With all the changes to the Internal Revenue Code that took effect in the 2018 tax year, it may not surprise Boston residents that more changes could come for 2019. Not all tax breaks survive through to another year, and this year may be no exception. As the country enters the fourth quarter of the year, some people may already be looking to taking advantage of as many tax breaks as possible when they file their returns with the IRS.
After working for decades, many people can begin drawing Social Security benefits. While it would make sense for these benefits not to be taxed, the IRS still classifies them as taxable income. Fortunately, the state of Massachusetts is among 37 states who believe recipients are entitled to keep as much of this money as possible.
Depending on their professions, certain Boston residents may need to keep track of more than one date to pay their taxes. Independent contractors, investors, business owners and those with side jobs may be on a different payment schedule with the IRS. They may need to make quarterly tax payments in order to stay off the agency's radar.
No one should have to put up with sexual harassment. Massachusetts residents who experience this unseemly treatment have the right to lodge a complaint with their employers. In some cases, victims receive financial settlements in exchange for not pursuing the matter any further. What they need to take into consideration is how the IRS treats these types of settlements in order to plan for the tax ramifications.
There was always a delicate balance between keeping enough income during the year and avoiding owing taxes. Many people here in Massachusetts and across the country got hit with unexpected bills for the 2018 tax year because they did not realize they needed to make adjustments in order to account for the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Due to this, the IRS decided to waive the usual underpayment penalty for some individuals.
Many Boston residents are under the impression that the vast majority of people not paying taxes are rich or receiving government benefits. The general consensus is that these are the people who "cheat" the system and avoid paying the IRS. Well, it may surprise some people to learn that a large number of the nearly 44%, down from 47%, of people who do not always pay income taxes are far from rich or are not receiving government benefits.
Beginning with the 2018 tax season, taxpayers here in Massachusetts and across the country began encountering the changes in the Internal Revenue Code. This involved more than just the elimination of exemptions and deductions, and the increase in the standard deduction. The IRS also changed various forms.
After spending a lifetime working and preparing for retirement, people over the age of 65 -- here in Massachusetts and elsewhere -- often end up living on fixed incomes and others continue to work well after this birthday. Even so, many of them must still pay taxes on the income they do receive. The IRS recognizes their need to retain as much of their income as possible, so for the 2019 tax year, people within this age bracket can use a new tax form.
Even though the country is no longer in the midst of a recession, some Massachusetts families still struggle financially. Many of them work out deals with their creditors to reduce their debt, and that may include having some balances forgiven, which means that the company that extended credit for a home, car or other debt absolves the consumer of responsibility for a portion of the debt. The problem is that the IRS usually considers this forgiven debt as income and that could mean a hefty bill at tax time.
New laws often cause some measure of confusion in their first years. When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect, it was no exception. It created confusion for a lot of taxpayers, many here in Massachusetts included. Now, the IRS is advising taxpayers to make sure their withholding is correct in order to avoid problems during tax time, but getting it right could present a challenge.