Tag Archives: taxes

Op-ed: Tips for paying taxes for summer jobs


| oped@queenscourier.com

PEGGY E. RILEY

Many students take a job in the summer after school lets out. If it’s your first job it gives you a chance to learn about the working world. That includes taxes we pay to support the place where we live, our state and our nation. Here are eight things that students who take a summer job should know about taxes:

1.      Don’t be surprised when your employer withholds taxes from your paychecks. That’s how you pay your taxes when you’re an employee. If you’re self-employed, you may have to pay estimated taxes directly to the IRS on certain dates during the year. This is how our pay-as-you-go tax system works.

2.      As a new employee, you’ll need to fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Your employer will use it to figure how much federal income tax to withhold from your pay. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov can help you fill out the form.

3.      Keep in mind that all tip income is taxable. If you get tips, you must keep a daily log so you can report them. You must report $20 or more in cash tips in any one month to your employer. And you must report all of your yearly tips on your tax return.

4.      Money you earn doing work for others is taxable. Some work you do may count as self-employment. This can include jobs like baby-sitting and lawn mowing. Keep good records of expenses related to your work. You may be able to deduct (subtract) those costs from your income on your tax return. A deduction may help lower your taxes.

5.      If you’re in ROTC, your active duty pay, such as pay you get for summer camp, is taxable. A subsistence allowance you get while in advanced training isn’t taxable.

6.      You may not earn enough from your summer job to owe income tax. But your employer usually must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your pay. If you’re self-employed, you may have to pay them yourself. They count toward your coverage under the Social Security system.

7.      If you’re a newspaper carrier or distributor, special rules apply. If you meet certain conditions, you’re considered self-employed. If you don’t meet those conditions and are under age 18, you are usually exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

8.      You may not earn enough money from your summer job to be required to file a tax return. Even if that’s true, you may still want to file. For example, if your employer withheld income tax from your pay, you’ll have to file a return to get your taxes refunded. You can prepare and e-file your tax return for free using IRS Free File. It’s available exclusively on IRS.gov.

Peggy Riley is the IRS Media Relations Specialist for New England, New York, Maryland and Delaware.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Sunny. High near 50. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low 36. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Master Builder Lego Animation Workshops

In this 60-minute workshop, children work in production teams to plan and create a stop-motion animated movie using LEGOs. Ages 8+. $5 materials fee. 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily at the Museum of the Moving Image through April 22. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man makes anti-Muslim statements, spits on teen girl aboard Queens bus: cops

A 15-year-old girl was harassed while riding a Queens bus last week when a man made anti-Muslim remarks toward her, spat at the teen and threatened her, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Police seek suspect in Forest Hills slashing of 18-year-old

A teen was attacked last week in Forest Hills when a man slashed him before fleeing, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

NYPD to end Muslim surveillance program

The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage. Read more: AP

De Blasio signs law protecting interns from discrimination, sexual harassment

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Tuesday that ensures the city’s law against discrimination applies to interns, whether they’re paid or not. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NY claws back $3.9B in evaded taxes

New York officials report collecting $3.9 billion in evaded taxes over the past year, an increase of about $200 million or five percent over the prior year. Read more: New York Post 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Mostly sunny. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Monday night: Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low 22. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY:Thaw

Thaw, an exhibition at the Dorsky Gallery, features work of Janet Biggs, Micheal Brody, Blane De St. Croix, Vicki DaSilva, Elise Engler, Phyllis Ewen, Andrea Galvani, Elizabeth Jordan, Itty Neuhaus, Alexis Rockman and Scott Walden. The exhibition of the works of more than 30 artists from the WAVE tour depicts the diversity of the show. The show features ceramics, watercolor and oil paintings, glasswork, pencil and ink drawings, photography, wood carving, collage, fibre work, quilting, and jewelry. The Gallery is located at 11-03 45th Avenue in LIC. Through April 6. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Republican Rob Astorino to announce run for governor

Armed with “eight key issues” and guarantees of at least $15 million in funding, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has decided to run for governor, but will put off the announcement for another week, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

