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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Colorado
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    How do YOU work the tax system??

    My husband and I were talking about how much FUN it will be to do our taxes next year since we will have a kid and a house. We found out that some of our up front expenses from housebuying are deductable and that got our penny pinching little brains wondering what else is there?

    I have heard that you can claim donations as deductions? Is it true, because I swear I'm on a first name basis with the Salvation Army. How is that done, what do I need to do to get a reciept?

    What else can we do/count? Suddenly tax season is fascinating.

    Thanks, Jennjitsu (and I'll crosspost this in Domestic Bliss so I leave no stone unturned!)

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
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    I thought usually you can't write off the expenses for buying a house unless it's your second house you don't live in, ie an investment property- then it's a business write-off.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    171
    To get a receipt, you just ask for one when you drop the stuff off.

    If you're donating via a drop box, usually there's a toll-free number to call and request a receipt.

    Also, I write checks to various non-profit programs and much of that is tax-deductible as well. There is one nuance here. If there's a service provided (for example, a newsletter) that part *won't* be deductible, but anything beyond that will be.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
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    down by the bay
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    The problem with receipts for donations is that to get credit for them you need to donate more than the standard amount, which I think is something like $3000?

    I could be TOTALLY wrong though, but that's why I stopped collecting receipts.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    171
    Quote Originally Posted by kindarana
    The problem with receipts for donations is that to get credit for them you need to donate more than the standard amount, which I think is something like $3000?

    I could be TOTALLY wrong though, but that's why I stopped collecting receipts.
    You can either take the standard deduction OR itemize your deductions. Under a certain amount, it makes more sense to take the standard deduction because you make out better.

    However if you're making mortgage payments or are paying for school or are paying for medical expenses, you can reach that tipping point where it makes sense to itemize pretty quickly.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    347
    i used turbo tax to do my taxes this year, and it was really cool. They have this script it takes you through to find random deductions in your life.

    I found an education deduction, donation deduction, dmv deductions...it was so cool. My husband was laughing at me because i was obsessed with finding all these $ in the taxes.

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    135
    you can not get a tax refund...
    i know it sounds odd, but that's what i do... rather than expecting that huge check next year i take the extra money i would have been giving to the government (which allows them to make money off of you!) i put it in a savings account or use it to pay off debt or put it towards a mutual fund
    this way, instead of overpaying my taxes every year i make that money work for me
    there are quite a few articles online about this
    here's a link to one:
    http://www.militarymoney.com/columns/1/236

    i can't find the exact article my grandfather sent me about this, but i found a few similar ones by searching "getting a refund means you're paying too much in taxes"

    oh, and btw, my grandfather used to be a state accountant so he knows a lot of little tricks like this that are legit

    hope this helps a little :)

  9. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Hopefully this doesn't apply to too many people here, but if your medical expenses are more than a certain percentage of your income (I think it's 7.5%), you can deduct them.

  10. #9
    Senior Member
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    May 2004
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    Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by MlleEmily
    I thought usually you can't write off the expenses for buying a house unless it's your second house you don't live in, ie an investment property- then it's a business write-off.
    Aw rats. I guess we'll have to look into that some more. I thought it sounded a little too good to be true!

  11. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    283
    I can't say I work the tax system...I'm living a pretty simple life, and don't have much to deduct either way. I will say, however, that you may seriously want to look into doing your own taxes rather than hiring someone to do it. I just can't see spending fifty to a hundred dollars when it's fairly simple to do it yourself. As far as tax refunds go, getting my refund is sorta a godsend for me, because every year I take that money and use it for a vacation or new furniture, etc. Otherwise, I usually don't have such a large chunk of money at once.


 
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