Now that you know where to find the tax form 1040 schedule 1 to 5 and schedules A to E, let us get to understand what they are used for and how this class will relate to the forms. Tax planning is essentially the pre work that the tax planner does to prepare themselves or their client on what to expect when the tax filing season happens.
Understanding the basics will help you know if you are going to expect a refund for the client or if the client will be owing taxes early in the tax year. When it comes to a refund, the client will get out what they put in.
For example, withholdings. When you get a chance take a look at a pay stub. In box 2 there will be an amount there. That is the withholding amount you designate to take out using form W-4 at your place of employment. The IRS has a great tool called the withholding estimator calculator found here:
If the box 2 amount is at least 15% of the wages in box 1, for each pay check, you’re normally going to get a refund break even based on a tax bracket of 15%.
Based on the recent tax reform act, the IRS has simplifying the form 1040. Please keep this in mind that each year the form is improved based on the taxpayer’s needed.
The top portion of the form 1040 is demographic information. Always safeguard your SSN number. Do not email it using an unsecured server.
Page 1 of the 1040 the top portion is income. Please note there is taxable income, earned income, unearned income such as unemployment, passive income from rental etc. Each line corresponds to the type of income that you receive for the calendar year. Form 1040 captures calendar year events.
(There are two exceptions when someone dies or if someone files a chapter 11 individual bankruptcy. Those dates ends the tax year under those circumstances only.)
The lower part of the 1040 front page consists of credits such as teachers credit, student loan credit, etc. These amounts help to reduce your Adjusted gross income (AGI) which is your taxable income. Therefore as a tax planner you want to know about any events that can reduce your AGI before hand and keep all documents or receipts to use in support of these deductions.
The best record keeping tip is to use a binder each year to store your tax documents, receipts and supporting documents in one place. The binder helps to keep the documents from being misplaced. Each month as you collect bank statements that support your tax deductible activities you can add it to that binder. At the end of the year you have a month by month proof. Store 5 years of tax documents. Audits can occur on any unfiled tax return but if the return is filed then statute is 3 years from the return received date or due date which ever is later to claim and receive a refund.
Below that are the credits such as EIC, Education credits (Hope and Lifetime learning).
Then you would go to the tax table to look up your corresponding tax bracket based on single, head of household, married or married filing separately.
You will then know if you are expecting a refund or if you will be owing taxes. If you or the client is self employed, the only way to get a refund is to have withholdings, or make Estimated Tax (ES) payment each quarter. No ES payments or withholdings means you or your client WILL owe taxes.
To get full credit for this assignment, each student needs to look at the schedules and form 1040 and post a question you would like answered below.
Please note that each tax form will have a corresponding instruction sheet on the IRS website.
You can download the instruction sheet and read it carefully to understand what goes on each line. Attached is the instruction sheet for schedule c -small business and self employed. Each schedule or form has an instruction sheet.