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Your [Tax] Questions Here: 2016 Edition

ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morningAnd the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
edited February 2 in Help / Advice Forum
It's the 2016 tax season!

Over the last year we've laughed, we've cried, we've donated too much money to various different causes or maybe that's just me, but now it's time for all of us to come together as one and see if we need to itemize.

As of the 31st of January, you should have received your W-2. If you haven't, now is the time to go down to your HR department and rattle some cages, or wherever they keep HR where you work. If you're a business owner or contractor it's time to scrape out all the receipts from the bottoms of your pockets, bags, laundry rooms, and desk drawers, and the fact that those places are where all my receipts end up is probably why I don't own a business.

Ask your tax-related questions here, and hopefully someone will be able to help with the answers.


Sites and Software (federal)


Sites and Software (state)


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And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
ceres on
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Posts

  • bowenbowen PEPSI IS THE BEST SODA ayyyyyyyRegistered User regular
    Credit Karma's tax thing is pretty neat, if you trust Credit Karma. Looks like it'll be free to file state and federal taxes with them.

    Warning: I am a programmer/sysop. IANAL/IANAD, seek actual advice from certified people in their respective fields if you are actually in need of it.
    ceres
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I typically use TaxAct Online, except when I have something more complicated that I don't want to risk messing up. For a standard year in a single-income home it works pretty well, walks you through the process, and I feel pretty good about paying for the more basic package because IIRC in the past at least it has come with some protection (like I think they'll help you out with an audit). It was around $15 or so and for my own peace of mind it's worth it. You could do state taxes with another $5.

    Note that I am still missing a form or two and haven't logged in yet, so I'll have more info when I do.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    bowen
  • bowenbowen PEPSI IS THE BEST SODA ayyyyyyyRegistered User regular
    Yeah if you're familiar with turbotax that's pretty much how CK's works. I almost did taxact online a few years ago, now I wish I had because damn that's cheap. Do they do DBA/business stuff too?

    Warning: I am a programmer/sysop. IANAL/IANAD, seek actual advice from certified people in their respective fields if you are actually in need of it.
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Making me look.. grumble.

    They have "Individual", "Business", and "Professional". One of the things I really like about them is that you don't pay until you actually file, as in you're about to electronically sign and hit "send". For personal filing, you can start with the free form and it'll tell you if it's worth it to itemize. You can also leave it in the middle and do something else and come back and it'll save your info, which has been pretty helpful for me. :P

    So for "Individual", if you're just filing a 1040EZ or a 1040A it's free, +$15 if you want to import last year's stuff because you didn't file through them then. For homeowners, or people who have investments or need to itemize, prices have gone up quite a bit from whatever it was last year to $25, with state filing being an additional $35. So it's still worth it to me, I'll just grumble about it. I have student loan interest, a ton of medical bills, that sort of thing, so I'll likely need to end up itemizing this year.

    For self-employed, freelancers, and contractors, that $25 goes up to $40.

    For "Business", it ranges from $40-60 plus whatever state filing is if you want that. What you pay depends on your form.

    "Professional" looks like the kind of thing where you're filing on behalf of a bunch of other people, and I think that's charged differently, and separately per file.

    The site is taxact.com, you can hit it up if you're interested. I've just found it easy and helpful and I've been using them since like 2010 or something so they have all my stuff. If you're struggling with getting through your forms it's almost certainly worth giving a spin since you don't pay anything unless you use them to file.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    bowen
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    Friendly reminder to those in CA that you can, depending on some qualifications, file your state taxes for free with the Franchise Tax Board's CalFile system.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • HandgimpHandgimp STEVE BANNON IS OFF THE NSC THANK FUCKING CHRISTRegistered User regular
    Friendly reminder to those in CA that you can, depending on some qualifications, file your state taxes for free with the Franchise Tax Board's CalFile system.

    I did that and got my refund in like 3 days.

