax return information tax return online tax return refund tax return refund estimator tax return status tax return time taxes 2014 taxes for 2014 taxes refund taxes refunds taxrefund us individual income tax return us tax refund were is my tax refund what is income tax what is tax refund what will my tax refund be when can i expect my tax refund when do i get my tax refund when is my tax refund coming when is tax refund when tax refund when to expect tax refund when will i get my federal tax refund when will i receive my federal tax refund when will i receive my tax refund when will my tax refund be deposited when will my tax refund come where is federal tax refund where is my federal income tax refund where is my federal tax refund where is my income tax refund where is my refund where is my tax refund where is my tax refund 2011 where is my taxes refund where is tax refund where my tax refund where my tax return where s my tax refund wheres my tax refund 2014 tax refund 2014 taxes

When can I file my 2015 taxes?

tax-day-cropped.jpg

 

Update: Click here to see 2016 dates

 

 

Great question!  But what you really meant to ask is – when can I file my 2014 taxes?  It’s a bit confusing.  In 2015 you will be filing your 2014 taxes, settling up with Uncle Sam on the income you made in 2014. The short answer is - now!  File your taxes today.  For more important tax dates and deadlines, read on.

January 5, 2015

Common Form opened its virtual doors and started accepting 2014 tax returns.

January 20, 2015

IRS e-file goes live and begins processing returns.  If you file your taxes with us before Jan 20th, we'll transmit your return as soon as IRS is ready to process it.

February 2, 2015

Deadline for your employer to mail you your 2014 W-2.  Note this is a mailing deadline, not a receipt deadline, so if your company is slacking, it may take a few extra days to get it via snail mail.  Many employers offer electronic versions via the same website you can view your pay checks.

If you received unemployment income, this is also the deadline for the state(s) to provide you with a 1099-G.

Finally, this is deadline for banks to supply you with a 1099-INT reporting bank account interest you made.  Note that banks are only required to issue a 1099-INT if you made at least $10 of interest during the year, however you are still required to report it even if they don't send you one.  If you made less than $10, use your bank statements or online banking to determine the amount of interest you made.

April 15, 2015

Also known as “tax day.”  Most people believe this is the deadline to file your income taxes.  That’s close enough.  It’s actually a payment deadline rather than a filing deadline.  If you owe IRS additional taxes, you must file and pay them by this date to avoid fees and penalties.  However, if you’re getting a refund, this deadline doesn’t apply to you.  You can file for up to 3 years with no late fees or penalties. Read more about the deadline or file your taxes now.

If you want to, you could file an extension.  But extensions are fool’s gold – you still have to pay at least 90% of taxes owed.

October 15, 2015

If you filed an extension and owe additional taxes, this is your deadline to file your completed return and pay any remaining taxes owed.

 

Tax & Financial News of The Week

Happy Friday! It's been a great week here at Common Form HQ. The weather in San Diego is beautiful, the birds are chirping, and W-2s are starting to be mailed out. It's a great time to be a tax software company! :-)  

Here's a quick summary of the tax and financial news that caught my eye this week.

 

IRS Began Processing Tax Returns on January 20. IRS e-file began processing tax returns on schedule on Tuesday January 20. 2015, marking what many consider the official opening of tax season. IRS also began processing paper returns. If you submitted your return with tax software before 1/20, it will submitted to IRS on a first in, first out basis.

 

Phishing Remains on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015. The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. These phishing schemes continue to be on the annual IRS list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2015 filing season.

 

Common Form Partners with Tax Act. On 1/21/15, We announced a partnership with TaxAct, enabling Common Form customers with complex finances an easy way to file their taxes online. We are very excited about this partnership and our newfound ability to service all individual tax filers, regardless of tax complexity.

 

Have a great weekend!

Bill