It's getting close to tax time again. A few readers suggested we do a Brainstorm looking for tax tips so here it is. Does anyone have any advice or tips to help people during the tax season?
Check tax stategies at Quicken.com
This will not help for this year, but get ready now for filing 2001. Label a folder "Taxes 2001" and file everything as it enters your home that relates to taxes- for example property tax reciepts, medical receipts, donation reciepts (Goodwill, etc.). When it is time to file next year, just pull out folder and you are ready to go.
I love to file our taxes online using the cheapest version at H & R Block. Even though it costs me $29.95, is has shown me how to get more than $700 more each year than I figured on paper! Also, don't automaticlly file your state return with your online provider -- some states let you file through their website for free! We live in KS and you can here!
If you now how to file your taxes use a company called http://www.taxslayer.com. They are only 9.95 for any tax bracket. They also offer refund loans that can be deposited to your checking account. Don't know the prices on that one because I can afford the $10 to file. The price is for federal and state elcetronic filing. Irs.gov shows you places where you can do your federal for free if you make under 30,000 a year and many states let you file online through their web site for free no matter what tax bracket you are in. You also call the irs for help answering any questions you have. Just as a money saving tip, if you always get a refund change your with holding so that they don't take as much out durring the year. Why let the federal or state keep your money and not pay you intrest when you can be putting it into a savings account making you money?
I work every year with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, sponsored by the IRS. It is a free tax preparation and filing program for low income and senior citizen taxpayers. There are many VITA centers throughout the US, but I'm surprised by how many people don't know about this program. I work on an Air Force base, which has a VITA center as do most military reservations.
For those of you that don't fall into the low income, senior, or military catagories, every year, starting in January, the IRS web site, www.irs.gov, will have a list of commercial tax preparation companies that will allow any taxpayer to efile, or paper file your taxes FOR FREE! Just make sure you go to www.irs.gov NOT www.irs.com.
Here's a couple tax strategies: Make sure you keep track of all of your charitable donations, including the clothing and household goods you donate. You are allowed to deduct the fair market value of all items you donate, if you itemize. Always get a receipt for the items you donate and make sure the receipt has the correct date on it.
If you play the lottery or gamble and have to claim your winnings, you can also claim your losses, up to the amount of money you've won. Keep all of your losing lottery tickets that you purchase for the year.
My tip: Try more than one tax program before you file your taxes. You can start a free account on every website for free. I tried that this year and found a website that doubled my refund and only charged me $10 (with a free federal).
The site is http://www.freetaxusa.com
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