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Today's Quote:
Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is quite as satisfying as an income tax refund.
~ F. J. Raymond

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Larry Villano, Publisher of

Expired Tax Breaks That Will Not Apply in 2015

A number of tax breaks that expired at the end of 2014 will not apply in 2015, unless Congress passes legislation authorizing an extension.

Here's what's affected:

  • The option to deduct state and local sales taxes in lieu state income taxes on Schedule A..
  • The deduction for tuition and fees. These were above-the-line deductions, which means, you did not have to itemize your deductions to claim these.
  • Educator expenses deduction (an above-the-line deduction).
  • The exclusion for qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from a traditional IRA to a charity by those age 70 1/2 or older.
  • The deduction for mortgage insurance premium.
  • Parity for transit passes and van pools with parking ends for 2015.
    • For 2015, the monthly exculsion limit for parking is $250 per month.
    • For 2015,, the monthly exclusion for transit passes and van pool benefits is only $130
  • The exclusion for cancelled principal residence indebtedness
  • The tax credit for home insulation, storm windows, and other energy improvements.
  • Higher expensing limits at the favorable 2014 dollar amounts.
  • Bonus depreciation for most assets
  • The 15-year recovery for leasehold, restaurant, and retail improvements.

Tips and Tid Bits

IRS Collects $2.9 Trillion During Fiscal Year 2013

During fiscal year 2013, the IRS collected almost $2.9 trillion in federal revenue and processed 240 million returns of which 151 million were filed electronically. Out of the 146 million individual income tax returns filed, almost 83 percent were e-filed. More than 118 million individual income tax return filers received a tax refund, which totaled almost $312.8 billion. On average, the IRS spent 41 cents to collect $100 in tax revenue during fiscal year 2013.

Over 99% of All Returns Unaudited

The IRS examined just under one percent of all tax returns filed and about one percent of all individual income tax returns during fiscal year 2013. Of the 1.4 million individual tax returns examined, over 39,000 resulted in additional refunds.

Seven States With No Personal Income tax

Seven states do not have a personal income tax. They are: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. New Hampshire and Tennessee do not tax wages. They tax investment income from stocks and bonds.

How the IRS Flags Excessive Travel Expenses

The IRS uses occupational codes to measure typical amounts of travel by profession. A tax return showing 20 percent or more above the norm might get a second look? Here are a few other red flags that can trigger an IRS audit .

Did You Rob a Bank Last Year?

Silly as it may seem, if you robbed a bank dung 2013, you had taxable income. Intentionally not reporting ill-gotten gains is considered tax evasion. The IRS doesn't care how we "earn" our loot as long as they get their cut, from a tax compliance standpoint of course. So, if you're selling drugs or scamming investors and not reporting the income, some day you could find yourself in the same predicament that Al Capone found himself in! Here are some of the top tax myths.