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Feature Articles: Taxes


Tax refund advice: Save some, spend some

Refunds are ready to roll out. Keep in mind that refunds are wages you earn throughout the year and should be thought of as hard-earned money rather than found money. Here are some options for putting your refund to good use...more


File a tax return even if you don’t have to

University of Missouri Extension personal finance specialist Andrew Zumwalt gives three reasons why you should file a tax return even if it is not required...more


File income tax returns early

The saying goes, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Early filing of income tax returns can do the same for many, says University of Missouri Extension personal finance specialist Andrew Zumwalt...more


Tips for 2015 tax filing season

With no major changes in the tax code to cover, here are some tax season tips gleaned from experience in a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site...more


Debt forgiveness a taxing situation

Due to the struggling economy, many consumers are taking advantage of debt forgiveness options with creditors and debt buyers. While this may be much-needed relief, debt forgiveness does not come without a price...more


Summer day camp expenses may qualify for a tax credit

Many parents who work or are looking for work must arrange for care of their children under 13 years of age during the school vacation. Summer day camp expenses may qualify for a tax credit...more


Paying to borrow your own money is a bad deal

A refund anticipation loan (RAL) is a short-term consumer loan secured by the borrower’s expected tax refund. But getting tax refund money just a few days earlier can cost you...more


Tax year 2012 – Tips for low-income families

This article reviews some tax areas that may be of interest to low-income families, and highlights changes for the 2012 tax year...more


Tax credits for people who work

Sizeable tax credits still exist for working families - especially those with children - but up to 20 percent of eligible Missouri families still do not file for them. Families making so little that they are not required to file a tax return might greatly benefit from doing so...more


Getting a tax refund? Make it work for you

A big tax refund check can provide a financial boost that some families don’t normally receive. If you plan ahead, you can use your refund to solve problems and meet goals...more


Get more of your refund throughout the year

It is nice to get a big refund at the end of the tax year, but if you think about it, that means you were lending the IRS your money interest free. If you would like to get at least part of your refund in your paycheck throughout the year...more


Online Auction Sellers

If you are an online auction seller, you may have tax responsibilities...more


Beware of tax scams

Don’t fall victim to tax scams. These schemes take several shapes, ranging from promises of large tax refunds to illegal ways of “untaxing” yourself...more


Claiming the Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid someone to care for a child under age 13 or a qualifying spouse or dependent so you could work or look for work, you may be able to reduce your tax by claiming the Child and Dependent Care Credit on your federal income tax return...more


Splitting your refund among multiple accounts

Taxpayers have more choices and flexibility for the direct deposit of their 2008 federal income tax refunds. They can split their refunds among up to three accounts held by as many as three different U.S. financial institutions, such as banks, mutual funds, brokerage firms, or credit unions...more


Advice for choosing a tax preparer

If you pay someone to do your taxes, be careful. Most tax return preparers are professional and honest, but some are not. Consider using the tips below to choose a preparer who best meets your tax preparation needs...more


Are You Eligible for Any of These Tax Credits?

Taxpayers should consider claiming tax credits for which they might be eligible when completing their federal income tax returns, advises the IRS. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed...more


Avoid headaches, prepare tax return early

Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes. The IRS encourages everyone to get a head start on tax preparation. Not only do you avoid the last-minute rush, early filers also get a faster refund...more


Big Tax Refunds Can Cost You

That tax refund may not be cause for celebration. A refund means that you paid too much in taxes during the year. In case you didn’t notice, Uncle Sam didn’t pay you any interest while holding your extra money either...more


Changing Your Address? Notify the IRS

Have you changed your home or business address? If so, you may want to notify the IRS to ensure that you receive any refunds or correspondence. The IRS uses the Postal Service’s change of address files to update taxpayer addresses, but you may want to notify the IRS directly....more


Choose the simplest federal tax form for your needs

There are three forms for filing individual federal income tax returns. They are Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, and Form 1040. If you are filing a federal income tax return on paper, use the simplest form you can. This will reduce the chance of an error that may cost you money or delay the processing of your return...more


Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled

You may be able to take the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled if you are age 65 or older, or if you are retired on permanent and total disability, according to the IRS...more


Credit for Retirement Savings Contributions

If you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement, you may be able to take a tax credit...more


Deducting Costs of Refinancing Your Home

Taxpayers who refinanced their homes may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans...more


Deduction for Educator Expenses

If you are an eligible educator, you may be able to deduct up to $250 of expenses you paid for purchases of books and classroom supplies...more


Early distributions from retirement plans

An early distribution from an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) or a qualified retirement plan need not be a "taxing" experience, according to the IRS...more


Earned Income Credit

The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a federal income tax credit for working families with low to moderate incomes. The EIC, sometimes referred to as the Earned Income Tax Credit, is available to married and single parents or caregivers. Individuals and families without children may also receive the EIC if their incomes are low enough...more


