Money Saving Tips For Taxes

If you want money saving, one area you might be considering saving in is taxes. There are many potential reasons you could get a tax break. Therefore, before filing, make sure you look into them. Here are 4 categories that might qualify:

Job search

First of all, if you switched jobs, started a business, or conducted a job search, you could qualify. You can claim the job search expenses, such as making resume copies, placement agency costs and attending seminars for careers. If you had moving costs related to your new job, this could be tax deductible. The tax moves deduction just depends on how far you moved, and how long you spent. To qualify for any of these, the job search expenses must have been at least 2% or more of the gross income for the year.

Home office

A lot of business owners are working from home today. If you use a portion of your house just for business and consistently for business, meet with clients in your house, or have a business portion of the house separate from the main home, you could qualify.

Dependents

If you had a baby, sent someone to a university, or put kids in daycare this year, you could qualify for deductions. Also, you can get deductions for every dependent you have.

Education credits

The American government gives tax credits and deductions to encourage more people to go to college. Therefore, if you, your spouse or your kids attended college this year, it could qualify for a tax credit.

What cannot qualify

The first $2400 you made from unemployment used to be tax free. However, this is no longer the case, as this provision ended as of 2010. This year, you have to pay taxes on all the unemployment benefits you might have gotten.

Conclusion

When it comes to money saving, tax deductions are one of the best ways to save. Just evaluate your situation and see which you qualify for.

Unusual Tax Deductions Can Be Risky

Should you take a risk on tax deductions? My answer would be no. The turbo tax software site says the same thing. I am not one to take such risks. However, others have dared to boldly go where no tax payer has gone before.

One group of accountants in Minnesota decided to take a survey to compile a list of unique and strange tax deductions. It is a good thing their accountant talked them out of claiming such things or else they would get an angry letter from the IRS.

It is amazing what some people try to list as deductions. One handyman in Minnesota though they could take a $25000 deduction for the miles he traveled back and forth to work. Their business revenue is $10000. An accountant in the Minnesota CPA group who gave the surveys had a client with a huge amount of  expenses on  a luxury vehicle. They thought the tax deduction was legal though they resided in another state. One client wanted to list a city official as a dependent because they paid the salary.

Some people think you can claim a spouse. According to the turbo tax website, you can get a deduction for a dependent spouse if you file jointly. You cannot claim former spouses as one person tried to do. It is also  a good idea not to inflate charitable donations. Odd deductions can get you audited by the IRS. The ironic thing is you can claim some strange deductions according to turbo tax.

4 Overlooked Tax Deductions That Yield Big Rewards

Tax time is upon us. While some people look forward to this time of year, many more dread it as they think about the amount of money that they may have to pay. It must be done, so let’s work at getting the most money back. After all, the IRS claims that millions overpay each year.

1. State Income Taxes
If you paid state taxes last year, then you are eligible to subtract them from your federal taxes this year. Make sure to know the exact amount that you paid in these taxes, so that your return is not delayed.

2. Job Search Expenses
Did you look for a new job in 2011? If so,  you are allowed to deduct up to 2 percent of your gross income for the expenses involved in a job search from this year’s taxes. To claim this deduction, you must not be looking for your first job, nor have any substantial break between your last job and the new one. The search must be for a job in the same occupation. If you pay an agency fee to help you in your search, then you can subtract that cost unless your new employer reimburses you for the cost. You can deduct cost for mailing and distributing your resume. If you travel, then the cost is deductible, as long as the primary reason for traveling was to look for a job.

3. Donations
We love those who give and so does the IRS, as long as you give to a qualified organization. If you get merchandise or a prize in exchange for your donation, then you can only donate the amount over the normal price of the merchandise. If you donate stock or real property, you can get a donation for the fair market value of those items. You must keep a record of the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the donation. For amounts over $250, there are specific forms that you must file with the IRS. You can deduct the cost of travel to a volunteer position. You can also deduct any cost involved in your participation, such as uniforms. Don’t forget that you can also deduct your tithes and offerings to a religious organization.

