United States Tax History – Federal Income Tax History in America

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

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

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

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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11 Ways to Reduce and Save Money on Utility Bills

utility bills moneyIt is common for many families to stare dejectedly at $200, $300, $400, and sometimes even $500 in utility bills every month. That can be an especially hard pill to swallow when times are tight – especially with gas prices rising.

This issue hits close to home for me as well. My dad lives in Lousiana, and his monthly bill is an astonishing $430 per month. And, that’s living in the Sunny South!

So what can you do to reduce your utility bill without being forced to move? Well, according to Energy Star, half of all the energy we use in our homes goes toward heating and cooling. A significant amount goes towards water as well.

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IRS Federal Tax Form 1040 – Types, Schedules & Instructions

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

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

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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Penny For Your Thoughts: My Disabled Girlfriend Is a Financial Deadweight

This post is part of our “Penny For Your Thoughts” column where readers can write into Penny for answers to their toughest dilemmas on money and relationships.

If your question is chosen for the next Penny For Your Thoughts column, you will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card. In addition, one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this post will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

depressed coupleDear Penny,

My girlfriend Amie was injured two years ago while working at her job in a greenhouse. She’s now considered partially handicapped at 26 and receives a disability check (which isn’t even half of what she made when she worked).

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How Much to Save for Retirement – Planning Strategies for Every Age

retirement fund binYou’ve heard plenty of lame one-liners and empty tokens of advice: Save 15% of your income to retire comfortably; save two grand per month to retire a millionaire; save a million dollars to retire comfortably; plan to withdraw 4% annually in retirement.

Financial advice isn’t helpful if all you get are platitudes and generalizations. Too often, experts toss around figures about how much you need to save and invest, without considering your long-term personal financial goals.

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