Tips & Tricks For Last Minute Tax Filers

Tips & Tricks For Last Minute Tax Filers

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Tax Deadline Looms For American Taxpayers

In case you aren’t aware of it, we’re down to the last four days before 2009 tax returns are due. Unless you are planning to seek an extension (see IRS Form 4868), you’ll need to make sure that your tax return is electronically filed or postmarked before midnight April 15.

Fill up your cash jar with money saving tips.

By the way, an extension doesn’t mean you can put off paying what you owe until October 15. Those monies must be paid now while your paperwork can follow at a later date.

Here at SayEducate, we’ve been keeping tabs on what taxpayers can expect for this tax year and have come up with various tips and tricks specifically designed for the person who puts off filing until the last possible moment. After all, you’ve more than likely decided to wait this long in a bid to not give Uncle Sam his due until it is actually is due. Some of us feel your pain!

There is no rhyme or reason to our list, but then there isn’t any rhyme or reason to doing tax returns. To that end we offer the following information with related links for more information or to help you take additional action:

Home Improvement – We mentioned this before: sizable tax credits await those who made improvements to their homes. Specifically, if you replaced your old windows with select energy efficient windows, then you’ve got a credit coming. The same can be said for doors, heat pumps, solar or wind energy equipment and other improvements. (see SayEducate.com: Enjoy Tax Credits For Energy Conservation)

First Time Home Buying Credit – If you file jointly, you can enjoy a tax credit for up to $8000 depending on your income, for that home you purchased last year. You can even reflect that information on your 2009 taxes if you aren’t closing on the home until as late as June 30 this year. Simply amend your return later to get the tax credit or include it with your 2010 return next year. (see QuickenLoans.com: First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit – Home Loan Tips and Tricks!)

Long Time Home Buyer Credit – You didn’t have to be a first time home buyer to enjoy a tax credit for buying a home. People who have owned a home at least five of the past eight years also qualify for a tax credit. That credit is $6500 for joint filers or $3250 each if you file separately. (see The Christian Science Monitor: What the $6,500 homebuyer tax credit means for you)

Amended Returns – You may have discovered that a previously filed return should be amended. If that is the case, then you have three years from that time to file. This means that the last chance to amend your 2006 return is April 15. (see Dalton Daily Citizen: Tax tips for last minute filers)

Commuting Expenses – If you are self-employed and work at home, you should be able to deduct most of commuting costs between your home office and other places where you’ve conducted business during the past year. If your home office is your principle place of business, but you still maintained an office downtown you can deduct those trips going back and forth between offices. (see SmartMoney: Tax Tips: Deduct Your Commuting Costs)

Unemployment Benefits – Americans who are or were unemployed and collected benefits, the first $2400 of those benefits is tax free. If two filers were unemployed and collected unemployment, that amount doubles to $4800. (see The New York Times: 10 Tax Tips for the Unemployed)

Job Hunting Deductions – Speaking of being out of work, if you’ve been actively looking for new work, there are several deductions you may be able to take to offset the expense of finding a new job. Those deductions include telephone calls related to setting up interviews, transportation (including airfare) to job interviews and advertising for a job among many other deductions. (see The Consumerist: Tax Tips: Job Hunting Deductions)

As always, consult a tax adviser if you are in a pinch or use a good tax software program to help you find and take deductions.

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Categories: Tax Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".