Choose Work Blog
Image of the Choose Work Blog logo

Money Mondays: Learn about Impairment-Related Work Expenses

You may have already filed your taxes, but now is the time to start preparing for next year, especially if you started working or planMoney Mondays logo to go back to work this year. Tracking your expenses throughout the year may help you take advantage of the tax credits that are available to you.

One tax credit that you may be able to take advantage of is IRS’ Impairment-Related Work Expenses and deductible medical expenses. If you have a disability and work, you may incur certain expenses for special aids, services, or equipment that allow you to work effectively. You can claim a deduction for those expenses on your federal income tax return.  You can also generally include medical expenses you pay for yourself, as well as those you pay for someone who is your spouse or your dependent.

Read More...

Money Mondays: What To Do With Your Tax Refund

If you are expecting a refund this year, have you thought about what to do with your money? Maybe you already know what you want to spend it on, but does your plan that support your journey to financial independence?  Did you make a commitment to Improve Your Financial Wellness In 2013? Although it’s tempting, you should treat your refund check the same way you would treat any income such as your benefits check or your paycheck.

Remember, the government isn’t sending you free money, but your money that has been held to cover taxes. If you are receiving a large refund, you may be having too much money withheld. To decide if this is your situation, think about your monthly expenses. If you're incurring debt, then you may have room to have fewer taxes withheld. First, review your W-4 form and adjust your federal income tax withholding allowances. By reducing the taxes withheld from your paycheck, you can increase the amount of your take home pay, giving you more cash to pay monthly bills throughout the year. Next year, your tax refund will be lower because you had less tax withheld from your paycheck.

Read More...

Money Mondays: It's Tax Time! Have You Started Your Tax Return?

The IRS filing deadline of April 15 is quickly approaching! If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organize your financial information and start preparing and filing your tax forms. There are a number of resources available to help you file your taxes, and you may qualify for some additional tax benefits.

If you need help filing your taxes this year, check out these resources that are available to you:
 

  • File your taxes online for free with MyFreeTaxes.com. MyFreeTaxes.com is a partnership between the Walmart Foundation, Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute, and United Way Worldwide that provides online and in-person tax preparation and filing services to individuals and families with low-to-moderate income. The service helps people access free tax preparation and filing assistance services online at home, at a community center or with the help of a nonprofit partner.
     
  • Download accessible forms and publications. The IRS offers content in a number of accessible formats to accommodate people who use assistive technology including screen reading software, refreshable Braille displays, and voice recognition software. The tax forms and publications can be downloaded or viewed online.

Read More...

Money Mondays: Your Earned Income Tax Credit

Djuna Mitchell is a guest blogger featured on a recent Ticket to Work webinar.  She is a former beneficiary, Community Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC) and Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Project Director. Currently, she works for Social Security as a Social Insurance Specialist.  

MoneyMondays There are lots of reasons for people with disabilities to go back to work or to work for the very first time. You can meet new people and build connections within your workplace community, develop new skills, and of course, make money! For most people, earning money through employment is a sure way to become better off than you would be simply receiving Social Security (SSI and/or SSDI) benefits. Did you know that the government may give you a tax credit  just because you worked?  

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax benefit that may mean more money for you.  It can be a great financial boost, especially for workers with disabilities!  You can take advantage of it if you:

Money Mondays: 5 Tax Moves to Make Before the End of the Year

iCalendar

The New Year is almost here, but don’t let that stop you from making some important money moves before Dec. 31 so you can reap the benefits in 2013.

Check your paycheck

Did you get a job, a raise, a promotion, or married?  If you were lucky enough to increase your income this year, you may need to adjust your withholding for December. If you’re withholding too little from your paycheck, you’ll end up with a higher tax bill in April. Contact your HR department to request a withholding change on your W-4 form for more to be taken out of your last few paychecks. If it’s too late to do that, you have until January 15 to pay estimated taxes on Form 1040-ES.

