FAQ

I forgot to add my 1098-T from school on this year's refund. What will happen?
What will happen if you forgot to include your 1098-T information on your return?  The answer is nothing. That's right, the 1098-T is for informational purposes only.  It's not similar to a 1099 that must be reported. In fact, quite often, the information on the form does not correctly match how you should report tuition paid nor grants and scholarships received. The reason for this is that the schools go by an academic year and not necessarily a calendar year as would be presented on a tax return. The 1098-T does indicate your status as "at least part-time" or greater status.  So it confirms your enrollment. Beyond that, you should always verify the amounts of tuition paid, whether by student loan, grant, scholarship or otherwise and in which calendar year.  You can only deduct what you paid within that year. Conversley, you only have to subtract tax free grants and scholarships against those expenses paid in that calendar year. In this regard, you can allocate tax free assistance to the year in which it applies. This is besides other expenses and fees for books and supplies that you can always deduct. If you received more in tax free grants and scholarships than tuition paid as in the case of receiving scholarships for room and board which are not deductible, you could have taxable income. I mention this because some people are surprised when this happens.  However, as frequently is the case, If you have net deductible expenses for tuition, books and fees paid for the current tax year, you have a tax deduction.  And if you did not include those expenses when you originally filed your return, you can amend on form 1040X within three years of the due date. With an amendment, you would be applying for one of three educational deductions and credits contained within the American Opportunity Credit.  The best one, and the one that's partially refundable, is the Hope Scholarship Credit. Partially refundable means that even if you do not have a tax liability for the year (your deductions exceed your income) you can still get money back - up to $1000.  The credit against taxable income however is up to $2500. The requirement for this credit is that you are within your first four years of post-secondary education and have not already claimed four years of credits.  The second is the lifetime learning credit for  other categories of education including a masters degree program. The third is the tuition and fees deduction. This is a deduction from you gross income used to calculate your adjusted gross income or AGI. This can be beneficial if you have other itemized deductions that are limited due to you AGI being too high. You can compare which credit or deduction yields the highest benefit but generally the Hope Scholarship Credit, if you qualify, is the best.  There is actually a fourth category for those people that pay for education to maintain or improve their job skills.  These would be deducted as a business deduction for the self employed or as an itemized deduction for an employee. Again, you have to compare each deduction and credit method to see which yields the greatest benefit.  Couple of other things to note here. If someone else is claiming you as a dependent, the tuition credits and deductions go on the return where your exemption is being claimed even if you paid the fees by loan or out of pocket yourself. The reverse is true as well.  If someone else such as a parent or relative paid those expenses, the money is considered a gift that you in turn paid to the school and you claim them on your return if you are not being claimed as a dependent.  Education Credits--AOTC and LLC
Why does my part-time job lower my tax refund so much?
You’d have to look at the way the two jobs combined, but generally it’s because a part-time job, if worked for the entire year, has a very low rate of marginal taxation. Someone who earns $10K in a year pays almost no tax, so they withhold very little. On the other hand, a $30K regular job would have a moderate level of withholding, and a $40K regular job would have a larger but still moderate level of withholding. If you have a $30K job plus a $10K job, then the amount withheld will be lower than it would have been for a single $40K job.Bottom line… because your part-time job didn’t know it should be withholding any more.Now, if you are still getting a small refund, then you shouldn’t change anything. A tax refund is just getting back an interest-free loan that you gave to the government. If you manage your finances yourself, just put away that extra money instead of letting the government hold it for you, and you will get more wealthy over time.
How can I get more people to fill out my survey?
Make it compellingQuickly and clearly make these points:Who you are and why you are doing thisHow long it takesWhats in it for me -- why should someone help you by completing the surveyExample: "Please spend 3 minutes helping me make it easier to learn Mathematics. Answer 8 short questions for my eternal gratitude and (optional) credit on my research findings. Thank you SO MUCH for helping."Make it convenientKeep it shortShow up at the right place and time -- when people have the time and inclination to help. For example, when students are planning their schedules. Reward participationOffer gift cards, eBooks, study tips, or some other incentive for helping.Test and refineTest out different offers and even different question wording and ordering to learn which has the best response rate, then send more invitations to the offer with the highest response rate.Reward referralsIf offering a reward, increase it for referrals. Include a custom invite link that tracks referrals.
