Be careful when withdrawing early from your retirement fund

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https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USIRS/bulletins/1856b7c?reqfrom=share

How Exemptions and Dependents Can Reduce Taxable Income

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Source: How Exemptions and Dependents Can Reduce Taxable Income

Take Steps Now for Tax Filing Season

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Source: Take Steps Now for Tax Filing Season

Take steps now to make filing your tax return easier next year

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Begin taking steps now to ensure smooth processing of your 2016 federal tax return next year.

Be sure to make a copy of your 2015 tax return and keep it and all supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Doing so will make it easier to fill out a return next year. In addition, you may need the adjusted gross income amount from your 2015 return to properly e-file your 2016 return.

Check your withholding. This is especially important if you received a large refund or owed a larger than expected amount of tax this year. You can reduce a large refund amount and boost your take-home pay now by claiming additional withholding allowances on the Form W-4 and give it to your employer. If you owed tax, you can have additional tax withheld or make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS. For help, use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov.

You should not count on getting a refund by a certain date next year, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. Though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review. In addition, starting next year, some people will get their refunds a little later. A recent tax law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC. Starting February 15, the best way to check the status of a refund is with the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go Mobile App.

Tax relief available for the wrongfully incarcerated

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Taxpayers who were wrongfully-incarcerated can now take advantage of the new retroactive exclusion from civil damages, restitution or other monetary awards received in connection with their incarceration. The retroactive exclusion is only available through Dec. 19, 2016, for tax years 2012 and earlier that would otherwise be barred in most cases. Eligible taxpayers must file Form 1040X for each year these payments were reported and write “Incarceration Exclusion PATH Act” at the top.

In general, taxpayers can amend their tax returns for tax years 2013 and after by filing Form 1040X within three years after the date they filed their original return. Going forward, there are no reporting requirements for receipt of an award qualifying for the wrongful-incarceration exclusion. This means, for the year an award is received, recipients need not report the award on their Form 1040 tax return or submit any documentation to the IRS.

Details on who qualifies and how to file are contained in this set of frequently asked questions and in an IRS media release posted on IRS.gov.

Tax Time Guide: Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to Charity

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Source: Tax Time Guide: Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to Charity

I am officially open for business today!

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Today the IRS will begin accepting 2015 tax returns for e-filing.

This tax season, the main focus is security of your tax data. Tax-related identity theft is the primary issue that everyone will try to minimize. The IRS, the state tax departments and the tax software companies are all working together to make sure that no data breaches occur this year.  However, there is at least one tax software company, TaxAct, where customer data was compromised between November and December 2015. More info is found here.

On a more positive note, the IRS YouTube channel has released a series of security videos informing taxpayers of ways to secure their wi-fi, passwords, overall  ID theft, etc.

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