Tax Tips

Page-10_Dollars* Secure your tax records from identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security Number, or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. An identity thief may use your SSN to get a job or may file a tax return using your SSN to receive a refund.

* Taxpayer identification numbers. You must provide the taxpayer identification number for each person for whom you claim certain tax benefits. Generally, this number is the person’s social security number. This applies even if the person was born in 2013. To apply for a Social Security Number for your U.S. citizen child, you can download a fillable application (Form SS5)  at If you got married to a non-resident alien, you must apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number for your foreign spouse. This is true whether you file jointly, separately, or head of household with a qualifying U.S. citizen child. Filing single is not an option if you were married on the last day of the tax year.

* Foreign source income. If you are a U.S. citizen with income from sources outside the United States (foreign income), you must report all such income on your tax return unless it is exempt by U.S. law. This is true whether you live inside or outside the U.S. and whether or not you receive a Form W-2 or Form 1099 from the foreign payer. This applies to earned income (such as wages, sick pay in lieu of wages and tips) as well as unearned income (such as interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rents, foreign unemployment compensation and royalties, etc). If you live outside the U.S., you may be able to exclude part or all of your foreign source earned income. For details, see Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

* Foreign financial assets. If you had foreign financial assets in 2013, you may have to file Form 8938 with your return.

* Payment of taxes. You can pay your taxes online, by phone, or by check or money order. You can make a direct transfer from your bank account or use a credit or debit card. If you e-file, you can schedule an electronic payment.

* Refund on a late filed return. If you were due a refund but you did not file a return, you generally must file your return within 3 years from the date the return was due (including extensions) to get that refund.

* Frivolous tax returns. The IRS has published a list of positions that are identified as frivolous. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000.

* Filing an erroneous claim for a refund or credit. You may have to pay a penalty if you file an erroneous claim for refund or credit.

The Stuttgart Tax Center is available through the Stuttgart Law Center.