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IRS Can Help if W-2s Are Missing

 

In most cases you get your W-2 forms by the end of January. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows your income and the taxes withheld from your pay for the year. You need your W-2 form to file an accurate tax return. If you haven’t received your form by mid-February, here’s what you should do:

Contact your employer.  Ask your employer (or former employer) for a copy. Be sure that they have your correct address.

After Feb. 23.  If you can’t get a copy from your employer, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 after Feb. 23. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. You’ll need the following when you call:

Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;

Your employer’s name, address and phone number;

The dates you worked for the employer; and

An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2014. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.

File on time.  Your tax return is normally due on or before April 15, 2015. Use, Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if you don’t get your W-2 in time to file. Estimate your wages and taxes withheld as best as you can. The IRS may need more time to process your return while it verifies your information. If you can’t finish your tax return by the due date, you can ask for more time to file. Get an extra six months by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You can also e-file a request for more time. You can do this for free with IRS Free File.

Correct if necessary.  You may need to correct your tax return if you get your missing W-2 after you file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.

Note: Important New Health Insurance Form. If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should have received a Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. You will need the new form to help you complete an accurate federal tax return. You will use the information from the Form 1095-A to calculate the amount of your premium tax credit. The form is also used to reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit made on your behalf with the amount of premium tax credit that you are eligible to claim.

If you did not receive your Form 1095-A, you should contact the Marketplace from which you received coverage to get a copy. You are not required to send in proof of health care coverage, including Form 1095-A, to the IRS when filing your tax return. However, it’s a good idea to keep these records on hand to verify coverage. Additional information about Form 1095-A is available on IRS.gov/aca and on HealthCare.gov/taxes.

You can visit IRS.gov/forms to view, download or print the tax forms you need right away. To get IRS forms by mail go to IRS.gov/orderforms and place an order.

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Six tips on who should file a 2014 tax return

 

Most people file their tax return because they have to, but even if you don’t, there are times when you should. You may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. This year, there are a few new rules for some who must file. Here are six tax tips to help you find out if you should file a tax return:

1. General Filing Rules.  Whether you need to file a tax return depends on a few factors. In most cases, the amount of your income, your filing status and your age determine if you must file a tax return. For example, if you’re single and 28 years old you must file if your income was at least $10,150. Other rules may apply if you’re self-employed or if you’re a dependent of another person. There are also other cases when you must file. Go to IRS.gov/filing to find out if you need to file.

2. New for 2014: Premium Tax Credit.  If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014, you may be eligible for the new Premium Tax Credit. You will need to file a return to claim the credit. If you purchased coverage from the Marketplace in 2014 and chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit sent directly to your insurer during the year you must file a federal tax return. You will reconcile any advance payments with the allowable Premium Tax Credit. You should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. The new form will have information that will help you file your tax return.

3. Tax Withheld or Paid.  Did your employer withhold federal income tax from your pay? Did you make estimated tax payments? Did you overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be due a refund. But you have to file a tax return to get it.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit.  Did you work and earn less than $52,427 last year? You could receive EITC as a tax refund if you qualify with or without a qualifying child. You may be eligible for up to $6,143. Use the 2014 EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov to find out if you qualify. If you do, file a tax return to claim it.

5. Additional Child Tax Credit.  Do you have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If you don’t get the full credit amount, you may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit.

6. American Opportunity Credit.  The AOTC is available for four years of post secondary education and can be up to $2,500 per eligible student.  You or your dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period. Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you still may qualify. However, you must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a return to claim the credit. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you can claim the credit. Learn more by visiting the IRS’ Education Credits Web page.

The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ list income tax filing requirements. You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you need to file. The tool is available 24/7 to answer many tax questions.

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Make 2015 your year to improve financial fitness

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Family Features

 

Lose weight, quit smoking, find a new job and get out of debt…does this sound familiar? Millions of Americans will resolve to change their lives in the New Year, but few will stick with their goals.

In fact, a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) finds six in 10 people will strive to improve their financial well-being in 2015. Changing your financial habits is a resolution you cannot afford to overlook. It’s time to flex your financial muscle.

The experts at the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education offer these seven tips to help make your financial resolutions stick:

Do it now. Many will wait until they feel the time is right to begin new behaviors. If you wait until after the big party to start watching your diet, or until after that big purchase to start saving money, the ideal time will never present itself.

Write down your financial resolutions. The NEFE survey finds setting a budget, making a plan to get out of debt, and boosting retirement savings are the top priorities for Americans in the coming year. Clearly articulate why you think your resolution is a good idea, steps you can take to reach your goal, and what you hope to gain. Post your list where you will see it each day.

