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Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

First-Time & Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit – Rules and Limits

By Kira Botkin

home buyer tax creditIf you were one of the millions of people who became a homeowner between 2008 and 2010, whether it was your first time or your fifth, your purchase will have quite a noticeable effect on your taxes. That’s not only due to the lovely bump you’ll get from deducting your mortgage interest and property taxes, but you may also receive a nice fat tax credit on top of that!

For many, participating in these programs will have effects for years to come. There are special rules to determine who’s eligible, as well as tax credits available for non-first time home buyers, and a special extension for members of the military and federal employees who were stationed outside of the country, which we’ll discuss below.

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How to Pay IRS Taxes – Online, Check or Credit Card

By Kira Botkin

pay taxes aprilAs we head towards the April tax filing deadline in the U.S., hopefully you’re working on your calculations or have everything completed by now. If you’ve gotten your total and see that you owe the IRS some money, don’t fret! There are many ways to get the IRS what you owe them in a timely manner.

Make sure that you’re confident of your calculations because the IRS will only allow two payments per year for taxes owed on a 1040 tax form, unless they send you a letter notifying you that you still owe money.

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How to Pay Federal Estimated Taxes Online to the IRS

By Kira Botkin

taxes pen calculatorAs a small business owner and freelancer, I’m amazed by how quickly my friends with full-time jobs get their taxes done. Their employers withhold taxes year-round, and all that my friends have to do is file by the IRS tax deadline in April to get a tax refund check in May. It’s like magic. But if you don’t have a human resources department putting tax money aside for you, you’ll have to pay estimated taxes four times a year.

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United States Tax History – Federal Income Tax History in America

By Kira Botkin

100 bill united statesTaxes can be so frustrating that we often ignore the significant and interesting role they’ve played in U.S. history. Though the idea of taxes doesn’t necessarily please the populace, the issue has certainly motivated Americans during key events.

Taxes helped start the process that would eventually lead to the Revolutionary War and America’s independence. The Stamp Act, Sugar Act, and Tea Act (which incited the Boston Tea Party) were tax and tariff laws placed on the colonies by England to raise revenue.

Since the revolution, taxes and national events have influenced each other in ways that can help you better understand your tax situation, and how everyone benefits from the prices we pay.

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Important Quarterly Tax Due Dates & Deadlines – IRS Tax Calendar

By Kira Botkin

tax return due

Taxes are a hassle. Dates and deadlines seem to sneak up without warning despite being relatively consistent from year to year. But getting organized and working on preparation throughout the year can make the traditional tax season less dreaded and much easier.

Keep these major tax dates in mind and mark them on your calendar. If the date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will move to the next business day.

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List of the Most Common Federal IRS Tax Forms

By Kira Botkin

irs tax forms pileEach year we receive or fill out lots of tax forms, and each of these forms has a specific purpose.

Below, I’ll outline and highlight some of the most common forms. You can find more detailed information by clicking on the form’s name.

Form 1040

The most important of them all, the Form 1040 is the basic form on which you file your personal income taxes. There are many additional forms which you use to calculate specific items to put on specific lines on the main Form 1040, but you can’t file your taxes without this form. It comes in multiple flavors such as 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040X. There are also more than a dozen Schedules (different parts to the Form), each to help you calculate the tax impact of different activities.

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What is a 1099 IRS Tax Form – 1099-INT, 1099-R, SSA-1099 Variants

By Kira Botkin

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

1099 tax forms stack computerIRS form 1099 covers many different kinds of income other than wages, salaries, and tips. Since you don’t have to submit copies of 1099s with your 1040 form when you file on paper, you generally only receive one or two drafts of this form.

While there are nearly two dozen variations on form 1099, the most common ones are 1099-INT, 1099-R, and SSA-1099. Another version you’ll see often is the 1099-MISC, which businesses use for payments that don’t fall under the other 1099 categories.

