I work as a mystery shopper as an independent contractor. I am given a set fee for each job. In previous tax years I've purchased individual tickets to get to and from each visit, and have claimed these back as travel expenses in my tax return. Halfway through the 2012-13 tax year I started a permanent, full time job and took advantage of their season ticket loan scheme to purchase an annual travel pass. Because of this pass, I no longer buy separate tickets to travel on mystery shopping visits. My question is, can I still claim a portion of this season ticket back as a travel expense for the mystery shops? For example, if it would have cost me £4 return to get from home to a site and back again, can I claim that £4 even though I don't have individual tickets for those journeys? I am guessing I can't, which is fine, but I've not been given a firm steer by HM Revenue and Customs and I want to get this right! I know you are not my tax accountants, but I am guessing some of you have had the same issue and can point me in the right direction!
How do I pay taxes on the game show winnings I received? [more inside]
If I paid back an employer for training costs and business expenses related to the training - are these tax deductible? [more inside]
Am I understanding the USA's IRA laws correctly that all I really have to keep track of, in order to eventually (years from now) take money out without penalty or double taxation or such, is the amount of after-tax money I put into it over the years? [more inside]
I run a promotional merchanding company. We are fully registered as an LLC in the state of NJ. We have a tax ID number and are officially a re-seller. We recently did an order for a client located in the state of California. The vendor who manufactured the items for us is also located in the state of California. When our final invoice came, we were charged tax and were told when the vendor and final destination were inthe same state (or at least in CA), then we are due to be charged tax on the merchandise......We have done plenty of orders with the same scenario (produced in CA and shipped to CA) without being charged tax....... We are confused. Should we have to pay tax or not on this order?
I'm a relatively new transplant to Oregon, so I didn't find out about the Oregon Political Contribution Credit until last April. And then I promptly forgot about it until I heard a fairly annoying ad on the radio reminding people today is the last day to make a contribution. Should I donate my 50 bucks to any particular cause? [more inside]
How do I file to get the money back that was withheld at the closing of a condo in New Jersey? [more inside]
If a person lives* in Washington state but works** in Oregon, to which state does she pay state income tax? Oregon, Washington, or both? [more inside]
A disabled relative is having all the money automatically taken out of her account by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). She doesn't owe taxes (all she has to do is file and they will give the money back) but this will take many months. What can we do? [more inside]
I have a very, very small business (a blog; it gets decent traffic and I made some money advertising). I have some questions, and I'd like to speak to a tax professional or attorney for probably less than 30 minutes. I'm in Los Angeles, CA. Can you recommend someone and give me a ballpark cost? [more inside]
In the next few weeks I have to make a decision about exercising some incentive stock options. I have a general idea of the tax implications of this event, but I would like to meet with an accountant who can run me through the exact numbers. [more inside]
How do newcomers enter the spirits business when distilling without a permit and or without paying excise taxes is a federal crime? Home distilling is not a viable gateway hobby like home brewing. [more inside]
I am looking for examples of states or localities (in the US) where school tax payments are separate (either separate bills, or line items) from property tax bills. This is the case in NY State where the school tax bill is a separate bill. If anyone knows a comprehensive source on which states do and don't do this, that would be great. Otherwise your anecdotes as property tax payers in specific states will be helpful, even better if you know where this is explained on a state government website. I am trying to figure out where people know (as in NY) exactly how much money they are contributing to the local school system (or think they are, since they are also contributing to federal and other forms of school support).
Would a standard solicitor be the best person to advise? A specialist of some sort? A tax accountant? How to avoid unnecessary fees for work on this that the family can do--for instance, they are already tracking down all the banks with investments. [more inside]
I'm investigating reappraising our house to get rid of PMI. We meet the conditions for application, which involve bringing in an appraiser. The appraiser we would pay for is hired through the mortgage company — we have no control over the appraisal process. Do appraisers who are hired to get rid of PMI do a fair and honest job in calculating the true market value, or, alternatively, do their valuations fall close to online appraisals on average, within some percentage? (Are online estimates close to market value, within noise? Two online estimates suggest we are over the required valuation by roughly 40-50k.) Finally, are there downsides or gotchas to getting rid of PMI, other than a smaller federal deduction at tax time? [more inside]
What rules do you use for estimating the value of things you give to charity? The organizations we donate to ask us to estimate the value for tax purposes ourselves, rather than doing it for us. I know we obviously should not use the full price that we paid for the item. I am wondering if it is okay to value items at, for example, what we might get for them off Craigslist (sometimes say 1/3 to 1/2 or in rare cases even 2/3 what we paid, depending on the item and condition), or whether we should be valuing at more like what I'd use for a yard sale price of like 1/10th or lower. Does it matter? And is there a corresponding tax consequence for the recipient organization, such that if I declare the higher value on our taxes that organization realizes some proportionate tax or penalty? If so I should probably just estimate lower in order to further benefit the charity. Thanks!
