It doesn’t matter if you own a business or work for someone else, paying taxes is an essential part of life. You cannot avoid paying taxes. Not paying your taxes can result in expensive fines or even jail time, which is why you want to make sure to follow all the laws and processes and file your taxes accurately and on time.
If you’re not an accountant, taxes can be a hard thing to understand. There are so many different rules regarding filing, and there are so many different credits you can claim depending on income, filing status, employment, etc.
Although learning everything about taxes may require you to take some classes or do a lot of research, there are basic questions and answers that most people have regarding their taxes that are answered below. The following are some of the most common tax payment questions and answers.
Q: I want to claim my child as a dependent. Is there an age limit?
Yes, there are certain requirements in place in order to claim your child as a dependent. First, your child must be younger than you. While this may sound silly, the law refers to stepchildren, adopted children and conservatorships. Second, at the end of the calendar year, your child must be either younger than 19 years old or be enrolled as a student and younger than 24 years old.
Q: Who can I claim as a dependent?
Some people think that a dependent needs to be a child, but this is not true. You are allowed to claim a child or a relative as a dependent as long as they meet certain requirements that are related to relationship with you, residency, income, and financial support you have provided. Spouses can also qualify as dependents depending on the same requirements. Because the regulations are so in depth, it may be a smart decision to use an accountant or accounting package to process your taxes. These individuals or programs can help make filing taxes easier and explain all the items in more detail.
Q: Do I have to claim a child as a dependent in order to file as head of household?
In order to be considered a head of household, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be unmarried
- Have paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home
- Have a qualifying dependent live in the home for at least half of the year
As for claiming a child, you do not have to claim a child as a dependent in order to file as head of household.
Q: What should I do if I made a mistake on my taxes that have already been filed?
Mistakes happen, and the IRS understands this. The IRS looks over the filed taxes before submitting refunds or other tax-related information. If the IRS catches your mistake, they will reach out to you with specific directions as to what you need to do in order to correct the mistake.
If the mistake is something you noticed that the IRS may not catch, such as forgetting to report all income, you will need to file an amended tax return. This is done by filling out Form 1040X, and you have up to three years to report an amended tax return. Amended tax returns are usually not processed as quickly as original taxes, so if your amendment will result in a refund, do not expect it to land in your bank account for at least two to three months.
Q: I have my own business. What can I deduct on my taxes?
There are many different items you can deduct for business on your taxes, including company vehicles, home office supplies, and even mortgage or rent payments. See a list of deductible home office expenses in order to receive a more detailed list.