Tag Archives: taxes

Money Monday: Last-Minute Tax Advice

With just a day before the April 18 deadline to file your taxes, here’s a few last minute tips.

  1. File! Even if you don’t have all the money to pay, it’s much better to file a return than to not file at all. “The penalties for not filing a tax return are 10 times greater than those for filing but not being able to pay taxes due.” (Money.CNN.com. “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/13/pf/taxes/tax-tips/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
  2. You can file for an extension. It’s simple and quick to do on the IRS website, and it will buy you some time. Just be aware that late-payment penalties will be tacked on, beginning after the April 18 deadline.
  3. You can still get professional help. One place to go for help is the VITA program; the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides specially trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers that can help taxpayers with basic income-tax preparation needs.” (Money.CNN.com. “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/13/pf/taxes/tax-tips/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
  4. Two more key tips available here on Money.CNN.com: “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.”

Money Monday: Tax Breaks for Parents

Now that it’s tax season, it’s time to consider what tax breaks you as a parent might be able to claim.

1. Childcare tax break

One way to save is to set up a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, or DCFSA, during Open Enrollment. You might be able to save up to 30% in taxes on the money you put toward it.

2. Child care credit

If you did’t sign up for a DCFSA, check out the Child and Dependent Care Credit when filing your taxes.

3. College savings plans deductions

“Many states offer full or partial tax deductions for parents saving for college in state-sponsored 529 plans.” (“Taxes made easy: 5 breaks for childcare and education.” Jeanie Ahn. Yahoo Finance.)

4. College tax credits

There are two college tax credits that you might be able to gain: the American Opportunity Tax Credit and The Lifetime Learning Credit.

Read more on these tax credits and deductions here: “Taxes made easy: 5 breaks for childcare and education”.

Money Monday: Tax Deductions for Homeowners

With the tax deadline coming up, now is the time to refresh yourself and learn about tax breaks you could be getting if you are a homeowner.

Some of the following tax deductions are only applicable to new homeowners, but there are a few that any owner can file for:

  1. Mortgage interest
  2. Mortgage insurance premiums
  3. Energy related tax credits
  4. Capital gains exclusion
  5. Property inheritance
  6. Property taxes
  7. Home office costs
  8. Moving expenses

If you would like details on these potential tax breaks you could be getting, read Yahoo’s article here.

Money Monday: Why you should file taxes earlier

Yes, the tax filing deadline of April 18th is a ways off still, but there are some good reasons not to wait until the last minute.

  1. You’ll have time to look into the new changes for the tax laws.
  2. You’ll probably get your refund faster.
  3. You’ll protect yourself from tax fraud.

Read Forbes’ full article on why you should file for taxes early.

Money Monday: Money tips for homeowners

With homeownership, there are both benefits and costs involved (not just the down payment).

As the homeowner, your financial responsibilities extend beyond the down payment and monthly mortgage payments; there will be maintenance items to maintain and pay for, yearly tax bills, and the unexpected repairs to resolve. CNN Money does have a few money tips to help those would-be and already-are homeowners; read their article here.

Photo from Pictures of Money

Photo from Pictures of Money

1. Create a new budget

Instead of rent, you now have house expenditures. Besides the change in the monthly payment, there will likely be an increase in utility bills (it costs more to cool and heat and power a larger living space!), the potential watering and maintenance of a yard and garden, and other things such as a trash bill and your tax bills.

Estimate your monthly expenses initially, but then keep track of the actual monthly money going out for awhile, and then base your budget on that.

2. Plan on repairs

Even with a turn-key property, most likely you will have repairs to make pretty soon down the road. “Most homeowners spend 1% to 4% of their homes’ value each year on repairs and maintenance.” (CNN Money. “4 money tips for new homeowners”). And if you have an expensive repair coming up, like replacing the roof, try to save a little more each month in preparation.

3. Expect your property taxes to go up

Property taxes start out based on the assessed value of your home at the time of purchase. But,

Property taxes have a tendency to rise, even when home values drop. Back in 2000, localities across the U.S. collected an estimated $247 billion in property taxes, but by 2010, that number almost doubled to $476 billion despite the decline in home prices from the infamous housing bubble implosion. (CNN Money. “4 money tips for new homeowners”)

4. Expect big payments

Homeowner’s insurance and property taxes are some hefty bills, that you should plan for accordingly.

Read up on all of CNN Money’s tips here: “4 money tips for new homeowners”

Money Monday: Questions about taxes

Tax season: the deadline is nearing; have you done your taxes yet?

taxes

Perhaps you haven’t started or completed your taxes because you have questions. You may be embarrassed to ask them, but CNN Money has answered some of them; read their article to find out the answers:

  • Do you have to file a federal tax return?
  • How long does it take to get your refund?
  • Can the IRS withhold a refund?
  • What do you do if you owe the IRS but can’t afford to pay?
  • Will you get audited?

Find out the answers to these questions here: “(Not so) dumb tax questions you’re too embarrassed to ask“.

Money Monday: How you’ll benefit from the new tax deal

Parents, low-income families, students, teachers and mass commuters are among those who will benefit from a $760 billion tax deal that was signed into law on December 11, 2015.

taxes“The deal, which was combined with a $1.1 trillion spending package for 2016, is dominated by business tax breaks. But it also includes more than $250 billion worth of tax breaks for individuals”:

  • Bigger refund when you have kids.
  • More generous tuition tax credit.
  • Higher refund for low-income working families.
  • Fairer treatment for mass transit commuters.
  • Permanent deduction for residents of states without income taxes.
  • Teacher deduction made permanent.
  • Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.
  • Income exclusion for mortgage debt that’s been forgiven.
  • Tuition tax deduction.

All information is from CNN Money; read the full article here: “How you’ll benefit from the new tax deal”.

 

5 Reasons to Amend Your Tax Return

money houseMissed tax deduction? Overlooked tax credit? Get what’s coming to you by amending your return.

Your home is a great source of tax savings if you know what qualifies and don’t forget to claim deductions and credits. If you missed any of these five, you can go back in time — roughly two to three years — by amending your tax return. Continue reading