Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Tax Deductions

On December 23, 2011, President Obama signed the Social Security Payroll Tax Holiday extension through February 29, 2012. The payroll tax temporarily extends the 2% payroll tax cut for employees, reducing their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2% to 4.2% of wages paid through February 29, 2012 for those who make $110,100 or less. This also prevents many Americans from losing their unemployment benefits.

Medicare will continue paying doctors at the current rate through February 29, 2012. The reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on employees’ future Social Security benefits. Congress reconvenes in January 2012 to determine if the payroll tax holiday will be extended. If not, employees will pay the 6.2% social security tax for the remainder of 2012.

Some people dread the end of the year because it is a reminder that you have to file your taxes. However, if you file taxes you are one of the lucky ones who has a job whether you like it or not or whether it pays enough, you have one. That is a blessing. Over 9 million people are still unemployed.

Before you prepare to file your taxes gather all of your receipts and write down all of your expenses for the year. This will be difficult if you can’t find your receipts or don’t have all of them. If that is the case then estimate your expenses. If you hire a tax preparer having receipts and documentation will be very helpful and will reduce your chances or getting audited because you have proof of your spending.

If you know you will owe taxes for 2011 request an extension no later than April 16, 2012 or setup a payment plan. There are tons of tax credits and deductions you can claim for 2011. Here are 33 ways to reduce your taxable income and increase your chances of getting a refund.

1. Uniforms, job supplies.
2. Tax preparation fees.
3. Job related training.
4. Job search expenses.
5. Home office business expenses.
6. Mortgage refinance fees.
7. Charitable donations (cash and non-cash).
8. State Sales Tax.
9. Property and estate tax deductions.
10. Foreclosure tax relief.
11. Casualty Loss (Disaster Area).
12. Reinvested Dividends (DRIP).
13. Mileage Deduction.
14. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
15. Energy Credit.
16. Car Credit.
17. Home Buyer Credit for Military Personnel.
18. Capital Gains.
19. Child Tax Credit.
20. American Opportunity Tax Credit.
21. Personal Exemption Phase Out.
22. Increases in Standard Deductions.
23. Marriage Penalty Relief.
24. Dependent Care Credit.
25. Adoption Tax Credit and Adoption Assistance Programs.
26. Coverdell Account.
27. Student Loan Interest Deduction.
28. Above the Line Deductions for School Teachers.
29. Business Incentives and Credits.

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