The IRS Tax Refund Calculator for 2016 is Free to Use

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It is impossible to escape the stress that comes along with tax season completely. However, it would be nice to know in advance how much we have to pay the IRS or how much we can expect to receive back. The good news is thanks to Turbo Tax you can know in tax refund calculator for 2016advance and it is super easy to do so.

About the Tax Refund Calculator

TurboTax has created a handy tool that will allow you to know how much you can expect to receive back before you file your tax return.

The best part is even if you do not use Turbo Tax to file your tax return you can still
use the tax refund calculator for free.

How to Use the Tax Refund Calculator for 2016

TurboTax’s tax calculator is user friendly just like their tax software. It has a list of settings available at the left. Before experimenting with it they suggest that you go through the listings so you are aware of the options and features that they have readily available for you.

The best part is while the calculator is coming up with your totals there is a meter, located on the right, which calculates your total as you are adding in information. This way you can know what is affecting your IRS refund or amount due. Then, once all of your information has been entered, the meter will give you a total of how much of a refund you can expect or how much you can expect to pay in taxes.

Make Adjustments Before Hand

One of the greatest benefits of being able to see what tax season holds for you is that you are able to make the appropriate adjustments to make filing as smooth as possible. You can figure out ahead of time if it would be in your best interest to take the standard deduction or to itemize.

Imagine if you had filed your taxes already then learned that you could have gotten a better outcome if you would have itemized your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. You would have missed money or paid more in taxes and you would be stuck with that decision.

Tips for Using the Calculator

Before you use the tax refund calculator, you are going to want to make sure that you have all of the required documents and information available to insure that the estimate is as close to accurate as possible.

You should know which filing status you plan to use as well as your number of children who you can claim. Your income, payments, retirement information, business income, and charitable deductions also need to be handy. If you do not have all of the information available, however, the calculator can still provide you with some insight as to what you can expect during the tax season.

Conclusion

The tax refund calculator is great to provide you with a full or partial insight on your tax situation. The best part is it is free so you have absolutely nothing to lose!

 

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How to Get Your W2 Form Online

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Tax season is now in full swing, which means that taxpayers are trying to get all of their financial documents in order with the hope that their refund will be as large as possible. get w2 form online

When you start to file your taxes there are a few different documents that you are going to need to access with one of the main ones being the W-2 Form.

There should be no problem getting your W-2, however, because each company that you worked for during the year is responsible for sending it to you so you can have it before January 31.

Who Has Access to W-2’s Online?

Not all taxpayers will be able to get their W2 form online. Only taxpayers who have employers who use payroll services will have online access to their W-2’s. The best part is if you use TurboTax they will import the information for you for accuracy and speedier tax returns. Get my W-2 tax form with TurboTax

What Happens if You Move and Miss Your W-2?

Quite a few taxpayers miss their tax documents because they have moved and the documents go to their old addresses. If you are able to access your W-2 online, this will not be a concern. Furthermore, when you have online access to your tax documents you are able to get them faster than you would waiting on snail mail. This means you can be ahead of all of the taxpayers who have not received their documents in the mail.

When you get your W-2 form online, you will be notified via email once they are available. Once you access them, you can download and print them whenever you need to access them. This allows you to eliminate trying to keep your documents in a safe place or misplacing them.

The bottom line is if you get your W-2 form online you will get the same information that you receive in the mail but online versions come with more benefits. In fact, the only difference between the forms is one is digital. Nevertheless, as with your mailed W-2 you will want to make sure that the information is correct. Important things to check are your name and social security number.

What to do if Your W-2 Information is Incorrect

If you find that, there is an error on your W-2, you need to contact your employer to have it fixed. They have sent this information to the IRS already who will be expecting you to send information that matched the document or provide an explanation.

Additionally, if your W-2 has not arrived yet you have to find out what the holdup is even if it is just a small amount of money. The IRS will have the W-2 and they will want answers as to why you did not file it.

