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How Do I Fill Out a 1040 IRS Form?

How Do I Fill Out a 1040 IRS Form?

An IRS 1040 form is the standard federal income tax form that is used to report an individual’s gross yearly income. The form can seem confusing and overwhelming if you don’t know how to fill it out, but if you break it down into sections it will be much easier.   

Filling Out Your Personal Information

The top part of the 1040 form is just asking you for your basic personal information. You will need to include your name, address, social security number, etc. This part of the form also asks you for your filing status. Are you single or married? If you’re married, are you filing your taxes jointly or separately?

Exemptions

The next part of the 1040 form covers exemptions. Generally, you are entitled to one exemption for yourself, one for your spouse, and one for each of your dependents. Fill in the information that is required and add up the total number of exemptions you are claiming.

Lines 7-22 (Income)

You can find this information from tax documents that have been provided to you by your employer. List each of your incomes on the appropriate line and on line 22 add up all of the amounts to determine your “total income”.

Lines 23-37 (Adjusted Gross Income)

In this section you will enter any of your deductions to come up with your “adjusted gross income”. Common deductions include Traditional IRA contributions, tuition and fees deduction, and contributions to a Health Savings Account.

Lines 38-55 (Tax and Credits)

You will use these lines to determine the amount of income tax you are responsible for paying over the course of the year. In this section credits are valuable because they reduce the tax amount you may owe.

Lines 56-60 (Other Taxes)

This is where you will enter any other taxes you are responsible for. Things such as self-employment tax and the additional 10% tax for early IRA withdrawals go here.

Lines 61-76 (Payments, Refund Amount/Amount Owed)

Any taxes that you have already paid in the form of wage withholding or quarterly estimated tax payments will be put in this section. Enter the sum of all your payments and enter the total on line 71. If the sum of your payments is less than your total tax, the difference is the amount you owe to the IRS. If the sum of your payments is greater than your total tax, the difference is the amount of your tax refund that you will be receiving back from the IRS.

The Last Step

The last step is just as important as each of the other steps. This is where you sign and date your 1040 form. If you are filing jointly with your spouse, you both need to sign and date the form. If you are filing by yourself, you are the only person that needs to sign and date. If you send in your 1040 form unsigned, it cannot be processed. This will cause a delay in your tax return being filed.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

How to Get a Refund Advance Loan (RAL)

How to Get a Refund Advance Loan (RAL)

A Refund Advance Loan (RAL) is a short-term consumer loan that can be taken out with an expected tax refund as collateral. These loans were created to give you access to your tax refund sooner than the IRS can get it to you. Once you file your taxes, you will know if you are due a refund from the IRS. With this expected refund, your tax preparer can lend you a certain amount of money knowing that your tax refund will pay off the loan balance.

If a Refund Advance Loan is something you are interested in, talk to your tax preparer for more specific information. They will help you determine if you are qualified and how much you qualify for. They will have you fill out an application and once your application is processed and approved, they can get your money to you.

Benefits of a Tax Refund Advance Loan

You may have a large planned purchase that you need to make, and you are wanting to get the money from your tax refund sooner. With a Refund Advance Loan, you can have access to money quicker than your actual tax refund that is coming from the IRS. Sometimes unexpected emergencies come up and you need money. Refund Advance Loans provide a way to make this possible for you.

Refund Advance Loans are low interest, collateral-backed loans. This makes it more feasible for anyone expecting a tax refund to be approved for one. You also don’t have to worry about how you will pay this loan back because your tax refund will take care of it. You DO still have to pay the loan off, but you won’t be stuck making difficult high monthly payments because your tax refund will pay it off.

Who Qualifies?

Anyone who is expecting a tax refund from the IRS is an eligible candidate for a tax refund advance loan. You still have to apply and be approved through the lender that is providing the loan to you, but the approval process is more simple since it is backed by your tax refund as collateral. It is easier for consumers to be approved for a refund advance loan because it is not solely based on a credit score. It is based on the amount of your tax refund coming from the IRS.

