Tag Archives: tax tips

Tax Tips to Get Your Money Squared Away in 2013

filing taxes

Besides writing about taxes here on My Financial Reviews and  Couple Money, I also regularly write for TurboTax’s blog. I thought it would be also very useful to collect my tax posts from around the web so you can have a post you can use as a reference for some questions you may have about getting your taxes done.

filing taxes

TurboTax also has a team of tax experts writing on their blog, so if you have a very specific tax question, please leave a comment on their site.  If you want to get started on your taxes, grab your copy of TurboTax today!

Photo Credit: 401k

TurboTax Review – Filing Online

filing taxes online with TurboTax

If you haven’t already filed your taxes, then today’s review may be prove to be extremely beneficial for you. For the last few years our family has used TurboTax to take care of our tax paperwork online.

Which Turbo Tax Edition Fits You?

While Home & Business is the best fit for us, it isn’t the only edition TurboTax has available. Here are some quick descriptions to help you decide on which edition will fit your needs. turbotax online deluxe

  • Free Edition: If you have a very simple tax return to file, TurboTax Free Edition is the way to go.
  • Deluxe: Many people will find this a suitable option to take care of their tax deductions and credits for families and homeowners.
  • Premier: This edition is designed for those who have numerous investments or if you own rental properties.
  • Home & Business: Entrepreneurs with either sole proprietor, consultant, contractor or single-owner LLC business will find this edition more than capable of handling their business.
  • Business: If you have a corporation, partnership or multi-member LLC, TurboTax can help you optimize your tax return.

We’ve been happy with TurboTax and how easy it is for us to file using their services. If you want to get started on your taxes, grab your copy of TurboTax today!

TurboTax Hunts for Deductions and Credits

filing taxes online with TurboTax
Filing our taxes have been easy with TurboTax.

No matter which edition you use to file your taxes online, TurboTax digs  through and find what deductions and credits you may qualify for on your return. What’s so special about getting tax deductions and credits? Tax deductions reduce your taxable income while tax credits lower your taxes owed.

Things change year to year, so it may seem impossible to find all the credits and deductions. With the interview style of TurboTax, however, you’ll discover some credit and deductions you may have missed, including:

  • State sales tax
  • Childcare tax credit
  • Casualty loss deduction
  • Medical expenses
  • Unemployment expenses
  • Energy saving home improvements
  • Volunteer contributions

The program asked questions to see if we met all the requirements and then adjusted the estimates on our refund as we went through the process.

TurboTax Can Cover Home & Business

We use TurboTax to take care of our home and businesses taxes. The program will quickly get your information and sort through what you need easily.

Here is a list of some of the paperwork we needed for our income:

  • W-2s from your job(s)
  • 1099-DIV: Dividends
  • 1099-INT: Interest Income
  • 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income

It was a snap to get this information in as we received the documents. Having a save option allowed us to get the return bit by bit, so it never felt like we were bogged down with our tax return.

Thoughts on Using TurboTax for Your Family

I’d like to get your feedback – how many of you have used TurboTax online? Which edition do you use?

Photo Credit: alancleaver_2000

Four Tax Tips for Newly Married Couples

1040 tax form

Congratulations! You’re newly married and all is blissful.

You’ve tied the knot and enjoyed a whirlwind honeymoon, and now it’s time to get down to business: your financial and tax situation as a newly married couple.

Some things have changed in how you’ll deal with your taxes, so here are a few tips to help you on your way.1040 tax form

Communicate Together on Your Finances

Sometime shortly after your marriage is official, you and your spouse should both sit down and go over your entire financial situation together.

Examine your current incomes, what sort of combined debt you and your spouse now have, and how each of you is contributing to your retirement plans.

By doing this together, you ensure that neither one of you is in the dark concerning your joint financial situation. This will help you significantly when it comes time to examine your taxes and file your return.

Update Your Withholding Status

Remember that W-4 you filled out when you first started your job? The one where you mark down yourself as single? Well, you should reexamine your W-4, because you are going to need to decide if you continue withholding at the single rate or wish to change that status.

Of course, this depends on your joint income, but it’s something that you need to look into in order to make sure you withhold enough throughout the year.

Talk this over with a tax professional for more help or take advantage of the free withholding calculators available on the internet.

File Joint Tax Returns

You’ll also want to consider filing a joint income tax return, as this will, according to the IRS, possibly lower your combined tax when compared to other filing statuses, and it could also increase your deductions and other tax benefits.

For example, if you file jointly, you can take tax-saving education credits, the child care tax credit (if you already have children, for example), or you can deduct interest on student loans.

Before you do all of this, however, you should definitely talk to a tax professional who can show you the specific figures on your deductions and possible returns and compare filing jointly versus separately so that you can see for yourself how your particular situation plays out.

Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration

In order to keep your tax information clear, you will need to change your name with the Social Security Administration. You can do this by downloading, filling out, and returning a name change form. Access the form from the Social Security Administration website.

These are just a few of the things you should consider doing after you’ve gotten married. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you will need to find out what works best for you and your spouse.

Consider finding a tax professional to help you figure out the specifics that will help you get the most out of your tax situation.

This guest post is contributed by Raine Parker.

Photo Credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography

Top Ten Commonly Missed Taxes Deductions

tax deduction tips

Tax Deductions List

We understand- filing taxes may not be the most fun or desirable thing for anyone to do. Regardless, it is important to take the process seriously, especially when it comes to filing and claiming all federal deductions to which you may be entitled. Actually, claiming deductions is one of the simplest ways to save money, yet is so often overlooked due to lack of knowledge or attention.

Let’s take a look at the top ten commonly missed taxed deductions, and hey, maybe even you are eligible for a few.

State Sales Taxestax deduction tips

Do you live in a state with no or little income tax? If you aren’t sure, it’s in your best interest to find out, and find out asap. Why? Because the IRS allows deductions for either state income OR state sales taxes. While most opt for prior, some may be better off deducting their state sales taxes from their burden- a number that could very well be higher.

First Moving Expenses

Moving out of the house is a big step, especially for new college graduates looking to start their lives. That’s why the IRS allows for first moving expenses to be on them- meaning all boxes, trucks, transportation, and other associated costs become tax deductible.

However, keep in mind here that there are some requirements- for one; you must be moving more than 50 miles away from home and two, must be converting into a full time job.

Volunteer Contributions

While most are aware of the tax deductions made on written checks or large charitable contributions, every penny matters when it comes to charity– both for them and for you. This means that regardless of the action, if you are working for charity, you may be incurring costs that are tax deductible.

So, be sure to file that written check, but also include the gas you used when driving to the volunteer site, or the ingredients you used to cook for the local shelter.

Jury Duty Pay

Missing work to serve on jury duty doesn’t have to be a burden, especially when it comes to money. If you served over the past year and had the money consequently taken out of your paycheck, be sure to deduct the amount from your income. You can also claim the money separately, if your employer did not reflect the amount on your W-2 form.

Child Care Expenses

If you are a parent, you realize how high child care expenses may be. Lucky for you, so does the IRS. And, child care expenses are extremely important to consider when it comes to claiming deductions. This is because child care costs aren’t actually entitled to be deducted, but credited.

Credits work to reduce your tax bill, while deductions simply reduce taxed income. That being said, while companies cover up to $6,000 of child care costs, an additional $1,000 can quality for credit- saving you even more money.

Energy Saving Home Improvements

As if the benefits of going green were not great enough, the government has given even one more incentive. If you recently installed an energy saving device into your home, you may be eligible for a deduction, or even a credit. A credit of 30% of the cost of installment, with a maximum of $1,500 over two years, can be claimed.

Need some ideas? Install skylights into your living room- adding appeal and natural sunlight to the house. Or install central air- reducing energy and making your home more comfortable for everyone.

Unemployment Expenses

If you are currently unemployed, taking the step to search for a new job can be rough, not only on your emotions but also on your wallet. However, the IRS allows for all costs associated with the new job search to be tax deductible. If you need to travel for an interview- deduct transportation and hotel costs.

If you are submitting your resume to web forums, deduct those associated fees. Whatever the case may be, get out there as much as you can, not only for the sake of increasing your chances for success, but realizing that your expenses can be tax deductible. The more you apply, the more you can deduct.

Home Refinancing

If you took advantage of the low rates and refinanced your home this past year, any points that you paid or pay can be deducted. The points are eligible to be deducted monthly and for the entire life of the loan.

Medical Expenses

If your medical expenses have exceeded 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, they can be deducted. Associated expenses, such as transportation fees to medical facilities, can also be written off. So if you or someone you care for has taken ill, make sure to take this deduction, because we all know how tough medical expenses may be.

Educator Expenses

Educators, including teachers K-12, their aides, and even principals, qualify for an above the line deduction of up to $250 for educational supplies. From books to computer purchases, all teachers should be aware and take full advantage of this deduction.

Thoughts on Tax Deductions

Now that you have reviewed our top ten missed deductions, consider all that you may be eligible for. If you’ve got them covered, good for you! If not, you could be on your way to saving more money than you think.

This guest post was provided by BackTaxesHelp.com, a website that helps taxpayers with various tax problems. Visit their site to learn more about income tax professionals, tax settlements, IRS installment agreements, and more.

Photo Credit: alancleaver_2000