Taxes

Keep Calm With These Tax Season Tips and Carry on Until April 15

With the April 15 filing deadline less than a month away, tax season is in full swing. If that gives you heart palpitations, take a deep breath. Here are five great ways to relieve seasonal stress and put a little zen into your tax preparation. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff If you’re driving yourself crazy accounting for every last receipt or monthly bank statement, stop. Do your homework so you know what’s deductible and what’s not. Instead of spending your time chasing smaller deductions, focus on larger expenses that will save you the most on your taxes. Don’t Bait the IRS Save yourself from a panic attack by avoiding audit triggers like claiming large deductions on minimal income or reporting dependent exemptions for people who may not actually be your dependents. If you report a business loss year after year, you risk having the IRS declare your company a hobby.…

Tax Tips for Independent Contractors

Being a freelancer, consultant or independent contractor has its benefits, but having your taxes automatically deducted from your paycheck isn’t one of them. While dealing with 1099s can certainly create more paperwork for you, it can also provide plenty of opportunities to lower your tax bill. Here are five tips for making April 15 as painless as possible when you’re not a full-time employee. Know What to Expect If you’re paid $600 or more by an individual client, you should receive a 1099-MISC from that client. For a sample, click here. Typically, you include Schedule C with your tax return to report any self-employed income – along with any deductions for business expenses. If your net earnings from self-employment exceed $400, you will have to pay self-employment tax for Social Security and Medicare – which is figured on Schedule SE. You then deduct half of that SE tax as an…

Just for Seniors: Tax Tips for Retirees

Retirement may have its benefits, but exemption from the IRS isn’t one of them. Still, seniors actually have more options than most when it comes to making tax time less taxing. If you’re 65 or older, these six tips will help minimize your stress and maximize your deductions come April 15. Determine How Much of Your Social Security Benefits May Be Taxable The more income you have, the more likely it is that a portion of your Social Security benefits will be taxed. To find out how much, you first need to calculate your base amount. Your base amount is equal to half your Social Security benefits plus your other income (including tax-exempt interest). If that amount exceeds the limits for your filing status, some portion of your benefits will be taxable. Calculating your base amount now means you’ll be less surprised – and less stressed – in the spring.…

Auto and Home Tax Write-Offs You Never Knew About

While most of us are aware of certain tax write-offs like charitable donations and medical expenses, car and homeowners are entitled to more deductions than they often realize. That’s why SelectQuote Auto & Home has compiled this list of commonly overlooked auto- and home-related expenditures, all of which can be deducted from your income tax bill. Just be sure to consult a financial professional or visit the official IRS website before filing. Auto  Your New Car. Yep, you read that correctly. If you’re self-employed, you may be able to write off the purchase price of a new vehicle. Got your eye on an SUV? You may be looking at an ever bigger tax benefit.  Your Commute. On a project that requires more driving time than usual? The IRS lets you write off 56.5 cents for every mile that you drive for your job – provided that you’re on a temporary assignment.…

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