Check Refund Status Online with where’s My Refund?

  • You can quickly check the status of your tax return and refund. Go to “Where is my Refund” on IRS.gov.
  • Initial information will normally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mails a paper return to the IRS. The system updates only once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check more often.
  • You will be asked to enter your Social Security number, filing status and exact refund amount when accessing the “where’s My Refund?”

 

What is Saver’s Credit?

If you contribute to a retirement plan, like a 401(k) or an IRA, you may be able to claim the Saver’s Credit. This credit can help you save for retirement and reduce the tax you owe. Here are some key facts that you should know about this important tax credit:

  • Formal Name.  The formal name of the Saver’s Credit is the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit. The Saver’s Credit is in addition to other tax savings you get if you set aside money for retirement. For example, you may also be able to deduct your contributions to a traditional IRA.
  • Maximum Credit.  The Saver’s Credit is worth up to $4,000 if you are married and file a joint return. The credit is worth up to $2,000 if you are single. The credit you receive is often much less than the maximum. This is partly because of the deductions and other credits you may claim.
  • Income Limits.  You may be able to claim the credit depending on your filing status and the amount of your yearly income. You may be eligible for the credit on your tax return if you are:
    • Married filing jointly with income up to $61,000
    • Head of household with income up to $45,750
    • Married filing separately or a single taxpayer with income up to $30,500
  • Other Rules.  Other rules that apply to the credit include:
    • You must be at least 18 years of age.
    • You can’t have been a full-time student.
    • No other person can claim you as a dependent on their tax return.
  • Contribution Date.  You must have contributed to a 401(k) plan or similar workplace plan by the end of the year to claim this credit. However, you can contribute to an IRA by the due date of your tax return and still have it count for 2015. The due date for most people is April 18, 2016.
  • Form 8880.  File IRS form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to claim the credit.

 

Before Deducting Charitable Donations

If you gave money or goods to a charity, you may be able to claim a deduction on your federal tax return. Here are some important facts you should know about charitable donations.

  1. Qualified Charities.You must donate to a qualified charity. Gifts to individuals, political organizations or candidates are not deductible.
  2. Itemize Deductions.To deduct your contributions, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions. File Schedule A itemized Deductions, with your federal tax return.
  3. Benefit in Return.If you get something in return for your donation, you may have to reduce your deduction. You can only deduct the amount of your gift that is more than the value of what you got in return. Examples of benefits include merchandise, meals, tickets to an event or other goods and services.
  4. Type of Donation.If you give property instead of cash, your deduction amount is normally limited to the item’s fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price you would get if you sold the property on the open market. If you donate used clothing and household items, they generally must be in good condition, or better, to be deductible. Special rules apply to cars, boats and other types of property donations.
  5. Form to File and Records to Keep.You must file IRS form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions, for all noncash gifts totaling more than $500 for the year. The type of records you must keep depends on the amount and type of your donation.
  6. Donations of $250 or More.If you donated cash or goods of $250 or more, you must have a written statement from the charity. It must show the amount of the donation and a description of any property given. It must also say whether you received any goods or services in exchange for the gift.
  7.  Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2015 count for 2015, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2016. Also, checks count for 2015 as long as they were mailed in 2015.

 

Can’t Pay my Taxes On Time?

The IRS urges you to file on time even if you can’t pay what you owe. This saves you from potentially paying a penalty for a late filed return.

Here is what to do if you can’t pay all your taxes by the due date.

  1. File on time and pay as much as you can. You can pay online, by phone, or by check or money order.
  2. Get a loan or use a credit card to pay your tax. The interest and fees charged by a bank or credit card company may be less than IRS interest and penalties.
  3. Use the Online Payment Agreement tool.  You don’t need to wait for IRS to send you a bill before you ask for a payment plan. The best way is to use the “Online Payment Agreement Tool” on IRS.gov. You can also file IRS Form 9465. Installment Agreement Request, with your tax return. You can even set up a direct debit agreement. With this type of payment plan, you won’t have to write a check and mail it on time each month.
  4. Don’t ignore a tax bill.  If you get a bill, don’t ignore it.  The IRS may take collection action if you ignore the bill. Contact the IRS right away to talk about your options. If you are suffering financial hardship, the IRS will work with you.
  5. File to reconcile Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit.  You must file a tax return and submit IRS Form 8962 to reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit with the actual premium tax credit to which you are entitled. You will need Form 1095 A from the Marketplace to complete Form 8962. Failure to reconcile your advance payments of the premium tax credit on Form 8962 may make you ineligible to receive future advance payments.