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    ceresfirewaterwordElvenshae
  • jgeisjgeis Registered User regular
    OK, so I'm going to be claiming a lot of deductable miles this year. I've never really had any deductions beyond the standard deduction, so I'm not exactly clear on wether I get to claim my mileage AND my standard deduction, or do I have to chose one or the other depending on whichever is larger? I know some stuff can be itemized but I really have no idea how that stuff affects the standard deduction/personal exemption.

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  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    edited February 8
    .

    It's either standard (a big bucket that the IRS gives everyone) or itemized (if you don't think the bucket they gave you can hold all your shit) deduction.

    If you own a business they'd be business expenses and you'd get them on your return using the standard mileage rate. Then you'd also get the standard deduction.

    If you don't and had to drive around like a jerk working for the man and they were not reimbursed by your employer then you choose between itemizing and taking them or getting the standard deduction.

    You would have to have driven a shit load thought.

    tyrannus on
    Elvenshae
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    If you don't care about roll forwards and stuff, the IRS offers a calculator that determines your eligibility and references to free file websites.

    Find it here https://www.irs.gov/uac/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    So, I got married at the end of last year - how will this impact our filing for taxes?

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  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    edited February 8
    So, I got married at the end of last year - how will this impact our filing for taxes?

    You should file jointly. IRS considers your status as of the last day at the end of the year.

    tyrannus on
    schussElvenshae
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    So I got a winning lottery ticket and turned it in. I got a 1099-G (if I recall correctly) but it vanished in a move. I live in Missouri and can't figure out how to get a replacement. Any ideas?

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Magus` wrote: »
    So I got a winning lottery ticket and turned it in. I got a 1099-G (if I recall correctly) but it vanished in a move. I live in Missouri and can't figure out how to get a replacement. Any ideas?

    Was it MO state lottery that you received the winning ticket from? The offices in the middle of this page would be who you want to talk to.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited February 10
    I.. don't remember. I'll check the link, thanks!

    Magus` on
  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    edited February 12
    So my wife works from home because we live in a different state from her employer. From what I can tell it seems like we can't deduct home office expenses because her working from home was for our benefit not for the employers benefit. However, I'm not sure about travel expenses. As in the company requires her to be in the office every other week. Does the cost of travel and lodging fall under the category of a required business expense? Or, does it get exempted the same way the home office expenses do, in that it was our choice to live in another state so travel expenses are not technically required by the employer since we could live closer.

    Jebus314 on
    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • SavantSavant Registered User regular
    edited February 13
    So, my mother is in a bit of an odd situation, may be a bit too odd for a non-professional but the numbers aren't too huge I figure I might as well ask.

    My father died several years ago and he and my mother had most of their stuff listed in both of their names, and I believe but am not sure they typically filed taxes jointly. We had the estate go through probate and handled by a lawyer specialized in such matters and it closed out a few years ago, and I don't recall there being too many issues. We tried to get all the accounts and property and such that was in their names switched over to her name.

    Anyways, fast forward a couple years to the 2016 tax season, and she got a form that a credit card account in my late father's name and SSN (not including my mother's name) was having the debt canceled. I'd guess it was a 1099-C form, but my mother and brother were working on it so I don't have it in front of me. The amount discharged was less than $2000, but over the $600 minimum.

    My mother doesn't have any recollection of this account, nor of receiving any bills for it in recent years. We don't know if it is something my father had and just hadn't paid off before he died (he died suddenly), or even if it is fraudulent, like by ID theft. My brother is also leery about contacting the bank that issued the card to get more info on the account, as they clearly fouled up by not handling this at all during the probate period or the years since, and we don't want them thinking they can send debt collectors to hound my mother for it. But, understandably, we are confused as to the tax implications of this as discharged credit card debt can be counted as taxable income.

    Long story short, she has a form listing credit card debt canceled in 2016 in my late father's name who died and had his estate closed out years ago. Normally canceled credit card debt can be considered taxable income, but it isn't in my mother's name so we were guessing that she wouldn't need to list it on her 2016 taxes, but were not totally sure. If she paid the taxes on this outright it would only be a few hundred dollars, so we'd rather not go back to the lawyers to deal with it.

