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Mar 10, 201410:27 AMSmall Business, Big Ideas

with Jean Willard

5 useful strategies for this tax season

(page 1 of 2)

We are nearing the home stretch in preparing tax returns for 2013. Since I have been in this place for a number of years, I look forward to the days of less fatigue. Yet I find that each and every tax season is interesting because of changes in the tax code. Some years yield more changes than others.

For those who are doing their own taxes, I want to go over some of the items worth considering.

  • Education credits. Rather than go over the rules, the credits, and when to use each, I want to make sure that you remember to claim the credits for which you’re eligible. Be sure to consider the alternatives available. Also remember that you can’t double dip. Be wise in coordinating the credits with distributions from college savings plans. Also, don’t forget to check whether you qualify for a Wisconsin deduction. Always look at the list of available credits. You should consider credits for energy-efficient purchases, foreign tax credits, credits for child care expenses, the child tax credit, and others. If you qualify, be sure to take advantage of these.
  • Sales tax. Remember that if you itemize, sales tax is an option to be compared against state income taxes. If you have purchased a vehicle or boat, you might be able to add that sales tax to the sales tax deduction.
  • Direct deposit. The IRS is strongly encouraging people to e-file, and many people now file their returns this way. Many states mandate that CPA firms recommend this to clients. E-filing is fast and accurate. Remember that if you have a refund, you can have that refund returned to you more quickly if you have it direct-deposited into your bank account or other investment account. Be sure not to copy last year’s information if you have changed accounts. If incorrect information is provided, your refund will be delayed.


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