This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

5 Tax Tips You May Be Forgetting

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Calculators are humming and pencils are sharpened, all in anticipation of that annual exercise in angst and anxiety -- filing your tax returns.

Last year more than 148 million federal tax returns were filed, according to the Internal Revenue Service. That's up 2.1% from 2011.

In addition, the IRS' website logged more than 340 million visits last year, up 17% from 2011, as Americans struggled to keep up with changes in the U.S. tax code.

Expect that number to climb this year, as the fiscal cliff negotiations that went right up to Jan. 1 meant the IRS didn't even start accepting federal tax returns until Jan. 30.

How can Americans save some time and still get great tax deductions before April 15?

Michael Gutter, an associate business and finances professor at the University of Florida, offers up a few overlooked but highly effective tax tips for Americans looking to save time and money:

Get free help.If you earn less than $51,000 per year, you likely qualify for volunteer income tax assistance. It's free and reliable. Find out if you qualify here.

Here is how the IRS describes the VITA program:

IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities. They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations.

Tax credit for kids. The tax code allows plenty of good deductions for parents with children -- even kids in college. The IRS has a good summary of the Child Tax Credit here.

Direct to savings. Gutter advises using IRS Form 8888 to have your tax refund sent right to your bank savings account. That protects you from making "impulse purchases." He also advises filing your tax returns as soon as possible if you anticipate a refund. That way your money accrues more interest.

Take a mulligan. Amend previous years' tax returns to grab deductions or tax credits you missed on the first go-round. The IRS does allow "do-overs."

Don't forget those IRA contributions. Gutter reminds tax filers that the deadline for making tax-deductible IRA contributions from income earned in 2012 is April 15.

Thanks to the fiscal cliff near-fiasco, this year's tax filing season is more hectic than usual. So take a page out of Gutter's handbook and use some handy and timely tax tips that will keep more cash in your pocket -- and less in Uncle Sam's.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $123.25 0.00%
FB $83.30 0.00%
GOOG $548.34 0.00%
TSLA $185.00 0.00%
YHOO $45.10 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs