Finding, tallying, and reporting tax deductible deductions are a worthwhile endeavor. Itemizing deductions, if you qualify, can make a substantial difference to the amount of taxes owed. So why do so many people wait until the last minute to figure them out or not bother to calculate them at all? We all know the process is NOT fun, unless you are getting a refund, however those days are long over for most of us.
Do you still do your own taxes? My husband and I switched to a CPA many years ago when we received a dreaded letter from the I.R.S. about an error on our return. My husband and I decided to hire a Professional. Our taxes were becoming more complicated each year.
A large portion of my business is prepping taxes for clients. I get their tax forms and deductions summarized and ready for their CPA’s. I work with these clients on a regular basis. They appreciate not having to compile everything themselves.
Here is a list of some common tax deductions:
Printing and keeping track of your own deductions is becoming more commonplace. There are many companies that don’t mail tax forms. Here are a few examples: Student loan interest, if you or your child paid interest on a student loan and you did not get a form in the mail go to your online account and print it. I contributed to my son’s Georgia 529 plan this year and last year but Path 2 College did not send me a tax form. This saves my family a lot of money on our state taxes. This is upsetting but it is just the way it is. You have to be your own tax advocate.
Did you pay a fee for your IRA, Brokerage or any other Investment Account? Make sure you claim it. You may need to “find” the fee on a yearend statement. Investment companies have not had to divulge all of their fees but that is changing in April 2017. Are you over the age of 70 1/2 and not taking your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s)? You will be penalized. RMD’s are only required on regular IRA’s not Roth IRA’s. This happened to one of my client’s. Do you have older parents? Find out if they are taking their distributions.
Did you donate items to a non-profit this year? Claim a realistic valuation. If you have no idea what your items are worth here are some options. Here is Goodwill’s Tax Deductible values and Salvation Army’s. According to the website Charity Deductions.com taxpayers are leaving $42 Billion unclaimed for non-cash donations. I was surprised when I looked at Salvation Army’s valuation guide; I was undervaluing everything I donated.
Tax deduction forms and some tax income forms are not sent out. My daughter had an internship last summer with a large corporation. They did not send her a W-2 (It is a significant amount of money). She had to call the company to find out how to get it. I thought companies had to send out W-2’s? I know they sent it to the Internal Revenue Service……
Anyway the moral of this blog post is to be your own Tax Saving Advocate. It is worth your time to go through all of your check registers, credit card statements and investment statements to look for your hard earned deductions.
Happy Tax Organizing,
Chief Executive Organizer