2014 Withholding Calculator (IRS)

Click here to enter 2014 IRS Withholding Calculator

This calculator have five steps . First you have to enter what filing status will you use on your 2014 Income Tax Return: will it be Single, Married filing joint return, Married filing separate return, Head of Household or Qualifying widow(er).

You will also have to enter info about Child and Dependent Care Credit and Child Tax Credit. In Income and Withholding section you will have to enter he total wages, salary, and tips (excluding bonuses) you expect to receive in 2014 , total 2014 contribution to a tax-deferred retirement plan, FSA or HSA, total Federal income tax withheld to date in 2013 (including amounts withheld from bonuses or which you expect to have withheld for bonuses),  Federal income tax withheld from your last salary payment etc.

There is also a video about Withholding Calculator provided by IRS.

IRS Important Tax Dates for Small Businesses – February 2013

Fri    1    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Jan 26-29 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Wed    6    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Jan 30 – Feb 1 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Fri    8    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 2-5 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Mon    11    Employers: Employees are required to report to you tips of $20 or more earned during Jan.
Mon    11    File Forms 940, 941, 943, 944 and/or 945 if you timely deposited all required payments.
Wed    13    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 6-8 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Fri    15    File a new Form W-4 if you claimed exemption from income tax withholding in 2012.
Fri    15    Furnish Forms 1099-B, 1099-S and certain Forms 1099-MISC to recipients.
Fri    15    Deposit payroll tax for Jan if the monthly deposit rule applies.
Fri    15    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 9-12 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Sat    16    Begin withholding on employees who claimed exemption from withholding in 2012 but did not file a W-4 to continue withholding exemption in 2013.
Thu    21    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 13-15 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Fri    22    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 16-19 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Wed    27    Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 20-22 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.
Thu    28    File information returns, including Forms 1098, 1099 and W-2G for payments made during 2012.
Thu    28    File Form W-3 with Copy A of all Forms W-2 issued for 2012.
Thu    28    File Form 8027 if you are a large food or beverage establishment.
Thu    28    File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during January.
Thu    28    File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in January

When To File Form 4868 for 2011 Federal Tax Return – Due Dates, Penalties and Interests

File Form 4868 by April 17, 2012. Fiscal year taxpayers, file Form
4868 by the regular due date of the return.

Taxpayers who are out of the country. If, on the regular due date
of your return, you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or
resident, you are allowed 2 extra months to file your return and pay
any amount due without requesting an extension. For a calendar
year return, this is June 15, 2012. File this form and be sure to
check the box on line 8 if you need an additional 4 months to file
your return.
If you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or resident, you
may qualify for special tax treatment if you meet the foreign
residence or physical presence tests. If you do not expect to meet
either of those tests by the due date of your return, request an
extension to a date after you expect to qualify using Form 2350,
Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return.

You are out of the country if:
• You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your main
place of work is outside the United States and Puerto Rico, or
• You are in military or naval service outside the United States and
Puerto Rico.
If you qualify as being out of the country, you will still be eligible
for the extension even if you are physically present in the United
States or Puerto Rico on the regular due date of the return.
For more information on extensions for taxpayers out of the
country, see Pub. 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident
Aliens Abroad.

Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ filers. If you cannot file your return by
the due date, you should file Form 4868. You must file Form 4868
by the regular due date of the return.
If you did not receive wages as an employee subject to U.S.
income tax withholding, and your return is due June 15, 2012,
check the box on line 9.

Total Time Allowed
Generally, we cannot extend the due date of your return for more
than 6 months (October 15, 2012, for most calendar year
taxpayers). However, there may be an exception if you are living
out of the country. See Pub. 54 for more information.

Filing Your Tax Return
You can file your tax return any time before the extension expires.
Do not attach a copy of Form 4868 to your return.
Interest
You will owe interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date of
your return, even if you qualify for the 2-month extension because

you were out of the country. The interest runs until you pay the tax.
Even if you had a good reason for not paying on time, you will still
owe interest.

