Finally! April is here, bringing with it Tax Day.
Wait. Don't freak out. You still have plenty of time to finish up your 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) or file Form 4868 to get six more months to finish the paperwork.
Either way, if you owe Uncle Sam, you must send that amount or a close estimate of it by April 15. If you don't, you'll end up with a bigger bill thanks to the penalties and interest that will be tacked onto it.
These April 2015 Daily Tax Tips will help you finish your filing.
And if you've already wrapped up your tax tasks this filing season -- and I am sooooo jealous! -- you'll also find some tax planning moves to help you cut your 2015 tax bill.
One administrative note. While the January, February and March tax tips (links are at the end of the April list) featured a piece of tax advice each weekday of the month, April's tips list will end on the 15th.
But don't worry. Since tax concerns continue year round, we'll switch to weekly tax tips from mid-April through the end of December.
Regardless of the tip timing, you'll find the featured tip in the upper right corner of the the ol' blog.
Now, with April 15 fast approaching, it's tax tip time!
- Take advantage of the retirement saver's credit -- If you contributed to a workplace or personal retirement account, check out the retirement saver's tax credit. It could provide eligible taxpayers with as much as $1,000 in tax savings. Note, too, that since it's a credit, it offers dollar-for-dollar savings on what you owe Uncle Sam. And to ensure you get the most out of all your tax-favored retirement savings accounts, check out the contribution limits for the 2014 and 2015 tax years. (April 1, 2015)
- 7-day tax filing plan -- Time's running out to finish your taxes, but don't panic. Here's a way to spend just an hour or so a day and finish your taxes in a week. One of those days is devoted to deductions. That includes the amount you can claim for miles driven in connection with business, medical treatments or in service to your favorite charity. The Internal Revenue Service's annual standard mileage amounts you can claim for those areas make this write-off easier.(April 2, 2015)
- EITC help for lower-income workers -- The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, was created to help low- and moderate income employees hang onto a bit more of their wages. While folks with kids do get a bigger break, the EITC also is available to eligible child-free taxpayers. The earning limits and qualification rules are a bit complicated, but if you qualify, not only could the EITC wipe out your tax bill, but it could net you a refund. And be sure to check on whether you state offers its own EITC; 25 and Washington, D.C., do. (April 3, 2015)
- Tax deductions without itemizing -- If you don't itemize, don't worry. There are still plenty of tax breaks, known as above-the-line deductions, that you can claim directly on Form 1040. A few are even on the 1040A. They include such popular tax breaks as teacher out-of-pocket expenses, deductible IRA contributions, self-employment taxes and retirement plan contributions, student loan interest, and college tuition and fees. (April 6, 2015)
- A tax break to cover tuition and fees -- Uncle Sam offers several ways to cover college costs. A popular one is the tuition and fees deduction. It can save you up to $4,000 in school costs and there's no need to itemize. Once you have that degree in hand, check out the moving expense deduction, another above-the-line break that doesn't require Schedule A. New graduates can use this tax break when they relocate to take their first job. (April 7, 2015)
- Tax breaks for teachers and students -- Students and teachers share more than classrooms. They both get tax breaks directly on Form 1040 or 1040A. The student loan interest deduction allows qualifying students to subtract up to $2,500 of their education loan's interest. In that same section of the 1040 and 1040A, teachers and other school employees can get a deduction of up to $250 to cover some of the out-of-pocket money they spend on classroom projects. (April 8, 2015)
- More mortgage tax breaks -- Homeowners already know they can claim mortgage interest and property tax payments as itemized deductions. Some also might be able to claim a couple more home-related write-offs. Take points; these are 1 percent of your loan amount and paying them could get you a better home loan rate. Then at tax time, the points also could be tax deductible. Some homeowners also must buy private mortgage insurance, or PMI, if they can't make at least a 20 percent down payment. In some cases, the PMI payments are tax deductible, too. (April 9, 2015)
- Don't fly these tax audit red flags -- No one wants to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service, but there are some definite tax red flags that might tempt the agency to take a closer look at your return. They include lots of contract rather than wage income, many noncash charitable deductions, a home-based business (with, yes, a home office deduction), and large business meal and entertainment expenses. (April 10, 2015)
- Tax e-payment options -- More of us have abandoned paper checks. That's not a problem when it comes to paying taxes. The Internal Revenue Service offers several types of tax e-payment options. (April 13, 2015)
- Payment options for a big tax bill -- If you owe too much in taxes to pay in one lump sum, the Internal Revenue Service offers you some options. If your credit card has enough room, put it on plastic. Or get an installment plan from the IRS. Or give the IRS an Offer in Compromise amount. But choose one, or you'll be in bigger trouble if you simply decide your bill is too big to pay. (April 14, 2015)
- Tax Day! File something! -- April 15 is here. It's time to file something, either your tax return or Form 4868 to get an extension until Oct. 15 to file. Pick one or you could owe more in penalties and interest. And speaking of owing, be sure to pay anything due taxes with your extensions request. (April 15, 2015)