Adopting can be extremely time consuming, costly and exhausting. Luckily for those who choose to do it, they might be able to get a credit on their taxes. The IRS Tax Tip 2011-35 covers Seven Facts about the Expanded Adoption Credit. This article will help guide your way through the Expanded Adoption Credit.
IRS Tax Tip 2011-34
Seven Facts about the Expanded Adoption Credit
You may be able to take a tax credit of up to $13,170 for qualified expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. The Affordable Care Act increased the amount of the credit and made it refundable, which means it can increase the amount of your refund.
Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about the expanded adoption credit.
- Beginning in tax year 2010 the credit is refundable, meaning that you can get it even if you owe no tax.
- For tax year 2010 you must file a paper tax return and Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, to get the credit and you must attach documents supporting the adoption.
- Documents may include a final adoption decree, placement agreement from an authorized agency, court documents and the state’s determination for special needs children.
- Qualified adoption expenses are reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the legal adoption of the child. These expenses may include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and travel expenses.
- An eligible child must be under 18 years old, or physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself.
- If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $182,520, your credit is reduced. If your modified AGI is $222,520 or more, you cannot take the credit.
- Taxpayers claiming the credit will still be able to use IRS Free File to prepare their returns, but the returns must be printed and mailed to the IRS, along with all required documentation.
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The article “Ten Important Facts About Capital Gains and Losses” that the IRS released today is very educational. If you have ever wondered what a capital gain and loss is, this will help you understand them a bit better.
Issue Number: IRS Tax Tip 2011-35
Ten Important Facts About Capital Gains and Losses
Did you know that almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset? Capital assets include a home, household furnishings and stocks and bonds held in a personal account. When a capital asset is sold, the difference between the amount you paid for the asset and the amount you sold it for is a capital gain or capital loss.
Here are ten facts from the IRS about gains and losses and how they can affect your Federal income tax return.
- Almost everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure or investment is a capital asset.
- When you sell a capital asset, the difference between the amount you sell it for and your basis – which is usually what you paid for it – is a capital gain or a capital loss.
- You must report all capital gains.
- You may deduct capital losses only on investment property, not on property held for personal use.
- Capital gains and losses are classified as long-term or short-term, depending on how long you hold the property before you sell it. If you hold it more than one year, your capital gain or loss is long-term. If you hold it one year or less, your capital gain or loss is short-term.
- If you have long-term gains in excess of your long-term losses, you have a net capital gain to the extent your net long-term capital gain is more than your net short-term capital loss, if any.
- The tax rates that apply to net capital gain are generally lower than the tax rates that apply to other income. For 2010, the maximum capital gains rate for most people is 15%. For lower-income individuals, the rate may be 0% on some or all of the net capital gain. Special types of net capital gain can be taxed at 25% or 28%.
- If your capital losses exceed your capital gains, the excess can be deducted on your tax return and used to reduce other income, such as wages, up to an annual limit of $3,000, or $1,500 if you are married filing separately.
- If your total net capital loss is more than the yearly limit on capital loss deductions, you can carry over the unused part to the next year and treat it as if you incurred it in that next year.
- Capital gains and losses are reported on Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses, and then transferred to line 13 of Form 1040.
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Bartering can be a great way to get paid, you just need to be careful how you report it. Especially if you’re a small business. Although it would be neat to own a taxi service and require your customers to pay in cupcakes and other baked goods, you have to be able to state how much the fair market value would be for the cupcakes on the tax return. The IRS has a nice article on Bartering and how you need to report your income when you barter.
IRS Tax Tip 2011-33
Four Facts About Bartering
In today’s economy, small business owners sometimes look to the oldest form of commerce – the exchange of goods and services, or bartering. The IRS wants to remind small business owners that the fair market value of property or services received through barter is taxable income.
Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Usually there is no exchange of cash. However, the fair market value of the goods and services exchanged must be reported as income by both parties.
Here are four facts about bartering that the IRS wants small business owners to be aware of:
- Barter Exchange A barter exchange functions primarily as the organizer of a marketplace where members buy and sell products and services among themselves. Whether this activity operates out of a physical office or is internet based, a barter exchange is generally required to issue Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, annually to their clients or members and to the IRS.
- Barter Income Barter dollars or trade dollars are identical to real dollars for tax reporting. If you conduct any direct barter – barter for another’s products or services – you will have to report the fair market value of the products or services you received on your tax return.
- Taxes Income from bartering is taxable in the year it is performed. Bartering may result in liabilities for income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, or excise tax. Your barter activities may result in ordinary business income, capital gains or capital losses, or you may have a nondeductible personal loss.
- Reporting The rules for reporting barter transactions may vary depending on which form of bartering takes place. Generally, you report this type of business income on Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business, or other business returns such as Form 1065 for Partnerships, Form 1120 for Corporations, or Form 1120-S for Small Business Corporations.
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My first child is due in July, so I get to wait until next year to enjoy the Child Tax Credit benefits. But for those of you who are a bit confused or unclear on how these credits work I thought I would post these ten facts from the IRS to give everyone a better understanding.
Ten Facts about the Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit is an important tax credit that may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon your income. Here are 10 important facts from the IRS about this credit and how it may benefit your family.
- Amount – With the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17.
- Qualification – A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the qualifying criteria of six tests: age, relationship, support, dependent, citizenship, and residence.