Late Payment Penalty
The late payment penalty is usually ½ of 1% of any tax (other than
estimated tax) not paid by April 17, 2012. It is charged for each
month or part of a month the tax is unpaid. The maximum penalty
is 25%.
The late payment penalty will not be charged if you can show
reasonable cause for not paying on time. Attach a statement to
your return fully explaining the reason. Do not attach the statement
to Form 4868.
You are considered to have reasonable cause for the period
covered by this automatic extension if at least 90% of your actual
2011 tax liability is paid before the regular due date of your return
through withholding, estimated tax payments, or payments made
with Form 4868.

Late Filing Penalty
A late filing penalty is usually charged if your return is filed after the
due date (including extensions). The penalty is usually 5% of the
amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late.
The maximum penalty is 25%. If your return is more than 60 days
late, the minimum penalty is $135 or the balance of the tax due on
your return, whichever is smaller. You might not owe the penalty if
you have a reasonable explanation for filing late. Attach a
statement to your return fully explaining the reason. Do not attach
the statement to Form 4868.

Read more

Extensions of Time to File Your Tax Return – Form 4868

There are three ways you can request an automatic extension of time to file a U.S. individual income tax return:

  • you can electronically file Form 4868 (PDF), Application For Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Tax Return;
  •  you can pay all or part of your estimate of income tax due using a credit or debit card; or
  •  you can file a paper Form 4868 by mail.

If you file your Form 4868 electronically you will receive an acknowledgement or confirmation number for your records and you do not need to mail in Form 4868. If you need to pay additional taxes when filing Form 4868 electronically, you may do so through the outside service provider or through e-file. You can refer to your tax software or tax professional for ways to file electronically using e-file services. Several companies offer free filing of Form 4868 through the Free File program that you can access on the IRS.gov website. If you wish to file electronically, be sure to have a copy of last year’s tax return. You will be asked to provide the Adjusted Gross Income from the return for taxpayer verification.

A second way of requesting an automatic extension of time to file your individual income tax return is to pay part or all of your estimate of income tax due by credit card or debit card. You may pay by phone or Internet through one of the service providers listed on Form 4868. Each service provider will charge a convenience fee based on the amount of the tax payment. At the completion of the transaction, you will receive a confirmation number for your records.

You can also request an automatic extension of time to file your individual income tax return by completing paper Form 4868 and mailing it to the appropriate address provided on the Form.

Extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay.

Read  more

Federal Tax Return 2011 – Common Tax Return Errors

File electronically. Filing electronically, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. And best of all, there is a free option for everyone.

Mail a paper return to the right address. Paper filers should check the appropriate address where to file in IRS.gov or their form instructions to avoid processing delays.

Take a close look at the tax tables. When figuring tax using the tax tables, taxpayers should be sure to use the correct column for the filing status claimed.

Fill in all requested information clearly. When entering information on the tax return, including Social Security numbers, take the time to be sure it is correct and easy to read. Also, check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.

Review all figures. While software catches and prevents many errors on e-file returns, math errors remain common on paper returns.

Get the right routing and account numbers. Requesting direct deposit of a federal refund into one, two or even three accounts is convenient and allows the taxpayer access to his or her money faster. Make sure the financial institution routing and account numbers entered on the return are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause a refund to be delayed or deposited into the wrong account.

Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign and date the return. E-filers can sign using a self-selected personal identification number (PIN).

Attach all required forms. Paper filers need to attach W-2s and other forms that reflect tax withholding, to the front of their returns. If requesting a payment agreement with the IRS, also attach Form 9465 or Form 9465-FS to the front of the return. Attach all other necessary schedules and forms in sequence number order shown in the upper right-hand corner.

Keep a copy of the return. Once ready to be filed, taxpayers should make a copy of their signed return and all schedules for their records.

Read more

Higher Education Tax Benefits

Tax credits, deductions and savings plans available to taxpayers to assist with the expense of higher education.