Importing Tax Information into Your Tax Return

If you decide to get your W-2 online, you will find it is a breeze to keep track of your tax information. If you have not gotten your W-2 online and it is available, you should definitely consider doing so.

We recommend that you file your income taxes with TurboTax online because they will import your W-2 information into the correct form to insure that tax filing is as easy as possible. By going with Turbo Tax you decrease, the chances of your tax return containing errors and they guarantee that you will get the largest refund ever or pay the minimum amount of taxes possible.

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What is the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and How to Qualify

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The Earned Income Tax Credit, also known as the EIC and EITC, is a tax credit for individuals who only make an annual income that is considered low or moderate. Your filing status and your income determine the amount of the credit.

If you are able to qualify for the credit your federal taxes will be lower and you may even get a tax refund. However, to qualify you have to file a tax return even if you are not legally required to do so.earned income credit eic

General EIC Requirements

  • You and your qualified dependents have to have a social security number that is valid
  • You cannot file with the filing status married filing separately
  • Your investment income cannot exceed $3,300
  • You have to be a citizen/resident alien for the entire year
  • Your earned income has to come from self-employment or employment.


If you file your taxes with Turbo Tax, they will automatically calculate your credit amount based on the information that you enter into the system. Additionally, you can 
read more here to see if you are eligible for this tax credit.

Claiming the EIC If You Do Not Have Dependents

In the event that you do not have any dependents you may still be eligible for the credit. Those who have dependents will receive more; however, some people qualify without dependents.

Which Dependents Qualify?

The IRS uses qualifying children when it comes to determining the amount you will receive for the credit. In order for a child to be considered a qualifying child for this tax credit they must be a relative, have a social security number and meet the age, residency, and relationship criteria’s.

This means they have to be your son, daughter, foster child, step brother/sister, adopted child, or a descendent from them. In addition, they have to be under the age of 19 unless they are a student then they have to be under the age of 24.

If the child is disabled, there is no age limit. Furthermore, you cannot claim more than three qualifying children.

Are There Age Limits Regarding EIC Eligibility

If you and your spouse file married filing jointly, you can qualify as long as you are over 25 and under 65 if you do not have any qualifying children. If you have a qualifying child, there is no age limit.

Keep in mind that if you file your taxes with Turbo Tax you only have to answer a few simply questions to see whether you qualify for the EIC. This means that you will not have to know the current tax laws and you will be able to receive your maximum tax refund.

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New Homeowner Tax Deduction Tips

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Congrats on becoming a homeowner. We know you want to get your home customized to your liking, but it is important to keep track of your expenses and finances since your tax situation has now changed. Therefore, today we are going to provide you with some new homeowner tax deduction tips so you can take advantage of all of the benefits that come with getting a new homeowner tax deduction tipsslice of the American dream.

Home Mortgage Interest & Points

This will probably be your largest itemized deduction. You will report the amounts on Form 1098, which will be sent to you from your lender.

Qualified mortgage interest means that you paid interest on a mortgage, which is secured, by your main home or a second home, that is not used for rental or business activity. The deduction can be limited by the amount of the loan and the use. However, your income does not limit it.

For example, the mortgage interest deduction for a loan that was used to buy, build or improve your home is limited if the loan balance exceeds $1 million ($500,000 for separate tax filers). For home equity loans that were not used for home improvements the deduction is limited if the loan balance is more than $100,000 ($50,000 for separate filers).

Amounts that are points are also deductible, but only in the year, they are paid and if the loan is secured by the main home and the proceeds were used to purchase, build, or improve the home. The points must be spread over the life of the loan if they were paid in place of amounts that ordinarily stated separately on the settlement statement.

Real Property Taxes

Real property taxes are deducted on Form 1040, Schedule A. In order to be deducted they have to be assessed as a percentage of the value of the home. In addition, they must go into the taxing authority’s general fund. If they were paid in exchange for a special project that increased the value, they cannot be deducted.

