We keep track of all the tax law changes so you don't have to. TaxAct 2015 federal and state products have all the latest tax law changes to help you get your maximum guaranteed refund the fastest way possible!

Employees

The maximum amount of your earned income on which you pay Social Security tax is now $118,500. When you reach that amount with one employer, they should stop withholding Social Security tax from your pay until the following year. If you work for more than one employer, and your total earnings are more than $118,500, TaxAct calculates a credit for any overpayment of Social Security taxes.

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If you qualify, you can exclude up to $100,800 of your foreign earned income from your taxable income for 2015. If you and your spouse both work in a foreign country and meet the qualifications, you may each be able to exclude up to $100,800.

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Families

You may qualify for a credit equal to up to $13,400 of your adoption expenses. If your employer provides adoption benefits, you may also be able to exclude up to the same amount from your income. Both a credit and exclusion may be claimed for the same adoption, but not for the same expense. The credit is now permanent and indexed to inflation.

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Starting in 2015, if you claim a foreign earned income or housing exclusion, you cannot claim the refundable portion of the child tax credit, also known as the additional child tax credit.

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Homeowners

The canceled debit exclusion provides tax relief on canceled debt for many homeowners involved in the mortgage foreclosure crisis. You may exclude up to $2,000,000 ($1,000,000 if married filing separately) of canceled qualified principal residence indebtedness from taxable income.

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Everyone

The standard amount you can deduct from income if you don't itemize your deductions is $6,300 ($12,600 for married couples filing jointly, or $9,100 if you file as head of household).

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The personal exemption for 2015 is $4,000, up from $3,950.

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This provision increases the standard deduction for married taxpayers filing jointly, and expands the 15% tax bracket.

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The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemption amount rises in 2015 to $53,600 ($83,400, for married couples filing jointly).

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If you have no children, your maximum Earned Income Credit for 2015 is $503. With two children, the maximum amount is $5,548, and with one child, it is $3,359. If you have three or more qualifying children, the maximum Credit you can receive for 2015 is $6,242 (up from $6,143 in 2014).

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Education & College

You may be able to exclude all or part of the interest from qualifying Series EE or Series I bonds if you use the income for qualified educational expenses. You cannot take this benefit if your modified adjusted gross income is $92,200 or more ($145,750 if you file jointly, or if you file as Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child).

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The American Opportunity Tax Credit expanded on the Hope Credit. The income limits are higher, the credit is available for more qualified expenses, and you can use the credit for four years of post-secondary education instead of just two. In addition, you can even get a refund if you don't owe any tax for up to 40% of the credit ($1,000).

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Health care

The majority of taxpayers will see minimal impact on their 2015 federal taxes. For more information, visit TaxAct's website, HealthcareACT.com. The site offers tools and information to help you understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act on your taxes. Resources include year-by-year guidance and calculators to estimate your eligibility for the premium tax credit or your tax penalty for being uninsured.

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If individuals or families purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, they may qualify for the new Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit. To qualify for the credit, your household income must fall between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line, you may not be claimed as a dependent on any other taxpayer's return, and (if married), you must file jointly. In the case of spousal abuse or abandonment, this requirement may be waived.

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In 2015, each individual taxpayer must carry the required "minimum essential coverage" each month, qualify for an exemption, or pay mandatory taxes. For those facing this new penalty, relief provisions have been written into the tax laws to help taxpayers transition into these new requirements. The minimum amount of insurance coverage you must carry is calculated per family member and then added together.

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High-income households

If you have a high adjusted gross income, you may not be able to take all your itemized deductions, thanks to the Pease provision. Itemized deductions start to phase out at $154,950 if you are married filing separately ($258,250 for individuals, $284,050 if head of household, or $309,900 if filing jointly). Your itemized deductions are reduced by 3% of your adjusted gross income over these amounts, but they are never reduced by more than 80% of your otherwise allowable deductions.

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Your personal exemptions for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents reduce your taxable income by $4,000 each. If your adjusted gross income is over $258,250 ($154,950 if married filing separately, $309,900 if filing jointly, or $284,050 if filing as head of household), your personal exemptions are reduced by 2% for each $2,500 or portion over these amounts. The exemption phases out completely at $380,750 ($432,400 if filing jointly, $216,200 if filing separately, $406,550 if filing as head of household).

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For persons who died in 2015, the federal estate tax rate remains at 40%. This tax only applies to estates larger than $5,430,000 - up from $5,340,000 in 2014.

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Miscellaneous

The standard mileage rate for the use of your car or other vehicle is up to 57.5 cents per mile for business and down to 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes. The rate for charitable travel remained the same at 14 cents per mile.

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The most you can contribute to one of these plans remains at $2,550. Your spouse can also contribute $2,550 if he or she meets the qualifications. For certain FSAs, up to $500 can now be carried over to the next year.

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(1) Self-only coverage. For taxable years beginning in 2014, the term "high deductible health plan" as defined in Sec. 220(c)(2)(A) means, for self-only coverage, a health plan that has an annual deductible that is not less than $2,200 and not more than $3,300, and under which the annual out-of-pocket expenses required to be paid (other than for premiums) for covered benefits do not exceed $4,450.

(2) Family coverage. For taxable years beginning in 2015, the term "high deductible health plan" means, for family coverage, a health plan that has an annual deductible that is not less than $4,450 and not more than $6,650, and under which the annual out-of-pocket expenses required to be paid (other than for premiums) for covered benefits do not exceed $8,150.

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April 2016
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Upcoming Tax Dates

April 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 12 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of March.

April 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of March.

April 18 — Individuals
File a 2015 income tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6 month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by October 17.

April 18 — Individuals
If you are not paying your 2016 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2016 estimated tax. Use Form 1040ES.

April 18 — Household Employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2015 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H - Details

April 18 — Partnerships
File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065) - Details

April 18 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) - Details

April 18 — Corporations
Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2016 - Details

April 18 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 18 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 18 — Household employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2015 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040). If you are required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040), file Schedule H (Form 1040) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2014 or 2015 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

April 27 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of March.

April 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of April.

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