Posted by: Sheri Lukasiewicz @ Peace by Piece | April 1, 2010

Tax Day Cometh

You HAVE filed your tax return for 2009, right??  Well, if not, here are some tips to help get you organized and get you over the hump.  The 1st task at hand would be to determine if you are eligible to itemize your deductions.  It will take a bit of fact-gathering, but if your home budget is stretched tight, you don’t want to leave your refundable tax dollars in DC.  Here’s some things to look for to see if you can reduce your tax liability or perhaps increase your refund.

The tax laws assign a standard deduction* amount of $5700.00 for singles and $11,400.00 for married couples.  The Standard Deduction is a fixed dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which you are taxed.  Your task will be to add up what you have spent in a few key areas in 2009, and if your total exceeds the standard deduction amount for whichever category you are in, it would be in your best interest, financially to itemize your tax return. 

 Typically, but not exclusively, if you have a home mortgage, you should examine your financials to see if you cross over the threshold to itemization.  I will list a few of those categories to add up.  You can go to itemized  deductions on the IRS website to find several more eligible expenses.

  • Your total mortgage interest paid
  • Your total Real Estate tax paid on your home
  • All charitable contributions paid
  • Medical & Dental expenses paid by you
  • College tuition paid by you

Total all your deductions, and if you exceed the standard, keep those tallies and categories at hand when you file. 

Another tax reduction item is if you were a home buyer in 2009.  You may be eligible for $8000.00 for first-time buyers or $6500.00 for repeat buyers.  Have you had job-search related expenses this last year?  Many of those expenses are deductible.  Did you buy a hybrid car?  Don’t forget your tax credits for that too.  If you have a CPA or tax preparer, call them prior to you appointment and ask about any other deductions you may be eligible for.  These are unusual times, and there are many new eligible deductions.

If you have to send a check to the IRS, there are some last-minute things you can do to lower that bill for 2009, even though it’s now 2010.  If you have a Health Savings account, you can maximize it, or you can fully fund an IRA, but you must complete the transaction by April 15th.

This can be a very ‘taxing’ time of year, but you may be able to better your outcome by taking full advantage of all the deductions available.  And that adds up to a WIN for you!!

*The amount of the standard deduction may also vary based on a taxpayer’s age and whether he or she is disabled or claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

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