  • A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay.
  • A deduction reduces the amount of your income that is subject to tax, thus generally reducing the amount of tax you may have to pay.
  • Certain savings plans allow the accumulated interest to grow tax-free until money is taken out (known as a distribution), or allow the distribution to be tax-free, or both.
  • An exclusion from income means that you won’t have to pay income tax on the benefit you’re receiving, but you also won’t be able to use that same tax-free benefit for a deduction or credit.

Credits

American Opportunity Credit

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students qualify for a tax credit, the American opportunity credit, to pay for college expenses.

The American opportunity credit originally modified the existing Hope credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, and was later extended for an additional two years – 2011 and 2012, making the benefit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and lifetime learning credits.

Special rules applied to students attending college in a Midwestern disaster area for tax-year 2009, only, when taxpayers could choose to claim either a special expanded Hope credit of up to $3,600 for the student or the regular American opportunity credit.

If you have questions about the American opportunity credit, these questions and answers might help. For more information, see American opportunity credit.

Hope Credit

The Hope credit generally applies to 2008 and earlier tax years. It helps parents and students pay for post-secondary education. The Hope credit is a nonrefundable credit. This means that it can reduce your tax to zero, but if the credit is more than your tax the excess will not be refunded to you. The Hope credit you are allowed may be limited by the amount of your income and the amount of your tax.

The Hope credit is for the payment of the first two years of tuition and related expenses for an eligible student for whom the taxpayer claims an exemption on the tax return. Normally, you can claim tuition and required enrollment fees paid for your own, as well as your dependents’ college education. The Hope credit targets the first two years of post-secondary education, and an eligible student must be enrolled at least half time.

Generally, you can claim the Hope credit if all three of the following requirements are met:

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

You cannot take both an education credit and a deduction for tuition and fees (see Deductions, below) for the same student in the same year. In some cases, you may do better by claiming the tuition and fees deduction instead of the Hope credit.

Education credits are claimed on Form 8863, Education Credits (Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits). For details on these and other education-related tax breaks, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits of Education.

Lifetime Learning Credit

The lifetime learning credit helps parents and students pay for post-secondary education.

For the tax year, you may be able to claim a lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for all students enrolled in eligible educational institutions. There is no limit on the number of years the lifetime learning credit can be claimed for each student. However, a taxpayer cannot claim both the Hope or American opportunity credit and lifetime learning credits for the same student in one year. Thus, the lifetime learning credit may be particularly helpful to graduate students, students who are only taking one course and those who are not pursuing a degree.

Generally, you can claim the lifetime learning credit if all three of the following requirements are met:

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

If you’re eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit and are also eligible to claim the Hope or American opportunity credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both.

If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the Hope or American opportunity credit for one student and the lifetime learning credit for another student in the same year.

Deductions

Tuition and Fees Deduction

You may be able to deduct qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. The qualified expenses must be for higher education.

The tuition and fees deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000. This deduction, reported on Form 8917, Tuition and Fees Deduction, is taken as an adjustment to income. This means you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). This deduction may be beneficial to you if, for example, you cannot take the lifetime learning credit because your income is too high.

You may be able to take one of the education credits for your education expenses instead of a tuition and fees deduction. You can choose the one that will give you the lower tax.

Generally, you can claim the tuition and fees deduction if all three of the following requirements are met:

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is yourself, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

You cannot claim the tuition and fees deduction if any of the following apply:

  • Your filing status is married filing separately.
  • Another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. You cannot take the deduction even if the other person does not actually claim that exemption.
  • Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is more than $80,000 ($160,000 if filing a joint return).
  • You were a nonresident alien for any part of the year and did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
  • You or anyone else claims an education credit for expenses of the student for whom the qualified education expenses were paid.

Student-activity fees and expenses for course-related books, supplies and equipment are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees and expenses must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

Generally, personal interest you pay, other than certain mortgage interest, is not deductible on your tax return. However, if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $75,000 ($150,000 if filing a joint return), there is a special deduction allowed for paying interest on a student loan (also known as an education loan) used for higher education. Student loan interest is interest you paid during the year on a qualified student loan. It includes both required and voluntary interest payments.

