New Year… busy me

I just wanted to update quickly to let you know I am still here. I’ve been so busy lately. Tax season has arrived so I thought I would post a few tax related nuggets to ponder as you collect your tax paperwork.

Remember that tax rebate from last year? Well, if you didn’t qualify for the entire credit in 2008, you can apply to receive the balance in 2009. If you aren’t sure how much you received you can go to the IRS website to double check.

If you itemize your deductions and want to take a deduction for charitable contributions, make sure you have a receipt. The IRS changed the law a few years back requiring tax payers to have a receipt for every dollar you deduct. For contributions of less than $250, your cancelled check works just fine. Last year, the Salvation Army bell ringers we looking at me funny, but this year, they didn’t seem to mind so much. Instead of putting a dollar into a bunch of different kettles, I write one check to cover all my contributions for the season when I see the first kettle of the season.

If you can take mileage deductions for work, charity or medical, the mileage rates changed on July 1, 2008. For business miles, the rate increased from 50.5 cents per mile to 58.5 cents per mile. For medical/moving, the rate increased from 19 cents to 27 cents per mile. Charitable milage stayed at 14 cents per mile. Remember that the new rates went into effect on July 1, 2008, so you’ll need to have two mileage figures for the year: one for the first six months and one for the second half of the year.

If you are a teacher and purchase materials for your classroom, the $250 teacher’s deduction has extended for 2008.

To see if any of these changes apply to your situation, please consult your tax professional. Be careful with do-it-yourself software. I’ve gotten a lot of new clients after people get a letter from the IRS stating they deducted something they shouldn’t have. If you don’t think you should be able to deduct something, you probably can’t!

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