The good thing about the 2015 tax year and the new filing season is that most of the tax laws we're familiar with are still in place.
Sure, there are a few new tax bumps on 2014 tax returns that are due by April 15. And the tax extenders were renewed only for 2014, which is good for filing now, but not for 2015, which is not good for this year's tax planning.
But that's what the Daily Tax Tips feature is for!
Most of the tax tips in January are aimed at early filers planning to take advantage of the 2015 filing season as soon as it opens on Jan. 20.
As 2015 rolls along, the February, March and April tips will cover more complicated filing matters -- that's why many of us put off filling out those 1040s! -- along with some advice on how to save on 2015 taxes.
As most of the ol' blog's readers know, I am contributing tax editor and chief tax reporter for Bankrate.com. And as most of the ol' blog's readers also know, I'm all about working smarter, not harder, especially when it comes to taxes.
So all of this year's tips will be courtesy of Bankrate's annual tax guide.
In an effort to ease the crush of emails to readers, Bankrate has decided it will send out only a weekly tax newsletter this year. That once-a-week mailing will include the previous week's daily tips.
But if you want to see a new tax tip Monday through Friday, you're in luck! You can find them featured in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
Weekday tips only: There is one tax tip change on the ol' blog this tax season. In addition to being lazy a more-efficient tax journalist/blogger, I also made one New Year's resolution for 2015: to better balance personal and work, that is, tax, life.
So I've resolved to spend more time this year (and beyond) with the hubby, especially on weekends. That means no special Saturday and Sunday tax tips this year.
Sorry, super tax geeks. But consider my end-of-week tax tip break as an opportunity to put the previous daily tips into practice.
Special monthly tax tip pages: What is staying the same is that you'll be able to find all of the 2014 daily tips on special blog pages for each month. That way if you miss a tax tip on the day it's featured on the ol' blog's home page or simply want a refresher, bookmark this page and come back at your leisure to check out the January list o' tax tips.
You'll also find at the end of the completed January tips list links to the tax tips for February, March and April 2015 as those months arrive.
That's all the housekeeping I have. It's off to the January 2015 Daily Tax Tips list!
- 10 top tax issues that matter in 2015 -- You're focusing on filing 2014 taxes right now, but you also should check out these 10 tax issues that could affect your 2015 taxes. (Jan. 6, 2015)
- What's your tax IQ? -- Before you tackle your 1040, find out how much you know about filing taxes with these 10 multiple choice tax quiz questions. (Jan. 7, 2015)
- 7 ways to get organized for the tax year -- Tax filing can be less frustrating and less time-consuming when you're ready for the task. (Jan. 8, 2015)
- Income tax brackets, 2014 and 2015 -- The same seven tax rates still apply, but the taxable income that falls into each in 2015 is adjusted for inflation. Remember, 2014's tax brackets apply to your return that is due this April 15. The 2015 information is for this year's tax planning. (Jan. 9, 2015)
- Tax-filing requirements -- Do you have to file a tax return? Probably. Most of us do. But some folks escape this annual task. Here are the rules that release them from the Internal Revenue Service's grip. (Jan. 12, 2015)
- 2014 standard deduction amounts -- Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction. Here are the inflation adjusted amounts for 2014 tax returns. (Jan. 13, 2015)
- The skinny on paying estimated taxes -- Your final 2014 estimated tax payment is due Jan. 15. Miss it and you could end up owing more in late- and underpayment penalties and interest charges. (Jan. 14, 2015)
- Picking the perfect tax preparer -- Most taxpayers nowadays rely on professional tax help to complete and file their annual returns. Here's a look at your tax pro choices and how to pick the one that is perfect for your tax needs. (Jan. 15, 2015)
- Potential Obamacare tax credit problems -- The good news is that millions of people now have health insurance. The bad news is that the Affordable Care Act advance premium tax credit, the government subsidy they got to help them buy coverage, could cause trouble at tax-filing time. (Jan. 16, 2015)
- What's your filing status? -- It may sound like a simple question, but the correct answer could make a difference in your tax bill. (Jan. 19, 2015)
- Tax return filing starts Jan. 20 -- Ready to file your 2014 tax return? The Internal Revenue Service is ready to take it, either electronically or on paper. Free File got a head start, opening on Jan. 16. And don't forget about your state taxes! (Jan. 20, 2015)
- Your many e-filing options -- The Internal Revenue Service received almost 126 million e-filed returns last year. If you want to add to that ever-increasing number, you have lots of options. There's Free File for eligible taxpayers, and its free fillable forms for those who make too much (more than $60,000) to use the IRS/tax software partnership option. You can load tax software onto your own computer or use the companies' online filing programs. Or you can hire a tax professional who will e-file your return for you. (Jan. 21, 2015)
- 6 tax filing tips for new taxpayers -- Filing a 1040 for the first time? Don't panic. Simply being organized, picking the best way to file and checking out possible tax breaks are just a few of the ways to successfully submit your first 1040. Check out all the tips to help make your initial filing experience painless and less costly. (Jan. 22, 2015)
- Tax refund loan alternatives -- The Internal Revenue Service is warning that tax refunds might be delayed. But don't let that possibility lead you to take out a costly refund anticipation loan (RAL). You have other options and your tax patience could really pay off. (Jan. 23, 2015)
- Your three tax return choices -- Picking the proper 1040 to file doesn't seem like a big deal. After all, there are only three tax return options, the 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. But choose carefully. Your pick could save, or cost, you money. (Jan. 26, 2015)
- Tax documents are on the way -- Before you can file your tax return, you need some basic information. Most of it the necessary filing data comes to you via a variety of tax forms that should arrive soon. So keep an eye on your snail and email boxes. (Jan. 27, 2015)
- Winning bets are taxable income -- Whether you placed a sizable bet with a Las Vegas sports book or simply dropped a few bucks into the office Super Bowl pool, if your team comes out on top in the NFL championship game, you'll owe Uncle Sam taxes on your winnings. (Jan. 28, 2015)
- No 1099s? No problem -- Non-wage income, such as investment earnings or independent contractor work, is typically reported on a 1099 form. You need these documents to file, but as long as you know the amounts of taxable income they contain, you can make do without 1099s. (Jan. 29, 2015)
- What to do if you don't get a W-2 -- If you have a wage-paying job, you can't file your tax return without your W-2. So what do you do if your employer doesn't get you your annual wage statement? It's not ideal, but you can work around this missing tax document. (Jan. 30, 2015)
And January is a wrap. But don't despair. February's tax tips are now live!