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Three ways to pay your federal income tax


If you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe, don’t panic. You should still file your return and pay as much as you can by the April 17 deadline to avoid penalties and interest. You should also contact the IRS to ask about payment options. Here are three alternative payment options you may want to consider and a tip on penalty relief under the IRS Fresh Start Initiative:

1. Pay by credit or debit card You can use all major cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa) to pay your federal taxes. For information on paying your taxes electronically, including by credit or debit card, go to www.irs.gov/e-pay or see the list of service providers below. There is no IRS fee for credit or debit card payments. If you are paying by credit card, the service providers charge a convenience fee based on the amount you are paying. If you are paying by debit card, the service providers charge a flat fee of $3.89 to $3.95. Do not add the convenience fee or flat fee to your tax payment.

The processing companies are:

WorldPay US, Inc.: To pay by credit or debit card: 888-9PAY-TAX (888-972-9829), www.payUSAtax.com

Official Payments Corporation: To pay by credit or debit card: 888-UPAY-TAX (888-872-9829), www.officialpayments.com/fed

Link2Gov Corporation: To pay by credit or debit card: 888-PAY-1040 (888-729-1040), www.pay1040.com

2. Additional time to pay Based on your circumstances, you may be granted a short additional time to pay your tax in full. A brief additional amount of time to pay can be requested through the Online Payment Agreement application at www.IRS.gov or by calling 800-829-1040. Taxpayers who request and are granted an additional 60 to 120 days to pay the tax in full generally will pay less in penalties and interest than if the debt were repaid through an installment agreement over a greater period of time. There is no fee for this short extension of time to pay.

3. Penalty relief To assist those most in need, a six-month grace period on the late-payment penalty is available to certain wage earners and self-employed individuals. An approved request for a six-month extension of time to pay will result in relief from the late-payment penalty for tax year 2011 if:

your income is within certain limits and other conditions are met;

your request is received by April 17, 2012; and

your 2011 tax, interest and any other penalties are paid in full by Oct. 15, 2012.

To find out if you are eligible and to apply for the extension and penalty relief, complete and mail Form 1127-A, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Income Tax for 2011 Due to Undue Hardship.

4. Installment agreement You can apply for an IRS installment agreement using the Online Payment Agreement (OPA) application on IRS.gov. This web-based application allows taxpayers who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest to self-qualify, apply for, and receive immediate notification of approval. You can also request an installment agreement before your current tax liabilities are actually assessed by using OPA. The OPA option provides you with a simple and convenient way to establish an installment agreement, eliminates the need for personal interaction with IRS and reduces paper processing. You may also complete and submit a Form 9465, or Form 9465-FS, Installment Agreement Request, make your request in writing, or call 800-829-1040. For balances of more than $50,000, you are required to complete a financial statement to determine the monthly payment amount for an installment plan. You may be able to avoid the filing of a notice of federal tax lien by setting up a direct debit installment payment plan. For more complete information see Tax Topic 202, Tax Payment Options and the Fresh Start page on www.IRS.gov.

For more information about filing and paying your taxes, visit www.IRS.gov and choose 1040 Central or refer to the Form 1040 Instructions or IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. You can download forms and publications at www.irs.gov or request a free copy by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

 

Posted in Tax TimeComments Off

Get Credit for Your Retirement Savings Contributions


You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement.  Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about the Savers Credit:

1. Income Limits The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:
•    Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $27,750
•    Head of Household with income up to $41,625
•    Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $55,500

2. Eligibility requirements To be eligible for the credit you must have been born before January 2, 1992, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return.

3. Credit amount If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.
4. Distributions When figuring this credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.

5. Other tax benefits The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.

6. Forms to use To claim the credit use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and Form 8880. Publications and forms can be downloaded at www.irs.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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