For Complicated Returns - Seek a Professional
Not responsible for misinterpretation or errors made by the reader. Seek the help of a local tax agent in your area. Ask for an EA or CPA for complicated taxes. It is recommended the reader research the information given here.
Get Enrolled! Save Money and Find Good Insurance
Tax Changes 2015, Important Updates
- Free Federal Filing = Less than $57K income. There may be other restrictions.
- There are more new changes for Tax Year 2014
- Affordable Care Act - (ACA) means some big changes!*
- More Disaster Declaration
- Mr. & Mr / Mrs. & Mrs on Tax Forms (LGBT couples)
- Energy Credits
- Never forget that Congress shut down our Government(2013) and delayed tax returns being filed for a month. This hurt businesses and consumers alike.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ * ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
- Preparing a personal Tax Return in 2015 for the 2014 tax year. Please get your information from the IRS and not a ya-hoo in a bar. Thousands of eligible Americans and other Tax Payers have been tricked out of seeking and finding Affordable Health Care.
- Some States refused to expand their Medicare / Medicaid in accordance with the ACA, and so citizens were unable to seek Affordable Coverage. [This is my own interpretation of the present filing status for 2014 tax law changes in regard to Tax Payers. It is always prudent to verify any tax information, because each persons taxes are distinctly different, and one situation could change the aspect of the information I am sharing.]
- You can go to www. irs .gov and Use Publication 17. It is a PDF which covers many taxpayers for personal and returns up to some corporations.
- Keep in mind that Tax Law for 2014 is not settled. It will not be until Congress recesses. For taxpayers with extremely difficult provisions it is always best to wait until Congress recesses before completing the past year or Quarter's taxes, depending on how they file, and report.
- If you honestly could not afford [and can prove it on paper] insurance premiums, and that is why the taxpayer remains uninsured, there is a decent chance that the $95.00 fine may be waived. While preparing taxes on-line, this is going to be a new question for even seasoned tax preparers.
- Most of the tax software I have seen have filters which compare your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) with your possible cost for insurance and will automatically remove the possible extra payment for your 2014 tax year.
- There are still seven (7) days to enroll. Many people in a panic are finding out that they indeed are eligible for free insurance. These are hard working people who just do not make enough money. Many experience some type of hunger as well. Not lazy bums. Regular people.
The Penalty for Non-Compliance of the ACA
Right now, for a Single Taxpayer with no Dependents, who lives in a State (AR) that expanded Medicare, and have the option to purchase insurance through the Healthcare Exchange and did not, the penalty is $95.00, next year it will be over $300.00
** If you can verify on paper you could not afford coverage, it is probable based upon your own situation that the fine will be waived. #ACA , #2015TaxChange #2015TaxLawACA
Free File Fillable Forms available 01/31/2016
Free File Fillable Forms Does Not Support States
As of April, 2015, Free File Fillable Forms, does not support States for tax returns. If you are lucky, you will be able to file your State Income Tax on your State's website as a stand-alone, or by linking the information from your Federal Return, with your State Return.
Each Year Brings Changes To Tax Law from Congressional Rulings
There are a lot of changes to the 1040 Tax Form starting with TY (Tax Year) 2012, and even more has occurred due to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Free File Fillable Forms was available for your Federal Tax Return, but they are still not supporting the States for State Tax Returns. (2015)
There are a listing of Free File sites who offer free tax filing for Federal Taxes (within certain income guidelines), and many support free returns for Military Members, but few are offering free State tax filing.
I researched the Free Tax Filing firms that can be reached through the IRS website www.irs.gov, and then you leave the IRS website to go to the different firm's sites. TaxHawk is one that has been approved for several States, and for certain incomes offers not only free Federal filing, but some States as well.
Always use these sites at your own risk. Keep in mind, if your tax return is complicated it will be a smaller price to pay by hiring a professional to make sure you get the best advantage at tax time. Although you may be eligible for Credits, and deductions, the IRS will not offer them to you.
If you receive notice from the IRS that you owe money from a previous tax return, if you are not an expert, do visit one to make sure you are getting the best legal tax advantage.
Good Luck, and happy filing.
Free File Fillable Forms this is a lot of F's, so I call it 4-F to stay as sane as possible.
