Although February is the shortest month of the year -- and the tax season -- it still offers plenty of days and ways to save on your taxes.
To help accomplish that goal, we have February's list of Daily Tax Tips.
If you happen to miss one or more tips when they're posted there, catch up here and at the other 2015 monthly tax tip compilation pages.
So since February is short and tax time is a-wasting, let's get to it. Here are the Daily Tax Tips for February 2015.
- Reporting gambling winnings -- Lady Luck must be Uncle Sam's cousin, because taxes must be paid on all gambling winnings. This tax fact is true regardless of whether you won a big Super Bowl bet or a few scratch-off lottery dollars. Here's how to report the betting payout to the IRS. (Feb. 2, 2015)
- Taxable vs. nontaxable income -- It might seem like the "Taxman" gets his hands on every penny you make, but there are some items items from which Uncle Sam doesn't take a cut. Here's a look at what you have to count and what you can forget about at tax time. (Feb. 3, 2014)
- Standard or itemized deductions? -- Deductions reduce your taxable income. Less income usually means a smaller tax bill. So which deduction method, standard or itemized, should you use? That's easy. Pick the one that will help you get the lowest tax bill. (Feb. 4, 2015)
- Using taxes to reduce taxes -- Paying taxes at any level is never fun. But some state and local taxes can be a real tax reduction strategy. Many are deductible on your federal tax return. (Feb. 5, 2015)
- 10 often overlooked tax breaks -- So that you pay Uncle Sam as little as possible, you need to take every deduction, credit, or other income adjustment, often called above-the-line deductions, you can. Don't miss out on these 10 tax breaks. (Feb. 6, 2015)
- Four ways to get your tax refund -- If you don't need all of your federal tax refund in a single lump sum, split it up. The Internal Revenue Service makes it easy to send your refund to three separate financial accounts, as well as use your tax-back cash to buy savings bonds. Just make sure you enter the proper account numbers or splitting a tax refund could lead to a splitting headache! (Feb. 9, 2015)
- Married couple filing choices, joint or separate -- If you're married, you have two options when comes to filing status, married filing jointly or separately. Joint filing is usually better, but sometime separate returns are warranted. Remember, same-sex married couples, this applies to you on the federal tax level. Check with your state tax department about its filing requirements and filing status options. (Feb. 10, 2015)
- Alimony's tax ramifications -- When wedded bliss fades and the divorce court does officially do you part, then both ex-spouses need to pay attention to the tax issues related to alimony. The paying former partner gets a tax deduction. The spousal support payments count as taxable income for the receiving ex. And don't confuse this post-marital money with child support. (Feb. 11, 2015)
- Dirty Dozen tax scams -- Tax filing season means it's also tax scam time. The Internal Revenue Service keeps track of these criminal endeavors and each year issues a list of the 12 most egregious tax cons. Many of the scams show up every year. Others are new or tweaked. Some of the cons are pretty straightforward, as much as any criminal enterprise can be. Others are more elaborate. Whatever form they take, don't fall victim to any of the Dirty Dozen tax scams of 2015. (Feb. 12, 2015)
- 6 tax terrors -- Taxes can be scary on Friday the 13th or any day of the year. But here are ways to confront and defeat six common tax fears. (Feb. 13, 2015)
- Picking the proper tax software -- Most taxpayers now use tax software. It makes filing faster and easier, as long as you pick the product that's best for your tax situation. (Feb. 16, 2015)
- Sales tax deduction lives! For now -- If you live in one of the nine states that don't tax wage income and itemize deductions on your federal filing, you're in luck, at least when it comes to your 2014 return. The option to claim state and local sales taxes paid instead of income taxes is still available, renewed just before the lame duck Congress ended last December. The future of this tax break, however, is unclear. Congress must renew it for 2015 and beyond, either as part of another tax extenders package or overall tax reform. (Feb. 17, 2015)
- Writing off job hunting costs -- Did you look for another job last year? You might be able to deduct those job search costs. Two things to remember. First, you must itemize. Second, the costs must be more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. (Feb. 18, 2015)
- Watch out for wash sale rules -- Don't be in such a hurry to buy back a stock you recently sold. Your tax deduction could be washed away thanks to the wash sale rules. These restrictions on buying back the same or substantially similar stocks you sold at a loss essentially invalidate the immediate tax benefit of dumping your losing assets. (Feb. 19, 2015)
- How your kids can be a tax credit to you -- It costs a lot to raise a family, but Uncle Sam helps with a variety of child-related tax breaks. Among the most popular kid-related write-offs are the child and additional child tax credits. (Feb. 20, 2015)
- Tax breaks to cover college costs -- The Internal Revenue Code offers a variety of ways, from 529 plans to credits, deductions and more, to pay some of the ever-increasing costs of higher education. (Feb. 23, 2015)
- Adoption tax credit -- If your family grew thanks to adoption, you know the process can be expensive. But your good old Uncle Sam can help cover some of the costs of adding to your family. The tax code provides both the adoption tax credit and the income exclusion for employer-provided adoption benefits. For 2014 returns, the amount is $13,190. (Feb. 24, 2015)
- Tax help to take care of your parents -- If the tables have turned and you're now caring for an aging mom or dad, the tax code might be able to help. You might be able to claim an elderly parent as a dependent. You might even be able to count the folks' many medical expenses that you pay for as itemized deductions on your tax return. (Feb. 25, 2015)
- Where's my tax refund? -- That's a question that millions of taxpayers who file early anxiously ask every year. The Internal Revenue Service offers several ways for you to track down your refund. After you find it, then all you have to do is decide whether to spend or save the tax cash. (Feb. 26, 2015)