Why does my property management ask me to fill out a W-9 form?
To collect data on you in case they want to sue you and enforce a judgment.If the management co is required to pay inerest on security deposits then they need to account to ou for that interest income.If you are in a coop or condo they may apportion tax benefits or capital costs to you for tax purposes.
Why did my dad think it was a good idea to get a lower-paying job and lower our standard of living just because he was stressed and tired? Isn’t it the parents’ job to make sacrifices for their children to be happy?
Dad thought so too.I mean, after all, if you can't provide well for them, you shouldn't bring them into this world, right?Right?Dad wore the same few shirts and pants for years. He had three-dollar meals while we had whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.Dad parted with 80% of his salary every month since he got married, leaving it with Mum to safekeep for our well-being and a brighter future. Sometimes, it was a trip somewhere to forget reality for a bit. Other times, it was a temporary pleasure like eating at a fancy restaurant, one that he had always thought to be unnecessary, but nonetheless accepted for the sake of us.As the years went by, our wants multiplied while his savings shrunk. Dad realised he had to do more to make more. He had to be the man with all the answers, the man with the solution to our “problems”.Dad struggled from job to job because he didn't have access to formal education, yet was never unemployed for more than a couple of weeks. When he was 54, he was going to start his very own business with a couple of mates. They needed some time to look for funding, and some timely support from their wives and children.But Dad was the only one who didn't receive it.By then, our financial plight had gotten to us and we turned against him. We felt entitled to his time, money and life. We saw his dream of a business as a childish fantasy that we apparently knew more about than him.We preached. We argued. We demonised. We subjected him to our ugliest sides, his lifetime of effort and dedication wiped clean from our minds. He stopped sleeping in the same bed as Mum.Dad had become a mere worker bee in the ecosystem that is our lives, nothing more, nothing less.One day, Dad thought he had hit the jackpot. He came into a job that only required him to drive a fancy car for however long or short he wanted, without limits to how much he could make in a day. The longer he would drive, the more he would make. It was simple math to him that added up effortlessly. $5,000 a month was his minimum target.He could finally be Dad again.So he started driving at 7am every morning, only to come home at 1am every night, six days a week.One humid day in November, Dad did not go to work. He did not leave his room. He did not shower.He did not eat. He did not speak. He did not drive.And it did not alert anyone.When we finally broke into his locked room in the evening, Dad was purple.Some form of cardiac arrest. Caused by a neglectful diet, sedentary lifestyle, insufficient sleep, huge amounts of stress, and a complete lack of emotional support from most of his family.The coroner later revealed that his affliction would have given him physical pain the past two years, the kind that would be extremely hard to ignore given its painful nature.Dad absorbed all of that stoically so that we would not have to deal with it. He knew it would have required an operation that would have put him out of driving for a few weeks, which would have meant parting with being Dad again. So no, that was out of the question.Because Dad had to provide all the solutions and all the answers, not introduce new problems. Right?Dad was only 58.I am not telling you that if you carry on without any intention to fix this spoilt and selfish mindset, your Dad will likely die from exhaustion or depression. He may very well cope.I am, however, telling you that you are not entitled to anyone's time (and therefore, life), and that includes your parents'.Giving you life and the chance to exist in this world of experiences, lessons and beauty, by no means implies that your parents ought to deny themselves of personal feelings, pleasures, aspirations and experiences that life has to offer.Having a Dad who is shown no love, respect, support or gratitude for his sacrifices will not result in a higher standard of living for your family.Be very grateful for him. There is nothing he would not do for you, but let's get one thing straight - it has to be him who is doing it, not a stressed out, depressed, exhausted and resentful version of him.