Usually, when they are nondeductible they will be referred to as “Special Assessments”. An example of this would be an economic development project. In addition, homeowner associated dues are not deductible.

When you pay real property taxes for closing the sale, the deduction is split between you and the seller. You can only deduct property taxes, which are allocated to the part of the year you own the property. If you pay the seller real property taxes, that payment is included in your cost basics and is not deductible.

Recordkeeping

It is very important that you track your basis in the property. This is your investment in the property. The points are purchase price and amounts paid as part of the closing. Even if a portion of the purchase price was paid with borrowed money, you need to track it. Your basis increases by amounts paid for home improvement. When you sell the home, your gain on the sale is determined by reducing the sale price by this basis.

If the IRS challenges the property’s basis, you must be able to provide receipts and invoices.

Gain Exclusion

When you sell the home, the gain is taxed at capital gain rates. However, if you reside in the home for at least two years out of five years, you may not be taxed on the gains. Additionally, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of the gain from the sale of a principle residence as long as you pass the ownership tests.

Lastly, even if you don’t live in the home for two years, certain circumstances, such as moving for a new job, can help you receive a reduced exclusion.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Private Mortgage insurance premiums were deductible in some scenarios in 2014 yet in 2015, they are not deductible.

Overall, home ownership does come with expenses. However, you can see that there are tons of benefits as well. If it is your first time filing taxes as a homeowner, it is beneficial to seek the help of an online tax filing service like TurboTax.

 

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Student Tax Credits to Take Advantage of in 2015, 2016

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If you or someone you claim on your tax return is going to college this fall, some of your costs could save you money when tax season kicks off. You may be eligible for a tax credit on your federal tax return. Therefore, today we are providing you with tax credits and tips for back to school season that will benefit you during tax time.

American Opportunity Tax Creditstudent tax credits

This tax credit is worth up to $2,500 annually for eligible students. However, this credit can only be claimed during the student’s first four years of higher education. 40% of the tax credit is refundable. This means that you could get up to $1,000 of the credit back as a refund if you are eligible to receive it.

Lifetime Learning Credit

This tax credit is worth up to $2,000. It does not come with limitations like the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which means you can claim it as long as you are an eligible student.

One Credit per Student

When claiming tax credits keep in mind, you are only eligible to claim one credit per year. However, if the student happens to be your dependent and you have more than one dependent that qualifies, you are able to claim one credit for one student and the other credit for the other student.

Qualified Expenses

Qualified expenses are used to determine your credit. Qualified expenses include things such as the cost for paying your tuition, fees, and other student related expenses. For more information on the rules for each credit, visit the IRS website.

Eligible Educational Institutions

Eligible schools are those that offer education after high school. Most colleges and universities make the cut and some vocational and postsecondary schools qualify. If you are unsure if your school qualifies, ask your school or see if your school is listed on the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation database.

Form 1098-T

Usually, you will receive Form 1098-T from your school by February 1st. This form reports your qualified expenses to the IRS. The amount shown can differ from what you paid. For example, your textbook costs may not appear on the form.

However, you are able to include those costs, usually, when you figure out your credit. Additionally, keep in mind that you can only claim the qualified expenses that you paid for during the tax year you are filing for.

Non-Resident Alien

If you are in the US on an F-2 Student Visa, you will generally be treated as a nonresident alien when it comes to filing your taxes. To find out more about this status visit the U.S. Immigration Support website. To learn more about restrictions you may experience visit IRS Publication 519.

Filing Your Taxes with TurboTax

Remember, when you file your taxes with TurboTax, you don’t need to know which schedules to fill out. We’ll ask you simple questions about your life and put your answers on all the appropriate forms.

You’ll get step-by-step instructions through your taxes, expert help when you need it and every deduction and credit that applies to you. We make sure you get the biggest refund possible.

