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Continuing our effort to provide you with valuable, practical tax information, we will periodically update this page with useful income tax tips and income tax advice from the best sources — information on issues that you commonly deal with. Be sure to check our newsletter from time to time to stay on top of the latest and most effective tax strategies.
CompleteTax will provide income tax tips that will help you save money when it's time to file your tax returns. It's a good idea to use a well planned strategy so that you aren't surprised in April. Using CompleteTax Income Tax Preparation Software and keeping good records could mean the difference between paying a large chunk of money in April and receiving a big refund check. Use our income tax tips as part of your ongoing preparation.
Year-end tax planning moves forward with or without Congress
The fate of many of the tax incentives taxpayers have grown accustomed to over recent years will likely remain up in the air until Congress and the Administration finally face off weeks before year-end 2012. While the results of Election Day will have bearing on the outcome, no crystal ball can predict how the ultimate short-term compromise will unfold. As a result, some year-end tax planning must be deferred and executed "at the eleventh hour" only after Congress passes and the President signs what will likely result in a stopgap, temporary compromise for 2013.
Tax rates for higher-bracket individuals and a long list of "extenders" provisions such as the child tax credit, the enhanced education credits and the optional deduction for state and local sales tax, hang in the balance. Real tax reform for 2014 and beyond, in any event, won’t be hammered out until 2013 is well underway.
For more tips, including the Traditional Planning for Individuals, read our in-depth coverage in Year-end tax planning moves forward with or without Congress.
Choosing Your Filing Status
The IRS cautions that one of the most common tax blunders is using the wrong filing status. Read Choosing Your Filing Status and help keep the IRS happy. Read Choosing Your Filing Status.
Vehicles and Taxes
With gas prices at painfully high levels, the last mistake you want to make is overlooking deductible vehicle expenses. Whether you use the standard mileage rate or squeeze every penny out of the actual mileage rate, you'll find suggestions for maximizing your expense deduction in Vehicles and Taxes.
How interest is treated depends not only upon whether it is taxable or non-taxable, but also upon the total amount received. Because interest payments are reported to the government via Form 1099-INT, it is important to make sure those amounts were reported accurately. Learn more at Interest Income.
Estimated Tax Payments
The refrain of "April is the cruelest month" is especially strong for those who must pay estimated tax. In a cruel twist of tax timing, the first estimated tax payment for the 2012 tax year is due on the same day as your 2011 tax return. To find out whether you need to worry about this double-whammy and, if you do, how to accurately determine your estimated tax bill (the penalties for underpayment mount up quickly), read Estimated Tax Payments.
Child's Unearned Income Can Trigger 'Kiddie Tax'
If your child has more than $1,900 in unearned income—such as income from interest or dividends—then you may have to reckon with the "kiddie tax." These provisions require that you calculate the tax due on your child's unearned income at your income tax rate, not your child's (presumably) lower tax rate. And, full-time students who are under age 24 can be considered "kiddies" for tax purposes. Child's Unearned Income Can Trigger 'Kiddie Tax'
Employees May Be Able to Deduct Unreimbursed Business Expenses
If you are an employee, you may still be able to claim business expenses deductions. Granted, there are stringent limitations, but it never hurts to explore your options—especially if you are going to itemize your deductions anyway. Employees May Be Able to Deduct Unreimbursed Business Expenses
Installment Payment Rules Expanded to Aid More Taxpayers
If you can't pay your tax bill in full when you file your return, don't panic. Instead, investigate whether an installment payment plan is the right strategy for you. The IRS has recently expanded their streamlined installment agreement program to make it available to more taxpayers. Installment Payment Rules Expanded to Aid More Taxpayers
Failure-to-File Penalty Relief Available To Help Weather Economic Downturn
The IRS recently took action to provide limited relief from the failure-to-pay penalty for those who have been out of work or suffered a business downturn. If you can't pay your taxes in full on the due date and you meet certain requirements, you can apply a six-month suspension of the failure-to-pay penalty. Failure-to-File Penalty Relief Available To Help Weather Economic Downturn
Past Tax Tips Newsletters
Each month, CompleteTax sends out the informational Tax Tips Newsletter.
Read past Tax Tips Newsletters.