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Apr 8, 2013

Tax tips for procrastinators counting down to April 15

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) – Tax day this year falls on a
Monday, making it all the more enticing for procrastinators to
attempt to cram in all their accounting on the weekend prior. If
this is your plan, you have a little bit of an excuse: The tax
season started slowly as the Internal Revenue Service reworked
many forms, as required by the year-end tax changes. But that
doesn’t make it any less painful now.

If you’re among the procrastinators, here are eight
last-minute things to consider:

Mar 14, 2013

These 10 tax deductions should be on your radar

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) – Americans claim more than $1
trillion worth of deductions at tax time. And whether you think
the tax code should have more write-offs or fewer loopholes, you
might as well get your piece of that pie while it’s on the
table.

That means grabbing every available deduction, even the ones
you may not have thought about. Here’s a helpful starter list
for your 2012 returns.

Mar 12, 2013

Navigating through a sea of college tax breaks

NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) – If you have kids in college,
you already know that higher education isn’t getting any cheaper
- some private schools will now set you back more than $60,000 a
year.

You may need a high-priced education just to figure out how
to write it off. The federal government offers a variety of tax
breaks to lessen your burden. But they are complicated, limited
and overlapping, and it is not always easy to figure out how to
maximize them.

Feb 26, 2013

New estate tax rules call for new planning tactics

NEW YORK (Reuters) – After years of changes and political arm-twisting, the federal estate tax rules became clear and stable with the year-end fiscal cliff deal. They are now set permanently into the tax code – at least until the tax code changes again.

The amount an individual can exclude from estate taxes (including gifts given during his or her lifetime) is an extremely generous $5.25 million per person for 2013.

Feb 13, 2013

How to deal with your shrunken paycheck in 2013

NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) – The payroll tax cut quietly
expired at the end of 2012, and for many American families who
are struggling to keep pace in a tight economy, that has raised
questions of what to do.

The tax, which covers Social Security, is deducted from your
paycheck automatically. It is based on your income, up to a
maximum of $113,700 for 2013. Income above that amount is exempt
from Social Security taxes. A tax cut to stimulate the economy
shaved 2 percentage points off the payroll tax, but now it has
been restored to 6.2 percent.

Jan 28, 2013

The perils of overseas tax disclosure: An immigrant’s story

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Andrew Winfield applied to become a U.S. citizen in 2011, he realized he owed taxes on accounts he had left behind in his native England.

So he paid what he believed he owed — $2,800 in back taxes, plus the estimated interest and penalties – and entered the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s overseas disclosure program.

Jan 15, 2013

Taxes will rise for more than just the ultra-wealthy

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The big numbers under discussion following the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 have been $400,000, the income level where new marginal rates kick in for singles, and $450,000, for married couples filing jointly.

But two limitations on tax breaks for high-income earners are returning at much lower income thresholds, amounting to something of a stealth increase. And there are few ways to get around them.

Jan 15, 2013

U.S. taxes will rise for more than just the ultra-wealthy

NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The big numbers under
discussion following the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
have been $400,000, the income level where new marginal rates
kick in for singles, and $450,000, for married couples filing
jointly.

But two limitations on tax breaks for high-income earners
are returning at much lower income thresholds, amounting to
something of a stealth increase. And there are few ways to get
around them.

Dec 28, 2012

Tax extenders are big fiscal cliff question mark

NEW YORK, Dec 28 (Reuters) – In the drama over the “fiscal
cliff,” the usual year-end tax dilemma – about the little bits
of the tax code that either fall by the wayside or automatically
get renewed – is easy to overlook. But it is worth noting that
dozens of these so-called “tax extenders” are up for grabs in
the final days of the year, and that some of them actually
expired at the end of 2011.

At issue are popular tax breaks that help cover the soaring
cost of college; the choice to deduct state and local sales
taxes for those residing in states with low or no income tax;
the annual patching of the alternative minimum tax, which would
snare more than 30 million households without a fix — and many
more.

Dec 14, 2012

Fiscal cliff or not, here are tax moves to make now

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Tax planning for many people has devolved into one big guessing game this year as Washington battles over tax policy. Everything from payroll taxes to capital gains tax rates is still up in the air. But there are ways to play the odds, and some moves to make regardless of what Washington does.

Here are five actions to consider in the final weeks of 2012:

– Shift your deductions. The general rule for year-end tax planning is to move as many deductions as you can (from real estate taxes, for example) into the current year, while postponing as much income as possible into the next. Why pay taxes earlier than necessary, after all? For most taxpayers, that’s likely still good strategy. You can do this by paying your year-end tax bill and mortgage payments a few days early, accelerating next semester’s tuition payments into this year and more.

    • About Amy

      "Amy Feldman is an award-winning journalist and writer, specializing in business and finance. She writes a twice-monthly column on taxes for Reuters. The opinions expressed are her own."
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