Filing Online Income Tax Return

Are you thinking about filing an online income tax return? If so, then here’s a quick preview of what to expect.

You’ll be asked a series of questions

These questions are divided into three main groups. The first set of questions will be asking you about your income tax filing status. You’ll be asked for your name, address, birth date, social security number, marital status, spouse, dependents and your occupation.

The next step in the process of filing an online income tax return will be to answer a set of questions about the income you earned. If you have income from more than one source, you’ll be glad to know there’s an easy method of entering your other income sources.

Here’s list of income sources you’ll be asked about: Wages, salary, W-2 form, 1099 form, investments, interest, dividends, stocks, mutual funds, contracts, capital gains, business income, social security, IRA, tax refunds, government payments, rental property, partnerships and other income such as gambling winnings.

Once you’re done with the income section of your online tax return you’ll move on to the deductions and credits section. This is where you get to minimize your taxes. I’ll just cover the basic categories here, but their are over 350 tax deductions and credits that may be available to you.

Here are the main deduction and credit categories: Your home, you and your family, cars and other things you own, education, charitable donations, medical, taxes paid, retirement, investments, employment expenses, other tax deductions and credits.

Once you have entered all of your tax return filing information, calculations will automatically be made to figure your tax refund or tax you owe. Filing your online income tax return is the next step and then you’re done. Just follow the prompts you’ll be given for filing your tax return online and you should have your tax refund back in no time.

Taxes on Your Gambling Winnings – You Owe Uncle Sam a Piece No Matter How Much You Won

When you’re gambling at a casino, you may win a few bucks here and there and leave with more dollars than you brought with you. It may be as little as $20, or as much as $1,000. When cashing out you were never presented you with a form to declare your winnings to the IRS. If you think you’re home free, think again. As a U.S. citizen, you owe Uncle Sam a piece of the action regardless of the amount. Many players think that just because they were not given a tax form there’re home free. Not so.

So, what does get reported to the IRS? Larger amounts that are won at gambling establishments such as casinos, lottery retailers, horse race tracks and off-track betting parlors. They will issue a form W-2G, one copy to you and one to the IRS. Here are some details:

Machine Games

$1,200 or more won at a slot machine, video poker, video keno, video blackjack, etc. This only applies to a single jackpot payout amount. Accumulated credits are credit meter wins and do not count.

$1,200 or more won at a live bingo game will also trigger a W-2G, and $1,500 or more at a live keno game (minus your wager amounts).

The casino will not withhold any gambling taxes from awards in the $1,200 to $1,500 range provided you present a valid photo ID and social security number. If you do not provide this information, 28% will be withheld.

Live Table Games

Winnings from live table games are not reportable on a W-2G, except if there is a very large prize amount offered for a small wager, such as a dollar bet for a shot at a progressive table jackpot, where the winning odds are over 300/1 and the win is more than $600. For example, Caribbean Stud offers a huge progressive jackpot for wagering only $1, if you’re lucky enough to hit a Royal Flush.

If you win $600 or more in any other wagering game, such as horse, dog racing or sports betting, and the amount is at least 300 times your bet minus your wager amount, the establishment will gift you with a W-2G. If your winnings exceed $5,000 and the amount is more than 300 times your bet, 25% will be withheld. The same withholding percentage also applies to any cash prize of $5,000 or more in poker or other card tournaments minus the buy-in amount.

Winnings on state lottery games such as lotto, numbers, scratch-offs, etc. can be collected at your local retailer up to $600. Any more and you’ll have to visit the main lottery office in your community, where a W-2G also awaits you. This information is from the New York lottery. Other states may have different rules.

Winnings on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests at this time are considered games of skill. DFS sites will issue a 1099-MISC, not a W-2G for winnings of $600 or more.

Video Lottery Terminals (VLT)

$600 or more in winnings from any class II ​Video Lottery Terminal game will also invite a W-2G. This includes any winnings on machines at jurisdictions that are operated by a state lottery. For example, New York State has nine race tracks with VLT’s that are pseudo slot and video poker machines.

Deductions

The good news in all of this is that gambling losses are tax deductible but only up to the amount of your winnings, and only if you itemize deductions on your tax return.

The IRS wants to make sure that you indeed lost what you claim you lost, so a record of all your losses is required. Win- loss statements are available from most major casinos at the end of the year, provided you used your player’s club card when playing machines. Save those losing scratch-off tickets, Lotto, Powerball, and Mega-Millions tickets, daily numbers, Quick Draw, OTB, etc.

For losses on Daily Fantasy Sports contests, the IRS position at this time is unclear. Because of the skill factor, your winnings are in the hobby category. Therefore, any losses would not be deductible, although this situation could change at any time.

You don’t have to record the tickets on your tax statement, but they may be necessary if you are audited. All the IRS wants to know is the type of wager, the amount of the bet and the date of the transaction.

Always play it safe and check with your tax preparer for your personal needs.

3 Percent Itemized Deduction Phaseout Rule

Taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) above a certain amount may lose part of their deduction for personal exemptions and itemized deductions. The provision began in the early 1990’s and is set to be repealed in 2010. The itemized deduction reduction originally called for reducing your deductions by 3% of the amount that your AGI exceeds the threshold amount.

Beginning in 2006, the overall limit on certain deductions was gradually eliminated. Under this phaseout rule, the limit was reduced by one-third in 2006 and will be reduced by one-third in 2007 so that the 3% phaseout is reduced to 2%. In 2008 and 2009, the 3% phaseout will be reduced to 1%. The reduction will be eliminated in 2010.

For 2007, the amount you can claim as a deduction for exemptions is reduced once your AGI goes above a certain level for your filing status. The threshold is indexed annually for inflation.

These levels are as follows:

Married filing separately – $117,300.

Single – $156,400.

Head of household -$195,500.

Married filing jointly – $234,600.

Qualifying widow(er) – $234,600

You must reduce the dollar amount of your exemptions by 2% for each $2,500, or part of $2,500 ($1,250 if you are married filing separately), that your AGI exceeds the amount shown above your filing status. However, you can lose no more than 2/3 of the dollar amount of your exceptions. In other words, each exemption cannot be reduced to less than $1,133.

You may ask, “Am I subject to this limit?” The IRS deems you subject to the limit on certain itemized deductions if your AGI is more than $156,400 ($78,200 if you are married filing separately). Your AGI is the amount on Form 1040, line 38.

The following deductions are subject to the overall limit on itemized deductions:

1) Taxes

2) Interest paid

3) Gifts to charity

4) Job expenses and certain miscellaneous deductions

5) Other miscellaneous deductions (excluding gambling and casualty or theft losses)

The following deductions are NOT subject to the overall limit:

1) Medical and dental expenses

2) Investment interest expense

3) Casualty and theft losses from personal use property

4) Casualty and theft losses from income-producing property

5) Gambling losses

You can use the Itemized Deduction Worksheet in the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) to figure your limit. You will enter the result on Schedule A (Form 1040).

You should compare the amount of your standard deduction to the amount of your itemized deductions after applying the limit. Use the greater amount when completing Form 1040, line 40.

To determine how to figure your limit and see examples visit www.real-estate-owner.com/itemized-deduction-reduction.html.

Also, to see an example of a worksheet used to determine what you can deduct, visit www.real-estate-owner.com/itemized-deduction-reduction-worksheet.html.

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