For most taxpayers, MAGI is the adjusted gross income as figured on their federal income tax return before subtracting any deduction for student loan interest. This deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500.

The student loan interest deduction is taken as an adjustment to income. This means you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions on Form 1040′s Schedule A.

Qualified Student Loan

This is a loan you took out solely to pay qualified education expenses (defined later) that were:

  • For you, your spouse, or a person who was your dependent when you took out the loan.
  • Paid or incurred within a reasonable period of time before or after you took out the loan.
  • For education provided during an academic period for an eligible student.

Loans from the following sources are not qualified student loans:

  • A related person.
  • A qualified employer plan.

Qualified Education Expenses

For purposes of the student loan interest deduction, these expenses are the total costs of attending an eligible educational institution, including graduate school. They include amounts paid for the following items:

  • Tuition and fees.
  • Room and board.
  • Books, supplies and equipment.
  • Other necessary expenses (such as transportation).

The cost of room and board qualifies only to the extent that it is not more than the greater of:

  • The allowance for room and board, as determined by the eligible educational institution, that was included in the cost of attendance (for federal financial aid purposes) for a particular academic period and living arrangement of the student, or
  • The actual amount charged if the student is residing in housing owned or operated by the eligible educational institution.

Business Deduction for Work-Related Education

If you are an employee and can itemize your deductions, you may be able to claim a deduction for the expenses you pay for your work-related education. Your deduction will be the amount by which your qualifying work-related education expenses plus other job and certain miscellaneous expenses is greater than 2% of your adjusted gross income. An itemized deduction may reduce the amount of your income subject to tax.

If you are self-employed, you deduct your expenses for qualifying work-related education directly from your self-employment income. This may reduce the amount of your income subject to both income tax and self-employment tax.

Your work-related education expenses may also qualify you for other tax benefits, such as the tuition and fees deduction and the Hope and lifetime learning credits. You may qualify for these other benefits even if you do not meet the requirements listed above.

To claim a business deduction for work-related education, you must:

  • Be working.
  • Itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or 1040NR) if you are an employee.
  • File Schedule C (Form 1040), Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), or Schedule F (Form 1040) if you are self-employed.
  • Have expenses for education that meet the requirements discussed under Qualifying Work-Related Education, below.

Qualifying Work-Related Education

You can deduct the costs of qualifying work-related education as business expenses. This is education that meets at least one of the following two tests:

  • The education is required by your employer or the law to keep your present salary, status or job. The required education must serve a bona fide business purpose of your employer.
  • The education maintains or improves skills needed in your present work.

However, even if the education meets one or both of the above tests, it is not qualifying work-related education if it:

  • Is needed to meet the minimum educational requirements of your present trade or business or
  • Is part of a program of study that will qualify you for a new trade or business.

You can deduct the costs of qualifying work-related education as a business expense even if the education could lead to a degree.

Education Required by Employer or by Law

Education you need to meet the minimum educational requirements for your present trade or business is not qualifying work-related education. Once you have met the minimum educational requirements for your job, your employer or the law may require you to get more education. This additional education is qualifying work-related education if all three of the following requirements are met.

  • It is required for you to keep your present salary, status or job.
  • The requirement serves a business purpose of your employer.
  • The education is not part of a program that will qualify you for a new trade or business.

When you get more education than your employer or the law requires, the additional education can be qualifying work-related education only if it maintains or improves skills required in your present work.

Education to Maintain or Improve Skills

If your education is not required by your employer or the law, it can be qualifying work-related education only if it maintains or improves skills needed in your present work. This could include refresher courses, courses on current developments and academic or vocational courses.

Savings Plans

529 Plans

States sponsor 529 plans — qualified tuition programs authorized under section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code — that allow taxpayers to either prepay or contribute to an account for paying a student’s qualified higher education expenses. Similarly, colleges and groups of colleges sponsor 529 plans that allow them to prepay a student’s qualified education expenses. These 529 plans have, in recent years, become a popular way for parents and other family members to save for a child’s college education. Though contributions to 529 plans are not deductible, there is also no income limit for contributors.

