Archive for the ‘Tax Credits’ Category

A Tax Holiday is Coming Your Way!

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Let’s face it – we spend lots of money in the summer because (1) the days are longer (which means more time toTax Holidayhit the stores), (2) the kids are out of school (and begging for stuff), and (3) school is just around the corner (which means that you’ll have dozens of things on your back-to-school list).  With all this spending going on, it’s such a relief to have a tax holiday, and fortunately there are many of these bonanzas going on in August. Check the list below to see if your state is among the lucky ones.  If so, make sure to head to the stores during the sales tax holiday to save big.  Pair your tax holiday with coupons and in-stores sales for extra savings.  Be aware that not all items are exempt from sales tax (even during the tax holiday) and that local sales tax may still be applicable.  Still, the savings can be big – so enjoy your tax-free shopping!

State Tax Holiday Dates Applies To
Alabama August 6-8 All clothing up to $100 per item, computers priced up to $750 and school supplies priced up to $50 per item among other items.
Connecticut August 15-21 Clothing and footwear costing less than $300 per item.
Florida August 13-15 All clothing priced under $50 per item and all school supplies priced under $10 per item.
Illinois August 6-15 Clothing, footwear and school supplies priced up to $100 per item.
Iowa August 6-7 Clothing priced up to $100 per item.
Louisiana August 6-7 All purchases of tangible items costing under $2,500 with the exception of cars and restaurant purchases.
Maryland August 8-14 Clothing and footwear costing up to $100 per item.
Massachusetts August 14-15 Most items costing under $2,500.
New Mexico August 6-8 Clothing and footwear priced up to $100 per item, computers priced up to $1000, computer software priced up to $500 and school supplies priced up to $15 per unit.
North Carolina August 6-8 Clothing and footwear priced up to $100 per item, computers priced up to $3,500, computer software priced up to $250, sports equipment priced up to $50 per unit and school supplies priced up to $100 per unit.
Oklahoma August 6-8 Clothing priced up to $100 per item.
South Carolina August 6-8 Most clothing, footwear, school supplies, computers and baby items.  Some house wares are also included in the tax holiday.
Tennessee August 6-8 Clothing and school supplies priced up to $100 per item and computers priced up to $1,500.
Texas August 20-22 Clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced up to $100.  All accessories will be taxed.
Virginia August 6-8 Clothing and footwear priced up to $100 per item and school supplies priced up to $20 per item.


12 Tax Deductions You May be Missing

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

tax-savingsTax season won’t be rolling around for another 11 months, but if you ask me, it’s never too early to start planning for how you can save on taxes. I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea of tax deductions, but if you’re like over 50% of Americans, you may not know about all of the things that are tax deductible or about how to make sure that you get every tax write off that is owed to you. Fortunately, I’ve compiled a list of the top 12 tax deductions that are easy to get – but commonly overlooked. I hope that they’ll help you save money on taxes in the future.

  1. Non-cash tax donations. Charitable donations are among the most well-known tax deductions, but not everyone realizes that non-cash donations are also tax-deductible. Instead of dropping off clothing anonymously at your local thrift store, go on in and ask for a receipt. If you’ve donated products or services to your neighborhood’s annual Chinese auction, do the same. Having receipts for non-cash donations is the only way to get a tax write off for these contributions.
  2. Health insurance expenses. You are entitled to a tax write off for many and health insurance premiums that you pay, which may even include long-term-care premiums. In order to qualify for a tax deduction, these fees must be added to your medical expense pot, and your health insurance premiums must surpass 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. This restriction applies to salaried employees only – if you are self-employed you can claim 100% of your health insurance premiums as a tax write off.
  3. Medical travel. Most people don’t know that medical travel expenses are tax deductible. This deduction can really add up if you need to travel long distances for medical treatment. You may also be able to request a tax deduction on lodging expenses associated with medical travel.
  4. Volunteer travel. If you volunteer regularly, you cannot claim your donation of time as a tax write off. You can, however, request 14 cents per mile that you travel to and from your volunteer position as a tax write off. studentOr, if you are able to keep track of your exact travel expenses, you can also submit these receipts for exact reimbursement.
  5. Student loan interest. Paying off student loans is often a lengthy and difficult process, but it can be significantly less painful if you’re getting tax deductions for your student loan interest. You can request up to $2,500/year as a tax deduction for your loan interest.
  6. Contributions to your retirement fund. It often seems difficult to stash some money away for retirement, especially if you’re in a low-to-moderate income bracket. But knowing that you can get tax deductions for contributions to your retirement fund could make it a more obvious choice, and a great way to save for the future. Low-to-moderate wage earners can get up to a 50% tax write off on the first $2,000 they put into their retirement fund, so you can save up to $1,000 on your taxes (which is no small sum!). You should be aware that your tax deduction will decrease as your adjusted gross income increases, so take advantage of this way to save while you can. You can also get a tax write off on donations to your 401(k), Roth IRA, 403(b) and Simplified Employee Pension.
  7. Moving expenses. It may be possible for individuals who are moving over 50 miles away to accept a new job to request a tax deduction on their moving expenses. This tax write off is tricky, however, because it only applies in cases when your new job is over 50 miles more than your previous commute. For example, if the new job is 60 miles away from your old home, but you were previously commuting 20 miles, you may not be eligible. Additionally, you will need to work at your new job for at least 39 weeks within the first year of moving in order to qualify for the tax deduction. Still, if you’re moving far away, chances are good that you will be able to save on taxes with this credit.
  8. Home office expenses. If you use a home office as your primary place of conducting business, you can likely save on taxes by deducting many of the business-related expenses such as part of your electric bill or gas bill. In order to claim this credit, however, you must keep very careful records of home expenses and you must be able to justify why you deserve this deduction.
  9. Green purchases. Tax deductions for purchasing energy-efficient products often vary, but for the most part, you should be able to get significant deductions for purchasing energy-efficient windows, hybrid cars, skylights, energy-efficient water heaters (or solar panels) and certain pigmented roofing materials.
  10. Refinancing credits. If you’ve refinanced your home in recent years, you’re entitled to deduct the points that you paid to refinance. Although it may take several years to recoup the money that you paid for the refinancing, the overall savings can be substantial.
  11. Alimony. The amount of money that you can deduct for alimony depends on how much you pay your ex per month and what tax bracket you’re in. No matter what your financial status is, it’s worthwhile to find out if part of your alimony will be tax deductible – chances are good that it is.
  12. Worthless debts. If you’ve lent money to friends or family who has defaulted on the loan, you can claim up to $3,000 per year until you’ve claimed the full extent of the loss.

