You Can Expect To Pay More If You Have Any Of The Following:
- Real estate taxes or home mortgage interest deductions
- Small business expenses that may qualify for deductions
- Rental income and expenses that may qualify for deductions
- Investment income on stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency
Choosing the Online Assist option adds unlimited, on-demand help from a tax professional throughout your DIY filing process. The service grants you unlimited help from an expert and allows you to screen share, or get help via chat or video. Support can be provided on any device, including a tablet or phone. This service costs anywhere from $69.99 to $194.99, plus $36.99 for a state return, not considering discounts.
If you want to use downloadable computer software, those packages are priced based on the number of income streams and credits/deductions you have, and can range from $29.95 for the basic version up to $89.95 for the Premium and Business options, plus state return and e-file fees, not considering discounts.
Finally, you can choose to have a tax expert prepare your return. On H& R Block’s website, you’ll select your location then see a range of experts available in your area. You can view available tax professionals and pick the one you’d like to work with . The starting price for this option is $69.99, plus $65 per state.
Opportunity To Get Any Stimulus Checks You May Have Missed
If you were eligible to receive stimulus money in 2020 and 2021 , and you didn’t receive all of it, don’t worry. You can claim the missing amount as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes that you file this spring, which will reduce the taxes you owe by the amount you’re still missing from your stimulus payment. This means that you’ll essentially receive your payment as part of your tax refund .
The IRS addresses most questions you may have about this on their Recovery Rebate Credit page.
Review Your Documents From Last Year
When doing taxes yourself, you might want to review the information from your previous years federal and state tax returns. Much of the information will likely be the same, including employer federal ID numbers, childrens Social Security numbers, and even some of your credit or deduction options. The IRS also uses your prior-year AGI to verify your identity when you e-file, which means youll want to make sure you have the information you submitted last year on hand.
Starting with an old return can help you enter information quickly and accurately. One great tip for doing your own taxes is to use a software program such as TaxAct that can often import old tax data. That way you dont have to enter it again, which can save time and reduce the potential for typos and other errors.
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Potential Eligibility For The Earned Income Tax Credit
Some people who experienced a drop in income in 2020 and/or 2021 may now be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a direct reduction in your tax bill that applies to lower-income households, particularly those with children. However, more workers will qualify for EITC in 2021 and receive more than the previous year.
As a quick check, if you earned $57,000 or less in household income in 2021 and have three or more children, you’re likely eligible for the credit. For fewer children, the income limit drops significantly, down to $48,000 in household income for one child and just $21,000 if you don’t have any. The IRS EITC Fast Facts page explains the basics.
What’s the benefit of this credit? The size of the credit goes as high as $6,728 . In addition, individuals and families eligible for Federal EITC could receive a similar credit from their local government in 28 states, D.C. and New York City. For many people, that becomes a direct boost to their tax return, or they can turn a situation where they owe taxes into a situation where they get a refund instead.
How Complicated Are Your Taxes
Lets be honest for a second: If you want a plain vanilla tax filing, you could probably get away with paying a fee close to the minimum range. But the more complicated your tax situation is, the more time itll take to prepare your return. And we all know time is money.
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Can I File My Taxes Online For Free
In Canada, TurboTax makes it simple for anyone with any tax situation to file their taxes for free. These are just a few of the tax situations you could have and use TurboTax Free to file your taxes with the CRA:
- Youre working for an employer and/or are self employed
- Youre a student looking to claim tuition, education, and textbook amounts
- You were unemployed for part or all of 2020, including if you claimed CERB
- Your tax situation was impacted by COVID-19, including if you had to work from home and want to claim related expenses
- You have dependants and want to ensure you claim all related credits and deductions
- Youre retired and receive a pension
- You have medical expenses to claim, including amounts related to COVID-19
- Its your first time filing your taxes in Canada
There are a few situations where youll need to print and mail your return instead of filing online using NETFILE. Dont worry though, you can still enter all your tax info online and well guide you through the process of mailing your return to the CRA.
How Do I Get Help Filing My Taxes Online
If at any point you have a question about your taxes or the software, you can browse answers on our online help forum 24/7, or post a question for our online community of users and experts. While youre filing you may realize that youre looking for more guidance or help with your taxes. In that case you can upgrade to a different TurboTax Online product at any time without losing any of the data youre already entered.
