Guidance on Preparing Your Taxes

Usually, tax planning is not included on most people’s lists of new year’s resolutions. However, maybe 2014 ought to be the year when you make the effort to understand more about your taxes. This will allow you to correctly plan and organize your responsibilities.

This resolution will help you once tax season arrives, and it might result in you saving more cash over the long run.

Here’s some advice to help you get started on achieving this goal:

Organize your tax file for 2014. This might be an online file, where you can scan transactions and documents over the course of the year. This will impact on your total tax amount. Alternatively, you could use a bin or folder to store the details.

The advantage of electronic files, like Turbo Tax 2014, is that when your tax is due, you can just email the data to your accountant. Then, he or she can keep the file for use during an audit. Ensure that you have sufficiently backed your data up, just in case an unforeseen problem arises. Including notes on your tax documents will help your accountant understand the transactions, which facilitates the filing procedure.

Examples of important tax documents are: 1099s, W2s, escrow documents for purchase, K1s, receipts for car registration charges and real estate tax, receipts for additional tax deductible purchases, and letters confirming charitable donations made to recognized nonprofits.

All the best to everyone for a healthy, happy, successful and tax conscious 2014.

Tax Tricks for Homeowners

Tax Tips & Tricks for Homeowners

Although gaining the status of homeowner can be a monumental moment in your life, the responsibility and excitement can often overshadow one of the most appealing aspects of owning your home: tax deductions and savings! In fact, every bit of your property taxes and mortgage interest can be itemized on your taxes and result in impressive savings.

Savings that accompany homeowner-ship can pave the way for allowing you to afford a home they you may not otherwise be able to even consider. In addition to property taxes stemming from mortgage interest and property taxes, you can also deduct some of your closing costs. Profits that are gained after a home is sold are tax deductible, highlighting yet another benefit you can experience through the purchase of a home. Saving money and taking advantage of being a homeowner is easy with these simple tax tips and tricks:

You Got to Itemize

While you may ultimately discover that accepting the standard deduction provides you with the greatest tax benefit, it is worth the effort and time to insure that itemizing does not provide greater savings. Itemizing can give you a way to compare what you could receive with the standard deduction you may have always taken when filing taxes in the past. Whether you are using tax software or completing your taxes by hand, take the time to itemize and insure you will receive the highest benefits possible accompanying your status as a homeowner.

Home Office Deductions

It can be an obvious fact that deducting a home office on your taxes can provide savings, but it is important to weigh the benefit of annual home office deductions with capital gains taxes. Capital gains taxes are only exempt for residences, making the deduction of a home office a problem if you hope to receive such exemptions if you sell your home in the future. Seeking the help of a tax professional can be a great way you can discover whether the deductions that come with a home office are worth taking in contrast with capital gains exemptions.

Foreclosures, Short Sales and Loan Modifications

One of the risks of buying a home is the high levels of foreclosures and other struggles homeowners can run into. But while losing one’s home is a risk we take when purchasing property, the current housing outlook gives us some protection if you do ever have to endure such hardships. Although a mortgage may be erased if foreclosures, short sales or modifications occur, the mortgage amount will still be taxed as a Cancellation of Debt Income, according to the IRS. Losing a home to foreclosure can be trying enough, but after 2012, exemption from paying taxes on lost property or modified loans will come to an end. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act is only good until 2012, making it much less risky for you to purchase a home before the act expires.

Is Refinancing for You?

Refinancing has been a hot topic as of late. In fact, you may have friends and family rushing to refinance their home in order to take advantage of historically low interest rates. While refinancing can be a good option, it can result in some lost tax savings that could have outweighed the interest rate savings you expected. A lower interest rate that results from refinancing your home can actually result in lower tax savings. The bottom line: paying lower interest as a result of refinancing your home will result in less tax savings.

Closing Costs

With the excitement of home ownership and purchasing property, it can be easy for you to overlook the closing costs that can be deducted from taxes, just as mortgage interest and property taxes can. Whether you paid the closing costs for the home you bought or plan on purchasing or the seller paid them, closing costs are tax deductible. How much you paid, or the seller paid, for closing, can be found on your HUD-1 form or by calling your realtor.

Anastacio Mindiola is an accomplished attorney and business owner. His company helps home and business owners protest property taxes in Houston and the surrounding counties. For more information on how you can lower your property taxes visit http://www.republicpropertytax.com.

Green Tax Deductions

There are numerous ways in which you may recognize savings by way of green tax deductions. By making certain eco-friendly choices regarding your purchases or certain home modifications, you may be eligible for tax benefits while at the same time doing something good for the environment. Not only might the environment and your pocketbook be thanking you for your efforts, but you may be improving your home and lifestyle in the process. In many instances, you could be saving 30% of the cost of your purchases or up to a total tax credit of $1500, although certain purchases may … Read the rest

There are numerous ways in which you may recognize savings by way of green tax deductions. By making certain eco-friendly choices regarding your purchases or certain home modifications, you may be eligible for tax benefits while at the same time doing something good for the environment. Not only might the environment and your pocketbook be thanking you for your efforts, but you may be improving your home and lifestyle in the process. In many instances, you could be saving 30% of the cost of your purchases or up to a total tax credit of $1500, although certain purchases may not be governed by this limit.

Heating a Cooling Options

Before you run out and buy a new addition to your HVAC system, you should ensure the product you want to purchase falls within the guidelines of the green tax deduction requirement by visiting www.energystar.gov.  Items such as biomass stoves (stoves that burn biomass fuels), certain hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, air conditioning units, furnaces, and boilers could be included in the tax deduction, but you don’t want to spend a bundle of cash on a new unit only to realize that it isn’t eligible for the deduction you were expecting. Furthermore, installations of items such as solar panels and wind turbines which actually generate energy for your home can qualify for up to a 30% federal tax credit.

Home Improvements

There are a variety of home improvements for which you may be eligible when it comes to tax deductions. Work to improve heating and cooling efficiency through fixing cracks and aging seals in your home and the replacement of insulation are simple ways of reducing energy costs in your home while possibly making yourself eligible for a tax deduction in the process.

You may also realize tax savings in the form of energy efficient window replacement, door replacement, roof replacement, other energy loss reduction repairs or modifications, and even the installation of solar panels.

New Homes

Tax breaks are not limited to the renovation of dated homes.  If you’ve built a new more energy-efficient home before January 1st you may be eligible for tax incentives. According to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, if you’ve build a new home that is 50% more in energy savings over the minimum standard you could qualify for a $2000 tax credit.  Those homes which achieve just 30% more energy savings over the standard are still eligible for $1000 tax credit.

Conclusion

Tax deductions can be a great benefit for making environmentally friendly decisions. However, it is important that you fully understand how these deductions apply to you and your situation and ensure that you are making the proper purchases and eco-friendly modifications to meet the guidelines to be eligible for these deductions. It might be helpful to visit the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov to learn more about available tax credits and terms. If you are still unsure whether the improvements or purchases you are interested in making will result in tax benefits, you may want to consult a tax professional before committing yourself and your money.

Sources:

U.S Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Department of Energy. Improve Your Home’s Efficiency & Earn Tax Credits. November 16, 2010. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index. December 24, 2010.

Anastacio Mindiola is an accomplished attorney and business owner. His company helps home and business owners protest property taxes in Houston and the surrounding counties. For more information on how you can lower your property taxes visit http://www.republicpropertytax.com.

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