The tax levied on an individual’s or corporation’s income is known as income tax, which is a direct tax. Individuals are taxed on their total income, taking into account the standard deductions. Corporations or businesses are taxed on their net income, which is the difference between gross receipts and expenditure. Companies would have to pay corporate or corporation tax. Tax is charged on wages, business income and capital gains.
Anyone who works in the United States has to file income tax returns and pay federal income tax every year by the 15th of April. If you cannot do so then you can apply for an extension from the IRS by filing Form 4868. You must then file within four months, by August 15th.
The two major types of tax systems are flat rate taxes and progressive taxes. Flat tax rate is when all earnings are charged at the same rate. Progressive taxes are calculated differentially, based on how much has been earned. For example every $10,000 will be charged higher in the beginning and the following ones would be charged at progressively lower rates. Deductions help individuals and companies pay a lower amount in taxes.
U.S. residents have to file Form 1040. Nonresident Americans will have to file Form 1040 NR. If you are exempt from taxes, you then file Form 8843. The most essential documents you need are your visa, passport, and social security number or TIN (Tax Identification Number).
As an employee of a firm you will file the W-2 form, while the self-employed will need to file Form 1099. If you generate income from investments, dividends, royalties or rental income you will also need to file the 1099 form.
If you have paid interest on mortgage or real estate taxes, you will be mailed a 1098 along with this information. These forms come in triplicate, so send the original to the IRS, and keep the copies carefully.
The IRS e-file program makes it easy to file your taxes online. Before you do so, get a PIN number. For this you will need to give your birth date, social security number, and information from your previous year’s tax return.
A single person would file an individual tax return. Those who are married can file jointly or as individuals. There are many rules for separated, divorced or couples living together. Do go through them carefully. Also look closely at the rules for dependents. Do keep in mind that the social security number of the dependent has to be put on the return, and child support payments are not deductible.
After filing, if you owe taxes, pay before the deadline, or you will face penalties. You may also be owed a refund if you have overpaid your taxes. These could be paid directly or by check. Make sure to include bank account information when you are filing the form.
With your income tax returns, you can claim standard deductions or itemized deductions. These are for mortgage, student loans, some specific expensive medical treatments, charities and business expenses. The originals of 1099 forms and documentation of these deductions must be sent to the IRS.
You can file the returns yourself or get a consultant to help you. The IRS also helps filing of your returns. Call the IRS customer service representatives toll-free at 1-800-829-1040.
The IRS website (www.irs.gov) gives you extensive information.