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IRS Federal Tax Form 1040 – Types, Schedules & Instructions

By Kira Botkin

1040 form pencilThe 1040 tax form was introduced in 1913, and its basic setup has remained essentially the same over the past century. The 1040 conveniently collects all of your income, credits, and deductions in one place. In fact, while there are dozens of other forms and schedules that you can use for additional calculations (such as Form 8863 for education credits or Schedule A for itemized deductions), each final number from all these forms is tallied on your 1040.

1040 Form Types

The 1040 comes in several different varieties:

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  • The regular 1040 is sometimes called the “long form” because, at two pages, it is the most lengthy.

W-4 Withholding Tax Form – Instructions for Claiming Exemptions & Allowances

By Kira Botkin

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

w-4 tax formEach time you begin a new job, one of the forms you’ll be asked to fill out is a Form W-4. This form helps your employer determine how much to withhold from your paycheck in taxes, based on the number of exemptions you claim on your tax return.

While this method is not very precise, it is fairly flexible, as you can adjust the number of exemptions you put down (i.e. adjust federal income tax withholding allowances).

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W-2 Form – IRS Tax Form Filing Instructions Online

By Kira Botkin

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

w2 form penIf you were working as an employee and were paid during the year, you should receive a W-2 from the company you worked for, postmarked by January 31st. It will show information on all compensation you received during the calendar year, even if the actual time you worked was in the year before, or your company uses a different fiscal year.

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IRS Tax Audit Help – Types, Procedure and Audit Red Flags to Avoid

By Kira Botkin

tax audit afraid manThe IRS is often portrayed as a scary group of calculator-wielding mercenaries who are just out to get more money out of you, but in truth you only have something to fear if you’ve intentionally falsified your taxes or are guilty of tax evasion fraud.

Nevertheless, you may still be audited during your lifetime, either as part of a randomly selected group, or because you have certain red flags in your return. The IRS generally has up to three years after you file or the due date (whichever is later) to audit your return, but it can audit up to six years in some cases. If you file a fraudulent return or don’t file at all, there is no statute of limitations on when the IRS can audit you.

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4 Different Types of Taxes and How To Minimize Them

By Kira Botkin

pay taxes piggy banksAlthough your personal income tax filing is probably foremost in your mind right now, the government taxes us in a number of different ways.

This is actually helpful for you because it gives you multiple opportunities to find ways to reduce your tax burden, while spreading out the impact of taxes.

Want to learn more? Here are the four types of taxes we’re all subject to, and tips on how to minimize their impact.

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The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit – Federal Tax Deductions for Child Care Expenses

By Kira Botkin

childcare expenses paintingFinding the right person or company to care for your child or disabled spouse is difficult, and paying for it can become very expensive.

Fortunately, you can get a break on these expenses by filing for the child and dependent care tax credit.

And depending on your income and how many people need care, you can get up to a $2,100 credit. Below is more information regarding the credit, including who qualifies as someone who needs care, what kind of expenses count, and who can claim the tax break.

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11 Common Tax Filing Mistakes & Errors and How to Correct Them

By Kira Botkin

tax filing mistakes errorsIf you’re in a hurry to get your tax refund faster (and who isn’t?), make sure your tax return won’t be delayed by common mistakes.

There are a handful of common errors that the IRS regularly deals with.  These mistakes signal an immediate red flag and cause your refund to be delayed by weeks or months as the IRS tries to sort things out or asks you to re-file.

Especially if you file on paper, make sure to double-check these easily overlooked items.

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Making Work Pay Tax Credit Eligibility & Qualifications Explained

By Kira Botkin

making work pay tax credit

First introduced in 2009, the Making Work Pay tax credit was available for two years – 2009 and 2010. With this credit, you were able to receive a bonus of up to $400 (or $800 if you filed as married filing jointly) just for working.

However, this tax credit was not renewed by Congress following 2010, and is not available for tax years 2011 and later.

How the Making Work Pay Tax Credit Is Calculated

If you had any income from a job or self-employment during the years this credit was available, you can calculate your Making Work Pay credit based on your earned income. You also must file Schedule M to claim the credit – even if you received it as an income boost in your paycheck.

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