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Tax and Tax Information - Income Tax

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Tax and Tax Information * Income Tax

Top 7 Ways to Reduce Income Taxes   
Kristine McKinley

Are you paying too much in income taxes? Are you getting all the credits and deductions you are entitled to? Here are 7 tips to help you minimize taxes and keep more in your pocket:


1. Participate in company retirement plans. Every dollar you contribute will reduce your taxable income and thus your income taxes. Similarly, enroll in your company's flexible spending account. You can set aside money for medical expenses and day care expenses. This money is "use it or lose it" so make sure you estimate well!

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

New York Mayor Bloomberg Presses For Tax On Soda (Reuters Via Yahoo! News)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged state legislators to levy a tax on soda, saying the money raised would help plug the state's shortfalls in health care and education funding.

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2. Make sure you pay in enough taxes to avoid penalties. Uncle Sam charges interest and penalties if you don't pay in at least 90% of your current year taxes or 100% of last year's tax liability.


3. Buy a house. The mortgage interest and real estate taxes are deductible, and may allow you to itemize other deductions such as property taxes and charitable donations.

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

Let Bush Tax Cuts End, Economists Say (Fox News)
NABE economist said Congress should let the Bush tax cuts expire.

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4. Keep your house for at least two years. One of the best tax breaks available today is the home sale exclusion, which allows you to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of profit on the sale of your home from your income. However, you must have owned and lived in your home for at least two years to qualify for the exclusion.


5. Time your investment sales. If your income is higher than expected, sell some of your losers to reduce taxable income. If you will be selling a mutual fund, sell before the year-end distributions to avoid taxes on the upcoming dividend or capital gain. Also, you should allocate tax efficient investments to your taxable accounts and non-efficient investments to your retirement accounts, to reduce the tax you pay on interest, dividends and capital gains.


6. If you're retired, plan your retirement plan distributions carefully. If a retirement plan distribution will push you into a higher tax bracket, consider taking money out of taxable investments to keep you in the lower tax bracket. Also, pay attention to the 59 and one half age limit. Withdrawals taken before this age can result in penalties in addition to income taxes.


7. Bunch your expenses. Certain expenses must exceed a minimum before you can deduct them (medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income and miscellaneous expenses such as tax preparation fees must exceed 2% of your AGI). In order to deduct these expenses, you may need to bunch these types of expenses into a single year to get above the minimum. To achieve this, you might prepay medical and miscellaneous expenses on December 31 to get above the minimum amount.


The most important thing is to be aware of the tax deductions and credits that apply to you and to plan for taxable events. And don't be afraid to ask for help. The benefits from consulting an experienced tax professional far outweigh the cost to hire that professional.


Kristine A McKinley, CPA, and Certified Financial Planner, is a fee-only financial planner.


For more personal finance and tax tips, please visit our blog at http://beaconfinancialtips.typepad.com/financialtipsforwahms/

What Other Authors say about Taxes

Tax Credits for Retirement Savings by Richard A. Chapo

It is a well-known fact that Americans are miserable failures when it comes to saving for retirement. Well, the government is offering tax credits to change this for some of us.Tax Credits for Retirement...

Tax Breaks Make Homeownership Affordable by admin

<p>How Does Buying Beat Renting?<p>Melissa is single with no dependents and earns $50,000 a year. As a renter, she doesn't itemize deductions. Melissa eventually purchases a home and ends up...

Sources Of Free Tax Help by Carl LaFresnaye

Taxes are complicated! Everyone knows it – and most of us wish it were much more simple and easy to understand. But it isn't likely that the tax code will be simplified that much anytime soon – so we soldier...

Solving Common Tax-Preparation Problems by Stephen L. Nelson

There are some potential pitfalls to using your Quicken data as the one and only source of all your taxable income and tax-deductible expense information. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use Quicken; it...

How to Deal with C Corporation Tax by Nick Braun EA PhD

<p>The difference between C corporations and all the other entities is that C corps pay their own tax â€" they are not pass-through entities. <p>The corporation pays corporate income...

Doing Your Taxes by Carl LaFresnaye

When an individual is younger, it is much easier to do taxes at the end of the year since there usually is not anyone to claim other than the individual him or herself, as well as the fact that not many...

The Tax Advantages of an Individual Savings Account (ISA) by Graeme Nicholson

The successor to the TESSA, the ISA (or individual savings account) provides a government regulated savings scheme for encouraging individuals to save rather than spend as a means of economic and financial...

Minister's Housing Allowance by Alan D Campbell

Churches often provide ministers of the gospel with the free use of a home, which is often called a parsonage. The value of the parsonage is not subject to income tax up to the rental value of the home....


Who are the CPA Moms?      Your Tax Professional Forever!!!!

“CPA Moms - Tax Moms - EA Moms" are trade names given to Accounting and Tax Professionals who chose to work in an “relaxed” environment. Some "Moms" work from home, other work from personal offices. Not all are Moms, there are some Dads. We call them Mr. Tax Moms. CPA Dads or Enrolled Agents Dads.
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Index of Articles about Taxes

What Other Authors say about Taxes

Tax Credits for Retirement Savings by Richard A. Chapo

It is a well-known fact that Americans are miserable failures when it comes to saving for retirement. Well, the government is offering tax credits to change this for some of us.Tax Credits for Retirement...

Tax Breaks Make Homeownership Affordable by admin

<p>How Does Buying Beat Renting?<p>Melissa is single with no dependents and earns $50,000 a year. As a renter, she doesn't itemize deductions. Melissa eventually purchases a home and ends up...

Sources Of Free Tax Help by Carl LaFresnaye

Taxes are complicated! Everyone knows it – and most of us wish it were much more simple and easy to understand. But it isn't likely that the tax code will be simplified that much anytime soon – so we soldier...

Solving Common Tax-Preparation Problems by Stephen L. Nelson

There are some potential pitfalls to using your Quicken data as the one and only source of all your taxable income and tax-deductible expense information. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use Quicken; it...

How to Deal with C Corporation Tax by Nick Braun EA PhD

<p>The difference between C corporations and all the other entities is that C corps pay their own tax â€" they are not pass-through entities. <p>The corporation pays corporate income...

Doing Your Taxes by Carl LaFresnaye

When an individual is younger, it is much easier to do taxes at the end of the year since there usually is not anyone to claim other than the individual him or herself, as well as the fact that not many...

The Tax Advantages of an Individual Savings Account (ISA) by Graeme Nicholson

The successor to the TESSA, the ISA (or individual savings account) provides a government regulated savings scheme for encouraging individuals to save rather than spend as a means of economic and financial...

Minister's Housing Allowance by Alan D Campbell

Churches often provide ministers of the gospel with the free use of a home, which is often called a parsonage. The value of the parsonage is not subject to income tax up to the rental value of the home....