Reduction Strategies

How to Read Your Tax Form

Tax time is here, with the deadline for filing on Tuesday. Very few people do their own taxes, and many do not understand what the Internal Revenue Service form 1040, the central document of your return, says.

The components combine to tell the IRS your story. Following are some ideas for helping you understand your return.

Investing for Tax Benefits

The most wonderful time of the year this isn’t. With taxes and your returns due April 15 and changes in tax laws, a big surprise might loom for some of us. Smart investors re-tool portfolios now to save on tax days now and to come.

New for 2013 taxpayers: a 3.8% surcharge on investment income. To avoid this, you may look for investments that pay little or no income, ones relying on growth in value rather than dividend or interest payments.

Reasons Not to Marry

“Two can live as cheaply as one.” This old saying is mostly true. However, when it comes to death, divorce, and taxes, two are probably better off financially if they don’t marry. Intentionally or not, many federal and state laws reward couples that choose to live together without marriage.

Cash Balance Plan at Your Biz?

If you own a business and want larger tax deductions and increased retirement contributions for yourself and your employees, think about a cash balance pension plan.

Tax-Efficient Investing (Pt.2)

Investing in the market to save for your future can come with a government price tag these days. In our first article we looked at strategies to get the most out of your money without tripping into higher tax brackets. Here are sneaky add-ons that can run up your tax bill.

Tax-Efficient Investing (Pt.1)

Investing just became a lot more complicated – and expensive – especially if you make a good living. You must squeeze every last advantage out of our tax system.

IRS Payment Fees Rise

Costs of doing business with the Internal Revenue Service recently rose for those needing special arrangements to pay taxes. Here’s what to know.

If you can’t pay your federal individual income taxes by the deadline of Tuesday, April 15, you may be able to set up special payment plans with the IRS. Some fees rose significantly.

Bettering Kids’ Lives (Pt. 2)

Our society increasingly divides rich kids with a good educational and health foundation and poor kids with a disadvantaged upbringing likely to hinder their futures. Our first article looked at how we can lay firm financial foundations for our kids. Here's how we can still try to ease the way financially for our own children and grandchildren.

Finding Free Tax Preparation

Lots of people find free tax preparation an excellent way to file. Here’s what to know before your return comes due April 15.

Quite a few providers allow you to prepare a simple return for free; complex returns cost more, of course. If you use a commercial organization to prepare your return for free, beware of add-ons that make a supposedly free process extremely costly.

How to Deduct a Home Office

The home office deduction tends to cow taxpayers. They often shy away from this write-off because they think it’s too risky.

Yes, the rules are complex. But if you have a bona fide home office and report your expenses the right way, you need not worry about getting into trouble with the taxman.


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