Education credits can help at tax time

Are you footing the costs of higher education for yourself or a dependent you claim for an exemption on your tax return? The IRS says that education tax credits can help offset those costs...more


E-FILE – A smart way to do your taxes

Every year, more taxpayers discover the benefits of filing their tax return electronically. Whether you use a professional tax preparer authorized by the IRS or do it yourself on a home computer, there are many reasons to consider e-filing your tax return this year...more


Faster Refunds through Direct Deposit

Want a faster refund? According to the IRS, more and more taxpayers are choosing direct deposit as the way to get their federal tax refunds. The payment is more secure — there is no check to get lost. And, it’s more convenient — no special trip to the bank to deposit a check...more


Gambling Income and Expenses

Did you hit it big at the casino? With more and more gambling establishments, the IRS reminds people that they must report all gambling winnings as income on their tax return....more


Gift taxes

If you gave any one person gifts that valued at more than $13,000, you must report the total gifts to the Internal Revenue Service and may have to pay tax on the gifts...more


Grandparents raising grandchildren may qualify for tax breaks

Grandparents who have children living in their home may be able to get extra money from or will not have to pay as much to the IRS. Both grandparents and great grandparents can qualify...more


Guidelines for Roth IRA Contributions

Taxpayers confused about whether they can contribute to a Roth IRA should consider guidelines based on the following categories...more


Haven't Filed Last Year's Tax Return? Here's What to Do

There are many reasons you might not have filed a tax return in previous years. Whatever the reason, it’s best to file your return as soon as you can. The failure to file a return can cost you — whether you end up owing more or missing out on a refund. If you owe taxes, a delay in filing may result in a "failure to file" penalty and interest charges. The longer you delay, the larger these charges become. Ignoring any IRS tax bill that you owe will not make it go away...more


How to Avoid Problems at Tax Time

Want to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? These stress-relieving ideas may help you...more


How to check on your tax refund

If you already filed your federal tax return and are expecting a refund, there are a couple of ways to check on its status. Where’s My Refund? is an interactive tool you can use at


How to get a copy of your tax return information

There are two easy and convenient options for obtaining copies of your federal tax return information — tax return transcripts and tax account transcripts — by phone or by mail...more


IRS Resources

The Internal Revenue Service has many forms, free publications on a wide variety of topics, and many resources to help you understand and meet tax filing requirements. If you need IRS materials try one of these easy options...more


Marriage or Divorce: Check Your Social Security Number on Tax Returns

The IRS reminds newlyweds and the recently divorced to make sure names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration...more


Preparing Taxes: Using VITA Sites and Paid Preparers

A great way to save money at tax time is to have your taxes prepared for FREE.  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites provide free tax preparation...more


Recordkeeping for Taxes

You can avoid headaches at tax time by keeping track of your receipts and other records throughout the year, the IRS advises...more


Refund Anticipation Loans: Are They Worth It?

For families trying to make ends meet, getting the W-2 forms needed to file for a tax refund is exciting. After waiting all year, struggling families can get a large lump sum to pay off bills, solve other financial problems or purchase something that they really need or want...more


Should you itemize?

Whether to itemize deductions on your tax return depends on how much you spent on certain expenses last year...more


Simple Steps Can Help Taxpayers with Charitable Donations

As the end of the year approaches, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that they may be able to use their gifts to tax-exempt charitable and religious groups to reduce their taxes...more


Some Refinancing Costs May Be Deductible

Taxpayers who take advantage of lower interest rates to refinance their mortgages may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans...more


Taxable or Nontaxable?

Generally, most income you receive is taxable, according to the IRS. But there are some areas where certain types of income are partially taxed or not taxed at all...more


Taxability of Social Security Benefits

The IRS says that whether your Social Security benefits are taxable depends on your total income and marital status...more


Taxpayer Rights Are a Priority for IRS

The law requires the IRS to protect taxpayer rights, and in its day-to-day operations, the IRS and its employees make taxpayer rights a top priority. This includes explaining those rights to taxpayers...more


Tips and Taxes

Do you work at a hair salon, barber shop, casino, golf course, hotel or restaurant or drive a taxicab? The tip income you receive as an employee from those services is taxable income, according to the IRS. As taxable income, these tips are subject to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes. They may be subject to state income tax as well....more


Toll Free Telephone Service from IRS

Free tax help from the IRS is just a phone call away. The IRS provides various services through its toll-free telephone numbers. You can order forms and publications, listen to prerecorded tax information...more


Choose your correct filing status

Your federal tax filing status is based on your marital and family situation. It is an important factor in determining whether you must file a return, your standard deduction and your correct amount of tax...more


What to do if you haven't received a Form W-2

By January 31st, you should receive a Form W-2 “Wage and Tax Statement” from each employer you worked for to use in preparing your federal tax return...more


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Last update: Tuesday, March 29, 2016