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Try TurboTax 2016 to Calculate Your 2015 Obamacare Tax Credit

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Since January 2014 the Affordable Care Act mandates that majority of Americans have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. If taxpayers decide to obtain theObamaCare calculate health care creditir health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, they potentially could get tax credits that could make their monthly premiums more affordable.

These tax credits are for those who are not eligible for affordable health insurance from other sources and those who are within two to four times of the federal poverty level. During the 2014 open enrollment, 85% of taxpayers who purchase insurance through the marketplace went with plans that included financial assistance.

When you file taxes with Turbo Tax, you are able to estimate your annual health insurance premium and tax credit. However, keep in mind you have to have purchased insurance via the Marketplace to be eligible for this credit.

The individual shared responsibility payment

If you decide to not sign up for health coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will have to pay a penalty when it comes time to file your taxes. This penalty is called, “the individual shared responsibility payment”.

The payment amount for 2014:

  • 1% of your household income that is above the tax return threshold for your filing status
  • A flat rate – $95 per adult, $47.50 per child, with a maximum of $285

(The penalty phases out at the national average premium for a bronze level plan through the Marketplace)

The payment amount for 2015:

  • 2% of your household income that is above the tax return threshold for your filing status
  • A flat rate – $325 per adult and $162.50 per child

Each year the penalty amount increases. Some individuals will qualify for exemptions.

Free calculators

Since 2014 there have been many Obamacare tax credit calculators popping up all over the internet. These tools serve the purpose of helping you understand the Affordable Care Act in a money perspective.

The TurboTax health exchange is your go to source so you can see how much your premium tax credit will be. You can also see what penalty you can expect to pay in the event that you decide not to sign up for health insurance and more.

Tax credit options

When enrolling in the Marketplace for health insurance with financial assistance, you have the following options.

  1. Get it now – When signing up you can have all or some of the estimated credit applied to your premium.
  2. Get it Later – You can claim the credit when it is time to file taxes

Keep in mind that if your family or income changes throughout the year it influences your premium tax credit. You have to report any changes to the exchange so they can make the appropriate adjustments.

Failing to do so could cause you to have to pay money back when tax time comes around. Additionally, if your income decreases you may be eligible for a refund.

To learn more about health insurance coverage and how it influences your tax situation make sure you visit TurboTax health.

Keep in mind if you file your taxes with TurboTax online you will receive your largest refund possible because they make sure that you are aware of all of the deductions and credits that you are eligible for.

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Lifetime Learning Tax Credit – Expenses That Qualify

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The Lifetime Learning Credit is for those who attend college classes. It allows them to get a 20% tuition expenses credit with a phase out limit of $2,000 in tax credits on their first $10,000 of Save for College - Calculator for Education Savings Investmenttuition expenses.

This credit is for you, your spouse, or your dependents that are in an eligible school and you had to pay the expenses for them. It differs from the American Opportunity Credit because you do not have to be in the first four years of undergraduate classes. People who have just taken one class can qualify for this credit.

Educational Institutions that Qualify

Accredited schools are considered eligible. Additionally, post-secondary schools and vocations schools qualify too. If the school accepts federal student aid programs via the US Department of Education, you can claim the Lifetime Learn tax credit for the tuition that you paid.

Expenses That Qualify

Expenses that are eligible for this credit include the fees and tuition that were paid for schooling. However, anything outside of that such as health, insurance, room and board, books, etc. are not eligible for the credit.

Additionally, you have to be the person who is responsible for covering the cost. You also have to reduce your qualifying expenses by the amount of assistance you received from various things such as grants or reimbursements. If you borrowed money such as from a student loan, you do not have to include this.

Who Is Eligible for This Credit

If you have a dependent child in college, you can claim this credit on your federal tax return. However, if your college student is not considered your dependent they are the ones who claim the credit on their federal tax return. In the event that you do not have a dependent but you pay their college expenses you are not eligible for the tax credit.

