This course is the first course in a five-course US Federal Tax Specialization. It covers and focuses on the U.S. federal tax system as it relates to individuals, employees, and sole proprietors. Key concepts covered include gross income and items that are statutorily included or excluded in it, personal and business expenses that qualify as tax deductions, and the differing tax treatments for employees versus self-employed taxpayers. Unlike many other introductory courses in tax and as part of this course’s comprehensive wrap-up, learners will be provided with practical and tangible experience reporting both income and expenses on the main individual tax return used in the US, Form 1040.
If you have enjoyed this course, consider enrolling in our online graduate Accounting program. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top three accounting programs, now offers a master’s in accounting at a very affordable tuition rate and is completely online. The iMSA is a full Master of Accountancy program and students graduate with an MS that is highly recognized. Try an open course or two, then apply for admission into the credit-bearing version as you may be eligible to take credit-bearing courses during the application process. If you are missing any prerequisites for the full degree, you can complete Coursera courses to demonstrate readiness and strengthen your application for the iMSA. For more information on this exciting iMSA online program, refer to this link: https://www.coursera.org/degrees/imsa
INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE
In this module, you will become familiar with the course, your instructor and your classmates, and our learning environment. This orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required to navigate and be successful in this course.
MODULE 1: AN INTRODUCTION TO TAXATION
In this module, you will be introduced to the different kinds of taxes faced by US taxpayers and the US federal income tax structure. The origin of tax law and its constitutionality is discussed along with a brief history of the different changes in rates that have occurred since the 16th Amendment was passed. Finally, we will discover the three different sources of new tax laws and rules.
MODULE 2: COMPUTING THE TAX
In this module, we will take a deeper dive into each part of the US federal income tax structure, with a focus on what is included in gross income. We will learn how for-AGI deductions reduce gross income to generate adjusted gross income, or AGI, and why AGI is an important number that determines the floors and ceilings of many from-AGI deductions. We will also discuss who qualifies as a dependent. We will wrap up the module with a discussion of the actual calculation of the tax as well as filing status and filing requirements.
MODULE 3: GROSS INCOME
In this module, you will take a deeper dive into gross income, specifically regarding statutory inclusions. Congress, the courts, and the IRS have specific rules on whether and when certain income items are included as gross income. These rules provide clarification in situations where it is unclear whether money or property received should actually be included as income.
MODULE 4: GROSS INCOME: EXCLUSIONS
In this module, you will take a deeper dive into gross income, specifically regarding statutory exclusions. Congress, the courts, and the IRS allow exclusions of money or property received by the taxpayer for various reasons.
MODULE 5: DEDUCTIONS AND LOSSES: IN GENERAL
In this module, you will learn about deductions, which is the term used in tax to describe an expense that is allowed to reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability. You will discover what adjusted gross income is, why it is important, and how to calculate it. You will also learn the difference in tax treatments for special types of activities, such as hobbies and rentals.
MODULE 6: BUSINESSS DEDUCTIONS
In this module, we discuss several unique situations where the same expense may or may not be deductible, dependent on the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation. We will also learn about another from AGI deduction, the new 20% deduction for qualified business income. Finally, we will discuss other business deductions such as bad debts and net operating losses.
MODULE 7: ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS AND RETIREMENT PLANS
In this module, we first turn our focus to expenses that qualify as itemized deductions, which are a from AGI deduction. To finish off this module, we’ll switch back to discussing income and situations where taxpayers can elect to delay recognition of income, such as saving for retirement, as well as situations where taxation of the annual earnings of those retirement savings are either deferred or permanently excluded from income.
MODULE 8: COMPREHENSIVE EXAMPLE
In this module, you will review the Comprehensive Example video and then learn to apply the concepts to a tax return problem.