Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

IRS Announces Recognition for Same-Sex Marriages

Last week the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that all legal same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes. This move invalidated a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which specifically required that couples must be heterosexual to be recognized as married.The ruling will apply to couples who were married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriage regardless of whether or not the marriage is recognized by the jurisdiction the couple...
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Does Your Tax Withholding Need an Adjustment?

Whether you get a tax refund or you owe taxes after completing your tax return depends largely on how much you paid in taxes throughout the year. If you receive a refund, then you overpaid. On the other hand, owing taxes indicates that you underpaid taxes throughout the year. You probably know, from your paystub, that you have a certain amount of money deducted from your pay for Federal and state taxes. Your employer’s payroll department...
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Lowering Your Tax Bill With the Home Office Deduction

If you’re looking for an additional deduction to help lower this year’s tax bill, consider the home office deduction. Your home office doesn’t necessarily have to be an entirely separate room. Even a section of a room can often qualify for the deduction, but the space has to be your principal place of business. What Qualifies as a Home Office? The IRS has a fairly straightforward test to help you figure out whether your office qualifies...
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Delayed Tax Refunds For More Than 600,000 H&R Block Customers

The IRS already had delays with tax refunds for millions of consumers. Now, an H&R block tax preparation error leads to delayed refunds for about 660,000 taxpayers. The affected taxpayers were those whose returns included Form 8863 for claiming educational credits. Returns are delayed for those taxpayers for up to six weeks. The error was caused, in part, because of a change to IRS requirements for “no” response boxes. In the past, a blank box constituted...
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Tips to Avoid Tax Identity Theft

Tax identity theft is growing in the United States. In fact, 43% of identity theft complaints received by the FTC in 2012 were related to tax fraud. The IRS received close to 940,000 fraudulent tax returns in 2012 (for the 2011 tax year) compared to only 242,124 in 2011. They expect the number to reach 1 million for the 2012 tax year. Thieves don’t need a lot of personal information to commit tax id theft. Just...
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Tax Relief Scammers Ordered to Pay Over $15 Million

American Tax Relief, a company who purported to reduce consumer’s tax debt, has been ordered to pay more than $15 million to the FTC for deceiving consumers. As their name implies, American Tax Relief sold tax debt relief services to consumers. The FTC filed charges against the company for making false claims about significant reductions in previous customers’ tax debts and also for falsely telling consumers they qualified for programs that would lower their tax debt....
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Four Reasons to Use Your Tax Refund on Debt

People who expect to get a tax refund this year have probably already started daydreaming and planning on what they’ll do with the extra money. Last year, the average tax refund was around $3,000. While you may be tempted to use the money on a vacation, shopping spree, new furniture, or electronics, there may be a better way to spend your tax refund – on your credit card debt. The average credit card debt per borrower...
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Tax Season Opens January 30 for Most

Though the tax filing season is open for most taxpayers - whether they are filing electronically or on paper - on January 30th, the Internal Revenue Service will not be ready to accept returns claiming education credits until mid-February, the agency reported on Monday. Those affected by the delay are taxpayers filing form 8863, Education Credits, used to claim two higher education credits -- the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Typically through...
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Options for Filing Income Taxes

At the beginning of every year, millions of Americans get ready to file their income tax return. Some do it because they know they’re legally required to file (whether you’re required to file depends on your age, income, and filing status). Others are eager to receive a refund of taxes that were overpaid throughout the year. You have several options for filing your taxes. You want to choose the one that will maximum your refund and...
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Taxes Due Today! April 17th 2012

If you haven’t filed your 2011 taxes yet, today’s the day. Your completed return and any taxes due must be postmarked or e-filed by midnight tonight to be considered on time by the Internal Revenue Service. This year’s April 17th due date comes later than normal due to a holiday that was observed in Washington on Monday, but those couple of extras days weren’t enough for many of us to complete our returns. If you need...
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