- Age Test – To qualify, a child must have been under age 17 – age 16 or younger – at the end of 2010.
- Relationship Test – To claim a child for purposes of the Child Tax Credit, they must either be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendant of any of these individuals, which includes your grandchild, niece or nephew. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
- Support Test – In order to claim a child for this credit, the child must not have provided more than half of their own support.
- Dependent Test – You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return.
- Citizenship Test – To meet the citizenship test, the child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
- Residence Test – The child must have lived with you for more than half of 2010. There are some exceptions to the residence test, which can be found in IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
- Limitations – The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies depending on your filing status. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000. In addition, the Child Tax Credit is generally limited by the amount of the income tax you owe as well as any alternative minimum tax you owe.
- Additional Child Tax Credit – If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.
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Although this might be old news for some of you, there could be a few people out there that have purchased a home in 2010 and have not taken advantage of the Homebuyer Credits.
There are two credits available, the first one is for new home buyers or someone who has not owned their a principle residence for 3 years prior to purchasing this house. The second would be if you have lived in your current principal residence for any consecutive five year period during the eight year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased.
To qualify for either of these options, you must have entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010 and the house must have been closed on or before September 30, 2010.
Below is the article from the IRS stating all of the stipulations,
Eight Essential Facts about Claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Here are eight things the IRS wants you to know about claiming the credit:
- You must have bought – or entered into a binding contract to buy – a principal residence located in the United States on or before April 30, 2010. If you entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, you must have closed on the home on or before September 30, 2010.
- To be considered a first-time homebuyer, you and your spouse – if you are married – must not have jointly or separately owned another principal residence during the three years prior to the date of purchase.
- To be considered a long-time resident homebuyer you and your spouse – if you are married – must have lived in the same principal residence for any consecutive five-year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased.
- The maximum credit for a first-time homebuyer is $8,000, half that amount for married individuals filing separately. The maximum credit for a long-time resident homebuyer is $6,500. Married individuals filing separately are limited to $3,250.
- You must file a paper return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit with additional documents to verify the purchase. Therefore, if you claim the credit you will not be able to file electronically.
- New homebuyers must attach a copy of a properly executed settlement statement used to complete such purchase. Buyers of a newly constructed home, where a settlement statement is not available, must attach a copy of the dated certificate of occupancy. Mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement must attach a copy of the retail sales contract.
- If you are a long-time resident claiming the credit, the IRS recommends that you also attach any documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period, including Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or substitute mortgage interest statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.
- Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit.
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Although it might seem like all of your income is taxable to the IRS, not all of it is. There are many different reasons for non-taxable income; child support payments, meals and lodging for the convenience of your employer, and inheritances. Below you will find an article from the IRS website describing some of the non-taxable incomes,
Taxable or Non-Taxable Income?
Generally, most income you receive is considered taxable but there are situations when certain types of income are partially taxed or not taxed at all.
To help taxpayers understand the differences between taxable and non-taxable income, the Internal Revenue Service offers these common examples of items not included as taxable income:
- Adoption Expense Reimbursements for qualifying expenses
- Child support payments
- Gifts, bequests and inheritances
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Meals and Lodging for the convenience of your employer
- Compensatory Damages awarded for physical injury or physical sickness
- Welfare Benefits
- Cash Rebates from a dealer or manufacturer
Some income may be taxable under certain circumstances, but not taxable in other situations. Examples of items that may or may not be included in your taxable income are:
- Life Insurance If you surrender a life insurance policy for cash, you must include in income any proceeds that are more than the cost of the life insurance policy. Life insurance proceeds, which were paid to you because of the insured person’s death, are not taxable unless the policy was turned over to you for a price.
- Scholarship or Fellowship Grant If you are a candidate for a degree, you can exclude amounts you receive as a qualified scholarship or fellowship. Amounts used for room and board do not qualify.
- Non-cash Income Taxable income may be in a form other than cash. One example of this is bartering, which is an exchange of property or services. The fair market value of goods and services exchanged is fully taxable and must be included as income on Form 1040 of both parties.
All other items—including income such as wages, salaries, tips and unemployment compensation — are fully taxable and must be included in your income unless it is specifically excluded by law.
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This article caught my attention because I did indeed change my name this year. When you get married in July you rarely think about what kind of tax changes you will have for the upcoming tax year (unless you are a tax accountant of course). Here is an article from the IRS with tips for people who have recently changed their name due to a marriage or divorce.
Five Tips if You Changed Your Name Due to Marriage or Divorce
If you changed your name as a result of a recent marriage or divorce you’ll want to take the necessary steps to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration. A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of your return and may even delay your refund.
Here are five tips from the IRS for recently married or divorced taxpayers who have a name change.
- If you took your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, you may run into complications if you don’t notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with their Social Security Number.
- If you were recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you’ll also need to notify the SSA of this name change.
- Informing the SSA of a name change is easy; you’ll just need to file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card at your local SSA office and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change.
- Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or at local offices. Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.
- If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married, you’ll want to make sure the children have an SSN. Taxpayers must provide an SSN for each dependent claimed on a tax return. For adopted children without SSNs, the parents can apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number – or ATIN – by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions with the IRS. The ATIN is a temporary number used in place of an SSN on the tax return. Form W-7A is available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).