Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Do You Have Tax Questions? We Will Answer Them!

For today's Awl newsletter, we're soliciting questions about THE LOOMING APRIL 15TH and all things tax and employment and money-related. Send them to me at choire @ the awl dot com or leave them here in the comments, or on Twitter, or whatever. Anonymity respected. But feel no shame! Experts (uh, sort of! Experts in life, we mean! Legal disclaimer goes here!) are standing by.


21 Comments / Post A Comment

Matt (#26)

Can I have a job?

keisertroll (#1,117)

@Matt Goddammit it took me a half hour to basically ask the same thing.

jfruh (#713)

My refund ended up being like $200 less than I thought. The IRS promises to send details later, but says this is because I failed to do fill out Schedule D, which makes no sense because (a) I'm pretty sure you don't have to fill out Schedule D if you only have $35 of investment income and (b) even if I did have to fill out Schedule D, $35 of investment income accounted for differently couldn't possibly result in a $200 difference. My questions is: What emotions should I be feeling right now? Shame, for doing my taxes wrong, and because I'm finally going to have to start using TurboTax instead of doing it all on paper? Anger at the IRS and Obama for double-taxing my job-creating $35 of investment income? Sheepishness for complaining about a smaller refund than I expected, when after all I'm still getting a refund?

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh "Refund"? #humblebrag

jfruh (#713)

@deepomega Well, technically since I pay quarterly tax estimates all a refund proves is that I did a bad job of estimating my taxes, which is not much to brag about.

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh Yeah I managed to get within five grand of my actual income in my quarterly taxes, which, given how I was salaried for 4 months then freelance for 8 with a changing day rate and a company that used probably-illegal Employee Of Record Services (UGH) means I think the IRS should give me, a prize. Maybe next year is free, like when you get a hole in one at the end of a game of minigolf?

Irwin R. Schyster (#231,764)

I failed to file taxes last year. I intend to correct this mistake, but I am still in the process of recovering my tax documents from old employers (I moved across country at tax time and the W2s from said employers—of which there were several—were all lost in the move.

So… my question. As I have my (only) W2 for this year with me, can I file for this year? Will I still get a refund if owed one?

jfruh (#713)

@Irwin R. Schyster I'm not an expert but I've had friends in this situation, and experts have told them that you should definitely file your most recent tax form if you can, even if the you have outstanding returns from previous years. Otherwise you're just asking for penalties and interest to pile up! No idea if they'll take last year's penalties out of this year's refund, but you really will save money in the long run if you get as up to date as possible.

NeenerNeener (#188,596)

@Irwin R. Schyster
You can call the IRS and ask that they send you a summary of what income was reported to them for 2010 if trying to get the info from the old employers is too much of a hassle.
They'll give you your refund for this year (if you are due one) after they review the info they have from 2010 to determine whether they think you would owe tax for 2010 or not. If they think you were underpaid for that year, they'll hold your refund.
Also, if you were supposed to receive a refund for 2010, you won't have any penalties for not filing on time.

NafNaf (#201,644)

tax day is April 17th this year, hope that doesn't screw anything up

has to do with this;

the more you know, etc

NeenerNeener (#188,596)

Ooh, I want to pass on to the AirBnB person that if they rented their home for 14 days or less out of the year, they don't need to report the rental income.

Matt (#26)

I was serious about the job thing :/

riggssm (#760)

FYI, the question about deducting rent?

Yes! It's true, at least in the COMMIEwealth of Massachusetts, where there is a special line for rent. (Never mind another, special line for my T pass!)

Silly Massachusetts, making my life better, one deduction at a time.

ru_ri (#222,491)

I am a US citizen, but I was a resident of Japan until June of last year. I have paid only Japanese taxes for the past 8 years, as I lived there and made no money in the US. I always filed my US tax forms, though, basically just saying how much I made and what I paid in Japan.
I now live in the US, but I am still working for Japanese companies (on my still-valid working visa) and putting the money into my Japanese bank account. I pay my taxes there, too (both local and national). However, every six months I transfer my earnings to my US bank account so that I can eat while I live here. Anyway, my question is, now that I live here, do I have to pay US taxes on my earnings? The Japanese tax authority is quite clear that I have to pay there, even though I do the work here, since the money is coming from a Japanese company. Am I going to be double-taxed? Help, please!

NeenerNeener (#188,596)

I think you're going to need to consult with an accountant about this one, but I'm thinking that yes, you'll need to file here and can claim a foreign tax credit for the taxes paid to Japan (kind of sounds like the same thing you've been doing).
Someone else may have a better answer than I do.

ru_ri (#222,491)

@NeenerNeener Thank you for your response! Yes, it was a foreign tax credit thingy on an extra form that I downloaded from the IRS website every year. But yes, I am afraid I really should just pony up and see an accountant about it and make sure things are square. (I also have the creeping dreads about all my years of not-paying social security and stuff, but I guess that's a whole other issue.)

NafNaf (#201,644)

@ru_ri you'll need to pay if your American income tax liability is greater than your Japanese (or vice versa, depending on your situation). in general, you'll have to pay the total amount of income tax in whichever tax jurisdiction graciously provides you with the higher tax liability

ru_ri (#222,491)

@NafNaf OK, thank you. Assuming the US tax liability is higher, I would need to pay the difference between that and what I have already paid in Japan? Just want to make sure I understand what you are saying.

lovelettersinhell (#13,711)

Can my inlaws claim my husband and I as dependents since we were entirely supported by them last year? My husband and I are 27, and I finally have a job, but we had literally zero income other than rent and food money from his folks.

nomorecrackpipes (#8,243)

Shit's due April 17th this year, homies.

CPA descending into madness

Losttaxpayer (#241,128)

Hi all.
Ok so I got a job and put a false dob down and accidentally put married filing separately but I needed to put single because we are just living together. . I'm worried because I know this will come back wrong. Does it go to my employer as wrong first or me? And what do I do. It's not illegal to put a false dob down but now I'm worried about for taxes what to do. Someone please help!!!

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