529 plan distributions are tax-free as long as they are used to pay qualified higher education expenses for a designated beneficiary. Qualified expenses include tuition, required fees, books and supplies. For someone who is at least a half-time student, room and board also qualify.

For 2009 and 2010, an ARRA change to tax-free college savings plans and prepaid tuition programs added to this list expenses for computer technology and equipment or Internet access and related services to be used by the student while enrolled at an eligible educational institution. Software designed for sports, games or hobbies does not qualify, unless it is predominantly educational in nature. In general, expenses for computer technology are not qualified expenses for the American opportunity credit, Hope credit, lifetime learning credit or tuition and fees deduction.

Coverdell Education Savings Account

This account was created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses. Unlike a 529 plan, a Coverdell ESA can be used to pay a student’s eligible k-12 expenses, as well as post-secondary expenses. On the other hand, income limits apply to contributors, and  the total contributions for the beneficiary of this account cannot be more than $2,000 in any year, no matter how many accounts have been established. A beneficiary is someone who is under age 18 or is a special needs beneficiary.

Contributions to a Coverdell ESA are not deductible, but amounts deposited in the account grow tax free until distributed. The beneficiary will not owe tax on the distributions if they are less than a beneficiary’s qualified education expenses at an eligible institution. This benefit applies to qualified higher education expenses as well as to qualified elementary and secondary education expenses.

Here are some things to remember about distributions from Coverdell accounts:

  • Distributions are tax-free as long as they are used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition and fees, required books, supplies and equipment and qualified expenses for room and board.
  • There is no tax on distributions if they are for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. This includes any public, private or religious school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law. Virtually all accredited public, nonprofit and proprietary (privately owned profit-making) post-secondary institutions are eligible.
  • Education tax credits can be claimed in the same year the beneficiary takes a tax-free distribution from a Coverdell ESA, as long as the same expenses are not used for both benefits.
  • If the distribution exceeds qualified education expenses, a portion will be taxable to the beneficiary and will usually be subject to an additional 10% tax. Exceptions to the additional 10% tax include the death or disability of the beneficiary or if the beneficiary receives a qualified scholarship.

For more information, see Tax Tip 2008-59, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.

Scholarships and Fellowships

A scholarship is generally an amount paid or allowed to, or for the benefit of, a student at an educational institution to aid in the pursuit of studies. The student may be either an undergraduate or a graduate. A fellowship is generally an amount paid for the benefit of an individual to aid in the pursuit of study or research. Generally, whether the amount is tax free or taxable depends on the expense paid with the amount and whether you are a degree candidate.

A scholarship or fellowship is tax free only if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are a candidate for a degree at an eligible educational institution.
  • You use the scholarship or fellowship to pay qualified education expenses.

Qualified Education Expenses

For purposes of tax-free scholarships and fellowships, these are expenses for:

  • Tuition and fees required to enroll at or attend an eligible educational institution.
  • Course-related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for the courses at the eligible educational institution. These items must be required of all students in your course of instruction.

However, in order for these to be qualified education expenses, the terms of the scholarship or fellowship cannot require that it be used for other purposes, such as room and board, or specify that it cannot be used for tuition or course-related expenses.

Expenses that Don’t Qualify

Qualified education expenses do not include the cost of:

  • Room and board.
  • Travel.
  • Research.
  • Clerical help.
  • Equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment in or attendance at an eligible educational institution.

This is true even if the fee must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. Scholarship or fellowship amounts used to pay these costs are taxable.

You may exclude certain educational assistance benefits from your income. That means that you won’t have to pay any tax on them. However, it also means that you can’t use any of the tax-free education expenses as the basis for any other deduction or credit, including the Hope credit and the lifetime learning credit.

Exclusions from Income

Employer-Provided Educational Assistance

If you receive educational assistance benefits from your employer under an educational assistance program, you can exclude up to $5,250 of those benefits each year. This means your employer should not include the benefits with your wages, tips, and other compensation shown in box 1 of your Form W-2.

