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Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filers

 
Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filers
Posted April 15th, 2014 @ 4:46am by KTRH's Nik Rajkovic

It’s tax day in the U.S., meaning you have until midnight to get your federal income tax returns to Uncle Sam. 

For last-minute filers, tax experts say its important not to overlook several credits as you hastily fill out your forms.

Remember how that home office was a red flag for possible audit by the IRS?  The rules haven't changed, but Houston CPA Bob Fumagalli says there is a new simplified method.

“You're allowed to take the square foot of the office times $5,” Fumagalli tells KTRH News.  “You're limited to a $1,5000 deduction, but that has been a nice change in the law.”

There is also credits available for parents with kids in college.

“If the child is being claimed as an independent on the parent's return, its the parent that gets the credit,” says Fumagalli.  “Whether or not they end up qualifying, the child cannot get the credit.”

Here in Texas, we're allowed to itemize our sales tax.

“Basically, if you paid sales tax on an automobile, motor boat, and home improvements,” says fellow CPA Kevin Lovins.  “But the home improvements have to be sales tax paid to the contractor for supplies or services.”

Private mortgage insurance, even casualty losses also are deductible.

“Accidents, earthquakes, fires or floods, anything like that,” says Lovins.  “Obviously here in Houston a hurricane, anything that is destructive.”

Lovins says one thing some don't understand is the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

“During the summer, parents might put their kids in day camp thinking that's eligible for the credit, but if it's educational or recreational, than it is not a deductible expense,” he says.

If you're head is spinning at this point, Fumagalli says you can always file for a six month extension if need be.

“My advice is don't rush your return if you don't have everything together, file the extension 4868 form and buy youself a little bit of time,” he says.

Just be prepared to pay interest or penalties when the bill is due in October. 

Ever wonder where all your income tax money goes? 

For every $100 dollars you give -- $23.68 pays for defense and military benefits, another $23.39 goes to Social Security, $22.23 to health care, all the way down the line for food stamps, unemployment, housing assistance and even congressional salaries.

 

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