A friend in Mexico does some consulting for a US company. He has an account in a US bank, where he receives payment for that work. The bank just sent him a W-8BEN form and we are not sure how to fill it. [more inside]
I am buying a used car in Cook County, IL. (I am in the dealership right now.) Is the dealer correct to charge me 9.5% tax? [more inside]
I need some advice on how to best manage a severance package cheque I’ll be receiving in a week or so. I have room to contribute, approx. $15k or so into my RRSP (this may be understated, going from memory) Details I want to stay reasonably liquid, I’m not sure how long it will take me to find a new position and I will be living off of this settlement in the interim Is there tax benefit to contributing to my RRSP now, and withdrawing in the New Year? If I just take it all, I’m thinking I’ll get a decent tax return when I file – true/false? Is there any benefit to asking for 2 cheques, one now, one after January 1st? Total severance will be around $70k or so, gross Thanks for your help!
I recently moved from the U.S. to Melbourne, Australia, and I have some questions regarding taxes and accountants. [more inside]
What does “out-of-state business activity” mean in the below quote? “If you are a Michigan resident, all of your income is subject to tax, no matter where it is earned, except income earned from out-of-state business activity.” From this web page – here [more inside]
I'm making a feature film and I need an accountant to maybe handle payroll, but mainly to advise on tax matters for my LLC and me personally. [more inside]
I have looked at previous questions but truly don't understand what I am actually needing enough to judge suitability. Here's what I have and what I need. I don't know what to track (in the finer sense) or how best to track it but I have a fair bit of money coming in and out and I'd like to know if I am ahead this year and also whether I have (for instance) enough tax room to upgrade stuff that I can write off (ie new Macbook Pro, specific software for my stuff, specific hardware etc.). [more inside]
A local politician has an unpaid $500,000 tax bill associated with a business he owns. I'd like to find out more details on this. [more inside]
For boring, complex, tax-related reasons, I have more than $4,000 which must be spent on goods or services in the next week. What vouchers, memberships, services or products should I buy to put the money to good use and hopefully make the next year awesome? (In Sydney, Australia or online). . [more inside]
Hello! I am an independent contractor (1099 Misc form) for the first time in my life and need some tax advice as the budget is a bit tight! Therapy, acupuncture, bicycle, insurance, computer, etc. How do deductions work? [more inside]
I'm working on a few apps and I'd like to form an LLC. What complicates matters is that I plan to travel the world for the next few years, meaning that all my work will be done from my laptop with no stable office and no employees other than myself. I'm currently based in California. What are some good resources to help me figure out the best way to establish my business, both financially and legally? [more inside]
I am thinking of retiring early, relatively soon. Probably within five years, maybe much sooner. I want to make sure that I correctly understand various things, so I have several questions related to taxation, Obamacare, health savings accounts, IRAs, and SEPP. [more inside]
I'm in London UK and I'm working for as an independent consultant for some businesses in the UK and Overseas (non EU). Currently I'm trading under my given name but I'm wondering if I can just start using a business name instead. just for the appearance of more "professionalism". Can I just start using "XYZ Consulting" as my business name on contracts and invoices etc? Or do I have to do I have to register something. I"m not that fussed about limited liability etc. [more inside]
After you've incorporated, what are the daily, monthly, and yearly behaviors and fees associated with having an LLC? [more inside]
I am about to send some used personal effects to the US from Europe. I'm sending four boxes of used books and clothes. Each box weighs about 20kg. What should I put on the customs label? In particular, how do I estimate the value of used personal effects? Is it zero? I don't care about insurance/replacement value, I just want to minimize/avoid customs charges. If it matters, I'm in Germany, and will be sending by DHL. I'm a European citizen who will be moving to the US for three years with a J-1 (academic) visa. [more inside]
I've had a difficult time figuring out my tax situation since I moved from the US and now I'm trying to get everything settled. I'm behind a few years and need someone to talk directly with the IRS on my behalf. Will I need an enrolled agent? A tax attorney? Both? Neither? Arg it's so confusing! [more inside]
I've been doing a fair bit of freelance work, and it's to the point now that I have to sub out certain tasks that are outside my area of expertise. I don't want to make my clients cut multiple checks if I can avoid it–want them to just deal with me to keep it simple and neat. However, I do not want to be on the hook for income that is actually going to a sub. What to do? [more inside]