Educational Assistance Program

To qualify as an educational assistance program, the plan must be written and must meet certain other requirements. Your employer can tell you whether there is a qualified program where you work.

Educational Assistance Benefits

Tax-free educational assistance benefits include payments for tuition, fees and similar expenses, books, supplies, and equipment. The payments may be for either undergraduate- or graduate-level courses. The payments do not have to be for work-related courses. Educational assistance benefits do not include payments for the following items.

  • Meals, lodging, or transportation.
  • Tools or supplies (other than textbooks) that you can keep after completing the course of instruction.
  • Courses involving sports, games, or hobbies unless they:
    • Have a reasonable relationship to the business of your employer, or
    • Are required as part of a degree program.

Benefits over $5,250

If your employer pays more than $5,250 for educational benefits for you during the year, you must generally pay tax on the amount over $5,250. Your employer should include in your wages (Form W-2, box 1) the amount that you must include in income.

Working Condition Fringe Benefit

However, if the benefits over $5,250 also qualify as a working condition fringe benefit, your employer does not have to include them in your wages. A working condition fringe benefit is a benefit which, had you paid for it, you could deduct as an employee business expense. For more information on working condition fringe benefits, see Working Condition Benefits in chapter 2 of Publication 15-B, Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.

Source IRS

Check Federal Tax Refund Status with IRS2Go – Smartphone Application for Mobile Devices (Android, iPhone)

Download the IRS2Go App

If you have an Apple iPhone or iTouch, you can download the free IRS2Go app by visiting the iTunes app store.

If you have an Android device, you can visit the Android Marketplace to download the free IRS2Go app.

Available features:

Get Your Tax Record
You can request your tax return or account transcript using your smartphone. IRS2Go allows you to request this information, which will be mailed to you within several business days.

Get Your Refund Status
You can check the status of your federal income tax refund using IRS2Go. Simply enter your Social Security Number, which will be masked and encrypted for security purposes, then select your filing status and enter the amount of your anticipated refund from your 2011 tax return. If you e-file your return, you can check your refund status within a few days. If you file a paper tax return, you will need to wait three to four weeks to check your refund status because it takes longer to process a paper return.


 

Federal Tax Refund for 2011 Tax Year

Taxpayers can help ensure their refund arrives as expected by submitting an error free return. Use the correct Social Security number or taxpayer identification number, the correct address, and the correct bank and routing number if electing direct deposit.

You don’t need to wait on the phone to check on the status of your refund. The fastest and best way to get information on your refund is through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app. Information about refund status is available about three days after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or four weeks after mailing a paper return.

The free IRS2Go application is available at the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace.

When checking the status of your refund through these IRS online tools, you will need to have your federal tax return handy. To get your personalized refund information you must enter the following information on the safe and secure IRS.gov website or phone app:

  • Your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number;
  • Your filing status, which will be Single, Married Filing Joint Return, Married Filing Separate Return, Head of Household or Qualifying Widow(er); and
  • Exact whole dollar refund amount shown on your tax return.

Once you’ve entered your personal information, and depending on the status of your refund, our online tool may provide several pieces of information, including acknowledgement that your return was received and is being processed, the mailing or payment issuance date of your refund, and possibly a notification that the IRS could not deliver your refund due to an incorrect address.

2012 Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly will taxpayers get refunds?

  • Following technology improvements, the IRS will issue refunds to more taxpayers in as few as 10 days this year. But taxpayers should keep in mind that many variables can affect the speed of a tax refund.
  • The IRS issues more than 90 percent of refunds within 21 days

Why can’t the IRS tell me the exact date I will get my refund?

  • The IRS reminds taxpayers that refund time frames provided by the “Where’s My Refund?“ IRS2Go smartphone application (app) and tax providers are projected time frames and are subject to revision. Many different factors can affect the timing of the refund after the IRS receives the return for processing.
  • Also, keep in mind that the date “Where’s My Refund“ provides is the estimated date the IRS will issue the refund, not the date the taxpayer will get the refund. It may take up to five additional days for the financial institution to post the refund to your account, or for mail delivery.

