Should You Pay Your Taxes With A Credit Card?

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It is hard to beat the convenience of a credit card for purchases, but does that same convenience make it worth paying your taxes by credit card? It might, but that depends on several factors involving money and time. “Your credit card is usually a high-interest option, but it is an option,” explains Betterment Head of Tax Eric Bronnenkant.

Before deciding whether to put your tax bill on plastic, consider the following:

  • Fees – By law, the IRS cannot pay credit card transaction fees. As a result, credit card payments to the IRS are handled through secure third parties approved by the agency. See the IRS website for a list of the approved payment processors and their fees.

    Credit card fees are percentage-based with a minimum “convenience fee” for smaller bills ranging from $2.50 to $2.69. Percentages range from 1.87% to 1.99…

When Credit Card Debt Is Tax-Deductible

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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could deduct your credit card debt from your taxes? For most Americans, that’s just a dream that will never come true. However, some circumstances allow you to deduct some credit card debt – all related to using your card for business purposes.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the standard deduction and eliminated or reduced certain itemized deductions as part of a tax simplification effort. It’s critical for those who still itemize to take advantage of all possible deductions. Self-employed taxpayers and small business owners who rely heavily on credit cards may be able to save by taking advantage of credit-related deductions.

Credit card debt on personal purchases is not tax-deductible, thanks to the 1986 Tax Reform Act. However, three varieties of business-related credit card debt may be deductible.

Interest on credit ca…

Deduct Your Student Loans!

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Chances are that if you have student loans, you need every bit of extra cash that you can get. Did you realize that your student loans might be able to generate some cash for you?

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to save on your tax bill by deducting the interest that you pay on your student loan. The total deduction from your taxable income could be as much as $2,500. As a final bonus, you do not have to itemize to claim this deduction.

To be eligible for the deduction, your loan must meet certain qualifications. It must have been made to cover qualified education expenses as defined in IRS Publication 970, including tuition, fees, and most room and board charges. The loan cannot have come from a relative or via a qualified employer plan, and the e…

How To Avoid Being A Tax-Scam Victim

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To paraphrase the old adage, there are only three absolutes in life: death, taxes, and the rise of scams during tax season.

A major tax scam since 2013 involves phone calls by fictional IRS agents that demand immediate payment for alleged tax debts, threatening lawsuits or even jail time to those who refused to comply. The more sophisticated version of this includes spoofing a legitimate IRS phone number to fool caller-ID systems. The callers also have Social Security numbers and enough personal information to convince the taxpayer that the call is legitimate.

From October 2013 to March 2018, the Treasury Inspector General’s office identified 12,716 confirmed victims, who were swindled out of $63 million through this particular scam.

Other scammers use a carrot instead of a stick. Another significant scam claimed that consumers had been awarded a government grant for h…

Prevent Identity Theft From Affecting Your Taxes

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When your identity is stolen, you have so many potential issues to deal with — changing passwords, closing accounts, dealing with fraudulent charges, and placing fraud alerts with the credit reporting agencies — that you may forget about potential tax fraud. Armed with your personal information, identity thieves can file a fraudulent tax return in your name and receive a refund before you realize your information has been compromised. Sometimes taxpayers are unaware of the breach until they have problems filing their taxes.

What do you do if you fall victim to tax-related identity theft? Start by responding to any IRS notice as instructed. Your first hint that there is an issue could be a notice from the IRS asking you to verify your identity because of a suspicious tax return with your Social Security number.

Remember that almost all legitimate IRS contact will be through a letter in the …

How To Identify Tax Identity Theft

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Tax filing season is upon us. Soon you will be filing your paperwork and perhaps receiving a nice check — unless thieves file a return in your name first and falsely claim your refund.

Unfortunately, if a thief has your Social Security number and other relevant information, tax identity theft is very hard to prevent. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst for Bankrate.com, notes that “somebody could have your Social Security number and they could have been sitting on it for a while… you would have no idea until they go and file a bogus tax return under your Social Security number. You only find out at the point where your legitimate return gets rejected.”

While recent IRS efforts have resulted in a 57% drop in confirmed fraudulent identity theft tax returns from 2015 to 2017 and a 65% …

Tax Identity Theft Lower But Still A Problem

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Identity thieves have many ways to steal your money – including fraudulent tax returns. They file a return in your name as early as possible to beat your legitimate return, with fake financial data designed to claim a large refund. You won’t realize this until your tax return is denied because there’s already been a return filed with your Social Security number. As Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride points out, “Tax ID fraud is one of those things where somebody can have your Social Security number and they could have been sitting on it for a while, and you would have no idea until they go and file a bogus tax return under your Social Security number. You only find out at the point where your legitimate return gets rejected.”

It’s a lucrative but simple scheme – and, with more stolen identities available via large data breaches over the past few years, tax identity theft attempts have…

Mortgage Deduction Claims Will Drop More Than 50%

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Who wants simpler taxes? Most of us do, assuming we also keep more money in the process.

Starting in 2018, homeowners are more likely to have simpler tax returns – but they may need to make similar tax calculations to ensure a lower tax bill.

Tax simplification was part of the pitch to sell the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to the American public. To help achieve this goal, Congress raised standard deductions and reduced or eliminated several itemized deductions with the TCJA to encourage filers to take the standard deduction. Taxes are much simpler if you don’t itemize, and there’s no reason to itemize if your standard deduction is greater than your collective itemized deductions.

The TCJA raised the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly to $24,000 (almost double the previous deduction of $12,700). The standard deduction for single filers rose…

Your Unpaid Student Loan Could Cost You Your Tax Refund

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You anticipated a large refund on your taxes to pay off some bills and put some money away in a rainy-day fund. Unfortunately, the money never showed up. What happened?

Your refund may have gone toward an unpaid bill selected by the government – your unpaid student loan.

Your federal student loan is considered to be in default if you haven’t made a payment in 270 days. When that happens, the federal government has the right to claim your tax refund as payment against the debt, in a process known as an administrative offset. In essence, the government isn’t giving any tax refunds back to you if you aren’t attempting to repay what you already owe the government.

If you’ve lost a tax refund to an offset, you aren’t alone. Student loan default rates are near 11%, giving the government plenty of offset targets. In fiscal 2017, the Treasury Department executed $2.6 billion in tax refund offsets on approximately 1.3 million