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Friday, September 10, 2010

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Weekly Tax Tip

  • Voters to decide tax ballot questions -- In addition to voting for candidates on Nov. 4, voters in 11 states get to have their say about tax ballot questions. The tax topics include state income tax issues in Georgia, Tennessee and Illinois; real estate tax breaks for military veterans and their surviving spouses; gasoline tax rate increases; business taxes; and taxes on marijuana. The tax issues aren't just statewide. Some cities are voting on tax matters, too, such as soda tax proposals in Berkeley and San Francisco. While the overall number of ballot initiatives is down a bit in 2014, the questions that are going before the voters are getting a lot of financial support from advocates and opponents alike. More than $1 billion is expected to be spent on this year's ballot question campaigns. (Oct. 29, 2014)

  • Tax Tip; click pencil for all tax tip links

    Check out all the latest post-April 15 advice at Weekly Tax Tips 2014.

    You also can get a refresher of the Daily Tax Tips posted earlier this year on their respective monthly collection pages: January, February, March and April.

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End of Tax Year Countdown

  • Your 2013 tax duties are finally over. Now keep an eye on the calendar so you don't run out of time to make tax moves that can cut your 2014 IRS bill.

Time for Tax Tasks


  • monthly tax moves

  • Oct. 1: What a difference a year makes. As the new fiscal year began last October, most of Uncle Sam's offices were closed and stayed that way until Oct. 17. No such shutdown distraction this year…so far. That means we can focus on ways to cut our taxes. So let's get started.

    Oct. 4: For millions, this is the month to absolutely, positively, finally file last year's tax return. You won't get an extension beyond Oct. 15. Don't worry. I'll remind you of the deadline later.

    If you're still procrastinating, use this weekend to track down all the tax documents you'll need to file your 2013 Form 1040.

    This includes your W-2 (or W-2s if you had multiple jobs), as well as 1099s for contract payments or investment income. You'll also need to dig out the supporting material you have for charitable donations and business expenses, along with the other items listed on this tax preparation checklist.

    They should have arrived in late January, early February. Now you just have to remember where you stuck them!

    Oct. 10: Does your job include tips? If so and you received $20 in tips in September, use Form 4070 to report them today to your employer.

    Oct. 11: Don't let this last weekend before your tax return is due turn into a lost weekend. Check out these common tax filing mistakes so you don't make them.

    And definitely don't overlook any tax breaks that could reduce your final 2014 IRS bill.

    Oct. 15: Hey, tax procrastinators, here's that reminder I promised. Your filing time is up! Get your Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ en route to the IRS by midnight today or you'll face penalty and interest charges.

    If you're still old school, make sure you get your paper return in that envelope and to the post office in time to be postmarked Oct. 15. If you e-file, hit "enter" by midnight. Remember, if your 2013 adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less, you still can use the IRS' Free File program.

    Oct. 20: Did you have a good weekend, the first in months where you didn't worry about tax filing? Good. Now back to tax work! It's time to start finding ways to cut your 2014 tax bill.

    One smart move to make is to adjust your payroll withholding.

    You'll want to do this regardless of whether you got a big refund or ended up with a big tax bill. Your goal is to pay as close to your final tax bill as possible.

    Oct. 23: Do you itemize? Do you sometimes find you don't have enough to clear the adjusted gross income percentage thresholds, such as 2 percent for miscellaneous expenses or 10 percent for medical costs?

    There's still time to implement a bunching strategy. You simply keep track of expenses so you can see if you need to pull in, aka bunch, some things into one tax year so they'll get you a deduction.

    Oct. 27: Cooler weather is welcome for many reasons, including that it means the risk of hurricanes drops. But the Atlantic hurricane season runs through November, meaning you can't completely dismiss the possibility of a fall tropical system.



    If you're not already prepared, get that way. The ol' blog's special Natural Disasters Resources page can help.

    Oct. 31: Beware Halloween's goblins and ghouls tonight!

    Halloween and fall meet photo by Kay Bell

    But you don't have to be afraid of taxes. There are plenty of easy ways to deal with any tax terrors you might have.

    Small Business Tax Calendar: Important filing, deposit and record keeping dates throughout the year that your company needs to know. You also can view the full year's important business tax dates in IRS Pub. 509.

State Tax Help

  • Don't forget your state taxes!
    Forty-three states and D.C. collect personal income taxes. But even if you live in of the seven states without an income levy, you still face other state (and local) taxes.

    State Tax Departments provides links to your state's Web page. The companion page, Tax Tidbits, is the compilation of blurbs about each state's tax laws. And for more state tax news, check out all our state tax bloggings.

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  • Numbers

    Taxes are all about the numbers.
    Check out these (mostly) weekly
    By the Numbers figures.

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Keep Uncle Sam cranky!

  • It's no wonder Uncle Sam is not very happy here. His vault is empty. Don't Mess With Taxes aims to keep him cranky by providing tax and personal finance tips and advice that will put more money in your bank account, not the government treasury.

I gotta tell ya ...

  • AKA Disclaimer:
    I am a professional journalist who has been covering tax issues since 1999.
    I am not a professional tax preparer.
    The content on Don't Mess With Taxes is my personal opinion based on my study and understanding of tax laws, policies and regulations. It’s provided
    for your private, noncommercial, educational and informational purposes only. It’s not a recommendation or endorsement of any company or product. In other words, specifically the words in Treasury Circular 230 Notice, any U.S. tax advice on this blog is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed on this blog. That's why when it comes to filing your taxes,
    I urge you to get additional, professional, paid-for guidance from an accountant, Enrolled Agent or other qualified tax professional who is familiar with your individual tax circumstances.

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