Tag Archives: taxes

America Saves Week: Student Savings at Tax Time

2 Mar

As you’re filling out your taxes, there are a couple of tax deductions that being a college student may have made you eligible for. If you have received either a form 1098-E from a student loan lender or a form 1098-T from your school, be sure to have these on hand when you complete your taxes before April 15th (or hopefully sooner).asw-taxes-txt

1098-E: Given to you by your educational loan borrower, this Student Loan Interest Statement shows how much interest you paid on your student loans in the prior year. If you have been making student loan payments and paid over $600 in interest, you can expect to receive a 1098-E. You will receive one from each different borrower that you have educational loans through allowing you to deduct up to $2,500!

1098-T: This form is a tuition statement supplied by your university for your taxes. It will show qualified tuition and related expenses, scholarships and grants you have received, whether you have been enrolled at least half time, and if you are a graduate student or not. Entering this information into your taxes can allow you to claim the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. You may not receive a 1098-T if all of your tuition and expenses were paid for via scholarships. To find your Purdue 1098-T, log into your myPurdue account! Full instructions are available here.

Once you file your taxes, be sure to file your FAFSA before March 1st for the Purdue priority filing deadline!

Phishing, other kinds of tax scams rank No. 1 — don’t fall victim 

19 Jan

Kirsten Gibson, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP)

If you receive an email, text or social media message from someone claiming to be affiliated with the IRS, it’s almost certainly a scam. Question phone callers claiming to be IRS representatives, too. If you remember only one thing this tax season, other than to file your return, it’s this: the IRS will not contact a taxpayer asking for personal information via email, text message or social media.

Senior Woman Giving Credit Card Details On The Phone

Tax season is ripe for scamming. As taxpayers figure out how to file their taxes in accordance with federal student loan rules, President Barack Obama’s health care law and a myriad of other complications, scammers gear up to take advantage of a period of confusion. The Better Business Bureau consistently ranks tax scams as the top type of scam in the United States by a wide margin.

“Identity theft is always a huge concern,” says Greg Hedrick, Purdue’s chief information security officer. “Criminals who acquire enough of a person’s information, including a Social Security number, may attempt to use those details to fill out a false tax return and claim a refund under another person’s name. Of course, this could also lead to the rejection of a person’s real return.”

Should you find yourself engaging with someone who claims to be from the IRS, pause to assess the situation. The person writing the message or on the phone will probably be insistent that it’s an emergency and action must be taken immediately. They might also threaten you with arrest, deportation or loss of driver’s license.

The callers who commit this kind of fraud often:

  • Use common names (like Jones or Smith) and fake IRS badge numbers.
  • Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
  • Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
  • Send bogus IRS emails to support their scam.
  • Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles (and the spoofed caller ID again supports their claim).

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

  • If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
  • If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to Treasury Inspector General Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

According to TIGTA, since 2013 more than 1.8 million people reported calls from scammers and more than 9,600 victims paid the impostors a total of more than $50 million.

Individuals also might want to sign up for a credit freeze with each of the three credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax – to further guard against fraud this tax season. The freeze can be initiated for free within minutes online at the Indiana Attorney General’s website. Once a freeze is initiated, you can temporarily lift it anytime to apply for new credit or a loan.

Students, faculty and staff should contact the police if they think they have been a victim of identity theft.

 

3 details you should know while preparing for tax season 2017

12 Jan

Tax season can be an exciting time for savers. This year, more Americans are opting out of a tax time splurge and focusing on getting ahead with their tax refunds.

Early filers can still file as they normally would, but we’ve got a couple tips in mind for how your household can use this information to make the most of your tax time preparations:prep-for-tax-season

  1. File a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.You can’t get the EITC unless you file a return. End of story. Since the IRS estimates that about 25 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, this is a vital first step in determining your eligibility.Bonus? If this is the first year that you are claiming the credit, you can use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2015, 2014 and 2013. You can file any time during the year to claim the EITC. Something to know: A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. Learn more here.
  2. Decide where and how you will file your taxes and know your free options.Unless you know your return is going to be complicated this year, paying someone to file a tax return should always be a last resort. Decide whether you’d rather file online or in person, and then check out these free filing options:
    • Use Free File on IRS.gov– This free software walks you through a Q&A format to help prepare your return and claim every credit and deduction for which you may be eligible.
    • Try the Free File Fillable Forms– If you’re comfortable preparing your own returns, this option is for you! It allows you to file electronically using online versions of IRS paper forms.
    • Visit a free tax preparation site– If your total household income is less than $54,000 a year, you can seek free tax prep at one of thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (M-VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. To locate the nearest site, you can search online or call the IRS at 800-906-9887.
  3. Make a plan for your tax refund that accounts for the EITC/ACTC delay.We know it can be hard to come up with alternative funds if you already had plans for your refund early in the year, but don’t be suckered by refund anticipation products provided by many commercial tax return preparers. The loan fees will have you seeing red.If you start your planning by dedicating your refund, or at least part of it, to savings, you can get ahead of your savings goals. Enter  the SaveYourRefund promotion with $35,000 in cash prizes and 101 chances to win simply for saving a portion of your refund. For more information and how to commit to saving prior to filing your return , visit saveyourrefund.com.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

Should I file my own taxes?