Paying Off Your Tax Refund Advance Loan

The lender of your refund advance loan will set it up so that your tax refund is automatically applied to your loan balance. If there is a remaining balance on your refund, you will get that money back. This is one good benefit of having a refund advance loan. It can be easy to get yourself into a situation where you owe money but have a hard time making the high monthly payments. Then if you get behind on payments, the fees are very high and it’s hard to get caught back up. With a tax refund advance loan, you don’t have to worry about any of these situations.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

The Top 7 Reasons Why Your Tax Refund is Delayed

The Top 7 Reasons Why Your Tax Refund is Delayed

A tax refund can come in handy when you are looking for some extra money for bills, large purchases, or just to have a little bit of extra cash in your wallet. Unfortunately, sometimes your tax refund can be delayed. Here are the top seven reasons why your refund may be delayed so that you can try to prevent that from happening to you.

The PATH Act

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (or PATH Act) was put into place in late 2015. It was created to help protect taxpayers and their families from tax fraud. In order to do this, the PATH Act requires a few extra security measures from the IRS during the tax return processing time period. The PATH Act requires the IRS to take extra time when they are processing tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). If you are claiming either one of these tax credits, be aware that your refund will not be issued until February 15. It doesn’t matter if you filed your taxes electronically or via a paper tax return. The IRS is better able to stop fraudulent refunds if they allow this extra time to review the tax returns. The PATH Act is ultimately in effect to protect you, so it’s not a bad thing to have to wait a little longer due to this reason.

Incomplete Information

If you left out important information on your tax return, your refund can be delayed. Before submitting your tax return electronically or in the mail, make sure you double check all of your information and calculations. A small error can cause a huge delay. It’s better to make sure everything is correct before sending off your tax return.

Tax Refund Offsets

If you owe money for unpaid child support, federal agency debts, state income tax debts, or certain unemployment compensation debts, be aware that your IRS tax refund will be applied to any of these outstanding debts before the remainder (if any) is sent to you. If the IRS applies your tax refund to an outstanding debt, they will mail you a notice.

You Entered the Wrong Banking Information

It is very important that your bank account number and routing number are entered correctly if you are choosing to receive your refund via direct deposit. If the direct deposit gets sent back to the IRS due to incorrect banking information, it will cause a significant delay in receiving your refund.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a huge issue the IRS has to deal with when it comes to tax returns and tax refunds. Identity thieves file fraudulent returns using someone else’s personal information to try and get their tax refund. If this happens to you, your tax return will be flagged by the IRS and you won’t be able to get your refund until the issue is taken care of.

You Filed Too Early

You may think you are doing a good thing by filing your taxes early, but this isn’t always the case. Just because you filed early doesn’t mean your refund will come right away. There may be a delay while the IRS finalizes and processes your return through their software. Also, due to the PATH Act, your refund won’t be released until February 15 at the earliest.

You Filed Too Late

When you file your taxes late, you are filing with millions of other people who are also filing at the last minute. All at once the IRS becomes swamped with tax returns. Every tax return must be processed the same way, so you should be prepared for a delay in your refund.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

How Long Will It Take to Get My Tax Refund?

How Long Will It Take to Get My Tax Refund?

Many different factors can affect how long it takes for you to receive your tax refund. It depends on how you file your tax return, when you filed your tax return, and whether you filed your tax return correctly or not.

The Average Refund Time

The IRS issues 90% of refunds in less than 21 calendar days from the date the tax return was received and accepted. If you file your taxes electronically, they will be received by the IRS quicker than if you mail in a paper tax return.

Factors That Can Affect How Long It Takes to Receive Your Refund

If you mail in a paper tax return, expect your refund to take longer to get back to you. This is because of the time it takes for your tax return to travel in the mail. Once your tax return is received by the IRS, it is processed manually and it can take up to 6-8 weeks for the IRS to process your refund. This time frame is assuming your tax return was completed correctly.

If you file your tax return electronically, the IRS is able to receive and process your refund quicker. When you file your tax return electronically, it usually takes less than 3 weeks for you to receive your refund.

You also want to make sure you double check all of your information before you submit your tax return. If you submit your return with incorrect information, this can cause a significant delay in receiving your refund.

Live Check vs. Direct Deposit

You can choose to receive your refund as a live check or via direct deposit into your bank account. If you want your refund quicker, direct deposit is the way to go. The IRS can get your refund to you faster electronically than they can via a paper check in the mail.

What is the Refund Process?

