10 Money-Saving Tax Tips to Tackle Right Now
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the middle of January, it's too cold to have much fun across most of the U.S., so you may as well shrug your shoulders and dig into your 2013 tax returns.
This year, that means knowing some key changes in the Internal Revenue Service tax codes. Straight from the IRS, here are some of the most important changes for Main Street Americans this tax season:
Tax brackets: The so-called "Bush tax cuts" are off the board, and taxpayers are looking at seven new tax brackets -- at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.
Standard deductions: Standard filing deductions rose to $12,200 for taxpayers married filing jointly; $8,950 for taxpayers filing as head of household; and $6,100 for single taxpayers.New exemption levels: Congress has hiked the personal exemption amount to $3,900. California Society of CPAs offers help via another list, this one detailing some common-sense but oft-overlooked tax savings tips. Here's a glimpse of what the society is calling your "new year financial checklist." Web page devoted to calculating your AMT obligations, if any. Boost your 401(k) payments. As noted above, Americans can contribute more to their 401(k) plans this year, and that means opportunity for retirement savers. The society says that even contributing an extra $200 per month for 25 years can boost your account by $190,000, assuming your investments return 8% per year. "You'll only see $150 less in each paycheck if you're in the 25% bracket," the society says. "Plus, you could get free money if your employer matches your contributions. For example, a 50-cent-per-dollar match is like getting an extra 50% return on your money." Get your tax records organized now. The society says January is the best month to organize your financial documents, especially now that the final bills for 2013 have rolled in. That saves time when you need it most. "You wouldn't want to miss out on valuable deductions because you're scrambling around at the last minute," the group says.
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