Identify your money morals. Understanding your values and attitudes about money will bring clarity to the decision-making process. NEFE offers various online tools, such as the LifeValues Quiz, which will help you identify your values and make resolutions based on those values. You can find the LifeValues Quiz at www.SmartAboutMoney.org.

Recruit a “financial buddy.” Share your resolutions with a trusted family member or friend who can provide support in helping you meet your financial goals. Find someone who will hold you accountable and will set a good example for you to follow.

Vary goal intensity. Give yourself a short-term objective such as paying more than the minimum on one credit card this month. A long-term goal could be setting up – and adding to – the emergency savings account you know you should have but didn’t get around to starting last year.

Monitor your progress regularly. If you are trying to reduce debt, make sure you check your balances often. Set aside a couple of hours each week to address your finances. Over time this will become second nature and part of your normal routine.

Address conflict logically. If you find yourself breaking a financial goal by reverting to old spending habits, identify what value might be causing you to stray and take the time to ask yourself if the decision is appropriate given your current financial situation.

For help with setting goals and getting your finances in order in 2015, visit www.SmartAboutMoney.org.

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New salon opening soon! 

BUS-HairExpressions-logoIf you are looking for the latest hairstyle and want to try out a new salon, Hair Expressions, soon to open at 11555 Edgerton Rd., Rockford, may be just what you are looking for. Owners Alyssa Kimble and Rachel Denton say they will offer hair coloring, facial waxing, and haircuts for men, women and children. “We take the time to make our client’s experience all about them,” they said.

The owners say they are consistently up to date with the latest fashions, will offer flexible hours to work with a client’s schedule, and offer affordable prices for your family’s hair care needs.

Hair Expressions will have a grand opening in early February. For more info, give them a call at (616) 401-1707.

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Curves partners with Jenny Craig

 

Curves (www.curves.com) and Jenny Craig (www.jennycraig.com) are now under one roof and have teamed up to help people in the Cedar Springs community reach their health and weight loss goals in 2015 and beyond. The business is located in the same building, at the northwest corner of Main and Elm Streets. A dedicated Jenny Craig consultant is there to help guide members step-by-step with personalized menu planning, strategies for various eating situations, support and more, along with a Curves coach, who is there to lead a 30-minute full-body workout with strength training, cardio and stretching for every fitness level. The Curves/Jenny Craig of Cedar Springs is among the first in the nation to offer the combined weight loss and health solution from both brands.

“I am excited to be chosen as one of the first Curves/Jenny Craig centers and am thrilled to bring this new innovation in weight loss to the Cedar Springs, Mi community,” said Christine Holman at Curves/Jenny Craig of Cedar Springs. “Those looking to kick off the new year with a renewed focus on health and weight loss now have a simple and effective solution in one location.  It is simple to get started–just walk right in.”

The center will host an Open House from January 12-22. During this time, prospective members can enter to win a free Curves and Jenny Craig membership* plus learn about a special offer.

Open House activities will include:
• A free tour of the Curves / Jenny Craig center
• Receive a FREE health assessment
• Try out the renowned Curves circuit, including Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels
• Free Jenny Craig popcorn
• Meet with a Jenny Craig consultant to learn about the many ways to customize your weight loss expe-rience
• A special offer, raffles and giveaways

For more information visit www.curves.com and www.jennycraig.com.

*No fee to enter and no enrollment required. Prize is one (1) All Access Curves plus Jenny Craig membership for 12 months, including enrollment fee and monthly membership fees. Plus the cost of food. Plus the cost of shipping. Time and date of drawing subject to location. Must be redeemed within two weeks of notification of winning. Drawing to be held no later than January 31, 2015.

 

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Alpha Omega Coffee and Games closes

 

Kelly and Jarvis Roach, owners of Alpha Omega Coffee and Games, at 32 S. Main Street, have decided to close their storefront, and sell games exclusively online as of January 31. They stopped serving drinks last week, and are selling off many things inside the shop.

The coffee shop, opened in September of 2010, and offered specialty coffees and drinks, board games and gaming tournaments, in a family-friendly atmosphere.

“We decided that we would rather end this chapter of our life on a good note, rather than a bad one,” said Kelly. “By having the shop open, we’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, and we’ve made some lifelong friendships. We will sincerely miss having the shop open, but we look forward to continuing to be a part of the Cedar Springs community.”

Kelly has taken a job at the Cedar Springs Public Library, and hopes to make many of the events she hosted at the coffee shop a part of the things offered at the library.

Customers can still buy games from their shop at Amazon.com.

 

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Cedar Springs Brewing update

 

The Post spoke with David Ringler, of Cedar Springs Brewing Company, to get an update on when they might start the building process on the southwest corner of Main and Maple.

