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Anne Powelson

Anne Powelson

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:20

Maine's Best Tax Credit?

Emmys, Grammys, Tonys what awards should we give for great tax credits? The Creddys?

I may not have a good name for the award, but I have a great nominee the Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit.

What is the Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit?

It's a credit on your Maine tax return, reimbursing you for student loan payments made.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 22:00

ABCs of healthcare reporting (01-13-2016)

Once again you'll be asked to verify if you and your tax household had minimum essential health coverage through the year. But new this year is an alphabet of forms! Fortunately, most people will not need these forms to do their taxes. Why is that fortunate? Well, this year some of these forms may be arriving well into tax filing season.

This year's healthcare forms are 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C.

Let's go through them one at a time.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015 19:35

Your last tuition payment

Everyone has innocuous things which make them cringe. In my case, it's people announcing they've just sent in their last tuition payment.

I know they're proud, and I understand their relief, but I'm tempted to ask if that was a good tax decision. Specifically; is there an advantage to pay at the end of 2015, or is it better to wait until the start of 2016? How do you make this decision?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 18:38

Hobby or business?

Do you have a hobby or a business? The line isn't always clear. Take, for example, a sculptor: sometimes people sculpt purely as a hobby, maybe once in awhile they sell a sculpture or win a prize, but they aren't primarily in it for the money. Then, there are sculptors who do nothing else. Their days are spent in the studio, or arranging for exhibits and publicity. Sales of their work provide their primary source of income. In between those two points, there is an infinite spectrum of individuals; how do they determine whether they have a hobby or a business?

Profit motive

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 21:56

Mid-year tax reminders and notices

There's three reminders for the mid-year. The first is important for everyone, the second for those who had marketplace health insurance in 2014, and the third for anyone who currently has marketplace insurance or looking to replace their insurance mid-year.

The IRS cautions of more sophisticated scams. For years, the IRS has reminded filers that they do not contact taxpayers by phone or email. Requests for information or immediate payment by phone or email are scams and should be ignored. Unfortunately, the scammers have been listening as well, as they have added letters to their schemes. Some people are receiving letters with official looking IRS letterhead looking for information or payment. That creates more of a challenge, since the IRS does contact taxpayers by mail and these letters often have short deadlines.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015 14:49

Revised tax return deadlines

Tax deadlines: miss them and you could wind up owing penalties and interest. Not fun, so I'd thought I'd give you a head's up about changes included in the recent highway funding bill. These changes especially effect business partnerships and overseas investors and, mostly, go into effect for your 2016 return, filed in 2017.

Partnership Returns, series 1065, will be due a month earlier than before. Returns for calendar year filers will be due on March 15. For fiscal year filers, partnership returns will be due on the 15th day of the third month following the close of their fiscal year. A six-month extension may be allowed for partnership returns.

Tuesday, 09 June 2015 17:37

Forget to file?

There are many reasons people don't file on time. Some are too busy, others too ill, some don't realize they need to file, some don't know they have a refund waiting, and some just don't know how to deal with an amount due.

So what should you do, if you haven't filed yet? The answer depends partly on whether you think you owe, or expect money back.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 20:55

Summer jobs withhold or not?

Looking for a summer job? I hope you find one! If you do, you'll be asked to complete form W-4 requesting how much withholding you want from your income. How should you fill that in? The decision is up to you, but here is some guidance.

Will you need to file federal taxes? I'm going to assume that you are someone's dependent, which means, except for temporary absences, you live with a parent or other guardian and you don't provide over half your support. In 2015, a dependent needs to file if any of these conditions apply:

Did you know Maine has a credit for recent graduates of Maine colleges who are paying on student loans? Though use of the Maine Credit for Educational Opportunity is growing, from 710 filers in 2011 to 1,157 in 2012, many people still don't know about this wonderful credit.

What is the Maine Credit for Educational Opportunity?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 11:49

ACA comes to your tax return

Welcome to 2015 - the first year when questions about whether you have health insurance will impact your federal tax return. A quick summary of the major impacts:

You will be asked if you have health insurance. You will be asked to confirm you had qualifying health insurance all year for yourself, your spouse and each dependent listed on your return. On the paper copy of returns, there's a simple checkbox near the end. How that checkbox gets filled in (or not) will vary depending on how your taxes are prepared, but you should expect questions about insurance. Qualifying health insurance is defined at irs.gov (search for 'minimum essential coverage'). Employer-sponsored, individual and government-sponsored plans all are acceptable plans.

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