Taxes 4 Dummiez (PDF)

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Taxes 4 Dummiez:
A Lifeline for Procrastinators on April 15th

So it’s April 15th and you haven’t
done your taxes.. Are you familiar
with these terms?

What about these forms?

If not, this is a good place to start.
Turn to page 2 for descriptions of
these key terms / forms.

Adjusted Gross Income
Tax Credits
Tax Deductions
Standard Deductions
Itemized Deductions

Taxable Income
Voluntary Compliance

AGI - Adjusted gross income, or AGI, is all the income you receive over the course of
the year, including wages, interest, dividends and capital gains, minus things such as
contributions to a qualified IRA, some business expenses, moving costs and alimony
Tax Credits - Tax credits are much like credits you get from a store. After you calculate
your tax bill, you can use the credit to reduce the amount of the check you must write to
Uncle Sam.
Tax Deductions - Tax Deductions are expenses the Internal Revenue Service allows
you to subtract from your AGI to arrive at your taxable income. In most cases, the lower
your income, the lower your tax bill.
Standard Deductions - This is a fixed dollar amount that taxpayers can subtract from
their income. The standard deduction is available to all filers and is determined by the
taxpayer's filing status. The amounts change each year because of inflation
Itemized Deductions - These are expenses that can be deducted from your AGI to
help you reach a smaller income amount upon which you must calculate your tax bill.
Itemized deductions include medical expenses, other taxes (state, local and property),
mortgage interest, charitable contributions, casualty and theft losses, unreimbursed
employee expenses and miscellaneous deductions such as gambling losses.
Exemption - This is an amount the IRS lets you subtract from your income to reflect all
the people who count on your income. You can claim as tax exemptions yourself, your
spouse and your dependents.
Taxable Income - Taxable income is your overall, or gross, income reduced by all
allowable adjustments, deductions and exemptions. It is the final amount of income you
use to how much you owe in taxes.
Voluntary Compliance - This describes the philosophy upon which our tax system is
based: U.S. taxpayers voluntarily comply with the tax laws and report their income and
other tax items honestly.
Withholding - Also known as pay-as-you-earn taxation, the withholding method
enables taxes to be taken out of your wages or other income as you earn it and before
you receive your paycheck.
Key Tax Forms Explained: Links to Helpful Sources
1. W-2 -
2. W-4 -
3. 1040 -

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