“We have finally moved past a few of our regulatory setbacks as our approvals have all come in since the first of the year,” explained Ringler. “We’re happy to report that the major hurdles appear to be cleared, barring anything else unforeseen. We are in the process of ordering our building supplies and will begin actual construction as soon as we can obtain materials—primarily steel—to remain efficient on our construction timing.”

He said that they would most likely begin some time in March.

“Thank you to the entire community for your support,” added Ringler. “We’re looking forward to building something wonderful together!”

Get updates through their website www.csbrew.com or follow them on Facebook.

 

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Arroway Self-Storage under new ownership

 

It was announced recently that local Rockford resident and businessman Roman Puchala has acquire Arroway Self Storage, located at 4121 14 Mile Road, from Ty and Donna Reminga. “What started as one building in 1987 grew to 11 buildings, with over 43,000 square feet of storage space,” said Ty. He added that when selling it, an important consideration was that they wanted to see the business continue as a family-run type of operation. “Mr. Puchala, we felt, will help fulfill that goal, utilizing his past years of business experience.”

Ty stated that he and his wife, Donna, who ran the day-to-day operations, want to thank all of the many loyal customers and friends for 28 years of support and great memories. “In looking ahead, we plan to focus on our other business interests,” he said.

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Stay scam-free in 2015

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From the Better Business Bureau

 

This New Year, you may resolve to eat healthier, get organized or find a new job. But add to your list of resolutions a promise to be savvier about scams. This year, follow our five resolutions and stay scam free in 2015.

Scammers are constantly devising new tricks and refining old ones. But no matter what cons emerge in 2015 and beyond, keeping these tried and true resolutions will go a long way towards keeping you safe.

Keep your computer programs up-to-date: Those reminders to update your Internet browser, operating system and other software are annoying, but don’t ignore them. Keeping your programs current is a great defense against malware. Software manufactures continually update their programs to protect against the latest viruses.

Set tough passwords. To create strong passwords, combine lowercase and capital letters with a mix of numbers and symbols. Go ahead and write your passwords down, but don’t store this cheat sheet on your computer.

Keep your smartphone safe. Take the same precautions on your mobile device as you do on your computer. Protect your phone with a passcode, keep your software up-to-date and watch out for malware disguised as apps.

Know the telltale signs. A little common sense goes a long way in spotting scams. Watch out for anything that’s too good (or sensational) to be true. This covers everything from “free” gift cards to instant job offers to scandalous celebrity videos. And be skeptical of any communications riddled with typos and poor grammar. If it looks like a scam, it probably is.

Don’t act immediately… research first. Most scams urge you to act right now, before you’ve had a chance to consider your options. Always be sure to do your research. Depending on the occasion, this can be anything from getting three contractor quotes to performing a quick online search. Just don’t be pressured into a commitment before doing your homework.

For More Information

For more tips and advice for a scam-free 2015, check out Stopthinkconnect.org, a website created by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Anti-Phishing Working Group. Check out their tips for remaining scam free and protecting your mobile device.

To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper. http://www.bbb.org/council/bbb-scam-stopper/

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Hospital volunteer receives award

Joan Oberlin, center, is this year’s recipient of the Suzanne Christensen Volunteer Award.

Joan Oberlin, center, is this year’s recipient of the Suzanne Christensen Volunteer Award.

Spectrum Health Foundation United & Kelsey Hospitals hosted a volunteer appreciation luncheon on Wednesday, November 19 in honor of United and Kelsey Hospitals’ 96 active volunteers. A highlight of this annual luncheon is the presentation of the 2014 Suzanne Christensen Volunteer Award. The Suzanne Christensen award is given annually to a recipient who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the Spectrum Health United Hospital and Kelsey Hospital’s community through volunteerism or other significant goodwill. It is with great pleasure and honor to announce that Joan Oberlin was this year’s recipient.

Joan has been volunteering at United Hospital and has been a Kelsey Hospital Guild member since July 2012 and recently began volunteering at Kelsey Hospital. At United Hospital, Joan delivers mail, serves as a patient and family experience volunteer, greets at the front entrance, works in the gift shop and assists with special projects in the foundation office. She serves in the special procedures area as a volunteer at Kelsey Hospital. As an active member of the Kelsey Hospital Guild, Joan helps with fundraising initiatives that support Kelsey Hospital. Joan has exhibited true dedication, enthusiasm and a giving heart. We sincerely appreciate Joan and the energy, time and compassion that she gives to United and Kelsey Hospital’s patients and staff.

Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals would like to thank Joan and the many other devoted volunteers for the dedication and support they give to help others.

 

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