We're in the home stretch for tax season 2012 and what better way to prepare yourself for the inevitable than to get up to speed on the new tax laws for 2011!
There have been some changes since last year. We've compiled a list of some of the most obvious changes for your 2011 tax filings.
Deadline to file is April 17, 2012. Alright procrastinators (you know who you are). You have one extra day to file your return. Since April 15 falls on a Sunday, tax day was supposed to be on Monday. But the IRS was feeling generous and gave you an extra day.
Bye-Bye Making Work Pay Credit. Remember that nice bump you got on your take-home in 2009 and 2010? It's gone now, as is the $400-$800 credit you could get by filing a Schedule M if your employer didn't withhold.
Watch out for the 1099-K. Paypal users, you'll be getting your 1099-K in the mail (or email) this year. The same goes for anyone with a credit card merchant account.
Stocks are reported differently. This year, on your 1099 forms from brokers, you'll notice that the amount reported in any sale of shares will be the basis value-- essentially, the value (for tax purposes) at which you acquired it. This rule only applies to equity securities this year (think shares of stock) and not to mutual funds or debt securities. The proceeds received in any sale or disposition of the stock will also be reported, as well as whether the gain is short-term or long-term financial gain (or loss).
Changes in personal exemptions and standard deductions in 2011 tax year. This year, personal exemptions will be $3,700. The standard deduction for individuals is $5,800, $8,500 for heads of household, and $11,600 for married couples filing jointly.