Filing for Federal and State Income Taxes
Taxes are an important component of a functioning society. Without taxes in the United States, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, libraries, fire departments, courts, and many other services would not be available to the country’s residents. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects a portion of earnings based on how much income is received. Traditionally, “tax day” is April 15 of every year; however, in 2011, a three-day extension was granted till Monday, April 18 due to Emancipation Day, a holiday celebrated in Washington, D.C. that recognizes the District’s freeing of slaves.
It is important to understand requirements for filing income tax returns. Depending upon age and circumstance, not everyone is required to do so. Investopedia displays a simple income chart that helps clarify the process.
Federal Income Tax
The IRS provides many resources on its website to assist taxpayers of all types—from those who submit on an individual basis to those who employ others in small business settings.
- IRS Video – Presentations for All Federal Tax Areas
- Individuals – Tax Information
- Form 1040 – Individual Income Tax Return
- Form 1040EZ – Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents
- Form W-9 – Identification Number and Certification Request
- Form W-4 – Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
- Small Businesses & Self-Employed
- Businesses or Individuals Seeking Disaster Assistance
- Health Care Tax Credit for Small Businesses
To Do or Not to Do Your Own Taxes: Useful Articles
Should you take care of figuring out your own taxes each year? Jeff Schnepper of MSN Money provides some thought on both sides of this decision. If you choose to invest the time, discover some useful tips by Dan Caplinger on The Motley Fool website, as well as a host of links to other tax preparation and advice articles. The site fivecentnickel.com encourages individuals to tackle their own taxes, arguing that there’s no better way to get an idea of how tax burdens can be minimized. Plenty of software is available to streamline taxes using the computer. Check out a review by About.com that suggests which program may best suit your needs, depending on your particular employment or circumstance. Below are some more helpful articles.
- CNET News- Online Taxes: Watch a video to find out how you can save time by filling out your taxes online.
- On Wall Street – Tax Break Extension: Susan Hartman explains how to benefit from the two-year extension of expiring tax breaks.
- Business Tax Preparation: Popular tax software TurboTax provides tips on record-keeping, partnership agreements, and more.
- eHow Money: Organize Receipts for Tax Deductions: This video emphasizes the importance of keeping receipts in case you become audited.
- Kiplinger – The Most-Overlooked Tax Deductions: Kevin McCormally, Editorial Director, offers up a whopping 19 deduction opportunities.
State Income Tax
Most of the fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia, require their residents to pay a state income tax, and rates vary by state. States are not allowed to tax income from federal bonds, and most do not tax Social Security monies or interest income. Two states, New Hampshire and Tennessee, are distinct in that they do not tax regular income, but instead only tax dividends and interest income. The seven states that impose no income tax whatsoever are:
- South Dakota
Provided for your convenience are links for each state’s tax information, including online and printable forms.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia