Should capital gains taxation affect me?

Should capital gains taxation affect me?

Should capital gains taxation affect me?

Capital gains taxation a lot of things that we own for either personal use or for investment purpose usually qualifies as a capital asset. Some common examples of capital assets include house, property, bonds, and stocks held as an investment, home furnishings, etc.

When you sell any of these capital assets and make some profit on them, the capital gains taxation come into the picture. The basis of capital gains taxes is that when you sell or exchange your capital assets, you do so at a higher price than you had bought them. Similarly, if you sell a capital asset at a lower price than you paid to buy the same, it would be tagged as a capital loss.


Capital gains are either classified as long term capital gains or short term capital gains. Here are some details about each category.

  • Long Term Capital Gains

If you hold on to a capital asset for a minimum of 1 year and then decide to sell or exchange it, any gains that you make would be long term capital gains. And the applicable taxes also vary depending on the type of capital gain. For long term capital gains, most individuals would end up paying no more than 15% as taxes.

There is a possibility that some or all your capital gains might be even taxed at 0% if your income is less than $78,750. The standard rate of 15% is applicable if your income ranges between $78,750 and $434,500 for single taxpayers and between $78,750 and $488,850for taxpayers who are married and filing jointly.

Citizens with annual income exceeding the above, the capital gains tax works out to be 20%. Certain capital assets such as collectibles, selling stocks of small businessses, etc. are taxed at a maximum of 28%.

  • Short Term Capital Gains

Any assets that you sell or exchange within a year of buying or acquiring it qualifies as sort term capital gain. In the case of any short term gains, the gain is added to your annual income and taxed accordingly.

One of the major benefits of categorizing these gains is that you are entitled to lower taxes. If the same amount were to be taxed like your income, you would end up paying higher taxes. However, with short term and long term capital gains, you can reduce the tax liability by a considerable margin.

As a rule of thumb, short term capital gain taxes tend to be on the higher side. Since it is dependent on the annual income, the maximum taxes can go up to 37%. On the other hand, long term capital gains can be up to a maximum of 20%.

On the other hand, if you sold a capital asset at a lower price than what you acquired it for, you would incur a capital loss. And it is important to know that you can use those losses to offset any of your capital gains. They can offset gains up to $3,000 with the help of capital losses.

If you stay in the house that you are putting up for sale for a minimum of two years, capital gains up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for married couples is tax free. Thus being aware of the taxes can save the day for you.

If you own any of the capital assets mentioned above, you are entitled to pay capital gains taxes on the selling of these assets. The presence of capital gains taxes impacts you in more ways than you realize. For starters, unless it is short term capital gains, you will end up paying fewer taxes.


Does it make sense to file your taxes early?

Does it make sense to file your taxes early?

Does it make sense to file your taxes early?

Filing taxes can be a bit boring and overwhelming. Apart from your life and work, you need to devote some time and energy to file your taxes early. A lot of taxpayers barely are able to file their taxes on time, let alone before time.

What if there are some strong reasons and benefits for filing your taxes early? Would that pull you into the idea of filing your taxes early? If yes, here are some of the most prominent reasons why you must seriously consider filing your taxes early.

1.To Avoid Missing Out On Tax Benefits

Usually filing your taxes at the end means, that you are running against the clock. In such cases, the chances of missing out on some information are quite possible. A common mistake made by taxpayers filing their taxes in the end if using a wrong SSN or forgetting to mention their SSN, or their dependent children’s SSN or spouse’s SSN. Missing out on SSN is a sure way of missing out on certain tax deductions and tax credits.

2.A quicker Tax Refund

When you consider data from the previous years, you will find out that about 72% of taxpayers receive tax refunds up to $3,000. That is a decent chunk of money that you can use as rainy-day savings or paying off some debt. Filing your taxes earlier allows for a quicker tax refund.

3.Possibly Bigger Refunds

When you file your taxes early, you can benefit from certain life changing milestones. Milestones such as marriage, or the birth of your child, starting your own business, etc. can translate into better tax refunds or deductions. Which ultimately will help you save money. Thus, filing your taxes early can be beneficial.

4.Debt Management

In the event that you are struggling with some of the debts, opting for an early tax filing can save the day for you. The IRS expects to issue tax refunds within 21 days of your filing tax returns. The earlier you file your taxes, you boost the chances of an early refund and thus, it can help you manage some of your debts as well.

5.Leverage Your Time and Money

When you file your taxes early, you are firstly not under any pressure of filing them before the deadline. It enables a smoother filing. Secondly, the chances of mistakes are also minimal, thereby allowing you to spend less time on tax filing. And more importantly, you can expect an earlier refund as well. You can then use these funds either for a quick trip while your friends and colleagues are busy filing their taxes or use them for other purposes.

6.File Taxes Online

Once you have made up your mind to file your taxes early, you can visit online portals to help you file your taxes. There are a lot of trusted portals, which can help you file your taxes within a few minutes. All you need to do is provide some basic information and answer simple questions. The portals can help you extract the most out of your refunds as well. And the best part is, you can do this from the comfort of your home or office or even while you are vacationing. If you need additional help in the form of an Enrolled Agent or a CPA, the portals would be able to help you with that as well.

Apart from the most obvious benefit of peace of mind and no stress during the tax filing season, the above are some of the other benefits of filing your taxes early. If you have never filed your taxes early, now might be the best time to give it a shot and reap its benefits.


How to create your investment portfolio with your tax refunds in the US?

How to create your investment portfolio with your tax refunds in the US?

How to create your investment portfolio with your tax refunds in the US?

Investing has become quite an easy task today and with so many options available it is easy for common people to utilize their savings for achieving the dreams and accomplishing long term goals. How to become an investor if there are no savings? This is a thought which can creep into your mind when you think about investing. Without a considerable amount of savings, the investment portfolio seems to be a distant dream. But, in the US you have a simple way out. You can use your tax refund as an option to initiate investing in the stock market.

Stock market scenario

During the year 2012, according to the reports generated by IRS the average tax refund in the US was 2,803 and this amount is enough to start investing with the help of a brokerage account. Investment can be done by a very little less amount itself. Today the market condition is quite good and it is being addressed as a “bull market” which means a market in which the prices of the stocks of companies are rising and people are interested in buying shares. Investments into shares can be a good decision right now as the performance of the stock market is quite good now. In the last 4 years, there has been an average annual return of 17% in the stock market which makes investing a good decision for common people.

This performance of the stock market is much better as compared to that of other investment options such as money market funds, bonds, real estate, certificates of deposit, etc. But, along with the high returns, there is a huge risk associated with the stock market even. The major risk which is associated with the stock market is the fluctuation in the returns. The returns obtained keep on changing rapidly from one day to another or even from one month to another. However, in the long run, if you are interested in achieving long term goals the best investment option is the stock market. With proper risk assessment and risk analysis, the stock market can turn out to be a great investment option.

Use of tax refund for making investment

  1. When you receive your tax refund for a year, you can open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with the help of your investment brokerage firm or your bank itself. With the help of the IRA, you can invest and obtain tax benefits. When you are putting money into your IRA, your taxable income reduces and you pay less tax.
  2. When you have opened your own IRA, you can pick mutual funds for making investments. A mutual fund is known as a collection or assortment of bonds, stocks, and cash alternatives. Mutual Fund helps in managing money from different investors and even the small investors can manage their funds with the help of professionals.
  3. There are numerous funds with different objectives that are available and you can easily pick a fund of your choice according to your long term goals. You can select funds for stocks or funds for bonds or even funds for a mixture of both stocks and bonds.
  4. The fund which you wish to select for investment depends on the amount of risk you are willing to take when it comes to your money. We can illustrate this with the help of an example such as stocks involve a higher amount of risk but bonds are less risky than that of stocks. But, stocks provide higher returns as compared to bonds and you will need higher returns for accomplishing your long term financial goals. So, it is your choice to take up the risk with stocks for higher returns or to play safe with bonds.
  5. The amount of risk you can take depends on how much time you have for the accomplishment of your financial goal. If you have a long time left for retirement then you can go ahead and take certain risks.
  6. Using your tax refund as an investment is the beginning; after opening up your IRA account you can opt for investments to be made automatically for making contributions to the IRA account every month.