If you filed your taxes electronically, you can begin checking the status of your refund online within 24-48 hours. If you mailed in a paper tax return, you won’t be able to check the status of your refund for at least 4 weeks. Once the IRS has started processing your tax return, the status will show as “Return Received”. You will not be able to see a refund date until after they are finished processing your return and they have approved your refund. Once your refund is approved, the status will change to “Refund Approved”. After the IRS has sent your tax refund to your financial institution, the status will be “Refund Sent”. It can take up to 5 days for your financial institution to deposit the funds into your account.

If You Don’t Receive Your Refund

If it has been longer than 21 days and your refund status is not available, it is time to call the IRS and find out if there is a problem. There may be a small error holding up your refund, or they may just have a large volume of tax returns they are trying to process.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Where’s My Refund?

Where’s My Refund?

Preparing your federal tax return takes a lot of time and work. If you are expecting a refund, you probably want to know where it’s at and when you will receive it. Where do you begin when you are trying to find out the status of your tax refund? How do you know if there is a problem and your refund is delayed or being held?

Checking the Status of Your Tax Refund

The IRS has created a few different ways to check the status of your tax refund. You can check on your refund status by logging on to the IRS website, the IRS mobile app, or by calling the IRS Refund Hotline. Before checking on the status, you will need to make sure you have your social security number, filing status, and the exact refund amount available. This is how the IRS will track your tax return. Without this information, you probably will not get the answers you are looking for. They also require this information to ensure no one has stolen your identity and to verify that no one is trying to get your information on your behalf. Your privacy and security is a big concern for the IRS.

There May Be a Problem with Your Tax Return

There are several reasons why your tax refund may be delayed. Before submitting your tax return to the IRS, you’ll want to make sure that all your information and calculations are correctly filled out. If your return is incomplete or has wrong information, your refund could be delayed.

Another problem you could have with your tax refund is an issue of withholding. If you have unpaid child support, unpaid student loans, debt with a federal agency, or if you owe back taxes, your refund could be held. The IRS will let you know if this is the case, but be aware that your refund will be applied to any of these outstanding balances before the remainder is sent to you.

Don’t Always Assume the Worst

Just because you haven’t received your refund, doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem. It could just be a delay due to the large volume of tax returns the IRS is processing. Give the IRS at least 21 days before getting concerned about there being a hold on your refund. After 21 days have passed, you can contact the IRS to get an updated status on your tax refund.

If you chose to have your refund mailed to you as a check, it’s possible that it is lost in the mail. If this is the case, you will need to report it to the IRS and once they determine the check has either been lost or stolen, they will let you know how to proceed and get a new check issued. If you chose to have your refund direct deposited into your bank account, you may want to verify that you entered the correct routing and account number.

Don’t always assume the worst – sometimes it’s just a minor issue causing the delay.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Is the IRS Delaying Tax Refunds?

Is the IRS Delaying Tax Refunds?

It’s never the news you want to hear, but there are several reasons why the IRS can delay a tax refund.

Missing Information

When filling out your tax return, it is important not to leave out any information. This can be a big reason why your tax refund is delayed. It is important not to leave out any of your basic information such as your social security number. If you mail in your tax return, it is important not to leave out any paperwork. You must include a copy of your W-2, 1099, etc. If the IRS doesn’t have all the information they need, your refund could be delayed significantly.

Incorrect Information

It can be easy to mistype numbers or letters on your tax return. If you happen to mistype your social security number and it doesn’t match with your name, the IRS won’t immediately know how to correct your information. This will result in a delay of you receiving your tax refund.

Math Errors

If you are doing your tax return manually, it can be easy to make a calculation error. Since the tax laws are very complex, it is important to make sure you double check your math. If your numbers don’t add up correctly and the IRS has to redo some of your work, your tax refund could be delayed.

Not Filing Your Taxes on Time

If you wait too long to file your taxes, you will be submitting your tax return with a large amount of other people. When the IRS receives a large volume of returns at the same time, this can slow down the process and ultimately delay your refund.

Incorrect Banking Information

Electronically filing your tax return is the quickest way to get your tax refund, but if you fail to enter your bank account and routing number correctly, your refund will be delayed. The IRS can’t get you your refund if they don’t know where to send it.

Filing a Paper Tax Return

If you file a paper tax return and mail it in, the process takes much longer. Not only does it take several days for the IRS to receive your tax return, it also takes even longer for them to manually process your return. Because of the extra steps involved in filing a paper tax return, your refund could take much longer to get to you.

