Tax help when you help out your aging dad (or mom)
Father's Day is Sunday. Cards will be mailed, special dinners prepared and a variety of gifts presented to the men who mean so much to us.
Many of us also will be dealing with things that go beyond one special day. Some folks with an aging dad are helping him out on a more regular, and in some cases daily, basis. Others soon will be providing that extra attention.
If you are or expect to be caring for an elderly dad (or mom), the tax code offers some help. And that's this week's (#8) Weekly Tax Tip.
Some things you'll need to consider are your parent's income, including Social Security; how much support you provide for living expenses, including your parent's residential costs; and how much medical costs you pay for your parent.
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Estimated tax time comes around four times a year -- When you have income that's not subject to payroll withholding, you must file estimated taxes. The extra payments made to the Internal Revenue Service via Form 1040-ES are due four times a year: April 15, June 15, Sept. 5 and the next year's Jan. 15. Yes, four extra tax filings -- and payments -- each year are a hassle. But owing a big tax bill in April, as well as interest and penalty charges for underpaying your annual tax liability, is a bigger pain. Estimated taxes are routine for folks with self-employment income, investment earnings or even gambling winnings. You can pay your estimated taxes by snail mailing the IRS a check or money order, or by making electronic payments via credit or debit card, electronic funds withdrawal or the IRS' Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). (June 12, 2013)
June 5: Welcome to summer. OK. The hottest season doesn't officially begin for a couple more weeks, but some thermometers here in Texas have already hit the triple-digit mark. And a heat wave in the Northeast has many feeling like it's mid-July instead of early June. Since it won't get cooler for a while, get your home in energy efficient shape now.
June 16: Happy Father's Day! Dad might not say so, but he appreciates being recognized, so take time today to let him know you care. If you also show your affection by providing for the bulk of dad's living expenses (or mom's, too, for that matter), be sure you claim him, her or both of them as dependents on your tax return.
June 17: June 15 is a busy tax day, but since it fell this year on Saturday, you get until the next business day, today, to meet the deadlines.
If you're not paying your 2013 income tax through withholding, or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way, your second estimated tax payment of the year is due today.
June 24: Are you a June bride? Since the withholding rates are different for couples, both newlywed wives and husbands should file new W-4 forms at work to reflect their now-married tax status. Also, if the new missus changed her name, she needs to contact the Social Security Administration to make sure her tax ID number matches her new moniker. These tasks are just a couple of ways that marriage affects your taxes.
June 30: If you didn't get around to spring cleaning, you can do it now and donate any stuff you don't need but which is still useable. By giving the items to your favorite charity, your gifts could be tax deductible. Just be sure to get receipts!
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I gotta tell ya ...
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. I strongly suggest that when it comes to filing your taxes, you get additional, professional, paid-for guidance from your accountant and other financial advisers who are familiar with your individual circumstances. In other words, don't blame me!