Hence, with these investment avenues, your finances will change and you would become an investor with long term financial goals. So, you should file your taxes on time and utilize your tax returns as an investment option.




How Much To Save Up For Your Retirement In The US?

How Much To Save Up For Your Retirement In The US?

How Much To Save Up For Your Retirement In The US?

A lot of us look up to retirement so that we can hang our boots and finally relax or take a break from all the running around. However, how well your retirement goes depends on a few important factors. The quintessential one being how much you save for your retirement.

Should you plan your retirement well in advance and align your savings and investments accordingly, the chances are high you will have a stress-free retirement phase. To aid you in the entire process of making your retirement a much happier place, here are some tips.

The amount that you need to put away for your retirement depends on the following factors.

  • Your age when you start investing for your retirement.
  • Your paycheck when you decide to save for your retirement.
  • The age at which you wish to retire.
  • The returns that you are expecting on your investments.

There is a simple correlation when it comes to saving for your retirement. When you start saving for your retirement early, you will end up setting aside a smaller chunk of the salary. And the reserve also holds good. The later you start, you must invest a larger chunk of your paycheck towards your retirement.

How Much Is Enough For Retirement?

Your lifestyle plays a crucial role in deciding the amount of money you would need for your retirement. If you wish to retire at 60 years and expect to live for another 30 years, you will need enough money to support you through that entire duration. You should consider the needs along with wants as well. A simple monthly budget will help you understand the amount. But unexpected medical expenses are something that you must also consider.

Estimating Your Requirements

There are several online calculators that you can use to estimate the amount you must set aside for retirement. As a general rule of thumb, when you are 35 years old, you would need to save about 1 to 4 times your annual income for your retirement. Similarly, when you are 50, the savings must be at 5 to 10 times your annual income. You can reach out to a trusted financial advisor if you need details on specifics.

Optimize Your Income Taxes

There are different ways to fund your retirement. Once you start optimizing your income taxes, you will find additional room for savings for retirement. Here are a couple of ways to do the same.

  • Withholdings

A lot of taxpayers withhold a lower amount from their taxes while declaring their W-4 Form. Eventually, the IRS refunds the amount at the end of the tax season. Should you opt to withhold exactly as much taxes as you owe, you will end up with some savings. You can then invest this additional amount into a tax-deferred retirement plan. Thus, do not forget to update your W-4 if there is any change in your filing status, income, employment, etc.

  • Refunds

And should you decide not to alter your withholdings, you can expect a refund from the IRS at the end of the tax season. You can use this refunded amount to fund your retirement. Depending on the amount that you receive, you can either put the entire amount into a tax-deferred investment account or a portion of it. If the refund is a considerable amount, you can opt to use only a portion of it.

Start saving for your retirement at the earliest and you will have to put away a smaller amount every month. This will give you a head start and the possibility of saving a higher amount as well.


Step by Step process to pay off your Income Tax Bill

Step by Step process to pay off your Income Tax Bill

Step by Step process to pay off your Income Tax Bill

Discovering that you owe a lot more taxes to the IRS than you can afford can be a very concerning situation. To find out that you do not have any tax refunds is bad enough and if you must pay additional taxes to the IRS, it is pretty much the worst nightmare.However, such a predicament is not the end of the road or the world. You can pay off your income tax bill by following a few simple steps, without taking a lot of stress.

  • Your Tax Liability

Knowing the amount of taxes that you are liable to pay to the IRS is the very first step. Before you submit your tax returns during the tax season, it is essential that you go through your returns more than once. A little bit of scrutiny here can save you from a lot of pain. It is quite common to forget a deduction or accidentally add the same item twice.

Forgetting a checkbox or a question can at times turn out to be expensive in this matter. Thus, cross-check your return thoroughly before clicking on the submit button. You can compare your current return with that of the previous year to see if there are any major changes. This holds good if there hasn’t been a dramatic change in your tax situation.

And if the IRS sends you a letter for tax dues, do not jump to any conclusions immediately. There is a probability that it might be wrong. If you feel so, you can ask them for clarification.

  • Minimize any penalties or interest

Penalties and interest can worsen the already grim situation. If you have a large tax bill to pay off, interest or penalties can bloat this number. Fortunately, you can minimize them using any of the following methods.

