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MoneyTips

You have bought an expensive new toy in expectation of your tax refund, and are now desperately waiting for the refund to arrive before the repo man and his large friend Vito come to visit. How can you find out the status of your refund at any time to estimate whether you need to make a run for it?

A more likely scenario is that you are just curious about your refund, and would like to check the status periodically.

In either case, regardless of who prepared your taxes, you need to go through the IRS website to get your answer. Under the Refunds tab at www.irs.gov, you can select the "Where's My Tax Refund?" link and find out the latest on your return. The site is only updated once every 24 hours and is also available in Spanish.

If you e-filed, you can check the status within 24 hours after the submission, but on a traditional paper return, you will have to wait four weeks before checking. This process c...

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MoneyTips

You've received a letter from the IRS regarding an audit. What is your plan? Assuming the fetal position? Heavy drinking? Fleeing the country? Spontaneous combustion? None of these actions is necessary. Simply stay calm and assess the situation objectively.

"Anybody of any income level can potentially get audited," says Betterment Head of Tax Eric Bronnenkant. He advises, "…that people prepare their taxes honestly and truthfully, and also be able to support what they put on their return in the event they get audited."

The letter you receive may be one of three types:

  • Adjustment Letter – This notifies you of a change in your taxes owed, or the refund amount. In this case, it is generally from an obvious wrong number entry or miscalculation on your form. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought about many changes, so it is to be expected that more taxpayers will make these types of errors until they are familiar with the new tax ...

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MoneyTips


Simplification Creates Complexity

Do you love getting a big tax refund? You shouldn't. You paid more than you owed and gave the government an interest-free loan when you could have been putting that money to better use.

Believe it or not, the government agrees. The IRS prefers that you pay the exact amount of taxes that you owe, saving them the effort of dealing with refunds.

In mid-2018, the agency released a draft revision of the 2019 W-4 form designed to help taxpayers estimate withholding given recent tax changes. The current W-4 bases withholding allowances on personal exemptions, which were removed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Without exemptions as a guide, how do you estimate your tax bill? The draft W-4 included a worksheet that requires standard tax form inputs like non-wage income, estimated deductions/credits, and taxable wages for all lower-payi...

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MoneyTips

Procrastinator alert: your taxes are due! If you are nowhere near ready as the scary deadline approaches, you may file an extension with the IRS that gives you up to six more months to file your taxes. Filing an extension will spare you from late filing penalties — 5% of the amount of tax you owe for each month or partial month past the April 15th deadline. The extension is automatic — you do not have to send any justification or reasoning like "I have 5,000 wadded-up receipts crammed in a shoebox."

To file an extension, fill out IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return" and submit it before the April 15th filing deadline. The form and instructions are available at your local IRS office, online at the link above, or throug...

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