Need more help? TurboTax Live Assist & Review gives you unlimited tax advice from one of our tax experts as you do your taxes, plus a final review before you file to make sure you didnt miss anything. Or if you want to hand off your taxes to one of our experts, TurboTax Live Full Service allows you to simply upload your documents and our experts will complete and file your return for you.
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Keep An Eye On Your Income
You need to file a tax return if you meet or surpass certain levels of income during the year. If youre employed, look at your pay stub for the year to date incomeand if you have more than one job, be sure to add up your income from all your employers. Remember to include income from other sources, too, such as money you make on rental property, anything you sell, investments or interest.
When You Shouldnt Contribute To An Rrsp
There are a few instances when you may be better off not contributing to your RRSP, and instead putting your money elsewhere. Here are a few examples:
If you have high interest debt, such as a credit card balance. Paying down that debt should take priority.
If your tax bracket is the same or lower than the tax bracket youre expecting to be in during retirement. In that case, your money may be better off saved in a TFSA until youre in a higher tax bracket.
If youre in a lower tax bracket now, but expect it to increase in the short-term. Say youre expecting a big raise next year, you might want to use a TFSA for the time being.
We have a great article that compares RRSPs vs TFSAs, and when you should choose one account over the other.
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Rrsp Contributions & Pension Adjustments
If you pay into an employer plan such as a pension, that might impact your limit. Your Notice of Assessment from the CRA will show you how your pension adjustment affects your RRSP contribution limit.
Here are some of the ways your employer plan can impact your RRSP limits:
Pension adjustments and your RRSP contribution limit: If you belong to a pension plan through your employer or union, the amount you can contribute to your RRSP is decreased.
If you have a defined benefit plan, the CRA will estimate the value of the benefit you earned over the course of the prior year.
If you have a defined contribution or deferred profit sharing plan, the adjustment is the total amount you and your employer contributed during the prior year.
Your Notice of Assessment from the CRA will show you how your pension adjustment affects your RRSP contribution limit.
How To Make Changes To Your Tax Return
There are three ways to change your tax return after you file a tax return. The first option is My Account at www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount, using the change my return option.
The second is sending a completed Form T1-ADJ, T1 Adjustment Request to your tax centre. Last, you can send a signed letter to your tax centre and request an adjustment. This is the same for deductions.
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Day Trading Tax Software
Identifying and proving your trader tax status is far easier if you have technology on your side. Today there exists intelligent trading tax software that can store all the required information and data on your trades. Some software can even be linked directly to your brokerage.
This can make filling your taxes a straightforward process. It will also leave you more time for analysing the markets and generating profits.
What Does The Tax Preparation Fee Include
Be sure to ask what’s included in the fee if you decide to use a professional. Do they charge extra for electronic filing, or for each phone calls and office visits? Some firms, especially franchise chains like H& R Block, charge an extra fee for audit protection. You’re basically prepaying for any costs you’d incur if the Internal Revenue Service decides to shine a spotlight on your tax return.
Find out what’s included with your initial fee if your return is audited, and what happens if the mistakes were made by the preparer and were no fault of your own.
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You Can Start The Clock On The Statute Of Limitations
The IRS generally has three years from the date you filed to audit your tax returnsix years if your return includes a substantial understatement of income. But if you dont file a tax return, the clock on that statute of limitations never starts running. In effect, the IRS could come after you in a decade or more and claim that you should have filed a return.
If youre worried about an IRS audit, you may want to file a tax return even if you didnt earn enough to trigger a filing requirement.
How Qualified Do You Want Your Professional To Be
The average tax preparer will charge less than a high-quality advisor with loads of experience. But when it comes to the IRS and your money, the stakes can be high, depending on your specific situation.
Now, dont get us wrong. We want you to save money just as much as you do. But when hiring expertslike tax pros, doctors and mechanicswere all for spending more cash to get the job done right. Paying an extra $100300 on the front end may be worth it in the long run if the expert is thorough, accurate and ends up saving you a ton. Remember, were talking about estimates here, so adjust your professional expectations accordingly.
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When You Should Pay Someone To Do Your Taxes
If you’re going to pay someone to do your taxes, you should be looking for help that is MORE than just data entry. Yes, while a tax preparer is there to actually file your taxes – the process of getting ready to do so can involve a lot of moving parts. And this expert you’re going to hire should be able to help navigate you through it.
