This is the time of year when spreadsheet aficionados everywhere fill in the last numbers for the year and prepare to count the returns. Just the thought of those lovely tax credits warm my cold little accounting heart.
Here are a few tax tricks for anyone who may be a little less thrilled when they see those beautiful white envelopes bearing W2 forms.
- The TurboTax people are offering free answers to tax questions in January. The questions have to be related to the 1040 tax form or a few business forms. They only answer federal - not state - tax questions. And you can only submit one question per customer. Enter your question at www.freetaxquestion.com and a tax expert will call you back with an answer!
- You can still make tax-deductible contributions for 2008 to your Traditional IRA up to April 15th. The annual limit for 2008 was $5000. If you were good little bunnies in 2008, you can start putting in your contribution for 2009! The 2009 limit is still $5000 for the year or $416.66 per month.
- The IRS has some help for those affected by economic downturn. Check out the site for some What If scenarios.
- Start gathering your records now.
- Double check your forms (The IRS says that mistakes on Social Security numbers and math errors are the most common mistakes taxpayers make).
- Efile your return - the online forms will alert you to those math errors.
- Get refunds by direct deposit in your bank account. Much faster than waiting for a check in the mail!
- File early. Don't wait until April. If you have someone else prepare your taxes, they'll be swamped the whole month. If you file for yourself, it will take much longer to get your return.
- Try not to rub it in too much to those around you that you're already done. In February. And already counting your money.