Why did my refund date on “Where’s My Refund”change?

Refund dates change in “Where’s My Refund” as a tax return moves through IRS processing. A date change is not a sign of a problem for a person’s tax return. No action is needed by the taxpayer, unless “Where’s My Refund” specifically indicates that an action is needed.

The estimated refund date initially provided via “Where’s My Refund” is just that, an estimate based on a best-case scenario in which the tax return was filed accurately and there are no corrections or reviews required. However, there are many factors that could affect the processing of a taxpayer’s return that may also change the estimated date the refund will be issued. These could include:

  • The IRS balances customer service and tax compliance by reviewing tax returns to prevent fraudulent and erroneous refunds. These critical reviews could add time to refund processing, even for some legitimate returns.
  • The IRS may need time to fix a simple error, like a math error.
  • Refund timeframes can also be affected by such factors as bankruptcy, an open audit or a balance due on a related account such as a different tax year.

If a tax return is affected by one of these factors or by an IRS processing system delay, “Where’s My Refund” will generally provide updated information as that return is processed and/or an updated estimate as the actual refund date becomes more clear.

The date “Where’s My Refund” provided is different than the date my tax preparer or tax software provided. What should I do?

  • The IRS reminds taxpayers that refund time frames provided by “Where’s My Refund” and tax providers are projected time frames and are subject to change. Many different factors can affect the timing of the refund after the IRS receives the return for processing.
  • The IRS issues the vast majority of refunds in 21 days or less so even though the issue date provided to you may have changed, it’s very likely that your refund is on its way.
  • There is no need to call unless you get a specific message indicating that you should. If the IRS needs more information to process your return, they will contact you by mail. The telephone assistors do not process refunds and will not be able to provide additional information.

Will calling the IRS give me additional information or speed my refund?

  • No, calling the IRS won’t do anything to speed your refund. The IRS processes more than 140 million tax returns each year, and our telephone assistors are not the people who actually process tax returns.
  • The best option for taxpayers is to check “Where’s My Refund” or IRS2Go and remember the vast majority of tax refunds will be issued within 21 days.
  • More information about the refund process is available in our YouTube video, When Will I Get My Refund?, and an IRS fact sheet.

Is the estimated date provided by my tax preparer, tax software or “Where’s My Refund” a guarantee of when I will get my refund?

Unfortunately, the IRS cannot guarantee a taxpayer will get their refund on a certain date. While estimates are provided as the return is processed, the IRS emphasizes these are “best-case scenarios” where tax returns are filed accurately and no corrections or review are required.

What might cause a taxpayer’s return to take longer to process?

  • Common errors can delay processing and extend refund timelines. Ensure your refund arrives as expected by submitting an error-free return. Use the correct Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers, address, and bank and routing numbers if electing direct deposit.
  • To balance taxpayer service, quick refunds and tax compliance, the IRS must review refunds to prevent fraudulent and erroneous refunds. These critical reviews can add time to refund processing, even for some legitimate tax returns.
  • The IRS also periodically adjusts its technology systems during the filing season, which can also factor into short refund delays.

What is the best way to file for an accurate return and a fast refund?

  • Using e-file with direct deposit remains the fastest option for taxpayers.
  • E-file remains the best way to ensure an error-free return. However, certain taxpayers, like those claiming the adoption credit, must file paper tax returns so that they can submit required documentation. Paper returns take longer to process.
  • Ensure your refund arrives as expected by submitting an error free return. Use the correct Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers, address, and bank and routing numbers if electing direct deposit.

What’s the best way for taxpayers to check on the status of their refund?

  • You don’t need to call and wait on the telephone. The fastest and best way to check the status of your refund is through the “Where’s My Refund” tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go smartphone app.
  • Generally, information about refund status is available about three days after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or four weeks after you mailed a paper return.
  • The IRS works hard to issue refunds as quickly as possible. But the IRS cautions taxpayers not to tie major financial decisions to the receipt of their tax refund by a specific date.