Some common examples of when it makes sense to pay someone to do your taxes:
- You make over $200,000 per year
- You had a life event, such as marriage, divorce, or children
- You started a business
- You own complicated investments like partnerships or trusts
- You have questions that you can’t answer
The goal of paying someone to do your taxes should be two-fold. Of course, getting your actual taxes done. And getting help and advice. Some common areas where a paid professional can help include:
- Optimizing your accounts to lower your tax burden
- Ensuring that you qualify for credits and deductions or that you take all credits and deductions you’re qualified for
- Keep accurate records of complicated investments, such as partnerships
- Help you optimize your business structure to lower your taxes
So, when deciding if you should pay someone, keep those ideas in mind when discussing your situation.
Social Security And Government Pensions
Dear Liz: You recently mentioned the windfall elimination provision that affects pensions from jobs that dont pay into Social Security. Im wondering what those jobs are. Are they just part of the gig economy, or is there some other category of jobs that dont pay into Social Security?
Answer: Gig economy jobs are supposed to pay into Social Security, just like the vast majority of other occupations. People with gig jobs are often considered to be self-employed, so instead of paying just 6.2% of their gross wages into Social Security like most workers, they also pay the employers 6.2%, for a total of 12.4% of their earnings.
Some state and local governments have their own pension systems that dont require workers to pay into Social Security. People who get pensions from those systems and who also qualify for Social Security benefits from other jobs can be affected by the windfall elimination provision, which can reduce their Social Security benefit. They also can be affected by the government pension offset, which can reduce or even eliminate spousal and survivor benefits from Social Security. Heres an example:
Answer: Your situation shows why its so important to get sound advice about Social Security before retiring because many people dont understand the basics of how benefits work.
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They Charge An Hourly Rate
If your tax advisor charges by the hour, make sure you find out how much they charge and how much time they expect to spend on your taxes. Usually, a tax pro will charge an hourly fee between $100200 per hour, depending on what kind of tax forms you need to file.6 If they can get your taxes done in less time, you wont get stuck with a high bill at the end.
Avoid Rrsp Tax Penalties
What happens if you go over your RRSP contribution room?
Good news: The CRA gives you a $2,000 cushion for over contributing to your RRSP. So, you can contribute up to $2,000 over the annual maximum limit without being penalized.
Some people like to intentionally use that $2,000 as extra space to contribute more money to their RRSP. We dont recommend it. Once you use up that $2,000 theres no room for error. Any overpayment will cost you.
The penalty for overpaying your RRSP is 1% per month for any amount exceeding the $2,000 cushion. If you overpay by accident, exceeding the $2,000 limit, you need to take the extra assets out of your RRSP as soon as possible. Once theyre withdrawn, the CRA will stop charging a 1% monthly penalty on them.
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How To Get Into A Lower Tax Bracket And Pay A Lower Federal Income Tax Rate
Two common ways of reducing your tax bill are credits and deductions.
Tax credits directly reduce the amount of tax you owe they don’t affect what bracket you’re in.
Tax deductions, on the other hand, reduce how much of your income is subject to taxes. Generally, deductions lower your taxable income by the percentage of your highest federal income tax bracket. So if you fall into the 22% tax bracket, a $1,000 deduction could save you $220.
In other words: Take all the tax deductions you can claim they can reduce your taxable income and could kick you to a lower bracket, which means you pay a lower tax rate.
State And Local Income Taxes
Many states, as well as some cities and counties, have their own income taxes. These are collected in addition to the federal income tax. States that have a state income tax require that you file a separate state tax return, as they have their own rules. If you’re curious about a particular states tax system and rules, visit one of our state tax pages.
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Child And Dependent Care Credit Worth Up $8000
For parents that incur expenses to have their child looked after so that they can go to work, look for work or study, may be able to get up to $8,000 knocked off their tax bill. Even better, the American Rescue Plan made the credit fully refundable in 2021. So, if you owe less in taxes than the amount of the credit you can claim, youll see a larger tax refund this year.
One hitch, you need to have kept all your receipts for the expenses you wish to claim on the credit. Also the math on this credit is also a little tricky and there are rules for eligibility.
Weve improved our identity verification: Taxpayers can now gain entry to several #IRS online services using a new mobile-friendly procedure. More at:
Individuals or households with earnings up to $125,000 will be able to claim 50 percent of up to $8,000 paid toward having their one child or dependent cared for, so that would equate to a credit of $4,000. If you have two or more children the amount of expenses you can claim doubles to $16,000, making the maximum refundable credit $8,000.