Free Help for Tax Time

And a Giveaway

Although this post doesn’t have much to do with Washington State besides all of us have to file taxes by April 15, too, there’s something here for everyone. Julie, my tax preparer, was kind enough to send me a checklist of what I need to collect before I dump three shoeboxes worth of receipts on her doorstep this year.

 

Here are some of her suggestions:

Do you have an in-home business? If so, you may be able to write off the costs of maintaining that home office and even indirect expenses such as utilities and garbage pick-up fees. The area you use must be exclusively for your business and you must conduct business on a regular basis. Here’s how to start:

  • Measure the area used for your business and then the total area of your home, then determine what percentage of the whole you use for your business.
  • Have you done repairs to the whole house this past year? If so, you can allocate or write off the business portion of your home.
  • Maintenance and repairs to the office remain deductible
  • You can deduct a portion of your homeowner’s insurance
  • If you spent money on landscaping and clients come to your home, then a percentage of that expense may be deductible

 

Did you know that tax preparation fees and expenses from last year are deductible? Gifts to charity, including donations of household goods need to be included in your tax papers. Did you keep track of job hunting expenses? What about gambling earnings?

The IRS wants to hear about it all. If your tax return is the least bit complicated, you need to find a qualified preparer (sorry Julie is taken) or read up on the current tax requirements and rules.

To help you with your taxes, I have the current, hot off the press, edition of J. K. Lasser’s “Your Income Tax 2013” to give away to one of my lucky readers. All you need to do is comment on this blog, include your email address in your comment, by February 15, 2013, and you’ll be placed in the drawing to win the book. You will be notified by February 17, if you’re the winner.

8 thoughts on “Free Help for Tax Time

  1. Alexandra

    I have someone does my taxes, way too complicated with my husband’s having accounts in France and Sweden where he gets his retirement, but I HATE preparing the paperwork for the accountant.

    Reply
  2. Donna Hull

    Great tips. And I’ll add that to make tax preparation easier, keep one manilla folder for business expenses and a second one for business income. As the year progresses, drop receipts or pay stubs in the appropriate folder. Preparing taxes is so much easier when the records are up to date and in one place.

    Reply

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