Amending Your Tax Return

If you must make any changes to your tax return once you’ve sent it off, you will need to mail in an amended return. The IRS estimates that it can take 8-12 weeks to process an amended tax return. This will significantly delay your refund being processed.

To sum it up, make sure you double check all your information before filing your tax return. Small errors can cause significant delays in your tax refund getting back to you.

The PATH Act was passed in 2015. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act was introduced to ensure that all taxpayers were given the correct refund from the IRS by extending expired tax laws and by introducing new tax laws to prevent fraud. The two tax credits affected by the PATH Act are The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) and The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Most people who file for either one of these credits can expect a tax refund. However, the PATH Act requires that the IRS withhold refunds for taxpayers who file for these two credits until after February 15. This gives the IRS some extra time to match all of the information which helps prevent identity theft and fraud.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

2018 Tax Refund Schedule

2018 Tax Refund Schedule

You have submitted your tax returns, and now you want to know when you can expect to receive your refund. The IRS processes refunds all throughout the year. It just depends on when and how you file your taxes as to when you will receive your refund. In the past, the IRS only issued refunds on one certain day of the week. Thankfully, they have updated their system, and this is no longer how they process refunds. With the new updated system, tax refunds are processed every business day (Monday through Friday) excluding holidays.

If You Mailed in a Paper Tax Return:

If you submitted a paper tax return in the mail, you should expect it to take a little longer for you to receive your refund. From the date the IRS receives your tax return, it can take up to six weeks for you to receive your refund. Paper tax returns must be processed manually, so the process is longer. You also need to account for the time it takes for your tax return to travel to the IRS via the mail service. Depending on how you mailed in your return, it can take several days for the IRS to receive your mail.

If You Electronically Filed Your Tax Return:

When you send in your taxes electronically, it does not take as long for the IRS to have your information in their system. Your information can be automatically uploaded instead of the IRS having to upload everything manually. Approximately 90% of taxpayers who file their taxes electronically receive their tax refund less than 21 days from the day the IRS accepts the tax return. However, most people can expect to receive their refund in around 10-14 business days. Anything done electronically will be processed quicker.

If You Filed an Extension or Amended Your Tax Return:

The refund schedule remains the same if you filed an extension. However, if you amended your tax return, there is no set schedule for when you will receive your refund. The IRS processes amended tax returns manually, so the refund process can take up to 6-8 weeks.

The first official day you can file your taxes is January 29, 2018. That means the IRS will begin issuing refunds around the middle of February. The quickest and safest option for receiving your refund is via direct deposit into your bank account. Your bank has up to five business days to release the funds, but most banks are typically timely about releasing funds to their customers.

If your refund seems to be taking longer than expected, you can track the status. You can do this by logging onto the IRS website, via the IRS mobile app, or by calling the IRS Tax Refund Hotline. You want to give the IRS the proper amount of time to process your tax return, but while you’re waiting they have made it easy to track your refund.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

What is an IRS Tax Refund Offset?

What is an IRS Tax Refund Offset?

If you have certain outstanding federal debts, the IRS can use any money you may be receiving from a tax refund to apply towards these debts. If you are hoping to get your entire tax refund back in your wallet, then you should make sure you take care of these debts before filing your taxes. What are the debts the IRS can offset with your tax refund?

Federal Tax Debts

If you have failed to pay past taxes to the federal or state government on earned income, the IRS can apply your tax refund to this outstanding debt. If you owe back taxes, the government also has the ability to garnish your wages or place levies on your property until the past-due amount is paid. The easiest way to avoid this from happening is to file and pay your taxes every year. The IRS can help you set up a payment plan if you owe federal tax debts, but if you owe the government money, don’t expect to be receiving a tax refund.

Federal Agency Debts

Some examples of federal agency debts include direct loans, HUD-insured loans, student loans, Small Business Administration loans, or liens against a property for a debt owed to the Federal Government. If you have past-due federal loans, they are able to collect the money owed to them through your tax refund. For student loans, the loans must be unpaid for 270 days before it is considered defaulted. At this point the IRS can apply your tax refund to your defaulted student loan.

State Income Tax Obligations

Not all states require you to pay state taxes, but just like federal taxes, some states do impose additional income taxes on your earnings. If you get behind in paying your state taxes, your tax refund may be applied to your outstanding state income tax debt. The seven states that currently do not have state taxes are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. However, if you live in one of the other forty-three states, you need to make sure you stay current with your state taxes.

