• Glossary

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    Click the first letter of the term you're searching for to get an easy-to-understand explanation.


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    Calendar Quarter -

    One of four quarters of a calendar year: January through March, April through June, July through September, or October through December.

    Call Option -

    The right to buy a stated number of shares of stock at a predetermined price (the strike price) before a specified date.

    Capital Asset -

    Generally, everything an individual owns and uses for personal purposes, pleasure, or investment.

    Capital Gain Distributions-

    Amounts paid to an individual or credited to their account by regulated investment companies and real estate investment trusts (REITs). These amounts are also known as capital gain dividends.

    Capitalize -

    To recover a cost over a period of years through deductions for depreciation, amortization, or depletion, and adding the cost to the basis of the property to which it relates.

    Capitalized Interest -

    The unpaid interest on a loan that the lender adds to the outstanding principal balance of the loan.

    Cash Settlement Option-

    Any option that, upon exercise, is settled by paying the owner of the option cash or other property and not the actual property underlying the option.

    Cash Wages -

    Generally, wages paid by cash, checks, money orders, or equivalent means. Cash wages do not include the value of food, lodging, clothing, or other such noncash items given to an employee.

    Casualty -

    The damage, destruction, or loss of property resulting from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual.

    Charitable Contribution -

    A donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting anything of equal value.

    Child -

    A natural child, stepchild, adopted child, or an eligible foster child.

    Child Support-

    A payment that is specifically designated as child support or treated as specifically designated as child support under a divorce or separation instrument.

    Chronically Ill Individual -

    An individual who has been certified by a licensed health care practitioner within the previous 12 months as one of the following: (1)an individual who is unable, for at least 90 days, to perform at least two activities of daily living without substantial assistance from another individual due to loss of functional capacity (activities of daily living are eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing, and continence), or (2) an individual who requires substantial supervision to be protected from threats to health and safety due to severe cognitive impairment.

    Church Employee -

    An employee (other than a minister or member of a religious order) of a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer Social Security and Medicare taxes.

    Civil Service Annuity -

    Annuity benefits that are paid primarily under the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System.

    Class Life -

    The number of years that establishes the property class and the recovery period for most types of property for the General Depreciation System and the Alternative Depreciation System under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System.

    Closely Held Corporation -

    Generally, a corporation that, at any time during the last half of the tax year, has more than 50% in value of its outstanding stock directly or indirectly owned by five or fewer people. This type of corporation is generally not a personal service corporation.

    Cohabitation -

    Individuals living together in an intimate relationship when not legally married.

    Collapsed Loans -

    Two or more loans made to the same borrower that are treated by both the lender and the borrower as one loan.

    Collectible -

    Any work of art, rug, antique, metal (such as gold, silver, and platinum bullion), gem, stamp, coin, or alcoholic beverage that is sought by a collector.

    Combat Zone -

    Any area the president of the United States designates by Executive Order as an area in which the U.S. Armed Forces are engaging or have engaged in combat. An area usually becomes a combat zone and ceases to be a combat zone on the dates the President designates by Executive Order.

    Common-Law Employee -

    An individual who performs services for an employer in return for compensation. An employee is subject to the control of the employer regarding what work is done and how, when, and where it is done.

    Common-Law Marriage -

    A marriage in which a man and woman are considered to be married even without a license or a formal ceremony. Only certain states recognize common-law marriages.

    Common Stock -

    A type of share in the ownership of a company that usually provides the right to vote on decisions relating to the company's management. Shareholders are entitled to receive distributions of the company's profit in the form of dividends.

    Community Income -

    Income earned while married and domiciled in a community property state that is allocated to both spouses, regardless of which spouse actually earned it.

    Community Property Laws -

    Commuting -

    Laws that affect what income is reported on the federal income tax returns of married taxpayers who live in a community property state and file separate returns.

    Travel between a personal home and work or job site within the area of an individual's tax home.

    Compensation -

    Money or other benefits given or received as payment for work or service. Compensation can include wages, salaries, bonuses, prizes, and tips an employee receives.

    Condemnation -

    The process by which private property owned by a taxpayer is legally taken for public use without their consent.

    Conduit IRA -

    An IRA account used as a holding account for eligible rollover distributions from an employer plan that can be rolled over to a new employer plan later.

    Consent to Assessment -

    A written agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that extends the statutory period of limitations.

    Coverage Family -

    All individuals in your tax family who are enrolled in a qualified health plan and are not eligible for minimum essential coverage.