I live in (and am a citizen of) Canada, and have recently mailed important tax information to the US IRS and Treasury Department via the regular Canada post. Should I re-mail that information to ensure that it made it to the proper destinations? [more inside]
I'm seeing reporting that bothers me that my state tax authority is targeting artists for auditing based on what sounds like some specious assertions regarding whether their business models and expenses are appropriate. I realized I don't know what I should do to formally protest these actions. [more inside]
My employer paid me separate checks for my regular hours and overtime hours, and the overtime was not taxed. Is this cool? [more inside]
I feel like this should be really easy, but I'm coming up with a non-sensical result. I am considering taking a job that would involve a pay cut (long story, I promise it's worth it). I am trying to calculate what my actual paycheck would be. I'm using the paycheck calculator at Paycheckcity.com to figure this out. But the number it's giving me for California state income tax doesn't seem right. [more inside]
My partner has not worked at all in 2012. He did not work much in 2011. (He had some income in January.) We are not married or civilly unioned or anything “official.” However, for the last two years, he has qualified as my dependent and I have filed accordingly. Last year, this felt tricky because we were concerned about where the income cut-off was, and he filed as usual, but reporting himself as my dependent. This year did not feel tricky at all because he had no income at all (no employment, unemployment, no disability, nothing), so as soon as I got my W-2, I filed and got my refund and put it out of my mind. Until this morning as we headed out the door to work/doctor's appointment, when he asked “wait, when you did your taxes while I was in the hospital, did you file mine?” Oops. [more inside]
I work as a freelancer, and have done so for many years. Which means I need to track all my expenses for tax time. I'd like to spend as little time as possible on this, both week-to-week, and at the end of the year. I'm in Canada, if that affects things. [more inside]
Question about whether it's worth it to write off approx. $2500 in startup costs for a small business that generated no income in 2012, and whether it's worth it to do so. [more inside]
Is the non-profit I work for legally required to generate 1099 forms for all of the individuals who receive stipends from this org. and have filled out W9 forms (technically "independent contractors")? [more inside]
Here's the rub: In February on 2012, I decided to end my marriage. Because I was dead broke, we simply moved apart, split the bank account in two and went our separate ways with the understanding that we'd make a move to formally divorce in the next year. We did not get a legal separation. That divorce is now pending. My soon-to-be-ex-wife filed her taxes 'Married, Filing Separately'. This causing me all kind of tax havoc, including a bill I have no way of paying. More inside... [more inside]
Do the confirmation e-mails for e-filing federal tax returns with Free File Fillable Forms contain sensitive information? [more inside]
I lived in two states last year, but apparently only paid taxes in one. Now what? [more inside]
Can anyone explain the politics behind the marriage tax penalty? [more inside]
Hi AskMefi. Did my taxes as I always do withTurbotax Deluxe. They came out higher than I expected. I'm considering getting a professional to see if I'm making errors but wanted to see if anyone has had a similar experience where they found that turbotax left them with unaccounted or unexpected payments. Any experiences like this? Thanks.
I've paid my back taxes for New York State as of last year, but the judgment is still on my credit reports, although marked "paid". This is my only ding. Will landlords refuse to rent to me anyway? [more inside]
Somewhat unexpectedly, I find myself working as a full time freelancer. Help me anticipate the tax situation. [more inside]
I moved back to Canada in November 2012 after living in the US for the past five years. Last year I had a CPA prepare my 2011 US and Canada returns and was shocked when I was billed $2,200 for what I see as a relatively simple tax situation. (W2, 1099-INT from the bank, statements of 401K and RRSP contributions and charitable donations) I still haven't recovered from paying so much last year and well, it's that time of year again. What are my options of having my US and Canadian returns prepared for a more reasonable amount? Can I get a US tax preparer in the States and a different one in Canada or is there some sort of connection that's required? Can I do the taxes myself using a TurboTax package from the US and one from Canada? I have my 2011 returns to use as a guide. I'm scared I'll miss something or do something wrong, but it's awfully tempting under the circumstances.
A friend in the same field as me, who was underemployed last year, helped me on a project last year. Over the whole year it was a total of 32 hours (I paid him at $50/hr). Now he's asking for a W2. I think it's pretty clear that he was not an employee (W2), but rather an independent contractor (1099). Aside from inventing a time machine to go back and clarify the terms (which I didn't think would be a problem, considering our friendship), what should I do here? What's at stake?