Use a tax calculator to help you estimate your liability. When doing so, don’t forget to include any retirement distributions, unemployment income, and in some cases, social security income you received.  If you had to dip into your retirement funds, you should definitely check your tax liability and adjust your withholding. Even if you were unemployed while doing so, you’re taxed at your regular tax rate plus an additional 10 percent if you weren’t 59.5 years at the time of the retirement distribution. If those distributions were related to a hardship, like saving your home from foreclosure, tell the administrator of your retirement fund.  You may be able to forgo the additional 10-percent tax, but you have to notify them in advance so they can code your distribution as a hardship on your 1099-R.

Check your health

Book last-minute trips to the doctor so you can start 2012 with a clean bill of health — and more tax deductions.

Medical expenses used to improve your health are tax deductible if you itemize deductions and they exceed a specific percent of your adjusted gross income.

If you’re enrolled in your employer’s flexible spending account, use any remaining funds in them to pay for doctor visits and prescriptions. Although you avoid income and Social Security taxes from your contributions, any excess funds not used by the end of the year are forfeited. If you don’t have one yet but want one, typically open enrollment is the only time to make changes to your healthcare plan. If you experienced a “qualifying life event,” such as a marriage, divorce, new child, a change in your employment, or you went on family medical leave, you’re probably eligible to get this account before open enrollment starts again next fall.

Read More...

Top 5 Tax Resources for People with Disabilities

Tax season is here! You may be wondering, “Where can I find a tax form that is accessible to me?” or “How do I report my earnings?” The IRS has prepared useful resources for people with disabilities and we want to share them with you.

Here Are Five Tax Resources for People with Disabilities:

  1. Accessible tax forms and publications: Download these IRS tax forms in Braille, text format and accessible PDFs.The site also features publications and instructions in large print formats.
     
  2. IRS Accessibility video: This video highlights how to find accessible tax information, products and services.

     
  3. IRS Tax Assistance Center: If you are unable to complete your tax return because of your disability, you may get assistance from a local IRS Tax Assistance Center. To find a Tax Assistance Center near you, click on “Contact IRS” on http://www.irs.gov/ and then select “Contact your local IRS office."

     
  4. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): If you make $50,000 a year or less, a VITA volunteer may also be able to help you complete your tax return. Find a local VITA site or call 1-800-906-9887.

     
  5. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) If you are age 60 or older, a TCE volunteer may provide tax-counseling services to you.  Find a local TCE site or call 1-800-906-9887.

If you would like to read more about the tax implications of certain disability benefits and other issues, read Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities, found on http://www.irs.gov/.

Share with a friend

Let others know of these IRS resources available for people with disabilities. If you know someone who might find this information useful, please share this article on Facebook, Twitter, or email it to a friend by clicking "Share this Post." And if you have a useful tip or resource, feel free to share by writing a comment below!

 

 

Read More...

Don't Overlook The EITC Tax Credit!

Want to keep more of the money you earned? If you make less than $49,078 per year, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This special tax credit can put up to $5,751 into your pocket (even more if you live in certain states).  It can be especially helpful to workers with disabilities and to working parents of children with disabilities. 

Do You Qualify? Here’s What You Need To Know:

  • You must have earnings from a job. Self-employment and farming count, but money that you get from Social Security (SSI and SSDI) does not.

  • You need to file a federal income tax return, even if your income level is low enough to make it optional. 

  • When you file your return, you have to specifically claim the EITC to get it.

  • You cannot owe any back taxes when you file your return.

You worked hard for your money, so take advantage of the EITC, and keep as much of it as possible! 

For more information on the EITC and for free help filing your tax return, visit:

  • The EITC Assistant at http://www.irs.gov/ to  determine your eligibility

  • Free File, available at http://www.irs.gov/, lets you file your return electronically and claim the EITC using brand-name tax software – at no cost.

  • If you earn $50,000 or less per year, free tax preparation assistance is available at many community locations.  Check your local newspapers, and radio and television stations for more information.

The EITC can make your life a little easier.  There may be money due to you. You earned it. File now and claim it!

Read More...