Sales Tax Rules And Prepared Foods

Sales taxes are a fact of American life, and they are really noticeable in the area of fast food. Lets review some Sales Tax Rules to make sure you are following the law.

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For instance, when a hungry consumer drives through his favorite drive-thru, he should expect to pay the price of his burger plus additional coinage to cover sales tax. Most states, counties and municipalities feed their coffers by charging a local sales tax on most every kind of purchase imaginable. Local law regulates what purchases are taxable and at what rate.

Sales Tax Rules
English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pizza Margherita taken by Valerio Capello on September 6th 2005 in a pizzeria (“I Decumani”) located on the Via dei Tribunali in Naples. Italiano: Fotografia di un’autentica pizza Margherita napoletana scattata da Valerio Capello il 6 settembre 2005 nella pizzeria “I Decumani” situata in Via dei Tribunali a Napoli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Application of sales tax regulations is not always straightforward, though. “Prepared food” sales tax rules are different from sales tax rules on single items such as milk or bread. For example, a take and bake pizza at your local eatery incurs sales tax, but some people, and states, are confused and upset about that. Is a cold pizza that the customer has to take home and bake actually prepared food?

Amazingly, the states of South Dakota and Arkansas wrote and published rules which say that pizza which is put together in a store and the baked at home is actually a prepared, and taxable, food because the restaurant had to assemble two or more ingredients to put the product together.

The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Governing Board says a take and bake pizza is prepared food and therefore, taxable. The state of Wisconsin has a flow chart that its Department of Revenue employs to apply sales tax regulations to pizza and everything else.

Recently, an amendment to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement says all states can make their own decisions on which pizzas are subject to sales tax. Yes, even pizza can get complicated when it comes to the tax man.

H&R Block specializes in navigating the muddiest of tax waters for the American taxpayer.

How To Check Your Tax Return Online

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Check Your Tax Return Online

Everyone needs to be updated on the progress of his or her application for a tax return after they file. Failure to do this could unnecessarily prolong the waiting time, which is typically twenty one days. In most cases, the internal revenue service, commonly known as the IRS, is able to meet the 21 day target. However, delays associated with incomplete information or inaccurate details will hold up the process especially if the applicant does not get details of the hindrance. As a rule of thumb, one is advised to keep track of the process by checking the status of his or her tax return online.

There are several ways of verifying the condition of your tax return. To begin with, one can use a telephone to check the status of is of her tax return. The process is simple and it entails calling the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1954. Besides this toll-free hotline, those with iPhone and Android phones can also check their tax return via a special application, IRS 2go. If you would like to check your tax return status online, the IRS website is the most appropriate place to visit. The website application is easy to navigate through and thus accessible to all and sundry.

The Where’s my Refund IRS web application will help you get the status of your tax return. However, this website is usually updated once in a day. For electrically-filed tax return, the refund information should be available in 24 hours after ISR receives the information. Alternatively, you can check your tax return online by simply having your security number ready at hand while logging in to the IRS website. Going by this option, a number of details would be required, including the exact amount to be refunded. Nevertheless, the goal will be met since one will be able to quickly learn the status of his or her returns.

Check Tax Return Online

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Check Tax Return Online

Since the 2008 Economic debacle, the U.S. has looked for ways to maximize income while minimizing expenses. As a government’s chief method of income is the taxation of its citizens, the Federal government has looked to allowing the lapse of Bush era tax breaks, raising taxes where appropriate, and stricter guidelines for tax professionals.

This ethos is trickling down to the state level. In some of the harder hit states, new and tighter regulations concerning the taxpayer and his/her tax bill are coming into existence and the taxpayer is facing new and more intense scrutiny. This effectively translates into greater responsibility and headache for the professional tax preparer.