Tax Day Freebies Have Arrived!

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

The day we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading) has finally arrived, and you know what that means…freebie heaven!  I’m not quite sure what it is about tax day that makes companies feel so generous, but I’m definitely happy to share in their magnanimity.  Tax day freebies offer an instant pick-me-up on what would otherwise be a completely normal day.  While it may not be possible to enjoy all of these exciting giveaways, I definitely plan on enjoying at least one or two (or three or four).  I’d love to hear about which tax day freebies you enjoyed as well!
tax-day-freebies

  1. 2 free cupcake bites at Cinnabon.  Just the smell of that place can send me to heaven…I will definitely be standing on line for these!
  2. Free brewed coffee at Starbucks when you bring your own travel mug.  Sounds like this will go really well with the free cupcake bites.
  3. Once your stomach empties out a bit, refill it with a free sample of ice cream-pizza at MaggieMoo’s, from 3-7pm.
  4. A free hydromassage (never had one, but it sure sounds fantastic!).
  5. Get a free taco from Taco Del Mar.
  6. B1G1 free meals at Boston Market.  This deal is good until  April 18th, so it might be worth going another day, since you’ll be full from all your other tax day freebies.
  7. Get a free appetizer at Smoky Bones on tax day.
  8. McCormick and Schmicks is offering a $10.40 dinner and drinks special on tax day, as well as providing $10.40 coupons for your next meal there.
  9. Get tax-free hotel accommodations and dining from Kimpton hotels, which are good until April 30th.  You can also enjoy free late checkout and free “sweet tax relief” goody basket as part of the promotion.
  10. Copy your tax returns for free at Office Depot.  Offer includes up to 25 single-sided pages.
  11. Finally, I’ve heard that T.G.I.Friday’s is giving away a $5 gift card with every purchase of $15-$25, and a $10 gift card for purchases over $25.  I have yet to find the source for this information, but I’ve seen it advertised by several reputable sources, so it may be worth calling in advance (or just swinging by) if you’re interested.

Energy Tax Credits Can Mean Big Savings – Get in Now!

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

If there’s anything I love almost as much as saving money, its saving money while saving energy.  And a great way to do that is with the energy tax credit that is currently being offered to consumers who purchase a range of environmentally-friendly products from water heaters to windows.  The tax credit is 30% off the cost of your energy-efficient investment priced up to $1,500- which can definitely amount to a good sum of money.

Certain parts of this energy tax credit are only available until December 31, 2009, so if you’re considering investing in the following items, now is the time to do it:

Biomass StovesRoofing

Non Solar Hot Water Heaters

HVAC Equipment

Roofing Products

Insulation

Doors

Windows

Other elements of the energy tax credit are available until December 2016, so if you’re considering a home renovation, there’s never been a better time to think green.  These include: fuel cells, small wind energy systems, solar panels and geothermal heat pumps.  On these items consumers can receive a 30% tax credit on all purchases, regardless of the price.

With an energy tax credit and additional savings on your monthly energy bills, going green means saving the earth and saving money- and there can be no better way to end this year.

Happy Remodeling,

Billy