  • Underpayment Exception

There might be a situation where you underpaid your taxes this year but had paid your taxes accurately the previous year. If the taxes of the previous year were considerably lower and you paid your current taxes by the due date, you don’t have to pay penalty on your underpayment of taxes.

  • Pay ASAP

Should you owe any taxes to the government and you do not see a way out, paying it off at the earliest is your best bet. Even if you do not pay the entire amount, pay off as much as you can.

  • Abatement of Penalties

The IRS is known to reduce or even remove the penalties on a taxpayer if they write a letter to the IRS and make them aware of the situation. Do not forget to ask for an abatement in your letter to the IRS.

  • Installment Agreement Request

If there is no other way for you to pay the taxes, you can file Form 9465, which is Installment Agreement Request. You are essentially setting up an installment of your tax liabilities. And filing the form online will prevent you from paying the payment user fee. The installment is applicable if:

  1. The taxes you owe are less than $10,000.
  2. A taxpayer can prove that they are unable to pay the dues.
  3. A taxpayer can pay the taxes within 3 years.
  • Compromise

You can negotiate with the IRS for Offer In Compromise (OIC). In this method, you must offer as much as your net worth is. An OIC resembles bankruptcy in a lot of ways and must only be considered if there is absolutely no other way.

The above steps will help you pay off your income tax bill to the IRS. It is important not to panic and look for a solution if you owe taxes to the IRS.




New W-4: Adjusting Your Tax Withholding Just Changed

New W-4: Adjusting Your Tax Withholding Just Changed

New W-4: Adjusting Your Tax Withholding Just Changed

The IRS has recently introduced a new Form W-4. Due to this new Form, adjusting your withheld taxes from your paycheck would take a bit longer than usual. The only group that will not be affected by this form is taxpayers who are married and filing jointly.

Form W-4‘s format is long and essentially gets rids of a few allowances that the IRS earlier allowed for you and your family members. The form now asks for even more accurate information, which might even force you to take a look at the previous year’s tax return. It is in line with the Tax Laws that President Trump brought into effect in 2018.

As a taxpayer, it is essential that you get your withheld taxes correct. If you withhold a bit too much, you will impact liquidity or the salary that you take home. And if it is a bit too less, you will owe taxes to the IRS by the end of the year.

Who Needs The W-4?

The new form does not apply to workers unless there is a change in their tax status form the previous year. If your tax status remains the samefrom the last year, you don’t have to file the new W-4 Form. However, new employees and the ones who have had experienced a major life event such as getting married or giving birth to a child must file Form W-4.

The form is also applicable for taxpayers who aren’t too happy about their 2019 taxes. Whether you owe taxes of Uncle Sam or got smaller than expected refund, you must file W-4. Though it might seem a bit complicated, it actually simplifies the process that existed earlier.

 Benefits For Married Couples

Married couples are one of the demographics, that benefit the most from the newly introduced form. As long as both the individuals follow some instructions, the new Form is relatively easier for married couples.Married couples now merely must check a box in the returns. This box indicates that both of them are working and the amount of withheld taxes will be calculated based on that. This process is way simpler than the earlier one, where one had to follow a lengthy worksheet with nine steps to determine how much taxes should a couple withhold from their paychecks.

Though this process is simpler, there is a catch in Steps 3 and 4. Should a couple select the working box, the higher earning spouse must fill out Steps 3 and 4. These ask the taxpayers details about dependents, deductions, any additional withholdings and an additional source of income.The previous step is essential in more than a few ways. Since it plays a crucial role in deciding the taxes that are withheld. If both individually fill additional income Step 4, the amount of taxes withheld from the paychecks will be considerably higher. Similarly, a couple decides to fill in details for dependents or deductions individually, the taxes withheld will be lower. Though it might sound attractive at first, you might end up with a hefty tax bill at the end of the tax season.

Ensure No Surprises

Since it is a new Form, filing it up diligently will ensure that you don’t have to encounter any surprises. One of the easiest ways is to keep the details of the previous year handy. Details such as other sources of income, deductions that you had claimed and tax credits that you received for dependents.

Spending a few minutes to understand and fill the form will ensure that you are neither overdoing or underdoing your withheld taxes.