Smart Tips For Filing Your Tax Return

The tax deadline is fast approaching and many people who have never done their own taxes before are nervous when they file their first return. According to the IRS, 25% of all taxpayers wait until the last two weeks before the deadline to prepare their tax returns. If you fit into this category, check out these helpful tips to help you get the job done right.

Get Organized
-Use a tax preparation checklist to make sure you have everything you need for filing.
-Have your forms, receipts and other documents close by for easy access
-Be aware of your filing deadlines
-If you’ve filed before, have last year’s return ready for reference

Remember, knowledge is power
The tax process can be intimidating for anyone, especially the first time preparer. Did you know that the average American scores only about 50% on personal finance questions relating to income tax returns? It will be important for you to research your tax options, school yourself and understand what items are deductible and could bring you a higher return. Don’t short-change yourself by rushing through your due diligence. There are programs available that can help. For example, The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), offers free tax assistance to those individuals making $54,000 or less that need help preparing their own returns.

Choose the correct IRS forms
The simplest form is 1040EZ. Individuals whose income is below $100,000 use this form.

Choose your software or tax preparer
Tax preparation software is popular with the do-it-yourselfers. You can find a multitude of cloud or computer based preparation options. If you need the help of a professional tax preparer, it is important to find a reputable choice. Talk to friends, colleagues or someone you know who has experience with tax preparation. Make sure you ask about their fees and most importantly get their preparer tax identification number.

Decide how you will file your return
There are two options available related to sending your completed tax returns. The first is to file electronically through an authorized IRS E-file provider. The other is to download the required forms, fill them out, sign and send them in by mail. If you are expecting a refund, the E-file will definitely assure you get your money faster.

Take security measures
Be cautious when filing your taxes. Make sure you are working on a secured network. Be sure to steer away from using public Wi-Fi and remember to have a unique, strong password for any tax related accounts.

Make a plan for your tax refund before you receive it
If you are one of the lucky taxpayers that will be expecting a refund, you need to have a plan for your money. Before you go out and spend your refund, remember that the IRS isn’t sending you a gratuity check. It’s money that should have been yours all along. So make sure you give your pending refund a special purpose.

An excess of 50% of Americans have no savings to speak of. So, the best time to start saving is your tax refund. This could help you make a big financial step in the right direction. How about putting your refund toward bill consolidation or other savings goals. You could also consider investing your money in CDs, bonds or in real estate. Whatever you decide, make the most of the money you will be receiving.

7 Things to Consider When Applying for a Payday Loan

If you are going through tough circumstances, payday loans may sound a tempting option to you. But if you are not an experienced person, we suggest that you consider this option after a lot of thinking. Since these loans feature a very high interest rate, they shouldn’t be taken unless you have no other option. Below are 7 tips that may help you make an informed decision.

Financial charges

The amount of loan you will get is a lot lower than what is written on the check. The reason is that finance charges are deducted from the amount, so you will need to write a check plus these charges. Not doing so will result in a higher rate of financial charges that you will have to pay. Most people get into even bigger trouble when they fail to pay the principal amount along with interest. So, make sure you know how much you are getting and how much you will need to pay back down the road.

Paying back

If you don’t have enough funds in your account to pay back the loan, you may try other options. For instance, you may renew the loan amount or consider taking out another payday loan. But keep in mind that this new loan will have its own financial charges and extra fees. And the extra fees are actually incur because of late payment of the amount of loan.

State Regulations

In each state, regulations are different for payday loans. Usually, the term limit is not more than 30 days. The problem is that lenders often issue loans that feature a longer term limit. In this case, you are at the lender’s mercy, which is a situation you may not be willing to go through.

Cash crunches

As said earlier, the purpose of a payday loan is to deal with a temporary financial crisis, and we have to pay back the loan as soon as we are out of the financial trouble to avoid high interest and fees.

So, it is not a good idea to be tempted by the “roll over” trend or you may have to pay a huge sum at the end.

Financial position

Usually, these loans are for borrowers with lower incomes as they can’t afford to borrow from other sources. Here, it is important to keep in mind that lenders don’t usually take into account the financial position of those who are applying for the loan. So, you have to think harder before opting for this option.

Automatic rollover

You need to be aware that there are some loan sites that tend to rollover the loan amount automatically. And then there are sites that have some contractual agreements that state that you, the borrower, do not have any right to file for bankruptcy or file a lawsuit against the lender.

Approval

A great characteristic of payday loans is that they are easy to get, meaning the approval process is quite easier than other types of loans. So, most borrowers find them quite tempting, but you should be careful and only opt for this option if you have no other choice left.

You may say that opting for a payday loan is a good idea to deal with a temporary financial crisis, but a hasty decision may get you in a bigger trouble. If you don’t be careful enough, you may end up in a vicious circle of debt. Therefore, it’s better to pay back the loan as soon as you get your hands on some extra cash. Hopefully, keeping these tips in mind, you will take this decision.

The Social Benefits of Tax Exemption in India

There is a compassionate part hidden among all of us. And, the thought of getting out there and doing something for the society also must have crossed our minds many times. But, how often have we actually gone ahead and done it? We get so caught up in our daily humdrum that our benevolence takes a backseat. But, as they say, ‘where there is a will, there is a way.’ So, one of the many ways that can provide you a platform to actively participate in social causes is to engage with a charity. Every charity works towards benefitting, uplifting, and sustaining the society by encompassing factors related to social, legal, environment, ecology, health, economy, education, welfare, and the like. The cause of each non-governmental organisation directly or indirectly reflects the broader perspectives of global organisations such as the UN, UNESCO, WHO, ILO etc. Since charities work at the ground zero level of the society; their involvement with a cause brings about a more sustainable outcome. Hence, when you get involved with a non-governmental organisation it provides you an avenue to constructively participate in a cause.

In view of the significant role of charities and to encourage participation of individuals and businesses in various causes, the Government of India has made the provision of tax exemption in India for all charitable donations. Yes, as per Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, contributing donations to a registered charitable trust can avail the donor 100% or 50% exemption on the donated amount based upon the type of charitable trust and the clauses of the Income Tax Act. The exemption is applicable for both online donation and offline donation. However, due to ease and convenience, many donors have started taking the online mode of contributing charity. And, since non-governmental organisations understand the worth of each penny, the donor can be rest assured that their money is being utilised in the right way. Hence, considering this form of tax exemption is quite a noble way to contribute towards the society.

Let’s take a couple of instances, if a donor identifies with an environmental cause such as afforestation and contributes towards Save Green, then his taxable income will be utilised towards increasing green cover and initiating several environment-friendly programmes. Similarly, if a donor identifies with child education and nutrition, then contributes towards TAPF, a non-governmental organisation in India. So, essentially you are contributing towards a healthier and educated society. And, you are also being a catalyst in nation-building.

Well, as you can decipher from the above-mentioned instances, your taxable income has the potential to transform the society in many different ways. Hence, don’t you think making an online donations or offline donations to charities can make the most of the tax exemption in India to upkeep your benevolence, save your hard-earned money while also partaking to uplift the society?