Income Limitations on the Credit

The Lifetime Learning Credit does phase out. However, if your AGI is lower than the phase out your credit will not be reduced. If you are in the middle-income range, you can expect it to be reduced. Additionally, if your income passes the phase out range you cannot claim the credit.

2014 Phase Out Periods

$54,000 to $63,000 – Applicable to those who file single, head of household or qualifying widow

$108,000 to $128,000 – Applicable to those who file married filing jointly

2013 Phase Out Periods

$53,000 to $63,000 – Applicable to those who file single, head of household or qualifying widow

$107,000 to $127,000 – Applicable to those who file married filing jointly

2012 Phase Out Periods

$52,000 to $62,000 – Applicable to those who file single, head of household or qualifying widow

$104,000 to $124,000 – Applicable to those who file married filing jointly

Closing Thoughts

Taxpayers could get $4,000 if they earned under $65,000 and under $130,000 for couples. However, if your income is between $65,000 and $80,000 or $130,000 and $160,000 for couples the maximum amount you will receive is $2,000.

If you file with Turbo Tax, they will make sure you get the maximum amount of money possible. This results in you receiving your largest refund ever!

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Educational Tax Deductions and Credits

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The cost of education is always rising. However, if you are someone who wants to grow your knowledge base you will be happy to know that education tax deductions and credits can help education tax deduction credityou with the costs of your education.

One of the tax credits is the American Opportunity Credit and another is the Lifetime Learning Credit. These credits allow you to reduce your tax dollars, dollar for dollar when you claim educational expenses on your federal tax refund.

American Opportunity Credit

This credit allows you to reduce your taxes up to a maximum of $2,500 per student for the educational expenses endured for the first four years. However, students have to attend at least part time and not have been convicted of a felony drug crime.

Various things qualify for this tax credit such as books, equipment, supplies, tuition, and other school related fees. In the event that your taxes are less than $2,500, the refund cut off amount is $1,000. However, those who make more than $80,000 or couples who make more than $160,000 will receive a low credit amount. The phase out limit for the credit is $90,000 in income or $180,000 for couples.

Lifetime Learning Credit

You do not have to be actively pursuing a degree in order to claim this credit. This credit is for anyone who is taking a course to further his or her education. It covers required tuition, equipment, and books. It allows you to claim a maximum amount of $2,000 on each tax return however; if the amount granted is more than your tax bill, you will not receive a credit in the form of a refund.

Additionally, the phase out limit is $63,000 or $127,000 for couples. Those who make more than $53,000 or couples who make more than $107,000 will receive a lower credit amount.

Educational Tax Deduction

Tuition and fees deduction, student loan interest, work related education, scholarships and fellowships can allow you to ease some of your educational financial strains too.

Tuition and Fees Deduction

If you are unable to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit because of the phase out limit, you can claim the Tuition and Fees Deduction of up to $4,000. This is true even for taxpayers who do not itemize their tax returns. As long as you do not make more than $80,000 or $160,000 for couples you are eligible. However, you are unable to claim both a credit and a deduction simultaneously.

Student Loan Interest

Even if you do not itemize your deductions, you can deduct your student loan interest on your taxes. This deduction does not phase out until $2,500 per tax return. However, you must not exceed $60,000 in income or $125,000 if you are married. Furthermore, if you have cash in a US savings bonds to pay for your education the interest is tax-free as long as the cash is used for your education.

Work Related Education

If you are going back to school due to your job, you may be eligible to claim this itemized tax deduction. However, you have to prove that the education was to maintain or improve your work skills or a requirement from your employer. However, this deduction is not for those who have to do it to land a new career.

Scholarships and Fellowships

If you receive a scholarship or a stipend for a fellowship, it is tax-free if you use the funds for tuition, supplies, or other school related expenses. You do have to be a degree candidate though.

Closing Thoughts

If you are a student, you should file with Turbo Tax. They will make sure you get the credits or deductions that you qualify for in addition to making sure that you receive the largest tax refund possible.