This article pertains to the Free File Fillable Forms available on the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) website. The web address is www.irs.gov/Individual > e-file > Free File/Fillable Forms. [click = >]
This is a free way to File electronically in 2016 for the 2015 tax year. The 4-F FFFF, is simply the paper forms, tax return that the taxpayer used to do by hand, on paper.
Many of us old school taxpayers, insist on preparing our taxes manually. Spending the 45 minutes to 113 hours, doing the return. It is stressful, but this program makes it easier, because each time you need "Information about this form", Free File Fillable Forms, directs the taxpayer to IRS web pages for answers.
I am a tax expert, and have done taxes since 1974. I worked when I was a young person, and did not intend to lose my $30.00 of withholding, by having to pay an accountant or CPA to do my taxes. As a youngster, I ordered tax forms, and instruction booklets, by letter, from the IRS. I dove in and read. Do not ask me why I could understand tax law as an adolescent. To this day, I still keep up with tax law changes.
I relate to our Nation's recent History in tax law, and tax changes that took place with each Congress and President since the mid 1970's.
"Do You Want to Leave the IRS Site?" Is What You Are Looking For
Now that you have found the IRS Free File page, whether you choose FFFF or to use another software company, you will be asked, "Do you want to leave the IRS website?", say yes.
- Always make sure you understand their terms before you complete and file your completed tax return.
- Always get a copy. Print or save to some type of drive that you will be able to access.
- Do not save to a public computer, or someone else's computer.
Yes, you can go directly to a free software tax site, without using the IRS site, but for me personally, it seems safer.
Old and New Tax History
The thing about being a tax expert who keeps track of tax law changes over four decades, (because she is a nerd) there are some true facts that cannot be re-written. Tax law has been what it is because of
- The Congresses who have been involved in Tax Law changes each fiscal year
- The Citizen's or businesses who had the most clout had their wills heard for tax law changes
- The President has an agenda, and a budget. The standing President has a lot of effect on tax law changes.
The IRS are really just the handlers. The IRS is the accounting branch. To simplify matters (HA!), there is an army of CPA's, Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, Accountants, Clerks, and gofer's that stand at the ready to check the math of every taxpayer who submits a tax return.
It is the US Treasury who holds and releases , liens and seizes funds . The IRS works with the Department of Justice , who do the enforcement, using Marshall's or agents for hands on legal actions.
The start date for tax filing of January 30, 2013 is the latest date I can remember in decades. I watched C-SPAN from the day after Christmas until January 1st, 2013 to see what was going to happen with the "fiscal cliff" deal. It was frustrating to note that the House of Representatives refuse to show up, call Congress back into session and go to work. The US President left his family and vacation, a majority of the Senate were ready to get to work, but the Speaker of the House refused to do his job, and did not bring back Congress from their holiday break.
The economy has been harmed by this needless contest of wills. The House of Representatives can use all of the fancy word-play they want, but their hi-jinks are causing our nation; and middle class a lot of needless misery. The phrase that continues to echo in my mind is; "cutting off their noses, to spite their faces..." The time for playing political games is over, it is time to bring sanity to the Senate and House of Representatives who are supposed to have our Nation's best in mind.
A word of advice...I would wait at least a week or two after the date the IRS begins accepting returns, to file, because that first couple of days is always an outrageous strain on the world wide web systems, the IRS, and State tax lines. There is always a trial and error period, that is usually worked out by the middle of January.
Free File Fillable Forms is Open -Click Thru
There is a link to request prior year copies.
For those who prepare their tax return each year by hand, this means they are also doing their State Tax Return by hand. Most of the states have fillable PDF forms that can be filled out the same way. Most do not offer e-filing as a separate product.
The FFFF offer printing of your Federal return, which is highly recommended. This will assist you in preparation of your State Taxes, by providing information needed to complete most State returns.
Free File Fillable Form / FFFF (A)
- If you are filing a 1040EZ
- If you are doing a 1040A with W-2 Income
This is Easy Cheesy! Optimum for Parents who do a 1040 Tax Return, and have kids who have income, that must file too. My past experience has been that although it was cheaper at the firm I worked at, it was expensive to do one of these kids returns. When the parents are paying a good $200.00+ for tax prep fees, add $35.00 - $50.00 for each child, it adds up.