Alternate side parking regulations return Monday

If you’re one of the many New York City drivers who has left their car behind a pile of snow and ice, it’s time to start digging. Read more: ABC New York

Sen. Schumer calls on feds to regulate ‘smart car’ technology

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on federal regulators to set guidelines to protect consumers as car companies collect personal information through “smart car” technology and sell it to third parties. Read more: AP

State tax haul up over 4 percent, but lower than expected

New York tax collections for the first 10 months of the fiscal year total $58.3 billion, up 4.2 percent from the same period last year, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Read more: New York Post

Jason Collins, openly gay player, signs with Nets

History? Pressure? Jason Collins would have none of it after becoming the NBA’s first active openly gay player. Read more: AP

Whitestone man pleads guilty to failing to pay $335K in taxes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Nassau County district attorney’s office

A Whitestone man has confessed to duping the state out of $335,000 in taxes, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Joseph Caraccia, 65, who owns two Great Neck auto body repair shops, pleaded guilty last week to larceny charges for collecting but failing to remit taxes between 2009 and 2012, the district attorney’s office said.

He awaits sentencing on May 22. Rice said Caraccia will be forced to pay off $335,000 in restitution to the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF).

“When a company or an individual fails to remit taxes, it’s a crime against all New Yorkers,” Rice said.

The two shops are located at 275 East Shore Rd. and 300 East Shore Rd.

An unknown person tipped off the district attorney’s office, Rice said. The NYSDTF’s Nassau Criminal Investigations Division then found the tax discrepancies.

“By pocketing this money, Mr. Caraccia took funding away from services that any resident of Long Island or beyond could rely upon,” Rice said.

 

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Summary of income-tax changes for 2013 tax-filing


| editorial@queenscourier.com

BARRY LISAK 

With the New Year come new tax laws. For most taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGI) under $200,000 (single) and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly- income tax rates won’t increase; and most tax-relief provisions remain in effect. Here is a summary of major tax provisions that could impact you and your family.

1. Tax rates. Income tax, ordinary dividend tax, and capital tax rates moved up in 2013 for higher-income taxpayers. A new 39.6 percent tax rate applies to income over a specified amount; $400,000 for single filers, $450,000 for married filers. These dollar amounts will be inflation-adjusted for tax years after 2013. The old rates ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent remain in effect for lower-income brackets and have been made permanent.

The long-term capital gains generally increase from 15 percent to 20 percent for single filers with incomes exceeding $400,000 ($450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly). The top rate stays at 15 percent for most other taxpayers.

2. Itemized Deduction and Exemption phase-out. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions, which is $3,900 for 2013, will be subject to the phase-out rules. Single taxpayers with incomes exceeding $250,000 (married taxpayers exceeding $300,000) will be impacted by both of these phase-outs.

3. Medical deduction.  Only medical expenses that exceed 10- percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) will be allowed to a deduction. However, taxpayers who are 65 years of age or older will still have a medical deduction floor of 7.5 percent through 2016. Also, the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) offered by employers now has a reduced annual cap of $2,500.

4. New Medicare taxes. An additional 0.9-percent Medicare tax on earnings and new 3.8-percent surtax on net investment income will be in effect for 2013. Individual taxpayers earning over $200,000 (married over $250,000) will be impacted.

5. Payroll tax holiday is over. For 2013, the employee share of Social Security taxes returned to the 6.2-percent level, ending the 2-percent reduction available for 2011 and 2012.

6. Retirement amounts. For 2013, IRA contribution limits increase to $5,500 or $6,500 if participant is 50 or older. Annual contributions to plans such as 401(k)s remain at a maximum $23,000; $17,500 in regular contributions, plus $5,500 in catch-up contributions for those 50-plus.

7. American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The AOTC (formerly named the Hope Credit) is also extended through 2017. Within income thresholds, single taxpayers $90,000 and married filing jointly, $180,000, this provision allows a credit up to $2,500 in qualified secondary educational expenses (tuition, fees, and materials) to be deducted for qualified students.

8. Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT is permanently “patched” (with inflation adjustments). For 2013, the AMT exemption is $51,900 for single filers and $80,900 for joint filers.