Already living in one of America’s most highly taxed states, the average citizen in the state of New York may not be aware of the ordinances in place that dictate nearly every phase of the tax preparer’s profession and his/her relationship with corporate and individual clients. Tax preparers have to pay a fee and register with the New York Department of Taxation and Finance if they make a least ten tax returns in a calendar year (deeming them professionals). As the Internal Revenue Service already has tax preparer registration in place, this is a double whammy for tax preparers who reside in the state of New York. Twice represented and twice accessed for the privilege of practicing within New York.

Of course, state and federal governments maintain that this regulation is good for the state and good for the country. Regulating tax preparers provides additional assurance that more citizens are in compliance with tax regulations (regulating at every level will ensure more scrupulous compliance). This regulation may persuade people to seek internet services in order to check tax return online and streamline the entire process.

Phil Mickelson Needed to Pay 61% in Taxes For His Fame

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Phil Mickelson Needed to Pay 61% in Taxes For His Fame

“I might move away from California because of the State taxes here”, quoted Phil Mickelson and guess what? He became the hot topic this past January when he had to sacrifice 61% of his money he earned from of 2013 Open Championship and The Scottish Open in the shape of governments taxes. Steeped tax rates and UK’s policy to collect more taxes on endorsement earnings of non-resident athletes with the rest of the taxes from United States government, were the factors behind this dramatic situation.

Phil Mickelson, Open 2006
Phil Mickelson, Open 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mickelson actually need to pay the same percentage of taxes for both tournaments which doubled his pain. He earned about $ 2,167,500 from both events and his complete tax penalty from these earnings was $ 1,324,800. He would be taking only $ 842,700 along with him. That is discouraging for a successful athlete like him to earn lot of cash and then just let 61% of his earnings be in the buckets of government. This is definitely weird and stressing for him.

Now, everybody knows that governments collect all this money for progressive purposes and impose their strict tax policies upon the rich and other high level earners. But these are not the only reasons for Phil Mickelson having to pay the stepped up taxes. Britain’s strict tax policies for non-resident athletes are also being accused for all this drama. Furthermore, he also needs to pay United States federal taxes and California taxes that combined sum up to 13.3%. That is lot of money to pay for success.

What common people might be thinking about all this? Well their sympathies won’t be in favor of Phil Mickelson because general perception about the millionaires is that they are rich and they should be paying lot of money to the government so that it can be spent on the welfare of the people. The common view about them is that they are famous and rich already and will earn more than general people. But money can only be made by offering something that people want and is therefore inherently good.

Phil was recently ranked at number 7 in Forbes list that consisted of the highest earning athletes around the world but paying this heavy amount of taxes to the government(s) is really a tough thing to do for him. Phil Mickelson did not make any statement regarding this issue. He has to pay all these taxes and he can’t do anything regarding this but to wait until his next earning opportunity. One can imagine his condition right now. It is hard to give away most of your money in that way and without protesting either.

Completing Your Taxes

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Completing Your 2010 Taxes

Completing an annual tax return is a responsibility that is shared by all American wage earners.  If you fail to file a tax return in any given year, you could face both legal and monetary penalties.  If you have not yet filed past due tax returns for your 2010 taxes or previous years, it would be a good idea to file a complete tax return for those years as soon as possible to avoid being penalized.

When looking to complete a return for 2010 or a previous year, the first thing that you need to do is gather as much of your financial records as possible.  If you have lost or thrown away pay stubs or bank statements, you should be able to get everything you need by contacting your employer, bank, brokerage firm, or any other entity that provided you with tax information that needs to be reported.

You are one of 50,000,000 Americans who must f...
You are one of 50,000,000 Americans who must fill out an income tax return by March 15 do it now! …. (Photo credit: Keijo Knutas)

Once you have gathered all of your financial information, the next thing to do is prepare the tax returns.  Be sure that you prepare the tax returns based off of 2010 forms.  Since the tax law changes from one year to the next, 2012 tax forms will not be usable to complete the 2010 tax return.  These forms are available through either the IRS directly, your accountant, or any tax preparation software.

After you have completed the return, be sure to mail it in as soon as possible.  It would be a good idea to also include a check for any owed taxes, but you should be prepared to have to pay interest or fees on any past due amount.