Mom! Dad! Junior! Yoo Hoo, This is for you.
Junior, if you are a dependent, when you are completing your tax return, MAKE SURE, you check the box stating you are a Dependent of someone else, and You cannot claim yourself, or EIC.
Link to FFFF
- Before Starting Free File Fillable Forms
You cannot access any live tax programs until January 30
AZ Taxpayers Owed Refunds
The IRS has over 1.1 Billion $$ for those who did not file in 2007. Perhaps many became homeless, and did not realize their eligibility for Earned Income Credit, and other credits and deductions they are eligible for.
I read somewhere that in 2010, FFFF updated the program allowing a prospective taxpayer to go back as many years as they desired, even 1040X filers (those who do an amended return.
If you can file a return in 2016 on FFFF, a taxpayer could take a stab at it, again, be ready to pay a tax pro, have one in mind, and remember he or she will be booked solid the last 2 weeks of tax season, so also have enough of your return computed, and send a token payment in with an extension, unless you are getting a refund. If you.
For those who have not filed your 2013 taxes, time is running out to claim your eligible refund. File your return before April 15th, 2016
The National Women's Law Center
Attention! The IRS & the Women's Center want all taxpayers to check and see if they are eligible for Earned Income Credit.
Many families, and singles who struggle with low wages, are unaware they may be eligible for some Earned Income Credit. There are a lot of sour voices against Earned Income Credit. These are usually the same voices who hire college graduates for $9.25 per hour, or pay management in benefits. Leaving many salaried people making slightly over minimum wage. So that extra income is needed.
Do not look a gift horse in the mouth. Stimulate the economy. Go out to eat at your local restaurant, take a low cost vacation. Take a tour, Spend that extra money.
You need the break and it is healthy for local business. These are merely suggestions, but think about how you feel about how your tax dollars are spent. ?$?
If you had a say as to $300.00 per year were spent, wouldn't you feel as though your tax spending was directed in a way you feel is beneficial to you as a whole? So, here is your chance. Take the extra money, and do what you think your government should do. If it fill your grocery cupboard, plant a garden, buy a solar panel, a greenhouse. Do it.
One does not have to have a child to qualify.
To be eligible for a full or partial credit, a taxpayer must have an adjusted gross income of less than:
- $47,747 ($53,267 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
- $$44,454 ($49,974 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
- $39,131 (($44,651 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
- $14,820 ($20,330 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
Tax Year 2015 maximum credit:
- $6,242 with three or more qualifying children
- $5,548 with two qualifying children
- $3,359 with one qualifying child
- $503 with no qualifying children
Investment income must be $3,400 or less for tax year 2015.
If you are using Free File Fillable Forms, through the IRS website, you must read all instructions, work the worksheets (which are simplified by the "do the math" button). You have to put your real and correctly calculated numbers in, but the FFFF will calculate those pesky percentages and other fractions of the financial balancing act.
Free File Fillable Form / FFFF B).
WARNING!! This is not for the weak of heart. The Free File Fillable Forms or 4-F from the IRS is not a Software program that assists Taxpayers in preparing the tax return.
This is for those who normally prepare a Tax Return by hand, and have successfully done so - OR - you are a tax professional, CPA, Enrolled Agent, Bookkeeper, or understand the Tax Code, and/or can follow instructions like; ...if you are single, but made over $100,000.00, that was not a foreign trade, but beneficial to the American Recovery & Revitalization Act ([for dramatic purposes only, this is not an actual snippet of instruction from the IRS instructions)]
If your only tax experience has been conversations with the Tax Prep girls camped at your local super center, or a Home Edition of Turbo Tax, this is probably not an IRS product you want to use. This is not a put down. Go ahead, knock yourself out. If you are practicing sobriety call your sponsor first. This is merely tax expert attempting to save you from going mad.
For me, to spend an hour preparing my own tax return, with Free File Fillable Fforms to complete my tax return is a very good deal. (This is the second year I have used Free File Fillable Forms, because I am writing about it here and on my Tax Blog. It is my intention to help taxpayers with a Free alternative to costly tax software, and preparation fees.)