9. Estate Taxes. In 2013, the maximum estate-and-gift tax is 40%, up from 35%.  The exemption amount stays at $5.25 million (indexed for inflation).

10. Gift Taxes. The annual gift exclusion amount remains $14,000 ($28,000 per couple).

11. Teacher Expenses. $250 “above-the-line” deduction for unreimbursed classroom expenses for educators.

12. Sales taxes. Deducting the general sales tax itemized deduction in lieu of taking a state income tax deduction is extended into the 2013 tax year.

13. Tuition and fees deduction. Subject to income requirements, the tuition and fees deduction (up to $4,000) is extended to 2013.

14. Child Tax Credit.  You will be able to reduce your Federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17.

All taxpayers should be aware of these changes and plan accordingly.  

  

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Last-minute tips for filing your tax returns


| mrbarrytax@aol.com

The tax filing season is just around the corner. The IRS offers tips for taxpayers still working on their returns.

File electronically. IRS e-file is safe, easy and the most common way to file. E-file is now the norm; not the exception. In 2011, nearly 110 million people used e-file to transmit their returns. If you expect a tax refund, you’ll get the money faster when you e-file, because the IRS processes electronic returns faster than paper ones.

Check all numbers. Carefully check Social Security numbers for each person listed. This includes you, your spouse, dependents and persons listed in relation to claims for Child and Dependent Care or Earned Income Tax Credit. Missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.

Double-Check Your Figures. If you are filing a paper return, you should double-check that you have correctly figured the refund or balance due.

Check the Tax Tables. If you are filing a paper return, double-check that you have used the right figure from the tax table.

Contribute to Retirement Accounts: If you haven’t made an IRA (deductible or non-deductible) or Roth IRA contribution for 2012, you have until April 15.

Sign Your Form. You must sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.

Electronic Payments. Electronic payment options are convenient, safe and secure methods for paying taxes. You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, or use a credit or a debit card.

Can’t Pay the Taxes Due. If you owe taxes but can’t pay the full amount by the deadline, file your tax return on time and pay as much as you can to avoid tax penalties and interest.

Extension to File. By the April due date, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file, Form 4868. Remember, the extension of time is not an extension of time to pay.

Barry Lisak, EA, is an IRS Enrolled Agent who has operated a tax preparation office for over 30 years. Any questions or comments, please contact mrbarrytax@aol.com or 516-829-7283.

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 5 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Southwest wind 7 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Friday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

EVENT of the DAY: “Knocked Up” at Rufus King Park

8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., A one-night stand results in an unexpected pregnancy for entertainment reporter Alison (Katherine Heigl), who vows to be a good mom and keep her career on track by trying to make things work with the slacker (Seth Rogen) who knocked her up. It’s anything but smooth sailing as the odd couple gets acquainted, but Alison finds there’s more to her baby’s daddy than she originally thought.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Teacher sues over ‘preach’ of contract

A veteran public-school teacher who was canned for calling students “racist” and referring to herself as a “Messenger of God” is suing to get her job back. Dr. Patricia Missick, who had been fined and reprimanded several years ago for verbally abusing students and for incompetence, riled eighth-graders at JHS 189 in Queens by repeatedly mentioning her close ties to God. Read more: NY Post

Carriage horse bucks itself free near Central Park, sends driver, 2 passengers spilling into street

A runaway carriage horse wreaked havoc during the start of rush hour Thursday afternoon, unhitching himself and running off before hitting a parked car near Columbus Circle. A man and woman were enjoying a ride around the popular tourist spot around 4:20 p.m. when the driver tried to merge into traffic at the circle, witnesses said. Read more: Daily News

Banned soccer players can now use Flushing Meadows-Corona Park during U.S. Open

The city banned thousands of amateur soccer players from using Flushing Meadows-Corona Park during the U.S. Open — and then back-pedalled following a Daily News inquiry. Soccer leagues, primarily made up of immigrants, have used the fields for decades but were informed earlier this year that they would not be allowed to use the park from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10. Read more: Daily News

