The first day of the fifth month of the year is an annual day of celebration in many places worldwide.
May Day festivities definitely could apply to the joy felt by most U.S. taxpayers who got their returns to the IRS a couple of weeks ago.
And just the name of the month brings such promise, remininding us of all the possibilities ahead.
Among those are the chance to cut our 2011 tax bills by taking some simple steps in May and throughout the rest of the year.
Tax Carnival #86: May Day has got all of us, finished filers and those still working on 2010 returns, covered with filing and planning tax tips.
So let's get to it, starting with a quick review of the just finished main filing season.
Tax Debt Help reports that More Federal Tax Returns E-Filed Than Ever Before According to IRS, posted at Tax Debt Help Blog.
Darwin notes that of all those filings 45% of Americans Paying NO Federal Taxes for 2010. "With 45 percent of Americans paying no federal taxes, it's worth looking at the reasons behind this as well as solutions," says Darwin of his post at Darwin's Money.
Most of us use a combination of deductions and credits to get to the lowest possible tax bill.
Tom notes that both businesses and individuals use tax credits, which are aken out from the total amount a tax payer owes the government. He looks at Squeezing Out The Last Penny With Tax Credits, posted at StupidCents.
Brian discusses how to determine if your residential workspace is eligible for the home office tax deduction in Home Office Deductions for Your LLC, posted at The LLC Company.
Jennifer Saksa notes that a good accounting software program to track business income and expenditures can save you headaches at tax time. She elaborates in Home Business: Accounting and Invoicing Software, posted at NCH Software Blog.
My Journey says one tax law change in 2010 was shocking, the brand new idea that your credit shelter amount was portable. Find out about this change in What is Portability in Estate Planning? It's posted at My Journey to Millions.
It's too late to open or contribute to an IRA for the 2010 tax year, but you still have plenty of time to make 2011 moves involving these tax-advantaged accounts.
Retirebyforty looks at the popular Roth IRA, posted at retireby40.org.
Neal Frankle says that if you converted your IRA into a Roth, you need to pay your tax the right way if you want to avoid penalties. "That's right," says Neal,"not only do you have to pay 'the MAN,' but you also have to do it the way he tells you to. Sorry. That's life." Details on the process are in IRA Roth Conversion Tax - Do This Or Else, posted at Wealth Pilgrim.
Another retirement concern is Social Security.
Mike Piper says that the way in which Social Security benefits are taxed creates tax-planning opportunities for the savvy investor. He looks at the options in How is Social Security Taxed? It's posted at The Oblivious Investor.
We U.S. taxpayers just finished our filing season, but global taxes also are on the radar.
Jim Yih says most people would agree that we pay a lot of tax in Canada, but there are a few precious sources that aren't taxes. He details them in resents A List of things not taxed in Canada, posted at Retire Happy Blog.
Lubna Kably examines a tax canon in Law Street - Economic Times (April 2011) - Overseas investors need certainty in tax laws. Unfortunately, she says, such certainty doesn't currently exist and which is keeping investors at bay. It's posted at Talking Tax.
Back here in America, the debate continues about our tax system and what it might look like in the future.
Joe Morgan looks at an intriguing question: Is Federal Income Tax Unconstitutional?Find out about this antitax argument at Simple Debt-Free Finance.
Plubius offers some ideas on our budget crisis in 7 Suggestions to Reform Tax Code, Balance Federal Budget & Fund Medicare and Social Security. It's posted at Common Sense.
Tax filing is extra stressful for some taxpayers in specific situations.
Suba looks at a problem many folks have: Owe Back taxes. What can I do? Find out at Wealth Informatics.
BackTaxesHelp.com presents Injured Spouse Relief: Qualifications & How to Apply, posted at Back Taxes Help Blog.
Maybe these folks need tax help.
Steve examines Finding A Quality CPA In Ohio. And while the post's title is specific, the advice is easily transferable to any location. It's posted at 2009 Taxes.
Dan Meyer presents Bring Out the Billy Club: IRS Threatens 19 with Loss of TPIN, posted at Tick Marks.
Finally, the 86th Carnival of Taxes closes with the $64,000 question -- or whatever amount you're expecting back from the IRS. I'm talking, of course, about tax refunds.
Consumer Boomer says you don't have to hire a tax professional to figure out if you're eligible for a tax refund; many individuals calculate their own tax refunds through an online tax program or using the paper directions provided in the tax booklet. Get details in How Do I Calculate My Tax Refund, posted at The Consumer Boomer.
Henry Bagdasarian presents Where is My Tax Refund? It's posted at Identity Theft Awareness.
May Day celebration photo by Steenbergs / Flickr Creative Commons
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