If you’re anything like me, you sometimes think about the possibility of a tax audit and wonder what you can do to make sure that never happens. Truthfully, tax audits are pretty rare, only about 1% actually ever get audited. They mostly occur with wealthy people (audited at 2.5%) and questionable returns with itemized deductions that may net the IRS some substantial amount of money. There also audit some small number of totally random returns as well. Those that earn less than $200,000 (audited at about 0.7%) and file as individuals or joint earners stand the very least chance of an audit even though the numbers are increasing ever so slightly since 2008.
Billions of dollars are left behind every year by people who prepare their own taxes, often because they fail to take advantage of all the tax deductions available to them. While I believe that most of us can do our own taxes and not leave our money on the table, it’s imperative to prepare now for the tax return deadline which is April 18th this year (the 15th is a Friday and this year’s deadline has been extended to Monday the 18th). In Maine and Massachusetts it’s the 19th due to Patriots day.
To help you with your 2015 tax returns, don’t skip this important list. While I’m not a tax professional, you can always research these and other tax deductions at IRS.gov. Remember, if you have difficulty or your return is more complex than you can handle, see an accountant or check out the many free options either online or in your own community. Continue reading
You can’t get through a day right now without hearing something about the presidential election and the Democratic and Republican campaigning that is going on. Between the news, talk shows, debate stages, and the constant updating and interviewing of the huge number of candidates wanting your vote, it’s just inescapable isn’t it?
How much attention do you pay to it all? Have you taken a look at what each candidate says and stands for? That may have a huge impact on your life, money, and your financial future. Here are some of the big issues that are being talked about that you should consider and may very well influence your choice when you vote in your state primary/caucus and of course next November when you have the chance to vote for President. Continue reading
It’s that time again to examine the moves you need to make to increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2015 and beyond. It’s really important to start now and review all the opportunities that can save you money, since in most cases (for personal taxes, not business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments. Doing your year end tax planning now means you can claim these benefits when you file your return by April 15th. If you itemize your deductions, many of these actions should look familiar, so let’s begin!
Here where I live in New Jersey, we have the highest real estate taxes in the United States (and probably the universe as well!) with a whopping average of $3,971 per year. Now that we’re closing in on a new fiscal year in my town, and my first quarterly tax payment is due on August 1st, I am reminded again that many of us simply accept the tax evaluations we receive from our local assessor and pay up without really knowing what can be done. In fact, if there has been some kind of error made or even if you just need a further explanation as to how the assessment was calculated, there’s a lot you can do.
It matters not whether you pay your taxes through an escrow account (which I don’t recommend if you have that choice) or you do as I do and pay them directly to your local office, you still have the right to challenge your assessment and you may in fact have good reasons to do exactly that! Continue reading
Since saving money is my “mantra” as well as the purpose of this blog, let’s examine some ways you can increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2014 and beyond. It’s really important to start now to review all the opportunities for saving money, since in most cases (for non-business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments that you will report by tax day next April. If you itemize your deductions, many of these listed should be familiar.