Things Not To Do on Taxes

4 Things You Should Never Do During Tax Season (and 4 Tips on What to Do Instead)

Here at S.H. Block Tax Services, we look forward all year to National Tax Day on April 15. However, we recognize that most people’s stress levels steadily rise in the weeks leading up to tax-filing time and peak on April 15. In fact, a 2012 study analyzed 30 years of data and found that auto accidents spike 6% on Tax Day.

We’re not here to pass judgment, but we can say from decades of experience that many people’s tax-time stress is self-inflicted. Often, easing the pain of tax season is a matter of getting rid of bad habits and replacing them with healthy and constructive ones.

To help you cut down on unnecessary tax-time headaches, we’ve created a list of four things you should never do on Tax Day. For each entry on the list, we’ve provided a good habit you can use to replace the bad one. If you use this list to reshape your tax preparation and filing habits, you’ll never have to dread the calendar march toward April 15 again. Read more

How to Avoid Estimated Tax Penalties

Use These 3 Tips to Avoid Estimated Tax Penalties

Tired of Paying Estimated Tax Penalties? These 3 Tips From S.H. Block Tax Services Can Help!

If you seem to find yourself stuck paying estimated tax penalties year after year, you can take some comfort knowing you’re not alone. In 2015, which was the last time the IRS released data on estimated tax penalties, the agency reported that they assessed these penalties on 10 million taxpayers. On average, each of those 10 million taxpayers had to pay about $130 in penalties.

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IRS Audit

5 Common Red Flags That Could Trigger an IRS Audit

5 Common Red Flags That Could Trigger an IRS Audit

Receiving a notice that you’re getting audited can wrack your nerves, but at the end of the day, an audit is nothing more than an in-depth fact-checking exercise. Although enduring an audit can be time-consuming and cumbersome, if you’ve been honest and accurate when keeping records and filing tax returns, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Still, that doesn’t mean you should set yourself up for an audit. While the IRS says its audit selection process is entirely random, it seems several red flags tend trigger IRS audits. Keep reading to learn which behaviors or actions could prompt an unwanted review of your personal or professional finances.

And if you’ve already been chosen for an IRS audit or suspect you will soon, please contact S.H. Block Tax Services today to schedule a free consultation.

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Marriage and Taxes

For Better or Worse: How Marriage Affects Your Tax Status

For Better or Worse: Marriage Can Affect Your Tax Status in Positive (And Negative) Ways

Most people don’t have taxes on the brain when they decide to settle down permanently with their romantic partner, but that doesn’t mean your nuptials won’t affect your tax standing.

To mark Valentine’s Day, we’d like to share with you the many tax benefits (and a few potential drawbacks) of tying the knot as well as some helpful information about maximizing your refund or minimizing your tax liability. If your tax filing status has recently changed and you’ve got questions, please contact S.H. Block Tax Services for help.

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Sports Gambling

How Will Legalized Sports Gambling Affect Your Taxes?

Although Maryland House Bill No. 989 failed to pass and legalize in-state sports betting in 2018, industry experts believe betting on sports will become legal in our state sooner rather than later, and it could have a major impact on Maryland’s economy.

In fact, with the flurry of legislative activity surrounding legalized sports betting in the United States over the past year, it seems the question isn’t if Maryland will someday have legal sports gambling, but rather when. But what would legalization mean in terms of taxes for the lucky winners (or unlucky losers)?

Keep reading to learn more about state-sanctioned sports gambling and find out how it could affect Maryland residents and their taxes. Read more

Quarterly Estimated Taxes

Quarterly Taxes Are Due Next Month — Are You Prepared?

Quarterly Estimated Taxes Are Due Next Month — Contact S.H. Block Tax Services With Questions

For independent contractors and small business owners who pay quarterly taxes, another important date is right around the corner. The final quarterly payment for 2018 income taxes is due on January 15, which is now less than one month away.

Some contractors and business owners struggle to budget throughout the year or fail to keep accurate records of their financial transactions. Those mistakes can cause major issues when taxes come due, which can in turn lead to unnecessary fees and penalties.

Keep reading to learn more about quarterly taxes, including how you can file and pay accurate taxes on time at crucial dates throughout the year. Read more

Nonresident Income Tax Returns

Do I Need to File a Nonresident Income Tax Return?

Many people who live in Maryland work in other states, and many people who live in other states maintain employment here in Maryland. This is true of full-time, part-time, and self-employed individuals, and it’s especially common for residents of the greater Baltimore area. Living and working in two different areas can make things a bit tricky during tax season, so we want to clear up any confusion and make things as simple as possible for you when it comes time to file your returns this spring.

Keep reading to learn more about nonresident returns, including when you’re required to file a nonresident return and even some instances where people who live and work in different states are not required to file a nonresident return. And, as always, if you have any questions about your filing status or other issues, please reach out to our team at S.H. Block Tax Services for help. Read more

Independent Contractor Income Tax

New Law Creates Income Tax Cut for Independent Contractors

While the merits and drawbacks of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are subject to constant debate on cable news networks and at water coolers around the country, experts from both sides of the political aisle agree the bill was designed to create significant tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals. However, if you look closer, the law also contains potentially valuable tax cuts for independent contractors and the self-employed.

Keep reading to learn how you could potentially save big or even increase your refund this tax season if you’ll be filing as an independent contractor or a self-employed individual. Read more

Currently Not Collectible

S.H. Block Tax Services Can Help You File for CNC Status

Our office has received several phone calls about filing for currently not collectible (CNC) status recently, but most of those callers had little knowledge about what the program entails or their potential eligibility. Of course, we’re happy to help anyone who comes to us with tax problems, but we thought we would take the opportunity to define CNC and clarify some of the more common misconceptions about what the program does and who might qualify.

Keep reading to learn whether you might be eligible for CNC and find out how S.H. Block Tax Services can help you file for consideration. Read more

Vacation Rental Home Taxes

What a Trip! 5 Tax Tips for Vacation Rental Owners

In recent years, vacation rental homes have become one of the preferred travel options for jet-setters around the world — especially in the United States. Companies like Airbnb, VRBO, and FlipKey have created a vacationing model that is both affordable and comfortable, and this model also provides a more authentic experience for visitors and their families compared to a traditional hotel.

Despite the rise of this business model and the resulting profits, many owners don’t know that income from renting out their homes (or rooms in their homes) to vacationers is taxable, which could lead to complications come tax season.

Keep reading to learn five tax tips that could minimize or even eliminate taxes from renting out your home with Airbnb or a similar service. Read more