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Health Insurance Options for Students and Recent Grads in 2014, 2015

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This year regardless of if you are a college student or recent graduate it is mandatory for you to have health insurance during 2014. Poor health may not be something that concerns you, but the Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance even if it is a minimum policy.

education money
If you have been able to land a job already that includes benefits your employer should have insurance available for sale through them. In the event that they do not you, do have other options when it comes to your health insurance.

Stay on a Plan with Your Parents

Many college students and recent graduates are eligible to remain on their parent’s health insurance until they reach the age of 26. The Affordable Care Act makes it so you are able to remain on your parent’s plan. You can be married, live at a different residence than your parents, attend school, or not even be your parent dependents.

If you are someone who does not attend college in the state you reside in, contact your insurance company to insure that there is an in-network provider near your campus. If in-network coverage is not available, you will find yourself with an extra experience, which forces you to choose between finances and your health.

Additionally, you want to insure that you are getting routine preventative care visits whenever you go home to visit, such as summer breaks or holidays, when you will be able to utilize your parents plan.

Utilize Health Care Available Through Your School

Many colleges have health plans available to students, which help you meet your obligations for the health care law. Student health plans are beneficial because the premium costs are just added in to your other expenses, such as tuition and room and board.

Students who are older than 26 find these plans to be rewarding to them because they are no longer able to stay up under their parents plans. However, before committing to a plan it is important to make sure that the plan you are purchasing meets the minimum requirement set in place by the Affordable Care Act.

The Online Marketplace

If you missed the 2014 deadline for the marketplace, you are going to have to wait until they open again in November 2015. However, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get in during the special enrollment period, which allows you to get a private health plan even though the open enrollment period is closed.

Furthermore, if you go through a qualifying life event during the year you may be eligible to get a 60-day enrollment period. For example, if you are a recent graduate and think you are eligible fill out a Marketplace application

Get Catastrophic Coverage

Those under 30 may be eligible to get a catastrophic health plan, which gives them higher premiums each month yet lower deductibles.

Bottom Line

These plans usually cover three primary care visits annually without you encountering any out of pocket expenses. They include free preventives services too. If you have further questions about the health care laws you can always visit TurboTax Health. They will help you understand, this new law and how you will have to plan your finances.

 

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What to do if Your W-2 Form is Missing

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When tax season comes around it is not uncommon for you to wonder when your W-2 is going to arrive, so you can get your taxes filed as quickly as possible. Employers are supposed to have your W-2s in the mail no later than January 31st.

The W-2 is where your annual wages will be reported along with your federal taxes that were withheld for the year. You must have this form to file your federal tax return.

How Long to Wait For Your Return to Arrive

The IRS suggests that you wait for two weeks for your return to arrive. This means that you should receive your W-2 from your employer no later than February 14.

What to Do If You Think Your Employer Did Not Send Your W-2

  • Follow up with your employer to see if and when they mailed your W-2
  • Make sure that your employer has your correct mailing address on file. You should pay special attention to spelling and abbreviations to insure it was not delivered to the wrong address.
  • Ask for another copy.
  • Ask your employer if they have your W-2 available online so you can easily import it with Turbo Tax.

What to Do If Two Weeks Has Passed and Your W-2 Has Still Not Arrived

  • Call the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040. When you call, you should be prepared to provide your name, address, social, employers name, address, telephone number, employment dates, and estimated wages based on your current pay stub. This allows the IRS to contact your employer and remind them to send you your W-2.
  • Download or request Form 4506-T. This form allows you to get the information that the IRS has received from your employer free. If you do not have the ability to download the form you can always call 800-829-1040 to request a copy of the form.
  • Request or download Form 4852 and mail it in to the IRS. This form servers the purpose of a substitute W-2. It allows you to estimate your earnings based on your last pay stub of the year.
  • TurboTax is great when it comes to assisting you with filling out this form. However, keep in mind if you have to take this route, you will have to file an amended return if your estimations are not accurate to the W-2 or W-2C.

 

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