ATS Associated Tax ServiceRESOURCES

Helpful Links

We have collected a few helpful links to help you create an ongoing positive relationship with your taxes.

Check your Franchise Tax Board refund status

Check your Internal Revenue Service refund status


On this page we have collected a few of the most popular questions that we have heard over the years.

  • Is there an age limit on claiming my child as a dependent?
  • How much does an unmarried dependent student have to make before he or she has to file an income tax return?
  • Can I receive a tax refund if I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan for a prior year's federal taxes?
  • I retired last year, and started receiving social security payments. Do I have to pay taxes on my social security benefits?
  • How long should I keep my documents and records?
To claim your child as your dependent, your child must meet the qualifying child test or the qualifying relative test.

--To meet the qualifying child test, your child must be younger than you and as of the end of the calendar year, either be younger than 19 years old or be a student and younger than 24 years old, or any age if permanently and totally disabled.
--There is no age limit on claiming your child as a dependent if the child meets the qualifying relative test.

In addition to meeting the qualifying child or qualifying relative test, you may claim a dependency exemption for your child as long as all of the following tests are met:

1. Dependent taxpayer test
2. Citizen or resident test, and
3. Joint return test
If you are an unmarried dependent student, you must file a tax return if your earned or unearned income exceeds certain limits. To find these limits, refer to Dependents under Who Must File, in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return if you can get money back (for example, you had federal income tax withheld from your pay or you qualify for a refundable tax credit). See Who Should File in Publication 501, for more examples.
Generally, no. A condition of your installment agreement is that the IRS will automatically apply any refund due to you against taxes you owe. If your refund exceeds your total balance due on all outstanding liabilities including accruals, you will receive a refund of the amount over and above what you owe.

--Because your refund is not applied toward your regular monthly payment, you must continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled and in full until your liability including accruing penalty and interest is paid in full.

--Regardless whether you are participating in an installment agreement or other payment arrangement with the IRS, you may not get all of your refund if you owe certain past-due amounts, such as federal tax, state tax, a student loan, or child support.
Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They do not include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which are not taxable. The amount of social security benefits that must be included on your income tax return and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year.

To find out whether any of your benefits may be taxable, compare the base amount for your filing status with the total of:

--One-half of your benefits.
--All of your other income, including tax-exempt interest.

The base amount for your filing status is:

--$25,000 if you are single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er),
--$25,000 if you are married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year,
--$32,000 if you are married filing jointly,
--$0 if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year.

If you are married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits. Even if your spouse did not receive any benefits, you must add your spouse's income to yours when figuring on a joint return if any of your benefits are taxable.
Business Documents to Keep For One Year

--Correspondence with Customers and Vendors
--Duplicate Deposit Slips
--Purchase Orders (other than Purchasing Department copy)
--Receiving Sheets

Business Documents to Keep For Three Years

--Employee Personnel Records (after termination)
--Employment Applications
--Expired Insurance Policies
--General Correspondence
--Internal Audit Reports
--Internal Reports
--Petty Cash Vouchers
--Physical Inventory Tags
--Savings Bond Registration Records of Employees
--Time Cards For Hourly Employees

Business Documents to Keep For Six Years

--Accident Reports, Claims
--Accounts Payable Ledgers and Schedules
--Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
--Bank Statements and Reconciliations
--Cancelled Checks
--Cancelled Stock and Bond Certificates
--Employment Tax Records
--Expense Analysis and Expense Distribution Schedules
--Expired Contracts, Leases
--Expired Option Records
--Inventories of Products, Materials, Supplies
--Invoices to Customers
--Notes Receivable Ledgers, Schedules
--Payroll Records and Summaries, including payment to pensioners
--Plant Cost Ledgers
--Purchasing Department Copies of Purchase Orders
--Sales Records
--Subsidiary Ledgers
--Time Books
--Travel and Entertainment Records
--Vouchers for Payments to Vendors, Employees, etc.
--Voucher Register, Schedules

Business Records to Keep Forever

While federal guidelines do not require you to keep tax records "forever," in many cases there will be other reasons you'll want to retain these documents indefinitely.

--Audit Reports from CPAs/Accountants
--Cancelled Checks for Important Payments (especially tax payments)
--Cash Books, Charts of Accounts
--Contracts, Leases Currently in Effect
--Corporate Documents (incorporation, charter, by-laws, etc.)
--Documents substantiating fixed asset additions
--Depreciation Schedules
--Financial Statements (Year End)
--General and Private Ledgers, Year End Trial Balances
--Insurance Records, Current Accident Reports, Claims, Policies
--Investment Trade Confirmations
--IRS Revenue Agents' Reports
--Legal Records, Correspondence and Other Important Matters
--Minute Books of Directors and Stockholders
--Mortgages, Bills of Sale
--Property Appraisals by Outside Appraisers
--Property Records
--Retirement and Pension Records
--Tax Returns and Worksheets
--Trademark and Patent Registrations

Personal Documents to Keep For One Year

--Bank Statements
--Paycheck Stubs (reconcile with W-2)
--Canceled checks
--Monthly and quarterly mutual fund and retirement contribution statements (reconcile with year-end statement)

Personal Documents to Keep For Three Years

--Credit Card Statements
--Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes) 
--Utility Records
--Expired Insurance Policies 

Personal Documents to Keep for Six Years

--Supporting Documents For Tax Returns
--Accident Reports and Claims
--Medical Bills (if tax-related)
--Property Records / Improvement Receipts
--Sales Receipts
--Wage Garnishments
--Other Tax-Related Bills

Personal Records to Keep Forever

--CPA Audit Reports
--Legal Records
--Important Correspondence
--Income Tax Returns
--Income Tax Payment Checks
--Investment Trade Confirmations
--Retirement and Pension Records

Special Circumstances

--Car Records (keep until the car is sold)
--Credit Card Receipts (keep with your credit card statement)
--Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)
--Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)
--Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)
--Property Records / improvement receipts (keep until property sold)
--Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)
--Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)
--Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)
--Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)
--Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3
years after the tax life of the asset)