    Savant on
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    So my wife works from home because we live in a different state from her employer. From what I can tell it seems like we can't deduct home office expenses because her working from home was for our benefit not for the employers benefit. However, I'm not sure about travel expenses. As in the company requires her to be in the office every other week. Does the cost of travel and lodging fall under the category of a required business expense? Or, does it get exempted the same way the home office expenses do, in that it was our choice to live in another state so travel expenses are not technically required by the employer since we could live closer.

    nah, you're spot on. It's basically her choice to live there and to maintain the primary home so far away from the tax home. Because she's an employee she unfortunately does not get any kind of travel expenses. travel, meals, or hotels.

  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    This is mine and my wife's first time joint filing (got married late last year). She selected joint file in turbotax and put in all of my info. Do I need to do anything else on my end or am I good to go for both state and federal?

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  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    Nope, that's it. There should just be one return for the two of you from now on.

    LostNinjaElvenshae
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 16
    Two questions.

    One: I got a letter from my synagogue's ECC about donations I've made, for tax purposes. The list is every bit of money I spent there in 2016, the overwhelming majority of which is spent on sending him to school there, but I guess it all goes to the same fund and they are a 501(c)3. They barely break even every year, too.

    It's four figures and I would really like to be able to claim it, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count it as a straight donation just because the letter says "thank you for your generous donation!"

    Two: I had a baby in August, go me I guess. I know we can claim everything that came out of pocket for her birth (which was complicated), but can I also claim what was spent on my midwife, who didn't end up able to do the actual delivery due to the many complications, but did a significant amount of the prenatal care and coached me through the birth? A lot actually ended up being covered, but I'm still looking at about $9k-ish total.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • MalgarasMalgaras Registered User regular
    edited February 16
    ceres wrote: »
    Two questions.

    One: I got a letter from my synagogue's ECC about donations I've made, for tax purposes. The list is every bit of money I spent there in 2016, the overwhelming majority of which is spent on sending him to school there, but I guess it all goes to the same fund and they are a 501(c)3. They barely break even every year, too.

    It's four figures and I would really like to be able to claim it, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count it as a straight donation just because the letter says "thank you for your generous donation!"

    Two: I had a baby in August, go me I guess. I know we can claim everything that came out of pocket for her birth (which was complicated), but can I also claim what was spent on my midwife, who didn't end up able to do the actual delivery due to the many complications, but did a significant amount of the prenatal care and coached me through the birth? A lot actually ended up being covered, but I'm still looking at about $9k-ish total.

    Can't speak for #2, but for #1, the short version is you're out of luck. For charitable contributions, if you receive a good or service in return (in this case schooling), you are required to subtract the value of that service from the deduction which essentially would be whatever is on your tuition bill. Alternatively, it might not qualify as a "donation" in the first place, but it's a moot point, as the math works out the same.

    Malgaras on
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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    D:

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Two questions.

    One: I got a letter from my synagogue's ECC about donations I've made, for tax purposes. The list is every bit of money I spent there in 2016, the overwhelming majority of which is spent on sending him to school there, but I guess it all goes to the same fund and they are a 501(c)3. They barely break even every year, too.

    It's four figures and I would really like to be able to claim it, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count it as a straight donation just because the letter says "thank you for your generous donation!"

    Two: I had a baby in August, go me I guess. I know we can claim everything that came out of pocket for her birth (which was complicated), but can I also claim what was spent on my midwife, who didn't end up able to do the actual delivery due to the many complications, but did a significant amount of the prenatal care and coached me through the birth? A lot actually ended up being covered, but I'm still looking at about $9k-ish total.

    On #2, yep, everything you described sounds deductible. The main caveat is that you can only deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of your AGI. So if you have wages of $70,000, you'd lose the first $7000 or so worth of medical expenses.

    I know it's too late now, but if you have a health insurance plan that qualifies as high deductible, using a health savings account is usually the way to go. You can deduct the contributions, and then pay for medical expenses tax free.