Those Who Have Done Your Taxes on Paper...
This way of filing is much more convenient for several reasons:
- "Do the Math" on the (%)percentage calculations
- "Do the Math" on the numbers you have plugged in to the 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040
- If you need further "Instructions for this form", it takes the taxpayer to the IRS website, and the Publication 17. (The yearly publication with general tax code law, rules and instructions for a standard, or small business, LLC tax return)
- Instead of having to find the Federal, State, Taxpayer copy of your Income forms, such as the W-2, you will simply re-create these forms in exact, at the Electronic Filing portion of your return. a). The Federal ID on a W-2 is not always the same as the State, b). Recreate your forms exactly. If the address is different, if they spelled your name wrong, if they added the middle initial, if they did not, do it just like them. c). In some cases it is impossible to fit an employer's entire name, get as close as you can.
- If your Social Security number or Tax ID number is reported on your forms incorrectly, you must request a corrected W-2 (or whatever form income or paid like 1098's), because it will be an error, and could be rejected.
- You are able to request as many of the extraneous forms needed to complete your return. With this program, you can Add or Remove as many forms as you like.
- If you get to the point where you realized you need to leave your 1040A, and "Start Over" with a 1040, none of that information will be transferred. You will be starting over from scratch. At least it is not killing a bunch of trees. Starting with a 1040 will be the way to assure you do a complete return.
Free File Fillable Forms Rocks
My total experience with Free File Fillable Forms has been just like doing a paper return, with some lovely perks. I did e-file successfully.
Many States offers a Fillable PDF form where a taxpayer may fill out their State Tax, then print it off and mail it.
As of 2015 The State of Arkansas does not provide for stand-alone, e-filing for electronic forms.
List of things that must be done to insure your tax filing to go smoother
All Income Forms W-2's, 1099s, 1098s, WG2,5754
Get mileage for each medical provider, pharmacy, clinic, etc
All Out-Go Forms 1098s, Receipts, Donations
Request print out on medical expenses paid out of pocket, unreimbursed
Re calculate all numbers you come up with. Do it at least 2 X to make sure you balance
5 Digit Pin (for e-filers)
Last years AGI or 5 digit pin
Have a copy of prior years taxes
Copies of everything you do. Make a back-up copy.
All receipts for all deductions.
Keep a log of incoming and outgoing income through the year. Monthly is a good way to do this
Any new pin numbers.
Get Interactive Help from The IRS
Have a Tax Expert on Speed Dial for Emergencies.
Taxes are like plumbing. It looks simple enough. A bit of common sense, well-read directions, the right tools, and almost anyone could do a simple plumbing job.
Sometimes when you get started on a plumbing project, and you aren't a professional plumber, there may be things that are missed, signs, that trouble is ahead.
Depending on the complexity of your taxes, like plumbing, you may have gone in with pencil flying, and made grave errors, then you call the tax expert. Guess what. The plumber is going to charge you to get it right.
Doesn't seem fair does it. Work with a net, and or spotters. There is great help to be found, on the IRS website, at www.IRS.gov. The search boxes, are finely tuned for tax law, and tax language.
If you want to stay at the helm of your taxation, understood. The best of luck to you. 1-800-829-1040 They finally got some new songs for eternal hold.
Get The Kids Insured Now!
© 2011 Lori J Latimer
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on March 20, 2016:
The IRS has guidelines and answers. Clear your computer cache / browsing history. Here is a limk: https: // www.irs.gov/uac/Minimum-Computer-Requirements -for-Free-File-Fillable-Forms
ktraphagen on March 19, 2016:
I used the Free File Fillable Forms last year and it was amazing (2014 tax year). This year, I can barely get the site to stay stable long enough to enter a few lines of information before it crashes or gives an error message or say it is updating and come back later. For weeks now I have been trying to do my taxes. Have you heard why there is so much trouble with their server? I may have to just do paper! Thank you, Karyn
Abdinasir Aden from Minneapolis, MN on March 30, 2011:
Very nice article and useful. I missed this year but I'll keep an eye on 4-f for the next year. Thanks for sharing.
