For starters if you don't work for yourself, and have a simple tax filing situation, then it is cheaper not to pay
a tax preparer or accountant.
You can use tax prep/accounting software.
E-filing can get your tax returns to you more quickly. Look carefully at the specs on the tax prep software before you buy. Some will give you more value than others.
Here are a few little used tax savings deductions: - More below
If you are a teacher or a teacher's aid, you can deduct up to $250 spent for books and classroom supplies. Specifically you must be an educator for kindergarten through 12 grade as a teacher,
you work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law.
Look to line 23 of the Form 1040, or line 16 on the IRS form 1040A.
If you qualify, you get this deduction regardless of whether you itemize.
If your spouse is an educator filing jointly, you can take $500.00 deduction.
Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent the amount of such expenses exceeds the following amounts for the tax year:
The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses, Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income, or any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account.
For more info see the IRS Publication 17 or for Spanish speaking people try IRS Publication 17 in Spanish.
You may qualify to deduct up to $4,000.00 that you paid for college tuition for each qualified student. It can be for you or your
spouse or a dependent. You can't get this deduction if you are married and filing seperately or if someone else can claim you.
This is not including personal, living, or family expenses, such as room and board. It may be advantageous if your income is too high to qualify to claim the "Hope or Lifetime Learning" credit. You can claim this deduction whether or not you itemize. The deduction is taken of form 1040 or 1040A .
The new credit replaces Hope Credit.
Through December 2017 it is good for $2,500 of the first $4,000 of the education expenses that qualify. Also, it offers 25% of the following $2,000 in the expenses that qualify.
It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many people eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.
The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for joint filers. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels.
A lot of people break out in a nervous sweat and get the shakes when it comes time to file their taxes.
The first time that I tried to file by myself left me with a feeling of confusion because I did not bother to read any information about how to go about it in a fair way, a way that didn't leave me broke and living in a cardboard box in the alley.
I just had at it without reading anything and it was overwhelming. I assure you that after all these years I won't get into a difficult situation like that without any proper info and good forms to file.
Some folks just file as fast as they can to get it over with. They loose out on a bunch of legitimate deductions and allocations that could have saved them a ton of money at tax time.
I would rather be getting a nice tax refund than pay the IRS a lot of money. Pay attention to the details.