A taxing time of year: Tax questions on JustAnswer
By Dhanesh Misir
Posted in: General
If you’re worried or confused when it comes to filing your taxes, you’re most definitely not alone.
When tax season approaches, the temptation to run and find a place to hide can be very powerful. Just as significant is the desire for information, as tax issues tend to come along with a number of variations and complications. It’s all too easy to get lost in it all, but luckily, the Tax category on JustAnswer is one resource that is always within reach.
Visits to tax pages on JustAnswer tend to spike around late January and mid April, and for obvious reasons. However, it’s never a bad time for getting your tax questions answered. Since the issues addressed by the Experts on JustAnswer are visible for everyone to see, hundreds of thousands of people looked into tax questions asked by others in 2017. Out of all these questions, one in particular attracted the most attention with over 27,000 views:
In other words… can I get away with pulling a fast one?
The JustAnswer customer in this instance was hoping to be temporarily exempted from taxes on a paycheck. They likely had money coming in at a later date, like a bonus or extra overtime hours, and it’s reasonable to assume that many of the thousands of visitors to the page had a similar line of thinking. Unfortunately, as explained by the tax Expert, this practice no longer works.
“You cannot claim exempt unless you qualify for it,” they said. The IRS could penalize such actions, and your employer could end up facing heat for it as well. This is because the IRS also audits employers as well, to ensure that they aren’t allowing employees to claim exempt when they don’t qualify for it. “A better way is to claim more exemptions to manage withholdings,” the Expert went on to advise, “just not exempt, then (switch) later.”
Although that page was the most visited by a significant margin, there were still some others that generated a lot of attention. The #2 most visited tax question of 2017, with roughly 16,000 entries, is focused on another popular topic: tax relief.
Purchasing a home is a big step for anyone, and given the costs involved, it’s natural to wonder if the act of buying a property for yourself entitles you to a tax break of some kind. On this subject, Roy, a legal Expert, delivered some disappointing news – with a bit of upside.
“Purchasing a home by itself does not give you any tax relief,” he said, before leading into the good part. “However, if you are getting a mortgage, some of those costs could save you some tax money. You can usually deduct points on a first mortgage when purchasing a new home.”
To make the outlook even better, Roy added that: “In addition, you can deduct any interest paid on the mortgage during the year, as well as any property taxes.” This principle also applies to the future, meaning these are deductions you’ll be eligible for year after year.
Trailing not far behind this page was our #3 most sought-out tax question, which was viewed by over 15,000 tax-paying (we assume) individuals:
Based on the numbers, quite a few JustAnswer customers have found themselves in need of this form, which is what grants your Employer Identification Number (or EIN). Businesses need an EIN, but if you’ve misplaced yours, the IRS can help.
Lev, a certified Tax Advisor on JustAnswer, explains that: “You may apply for an EIN in various ways, and now you may apply online. This is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers can obtain an EIN immediately by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line.”
The number is (800) 829-4933, and the hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday.
What other tax questions do JustAnswer customers have?
Questions regarding exemptions, transaction reporting, and income tax are among the most common variations within JustAnswer’s Tax category. That being said, there's still a great deal of variety to be found among the most popular pages of 2017 – aside from Wal-Mart coming up twice! The remaining seven of the top 10 most visited tax questions are:
When it comes to the tax questions on JustAnswer, one thing is apparent: Many people don't fully understand the procedures and documents distributed and enforced by the IRS. And this is perfectly understandable, given the many layers and intricacies that go into filing one’s taxes. Many answer-seekers are worried about a specific line in their tax returns, or they’re trying to figure out how to plan ahead for their finances.
Whatever the case may be, if you have any tax questions of your own, there’s no need to live with your uncertainty. If you’ve looked through the questions already asked on site without discovering the solution you need, the Experts on JustAnswer are here to help, 24 hours a day.
Have you run into issues with your taxes in the past? Do you remember what worked? Share in the comments below!