4. Work
Many expenses can be deducted thanks to working. If you must have a cell phone for work, then the amount you pay for the cell phone above your normal usage is deductible. You can also deduct any dues paid to unions if you must belong to it in order to have your job. If you choose to belong to a professional organization, you can deduct those dues. You can also subtract the costs of any reading material that helps keeps you abreast on what is happening in your industry. If your job requires uniforms that would not be worn in the rest of your life, then you can subtract those costs.

Looks a little better, doesn’t it? Remembering to take each deduction that you can will help to lower your tax bill – so don’t be lazy!

Ashley Miller likes to write about finance, travel and Flowerdelivery.net.

The Brownback Plan For Taxes Is Not Well Thought Out

The Brownback plan for 2012 taxes has not been thought out very well by the Kansas Governor. Many of the people who are lower class income or below will see a rise in paying taxes, whereas those in a high class income will see higher tax cuts. These figures were produced by the Governor’s own Department of Revenue, showing that the plan will work like a Robin Hood movie in reverse, taking from poorer homes and giving to richer homes.

Brownback’s plan reduces the highest tax bracket to barely five percent, and leans heavily on eradicating tax deductions and credits, which includes home mortgage deductions, charity deductions, sales tax deductions, and earned income credits which benefit the poor by allowing them to keep more of the money they earn, to be used as is necessary. Increasing the price of taxes on the poorer and impoverished people while providing tax cuts to more affluent and wealthy people is wrong. There should be consistency in taxation policies, and one policy should evenly apply to all income classes.

The Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, should have thought out a much better plan for the 2012 taxes, as it simply is not right to raise taxes on those that need their money, and it is not beneficial for them in any way. More affluent families can afford to pay more in taxes, as they have more money in general. This is an obvious point that should not be neglected when thinking up a tax plan.

Rules for Charitable Contribution Deductions

turbotax

Charitable contributions made to qualified organizations through the year may help reduce your tax bill.  Many organizations give donors pertinent details about their tax-deductible donation including the amount that can actually be reported on your tax return.  The following tips may help ensure donation made will be beneficial on your taxes.

  • Make sure you report charitable contributions on the correct form. The IRS states that form 1040 must be used to itemize deductions using Schedule A.
  • Upon reporting the deduction, make sure it was made to a qualifying charitable organization.  Contributions reported shouldn’t be donations made to individual or political organizations.
  • There are rules to review if your contribution included a vehicle.  Clothing and other goods should be fair market value and in good condition in order for it to deductible.
  • Items received for making a contribution such as ball game tickets or services; deduct the amount that exceeds fair market value.
  • When reporting cash contributions, make sure you have proper documentation that proves the amount.  This may include bank statements, a correspondence from the organization or even paystubs if donations were made via payroll deduction.  A phone bill will suffice for text donations as long as it states the name of the organization, date of donation and the amount given.
  • Donations of $250 or more must have proper documentation such as a bank record or written notice from the qualifying organization.  You may need to report if you were given anything in exchange such as any gifts or services. Noncash donations of $500 or more should be reported on IRS Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions) and attached to your tax return.
  • If you donation was an item that valued over $5,000 an appraisal is required.  Obtain an appraisal from a qualified appraiser and report data on the IRS Form 8283 section B.

Additional details can be reviewed in the IRS Publication 526: Charitable Contributions.  Information regarding property value can be review in IRS Publication 561: Determining the Value of Donated Property.  It is important to report contributions to the best of your knowledge with honesty.  The IRS may question donations made and contact you for proof.  If you are found to have provided false information on your federal income tax return, you may face penalties.  Contact a tax professional with questions or concerns about charitable contributions made.

Andrew writes frequently about personal finance as well as issues effecting both consumers and small businesses, covering everything from credit cards to mortgages to how to setup an umbrella company.