8 Apr

Kimberli Youngblood, Report Writer, Data Support Specialist and Purdue Alumni
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

cartoon man with briefcase flowing of money

cartoon man with briefcase flowing of money

This is a question all taxpayers have faced at one time or another.  The dreary thought of the men in black suits showing up at your door to collect taxes drives people to complete their taxes.  I imagine most have heard their elders say that there were two sure things in life: taxes and death.  Regardless though, we still are left each year with the question of whether we should file our own taxes or use a professional tax preparation service.

Over twenty years ago, an option to purchase your own software that would be updated on the new federal tax laws did not exist.  When you completed your taxes, you paid a hefty price to a tax preparer.  This was unless you knew how to decipher the tax laws, prepare your own 1040 by pencil on paper forms, and then write it all again in ink for the final form.  Times sure have changed.

Individuals are no longer limited to a professional tax preparer or reading the fine print on all the new tax laws while filling out the paper form(s).  Today, the majority of people who want to file their taxes look for the ability to electronically file at the most reasonable cost.

One place I have found helpful in retrieving information on how to file your taxes is the IRS website.  The IRS website contains vital information on the file format your e-file should be in whether you file it yourself or have a professional tax preparer complete your taxes for you.  This information is available free of charge, at your fingertips, and at the click of a button.  If you do not have internet available at home, you can access this information at your local library.

There are many choices on federal tax preparation.  The sites listed below offer information and links to the IRS website to assist in choosing a method to electronically file your taxes in the right file format.  If you stand in a store having difficulties determining which e-file provider or software to use, visit the IRS website to see what information is available.

For free federal tax filing, if you are at or below an adjusted gross income of $57,000 per year, you can use most of the software links listed at their websites for free.

The IRS has a website that allows all taxpayers to use the e-file option for free.

For Indiana residents, you can free e-file  for state taxes as well, information links for those residents who qualify to file their state taxes.  Check with your state website to see what may be available for filing your state taxes to at a reduced cost or for free.

filling out tax forms

paper tax form

It is important to determine which option best fits your situation; filing your own taxes or using a professional tax preparer.  It is important to decide how much you wish to spend for completing your yearly federal and state tax preparation out of those same wages to justify the cost.

Should I file my own taxes?

1 Feb

Kimberli Youngblood, Report Writer, Date Support Specialist and Purdue Alumni
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

cartoon man with briefcase flowing of money

cartoon man with briefcase flowing of money

This is a question all taxpayers have faced at one time or another.  The dreary thought of the men in black suits showing up at your door to collect taxes drives people to complete their taxes.  I imagine most have heard their elders say that there were two sure things in life: taxes and death.  Regardless though, we still are left each year with the question of whether we should file our own taxes or use a professional tax preparation service.

Over twenty years ago, an option to purchase your own software that would be updated on the new federal tax laws did not exist.  When you completed your taxes, you paid a hefty price to a tax preparer.  This was unless you knew how to decipher the tax laws, prepare your own 1040 by pencil on paper forms, and then write it all again in ink for the final form.  Times sure have changed.

Individuals are no longer limited to a professional tax preparer or reading the fine print on all the new tax laws while filling out the paper form(s).  Today, the majority of people who want to file their taxes look for the ability to electronically file at the most reasonable cost.

One place I have found helpful in retrieving information on how to file your taxes is the IRS website.  The IRS website contains vital information on the file format your e-file should be in whether you file it yourself or have a professional tax preparer complete your taxes for you.  This information is available free of charge, at your fingertips, and at the click of a button.  If you do not have internet available at home, you can access this information at your local library.

There are many choices on federal tax preparation.  The sites listed below offer information and links to the IRS website to assist in choosing a method to electronically file your taxes in the right file format.  If you stand in a store having difficulties determining which e-file provider or software to use, visit the IRS website to see what information is available.

For free federal tax filing, if you are at or below an adjusted gross income of $57,000 per year, you can use most of the software links listed at their websites for free.

The IRS has a website that allows all taxpayers to use the e-file option for free.

For Indiana residents, you can free e-file  for state taxes as well, information links for those residents who qualify to file their state taxes.  Check with your state website to see what may be available for filing your state taxes to at a reduced cost or for free.

filling out tax forms

paper tax forms

It is important to determine which option best fits your situation; filing your own taxes or using a professional tax preparer.  It is important to decide how much you wish to spend for completing your yearly federal and state tax preparation out of those same wages to justify the cost.

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