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MailTribune.com
  • Taxing changes for some

    Higher-income people, same-sex couples may face cuts in deductions, exemptions in this year's filings
  • Higher-income Americans and some legally married same-sex couples are likely to feel the biggest hits from tax law changes when they file their federal returns in the next few months. Taxpayers also will have a harder time taking medical deductions.
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    • Documents you'll need during the filing season
      The Dallas Morning News
      — W-2 Wage and Tax statement: This shows how much you earned in 2013, how much of your income was taxable and how much tax was withheld. You should get your W-2 fro...
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      Documents you'll need during the filing season
      The Dallas Morning News

      — W-2 Wage and Tax statement: This shows how much you earned in 2013, how much of your income was taxable and how much tax was withheld. You should get your W-2 from your employer by the end of January. If you're an independent contractor, you will get a Form 1099-MISC showing your earnings from the company you worked for.

      — Documents that show other income: These include Form 1099-INT for interest income, Form 1099-DIV for dividends you received. If you used a stockbroker for transactions, you will receive Form 1099-B.

      — Records for charitable contributions: To ensure the deductibility of your contribution, you must have the right documents to back up how much you've donated. For donations of less than $250, you need a canceled check or credit card receipt showing the amount of your contribution, or written communication from the charity showing its name and the amount and date of the contribution or other records containing this information. For donations of $250 or more, you also must obtain written proof for every separate transaction. The written acknowledgment must include the amount of the contribution or a description of donated property, along with a description and good-faith estimate of the value of any goods or services you received.

      — Records supporting other itemized deductions: These include invoices, receipts, canceled checks or other proof of payment for property taxes, mortgage interest, mileage traveled for work and medical expenses, among other things.
  • Higher-income Americans and some legally married same-sex couples are likely to feel the biggest hits from tax law changes when they file their federal returns in the next few months. Taxpayers also will have a harder time taking medical deductions.
    In other changes for the 2013 tax year, the Alternative Minimum Tax has been patched — permanently — to prevent more middle-income people from being drawn in, and there's a simpler way to compute the home office deduction.
    Tax rate tables and the standard deduction have been adjusted for inflation, as has the maximum contribution to retirement accounts, including 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts.
    The provisions were set by Congress last January as part of legislation to avert the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts. "We finally got some certainty for this year," said Greg Rosica, a contributing author to Ernst & Young's "EY Tax Guide 2014."
    Nevertheless, the filing season is being delayed because of the two-week government shutdown last October. The Internal Revenue Service says it needs the extra time to ensure that systems are in place and working. People will be able to start filing returns Jan. 31, a week and a half later than the original Jan. 21.
    "People who are used to filing early in order to get a quick refund are just going to have to wait," said Barbara Weltman, a contributing editor to "J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2014."
    There's no change in the April 15 deadline, however. That's set by law and will remain in place, the IRS says.
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