What do State Tax Hikes Mean for You?

States are facing unprecedented budget deficits, as sales, real estate, and income tax revenue evaporate. From California to New Jersey are raising taxes, cutting benefits, and scrambling to borrow the money they need to pay the bills.

As CNN reports on tax hikes:

Already, 16 states have taken this unpopular step this fiscal year, and another 17 have proposed tax hikes for the coming year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a policy group. In many cases, they are making small increases in specific taxes, rather than imposing a broad rate hike.

Continue reading “What do State Tax Hikes Mean for You?”

How to File Your Taxes Without a W-2

Filing your taxes is hard enough when everything goes according to plan. But what do you do when you’re missing crucial documents?

How can you get your employer to give you the forms you need, and, if that doesn’t work, you can you file without a W-2 form?

First, you need to determine why you didn’t get a W-2. If your employer says you’re not supposed to receive one, you can file a form SS-8 with the IRS. They’ll be able to tell you whether your current status entitles you to a W-2.

2014 Tax Return Coupon

If your employer has shut down their business, it’s a matter for the IRS to decide. Similarly, if they are just refusing to hand out a W-2 even though you are supposed to have one, the IRS will go after them and start charging fines (the fine, at up to $50 per violation, is not enough to wreck a company or even ruin someone’s day – but sending the form is cheaper).

Filing Taxes Without a W-2

If you want to actually do the filing, you’ll need to fill out a different document: Form 4852. This form allows you to estimate your income and tax withholdings, based on previous pay stubs. If your pay stub shows your year-to-date contributions, you can just use that. Otherwise, you can add up all of your pay stubs. If you don’t have them, you can even make an estimate.

And what happens if you file your taxes without a W-2 and then your employer finally coughs it up? You can just fill out a 1040X to amend your previous filing, and everything will be back to normal.

Unusual tax problems call for unusual help. Fortunately, you can find tax preparers who specialize in this kind of issue. When you file your taxes without a W-2, you will fill out some fairly simple forms. But the details can be tricky, and since it may involve estimating some numbers that are pretty hard to estimate, it’s best to work with an experienced professional who knows which questions to ask and what to look out for.

With RapidTax, you’ll be able to receive help from the RapidTax team of tax experts.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit Expanded For 2009 Home Purchases

The IRS announced a special extension of the First-Time Homebuyer Credit this February, available for eligible taxpayers who purchase a home in 2009. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act provides for a credit of up to $8,000 for anyone purchasing a home between January 1 and December 1 of 2009. Unlike previous years’ First-Time Homebuyer Credit, which was capped at $7,500 and required repayment in installments, the credit for 2009 purchases is a standard refundable credit, not requiring repayment and available regardless of the filer’s tax liability. It can be included on tax returns filed right now, and it will be available when 2009 tax returns are filed next year, as long as it is claimed on a home purchase occurring before December 1, 2009.

Any 2008 tax return claiming the credit for a home purchased between April 8 and December 31 of 2008 will still be eligible only for the previously existing credit, which must be repaid within the next several years. The new credit applying to 2009 purchases also has some of the same restrictions. The credit is equal to 10% of the home’s purchase price, with $8,000 as the new maximum amount. The amount of the credit will be lower for single taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income above $75,000 and joint taxpayers with an AGI above $150,000. Taxpayers who are Married Filing Separately are only eligible to receive one-half of the total credit amount, or $4,000. And while the new version of the credit, for 2009 purchases, does not require repayment, the waiving of repayment is conditional on the taxpayer maintaining ownership of the home and use of it as their main residence for 36 months from the date of purchase.

RapidTax.com currently has the First-Time Homebuyer Credit available to anyone who files a 2008 tax return through our site, in both its original form and the new form pertaining to 2009 home purchases. The amount of the credit will be calculated online, from the information provided during the submission process.