$1.1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds -- Could Some Be Yours?

Unclaimed government moneyThe IRS has announced that there is $1.1 billion in previous unclaimed tax refunds waiting for nearly 1.1 million people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2007. The IRS estimates that half of these potential 2007 refunds amount to at least $640.To get your money, you have to be proactive. The IRS won't send you a tax refund if you haven't filed a federal income tax return. Many taxpayers may not realize that they might qualify for a refund because they erroneously believe that they did not make enough money. However, some taxpayers may be eligible for refundable credits.

A popular -- but still underutilized -- refundable credit is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds, which in 2007 were $39,783 for those with two or more children, $35,241 for people with one child, and $14,590 for those with no children.

Other credits may also apply, such as the Making Work Pay Credit. The Making Work Pay Credit offers a flat credit of up to $400 for individual taxpayers and up to $800 for taxpayers who are married but filing jointly.

Refunds may also be due to taxpayers who might have too much withholding. This can happen when taxpayers claim too few exemptions on their form W-9. Form W-9 can be particularly confusing for taxpayers with more than one job or for married couples who both work.

If you're not sure whether you would be eligible for a refund, consider filing a return. If it turns out that you're due a refund, there's no penalty for filing late. Of course, remember that your 2007 refund will be held if you have not filed federal income tax returns for 2008 and 2009. Your refund may also be held if you're subject to offsetfor unpaid taxes, child support or federal debts.

The last day to file and receive a refund for 2007 is April 18, 2011. After that date, any unclaimed money will be returned to the U.S. Treasury.

Tax Tips for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Most real estate agents and brokers receive income in the form of commissions from sales transactions. You're generally not considered an employee under federal tax guidelines, but rather a self-employed sole proprietor, even if you're an agent or broker working for a real estate brokerage firm. This self-employed status allows you to deduct many of the expenses you incur in your real estate sales or property management activities. Careful record keeping and knowing your eligible write-offs are key to getting all of the tax deductions you're entitled to.

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What is the Educator Expense Tax Deduction?

The Educator Expense Tax Deduction allows teachers and certain academic administrators to deduct a portion of the costs of technology, supplies, and certain training. Here’s what teachers need to know about taking the Educator Expense Deduction on their tax returns.

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Self-Employed Less Than a Year? How to Do Your Taxes

Have you been self-employed less than a year? If you’re just starting out, it’s possible you worked at a job earlier in the tax year before making the switch to self-employment, or you’re working multiple jobs. In this case, you may have more than once source of income you’ll need to report on your income tax return.

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Taxes for Grads: Do Scholarships Count as Taxable Income?

Heading off to college to broaden your horizons is exciting, but funding your education via scholarships? That's even better. Scholarships often provide a path to education that might not be feasible otherwise, which is why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be generous in minimizing students' tax obligations. But sometimes scholarship money does count as income, and it’s better to find out now if your scholarship adds to your tax liability than to have a surprise later. Here’s how to decode your scholarship taxation.

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