How does the IRS’s Refund Cycle Chart used by tax professionals differ from general refund timelines?

  • The IRS Refund Cycle Chart is a tool provided to help tax professionals provide a best-case estimate when the IRS may issue a refund based on when the return is accepted by the IRS. The refund time frames provided by the Refund Cycle Chart are best-case estimates and subject to revision as many different factors can affect the timing of the refund after the IRS receives the return for processing.
  • The times listed on the Refund Cycle Chart are the best-case scenarios for refunds. These refund times routinely differ from those listed on Where’s My Refund and the IRS2Go smartphone app.
  • It’s important to note that the chart is only for electronically filed returns, but it does show timelines for both direct deposit and mailed checks. The dates on the Refund Cycle Chart are the best-case estimate date the IRS will issue the refund, not the date the taxpayer will receive it. Also, remember many factors can extend refund receipt timelines, including IRS reviews, banking practices and speed of mail delivery.

Check online – Where is my refund?

Source: IRS website

2012 EITC Income Limits and Maximum Credit Amounts

Earned Income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $45,060 ($50,270 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $41,952 ($47,162 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $36,920 ($42,130 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $13,980 ($19,190 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

Tax Year 2012 maximum credit:

  • $5,891 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,236 with two qualifying children
  • $3,169 with one qualifying child
  • $475 with no qualifying children

Investment income must be $3,200 or less for the year.

For more information on whether a child qualifies you for  EITC, see Publication 596, Chapter 2, Rules If You Have a Qualifying Child.

The Tax Relief and Job Creation Act signed into law December of 2010 provides a temporary increase in EITC and expands the credit for workers with three or more qualifying children. These changes are temporary and apply to 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax years.

IRS

Free File (Federal Income Tax Return)

What is Free File? 
Free File provides free federal tax prep and e-file for taxpayers, either through brand-name software or online fillable forms. This year, you have until April 15, 2014, to file and pay your taxes or request an extension.

Who can use Free File?
You can, if your  Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) was $58,000 or less in 2013. You can use free brand-name software. You can find the company that’s best for you using the “Help Me Find Free File Software” tool. If your income was higher than $58,000, Free File Fillable Forms is available.

May I also file my state return for free?
Some participating Free File companies offer free state tax prep and e-file. Check the company’s Free File home page to learn if free state income tax prep and e-file are available.

Note: AK, FL, NV, NH, SD, TN, TX, WA and WY do not have a state income tax return filing requirement for reporting W2 wage income. Two of these, NH and TN, require taxpayers to file returns for individual interest and dividend income.

What forms and schedules can I  use to Free File?
Free File offers the most commonly filed forms/schedules. Review the list of most commonly filed forms. If a form/schedule is not listed, check the company’s website for more information.

May I use Free File to e-file my prior year return?
No. We are not set-up to accept prior year Free File returns electronically.

How do I get a copy of my return? 
Always remember to print your return after you successfully e-file. If you forget to print your return, order a free transcript from IRS. Depending on the type of transcript your request, you’ll get more or less of the information from your return.

Is customer support service available for Free File?
Yes. Access the Free File company’s website to find customer support contact information. Browse the company’s website to find free customer service options such as online assistance, or an e-mail address for technical and/or tax law assistance. Direct specific questions about your individual tax return to the tax software company you are using. Contact the Free File company to resolve issues related to the company’s software. If you are not able to resolve your issue, try another Free File company’s software.

Where do I enter the six-digit Identity Protection PIN?
If the IRS sent you a letter with an Identity Protection PIN, enter the six-digit PIN in the appropriate place in the Free File software you have selected.

Where can I find answers to tax law questions? You can get answers to many questions on IRS.gov. Try the Interactive Tax Assistant, use Search in the upper right corner of IRS.gov, and check Tax Topics, Help and Resources and Individuals. If you still don’t find the answer to your question, call our toll-free tax assistance line at 1-800-829-1040 for individual tax questions or 1-800-829-4933 for business tax questions.

More info