    Congrats on the baby!

  • RobonunRobonun 94 Painful Thorn Enlightens the Slothful Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Two questions.

    One: I got a letter from my synagogue's ECC about donations I've made, for tax purposes. The list is every bit of money I spent there in 2016, the overwhelming majority of which is spent on sending him to school there, but I guess it all goes to the same fund and they are a 501(c)3. They barely break even every year, too.

    It's four figures and I would really like to be able to claim it, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count it as a straight donation just because the letter says "thank you for your generous donation!"

    Two: I had a baby in August, go me I guess. I know we can claim everything that came out of pocket for her birth (which was complicated), but can I also claim what was spent on my midwife, who didn't end up able to do the actual delivery due to the many complications, but did a significant amount of the prenatal care and coached me through the birth? A lot actually ended up being covered, but I'm still looking at about $9k-ish total.

    When you say "school" do you mean preschool/child care, or elementary school? If it's preschool you can claim it as part of the child care tax credit, and if so they really really really need to break down "donations" into child care versus other things. Being small and broke doesn't justify bad accounting practice.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    Robonun wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Two questions.

    One: I got a letter from my synagogue's ECC about donations I've made, for tax purposes. The list is every bit of money I spent there in 2016, the overwhelming majority of which is spent on sending him to school there, but I guess it all goes to the same fund and they are a 501(c)3. They barely break even every year, too.

    It's four figures and I would really like to be able to claim it, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count it as a straight donation just because the letter says "thank you for your generous donation!"

    Two: I had a baby in August, go me I guess. I know we can claim everything that came out of pocket for her birth (which was complicated), but can I also claim what was spent on my midwife, who didn't end up able to do the actual delivery due to the many complications, but did a significant amount of the prenatal care and coached me through the birth? A lot actually ended up being covered, but I'm still looking at about $9k-ish total.

    When you say "school" do you mean preschool/child care, or elementary school? If it's preschool you can claim it as part of the child care tax credit, and if so they really really really need to break down "donations" into child care versus other things. Being small and broke doesn't justify bad accounting practice.

    I don't think you can claim the child care tax credit if you're a stay-at-home-mom or your self-employment income doesn't exceed a certain threshold. We certainly couldn't because Mrs. DoctorArch stays at home with one child while the other goes to preschool.

    But @tyrannus would know for sure.

  • RobonunRobonun 94 Painful Thorn Enlightens the Slothful Registered User regular
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    Robonun wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Two questions.

    One: I got a letter from my synagogue's ECC about donations I've made, for tax purposes. The list is every bit of money I spent there in 2016, the overwhelming majority of which is spent on sending him to school there, but I guess it all goes to the same fund and they are a 501(c)3. They barely break even every year, too.

    It's four figures and I would really like to be able to claim it, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to count it as a straight donation just because the letter says "thank you for your generous donation!"

    Two: I had a baby in August, go me I guess. I know we can claim everything that came out of pocket for her birth (which was complicated), but can I also claim what was spent on my midwife, who didn't end up able to do the actual delivery due to the many complications, but did a significant amount of the prenatal care and coached me through the birth? A lot actually ended up being covered, but I'm still looking at about $9k-ish total.

    When you say "school" do you mean preschool/child care, or elementary school? If it's preschool you can claim it as part of the child care tax credit, and if so they really really really need to break down "donations" into child care versus other things. Being small and broke doesn't justify bad accounting practice.

    I don't think you can claim the child care tax credit if you're a stay-at-home-mom or your self-employment income doesn't exceed a certain threshold. We certainly couldn't because Mrs. DoctorArch stays at home with one child while the other goes to preschool.

    But @tyrannus would know for sure.

    True, the child care tax credit is linked to employment. I was just holding out hope that Ceres isn't totally screwed.

  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    Proof of continuous healthcare coverage is only required if asked for, right? I don't need to provide it upfront, I think. Getting it from my previous employer is being challenging.

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  • HandgimpHandgimp STEVE BANNON IS OFF THE NSC THANK FUCKING CHRISTRegistered User regular
    VishNub wrote: »
    Proof of continuous healthcare coverage is only required if asked for, right? I don't need to provide it upfront, I think. Getting it from my previous employer is being challenging.

    You don't need to submit it, but you do have to make a declarative statement. I just got my 1095-C this past week, but I filed a while back.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah I'm a SAHM and it's preschool. It was all just listed as donations though.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Do you need to have "qualifying health insurance" if you're completely unemployed?

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Do you need to have "qualifying health insurance" if you're completely unemployed?

    You can claim an exemption for each month you were unemployed.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    ceres
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Do you need to have "qualifying health insurance" if you're completely unemployed?

    You can claim an exemption for each month you were unemployed.

    Are we talking about the penalty for not having health coverage. If so, I don't think this is true. The exemption is based on household income for the year. If you're unemployed all year, you'd obviously be below the threshold for being required to have insurance, yeah. But if you have a good job half the year, and are unemployed for half, you may still be required to have it all year.

    ceres
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    What about if you're a dependent?

    Technically my daughter, due to extreme competence on the part of my husband's HR department, still isn't on his plan. They aren't letting us do it till open enrollment now which is... nerve-wracking. If you're a dependent and you're unemployed and don't have insurance, does it count against the household?

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Ceres, if you haven't yet, try this: https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/year

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    ceres
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    What about if you're a dependent?

    Technically my daughter, due to extreme competence on the part of my husband's HR department, still isn't on his plan. They aren't letting us do it till open enrollment now which is... nerve-wracking. If you're a dependent and you're unemployed and don't have insurance, does it count against the household?

    Unfortunately, yeah. The way it works is that you take the household income for the year, and if it's high enough that the family is required to have insurance, you calculate the penalty based on the number of uninsured family members for each month.

    Here's the list of exemptions I like to refer to: Hardship Exemptions.

    It wouldn't be an automatic exception, but you might be able to try the form referenced in #14, and just describe what happened. Maybe if the employer could write a quick letter explaining that it was their fault, that would increase the chances of getting approved.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    The entire company has one person working HR and she has no training in it and before this she was a hairdresser. She has fucked everything up every step of the way on even the most basic things we've needed her to do, so my confidence that she can get this done is zero. We might be able to get his supervisor to do it, I guess.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • BloodycowBloodycow Registered User regular
    So I filed my taxes with my wife a couple weeks back and I'm kind of worried that my tax filer (on base tax center) might have messed up.

    I'm active military and stationed in Missouri, but I'm a resident of Iowa and pay Iowa state taxes (and property taxes as I own a home there). My state tax is refunded to me at filing (a law Iowa passed in 2012 for active duty personnel).

    I paid 1990$ into Iowa and received 2405$ back. This seemed odd to me and check my passed 3 years and I have always gotten more back then I have put in. Ranging in amounts from 25 to 150$. But getting almost 500 more then I put into Iowa seems odd to me.

    I did pay almost 4000$ in property tax though. Would that have anything to do with it?

    Other then that issue this year was a good return! My wife didn't work all year as she is in nursing school and my kids are in daycare. We got back more this year then the year my 1st was born and we bought a house when they were still doing that bonus for purchasing a home. :)

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  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    Question: Can an employer charge an employee for their W2?

  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    I've never heard of a company charging for the original, I'm guessing they're not allowed to. I can't find anywhere that the IRS says specifically that there can't be a fee, but I know they have to give you the form by Jan 31. Googling around it sounds like they can't really charge for the original.

    I think it's ok to charge for a replacement copy, though.

    So It Goes
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Rogue The 25th WardRegistered User regular
    Any Uber familiarity? I'm doing a 1099 Misc for the first time, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to claim anything apart from mileage. (It says the service fee is a potential deduction?)

    I made $3500 and it says I owe $367, so that seems normal? Or maybe I should hit up a professional?
    (I only did it on weekends here and there, thankfully.)

    Also, I heard something about a new car credit?

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