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on March 26, 2011:
Dear Ms Katie, thank you for the props! I hope it has been a smoother ride this time. We got some good credits and cuts in taxation. You are smiling, so that is Good.
Katie McMurray from Westerville on March 26, 2011:
I keep getting tax questions from my facebook followers and so I'm back here to share your knowledge. Thanks for the resources on file fillable forms from IRS dot gov. :) Katie
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on February 27, 2011:
Ms Katie! I will send you glad tidings during your trial with taxes. You may be pleasantly surprised on some changes in Medicare and SS withholding amounts. :0) Making Work Pay Credit, and several other breaks for the self-employed. Please do not hesitate to e-mail me if I can help during tax time. Gratis! I am not doing taxes, just aiding.
Katie McMurray from Westerville on February 27, 2011:
Oh yes it is that time again, I need to bite the bullet and do my tax returns. I like filing on line, I've done it for several years now, it's easy. I need to get off my duff and do it again, I appreciate your helpful tips on the new and advanced method of uning free file fillable forms from the IRS dot gov, free is good! :) Katie
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on February 19, 2011:
I have been losing sleep over this. I went to Jackson Hewitt's site this morning, and within their program, is the necessity to include the Federal ID of the University or School attended. Also, whether or not the taxpayer has a relationship with the school attended, and several other things that are addressed no where in the FFFF. I agree that this is not a form that is usually included in filing a regular 1040, 1040A to the IRS, but this is not simply a deduction we are talking about, this is an actual Credit. There are many reasons a taxpayer would/ would not be eligible for this. I also understand that "this information is being supplied to the IRS". So is 1098, and other 'payer/payee' information. Usually there is a request for the Federal ID of the payer/payee. I am in conversation with the IRS on this. Perhaps I am asking the IRS to be a bit more proactive in asking for information provided. Knowing how bogged down the system is, it is surprising that there is nothing more than a dollar amount required.
Harry, you are not misinformed, and experts make errors too. I am still standing by my original opinion that this is an error in the process of crediting actual credits back which is a newer Act. Thank you for your well informed comment. I went ahead and e-filed, an hour ago, so we will see what happens. When I hear back from the IRS, I will post their series of responses. Thank you Harry Goff!
HarryGoff on February 19, 2011:
I don't get why it is necessary to fill out a 1098 T E-form for the electronic FFFF. The procedure for a standard mail, paper filing doesn't require you to do so why should the E-file require it. Furthermore, I cannot find any instructions for filing a paper form that asks the taxpayer to supply the 1098-T information to the IRS. It is required by the IRS for the educational institution to furnish 1098-T's for the IRS and the qualified student. Yes, you do have to fill out a W-2 e-form when E-filing because this replaces the stapling of your W-2 copy that is attached to a paper-sent filing. Therefore, an E-form for a W-2 drops down when using electronic FFFF to replace this stapling just like the E-pin replaces a signature(for paper filing ) with an E-file. I am not a tax expert, but I don't believe the instructions for the 8863 form for paper or E-file requires the taxpayer to send a copy of their 1098 T with the filed 8863 form. Please acknowledge and site where I am misinformed if so. Thanks.
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on February 17, 2011:
Vocalcoach, I am honored by your compliments. I am glad to be helpful, and am extremely thankful for your well wishes! Vitally thankful. :0)
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 16, 2011:
Lilly, thank you so much for this very helpful hub! It has brought me so much information. You really worked hard on this piece...and I want you to know how grateful I am. I think of you often and wish you a peaceful heart.
Hugs for you, Lilly. Up and awesome!
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on February 15, 2011:
always exploring, I totally understand! That deer caught in the headlights feeling. A good tax pro, should put their customers/taxpayers at ease. In my opinion. :0)
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 15, 2011:
Taxes, Yuck! I guess there is still two things we have to do and pay taxes is one of them LOL Great info. A lot of work went into this. Thank's
Lori J Latimer (author) from Central Oregon on February 15, 2011:
Ms Bobbi, Thank You! I worked hard on this, and I have to edit a few times. Glad to be of service. From my heart, thanks.
BobbiRant from New York on February 15, 2011:
This is a great hub especially for many who did not know about this. You have created many useful hubs recently, very, very nice.