Romney says he paid at least 13% in taxes for last ten years

Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13 percent in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday. The presumptive GOP nominee has faced withering criticism from Democrats over the release of his tax returns, including a charge by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that Romney had paid no taxes for a ten year period. Read more: NY1

NYC report critical of public housing agency

The city’s public housing authority is beset by inefficient management and bureaucratic practices that contribute to a growing repair backlog of hundreds of thousands of work orders, a city-hired consultant said in a report made public Thursday. City Housing Authority Commissioner John Rhea said following the release that he will seek to overhaul the agency’s board, and officials stressed that some of the recommended changes in the report by The Boston Consulting Group were already under way. Read more: NBC New York

 

Your Income Tax Filing Status


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY BARRY LISAK

The first step to filing your federal income tax return is to determine which filing status to use. In other words, two people making exactly the same amount of income could have different tax calculations due solely to a difference in their filing status. Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits and deductions, and your correct tax. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.

Here are some facts about the five filing status options the IRS wants you to know so that you can choose the best option for your situation.

1. Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year.

2. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.

3. Single filing status generally applies to anyone unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.

4. A married couple may file a joint return together. The couple’s filing status would be Married Filing Jointly.

5. If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry during 2011, you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death.

6. A married couple may elect to file their returns separately. Each person’s filing status would generally be Married Filing Separately.

7. Head of Household generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person to qualify for this filing status.

8. You may be able to choose Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child as your filing status if your spouse died during 2009 or 2010, you have a dependent child and you meet certain other conditions.

 

Barry Lisak, EA, is an IRS Enrolled Agent who has operated a tax preparation office for over 30 years. Any questions or comments, please contact mrbarrytax@aol.com or 516-829-7283.

 

Legislation cuts taxes and creates jobs for working families


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Assemblymember Mike Miller announced that the assembly has passed “historic legislation” that will help working families in New York by cutting taxes and creating jobs.

Miller said the agreement ensures millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, something the assembly majority has fought for.

“Working with the governor, we have progressively reformed the tax system so that we have the revenue to allow us to continue delivering crucial services in education and health care,” Miller said.

The bill includes a tax cut for the middle class that will benefit approximately 4.4 million taxpayers, who make up more than 99 percent of those filing statewide, Miller said. The middle-class tax cut will be paid for by creating a new tax bracket for high-income earners making over $2 million per year — less than one percent of all taxpayers. A commission will also be established to review and make suggestions for improving the state’s tax system.

The assembly also passed legislation permanently eliminating the MTA payroll taxes for qualifying small businesses with annual payrolls of $1.25 million or less per year and for those who are self-employed and earn less than $50,000 per year. Other small businesses will see a significant decrease in their MTA payroll taxes as well.

In addition, the legislation exempts schools, both public and private, from having to pay the tax and also aims to strengthen the housing market by earmarking $1 million for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program.

Have Occupy Wall Street protesters abandoned reason?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Occupiers, socialists and progressives believe that the disparity of wealth and incomes in our society is the result of a nefarious conspiracy, and that the role of government is to equalize incomes so we can all live like Bill Gates and Donald Trump.

They are oblivious to the fact that the government can redistribute only that which it first must take from someone else; in effect – whatever one person receives without working, another person must work for without receiving. If such a claim on property is permitted and sanctioned, however small and seemingly insignificant, the sanctity of private property has been abrogated. This paradigm of “social justice” is antithetical to the rights codified in the Constitution. But that is of little concern to the protestors, because to them, private wealth is community property.

            In fact, the government has been redistributing our property for the past 50 years. Latest statistics confirm 45.8 million people rely on food stamps at a cost of $6.13 billion, and over 26 million received nearly $59 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit. When you add in persons receiving housing and rent subsidies and the 50 percent of the population that pay no taxes, it is evident half the population is subsidizing the other half.

            We are running out of other peoples’ money and must borrow 42 cents of every dollar we spend, yet we express more concern about the rights and the comfort of those who seek to appropriate, redistribute and spend even more of our money.

Have we abandoned reason and common sense? Will we capitulate and surrender our liberties to a mob promoting revolution and adoption of a new world order of global feudalism?