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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.
Dirty Dozen: Tax Strategies You Don't Want to Try
Each year the IRS presents a round-up of the most egregious abuses of the tax code. Innocent taxpayers can be ambushed by some of these schemes, such as those related to identity fraud and phishing. In other cases, greed can outstrip the individual's good sense and lead them to claim unsubstantiated, or completely bogus, claims. Fake information returns and dubious charitable contributions are among those strategies singled out by the IRS for special scrutiny during this tax season.
For details on which scams made the rogue's list for this year, and for pointers on how to avoid trouble, read our in-depth coverage: Watch Out for These 'Dirty Dozen' Tax Scams .
The Standard Deduction
Nearly every taxpayer can choose whether to use the standard deduction or to itemize deductions. The standard deduction amount varies based upon filing status, age, blindness and dependency status. Learn about your standard deduction for 2011 by consulting: The Standard Deduction.
Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions
You can get overwhelmed at tax time and overlook deductions that could take a few dollars off your tax bill. Exploring the expenses that can be claimed as miscellaneous itemized deductions may lead you to tax savings. Find out more in our article: Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions.
Deductible Expenses for Employees
Even if you work for someone else, you may find yourself paying for expenses related to your job. In many cases, your employer will reimburse you for the amount you spend—leaving you with no worries at tax time. However, in some cases, you will have unreimbursed business expenses. What are the rules for claiming a deduction for those expenses? Find out by reading, Deductible Expenses for Employees.
Penalties for Underpayment or Late Returns
Few people wake up in the morning thinking about how to get on the IRS’s bad side. But, when you are doing your tax return, it’s easy to get overzealous in claiming deductions and credits. Learning about the penalties that you could face may give you reason to reconsider. See, Penalties for Underpayment or Late Returns.
Payroll Tax Reduction Extended through Year-End
The two-percent reduction in the employer-share of Social Security Taxes will continue through year-end. Under the payroll tax cut, individuals who receive wages will continue to pay Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) taxes at a rate of 4.2 percent for calendar year 2012—a two percentage point reduction from the 6.2 percent ordinarily paid by individuals from their take-home pay. Self-employed individuals benefit from a corresponding return in self-employment tax. Payroll Tax Reduction Extended through Year-End
Beware of Scams Involving Education Credits
Credits are an outstanding way to lower your tax liability; and you should claim them whenever possible. However, nearly every credit has precise rules that must be followed in order to claim it. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is no exception. Beware of scam artists that are suggesting that you can claim this credit even though you do not have any qualified education expenses. Beware of Scams Involving Education Credits
Making Your Business More Energy Efficient Could Lower Your Taxes
If you are a business owner and you installed energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning or hot-water systems, or if you made energy efficient improvements to the building as a whole, you may be able to claim a deduction for a portion of those expenses. Lower Taxes by Improving Energy Efficiency
Does It Make Sense to Itemize?
One tax election that most taxpayers should at least consider is the election to itemize deductions, rather than claiming a standard deduction. If you own a home, then you will nearly always benefit from itemizing. But, there are other itemized deductions that you may be able to claim as well. Does It Make Sense to Itemize?
Past Tax Tips Newsletters
Each month, CompleteTax sends out the informational Tax Tips Newsletter.
Read past Tax Tips Newsletters.