Past-Due Child and Spousal Support

If you are ordered to pay child support and/or spousal support after a divorce, it is imperative that you make these payments on time. When you fall into arrears on either one of these obligations, the government will try and collect the money. They are able to seize your tax refund to offset your past due child support or spousal support payments.

Certain Unemployment Compensation Debts Owed to a State

Unemployment compensation debts include money owed to the government for compensation paid due to fraud or contributions that are owed to a state fund that weren’t paid. If you have outstanding unemployment compensation debts, prepare for the IRS to apply your tax refund to these debts.

When you owe a government agency money that you haven’t been paying, they want to collect their funds. If you feel as though your IRS tax refund has been taken and misapplied, you should contact the company that was paid, not the IRS. If there are discrepancies with how much is owed, only the company that you owe money to will know how to resolve the issue.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

How Can I Calculate My Tax Refund in Advance?

How Can I Calculate My Tax Refund in Advance?

You may want to know ahead of time how much your tax refund is going to be. You also would want to know if you owed money to the IRS. It is beneficial to know this information so that you can be prepared. If you are getting a refund you can start planning for how you will allocate the funds. If you are going to owe money you can start saving up for the payment that will be due.

Tax Refund Calculator

There is a handy tool you can use to help you estimate what your tax refund is going to be. This tool is a tax refund calculator or a tax refund estimator. You can find a tax refund calculator online. It is a simple tool that will take you through a series of questions to help determine how much your tax refund is going to be.

How Does it Work?

The tax refund calculator asks you all the same questions that you will answer on your tax return, but this gives you a quicker estimate without having to completely fill out your return.

You begin with answering questions about you. The tax refund calculator asks about your filing status, your age, and if you have dependents. Next you will answer questions about your employment status, investments, government income (such as social security, etc.), and business income if you own your own business. You will fill in the numbers from your W-2 so it is a more accurate calculation. The next series of questions are about your expenses for the year. Once you have entered this information, you will receive your estimated tax refund amount (or the amount that you may owe to the IRS).

Is it Accurate?

The tax refund calculator is only an estimate, but it is an accurate estimation because you are entering your personal information into it. The amount that the calculator comes up with is not your guaranteed refund amount, but by using the calculator you can get a good idea of how much money you will be receiving from the IRS.

Where the Estimation Comes From

For people who don’t prepare their own taxes, it can be confusing how the refund (or amount owed) is calculated. After calculating your taxable income and determining your total income tax for the year, the amount is compared with how much you paid in income taxes throughout the year (through taxes withheld from your paycheck). From here, if the amount you paid is more than your tax, you are entitled to a refund of the difference. However, if the amount you paid is less, you will owe the IRS the difference.

Knowing an estimation amount prior to filing your tax return will help you be more prepared for what is to come. It is good to know if you are going to owe the IRS money, and it’s even better to know if the IRS is going to owe you money. Don’t forget that the estimation is just that: an estimation. But it is a very close estimation that will prepare you for what you can expect.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

How to Manage Your Debt and Improve Your Credit Score

How to Manage Your Debt and Improve Your Credit Score

How to Manage Your Debt and Improve your Credit Score

Let’s be honest Managing your debt is not the easiest thing to do. There are bills, unexpected expenses, food, and the other growing amount of expenses. Despite this, building your credit is a valuable part of having a healthy financial life. The credit system is not very forgiving, but one of the primary factors to manage is keeping your balances low. This along with a few other factors are great ways to build a healthy financial life.

Keep Balances Low

Whether you have a high credit limit or a low credit profile. The first step is to keep your balances low. You should prioritize aiming to pay down debts with cash flows. This is money that you are not dedicating to savings, but additional money. Even it means cutting the Spotify, Apple Music, or Netflix membership for a few months, just dedicating these small amounts will help.

Pay off debt when you get extra money

Taking care of the full debt amount when you have the cash flows is a great thing. We see customers really take care of debt when they receive tax refunds, work overtime, or receive year end bonuses. Having this discipline takes effort but can really set you up for a great experience when you want to access better and cheaper credit.

Make all minimum payments on time.

Paying your bills on time is one of the most valuable ways to manage your debts and improve your credit. If you have late payments it will negatively affect your credit score and show up on your credit report.

We will be back with more ways to improve and build your credit in the coming weeks.

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