This article is a brief synopsis of ten popular tax questions that are asked about tax policy and tax filing on Google. It tells readers what some top search engine results for each question are and explains a few basic principles of federal and state taxation laws and guidelines.
As more people start filing their federal and state tax returns online, they are finding a new way to ask and receive answers to difficult taxation questions: Google!
Here is a list of the most popular tax questions concerning tax returns and refunds that have been asked on Google’s search engine.
1. What is income tax?
This popular query simply returns a dictionary answer, which tells the questioner that income tax is levied annually by a government directly on personal income.
2. When is tax day?
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This is one of the most popular tax questions on Google. It mostly comes from those who have steadily been procrastinating on their paperwork, but everyone should keep the date in mind — it’s April 15!
3. Where is my refund/how do I get it?
The answer to this question depends on whether you file electronically or by mail — the refund information should be on irs.gov/refund 24 hours after the electronic return is received, or about four weeks after the paper return is mailed in.
4. When does the 2017 tax season begin?
Tax season technically begins on the 20th of January, because that is when firms and companies begin delivering tax forms to their employees.
5. What is state income tax?
Google’s first result for this question paraphrases the Wikipedia entry. It explains that state income tax is levied on personal income by the state in which you work, but also that not all states make their residents pay income tax.
6. How do I calculate income tax?
Many of the results on Google lead to self-help blogs or tax advice sites, but the most popular hit links to an online tax calculator provided for free by H$R Block.
7. Who has to file income tax forms?
The top searches on Google all turn up income level charts that demonstrate the minimum income levels necessary to file a tax return. These charts examine a person’s age, income level and filing status.
8. Which states do not request a separate income tax filing?
In alphabetical order, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not require their residents to file an income tax return separate from their federal return.
9. How is federal income tax calculated?
The IRS, in Google’s first result, suggests that taxpayers use exemption calculators, but TurboTax and other online tax services offer secondary results.
10. What is adjusted gross income?
Wikipedia and TurboTax provide similar solutions to this question: your adjusted gross income is the basic amount of income you make that is subject to taxation, before certain amounts are withheld.