As our tax law becomes ever more complex, misconceptions regarding the law and its interpretation increase.
Many people think that by filing an extension they can postpone paying the tax owed.
An extension only extends the time to file, not to pay.
You should pay the estimated amount owed with your extension to lessen penalties and interest.
Some taxpayers think if they had a big loss in the stock market they will owe little tax.
Capital losses are capable of offsetting capital gains and then just $3,000 of ordinary income.
Capital losses not taken in a given year are carried over to future years.
I’m not sure where this one got started but some taxpayers think that once you reach a certain age you don’t have to pay taxes.
If your income is over the filing requirements, yes, you do have to file and pay tax.
Others feel they are too young to have to pay taxes. Even dependents working part-time in high school must file a tax return if they earned more than $6,200 in 2014, if their unearned income is more than $1,200 or if they want to receive a refund for income tax withheld.
A common myth is that if you are paid in cash you don’t have to report it.
If it’s income you must report it, regardless of whether it’s cash, tips, bonuses, prizes or payment in-kind.
Income earned in a foreign country is likewise reportable on your Form 1040, plus, additional forms and reporting requirements need to be investigated.
I’m often asked whether home improvements are deductible on your return.
They are a personal expense, which is not deductible, however, records should be kept so you can add it to the cost basis of your house when you sell it.
I’ve heard of married taxpayers filing separate returns as head-of-household in order to receive large refunds, including potential earned income credits.
To file as head of household while married, you must pay more than half the cost of keeping up your home, which was the main home of your child for more than half of the year plus your spouse did not live in the home during the last six months of the year (even for one day).