A Year-Round Tax To-Do List

It’s all the more urgent in this final week of the year to take care of all the tax-related odds and ends you can, but there’s also no better time to set up a tax-related plan of attack for next year. Bargain Babe surveyed some tax experts, including contacts at H&R Block and TurboTax, to come up with a list of money-saving must-dos that would make Tax Cat proud.

The tips in her post are good year-round, but here are a few that are especially urgent at year’s end:

*Clean out your closet. — Clothing donations to charities can become easy deductions.

*Ask for early W2s — See if your employer’s HR department can give you an estimated W2 form. An estimate of your income is invaluable in determining what your tax burden will be for the year. You can use the information to make any last-minute donations that could lower your tax rate.

*Make your home more energy efficient. — Some upgrades that reduce your home’s carbon footprint are deductible. For more details, check out this post.

What do you plan on doing this week, as well as next year in order to ease the blow of the tax hammer?

15 income tax tips to save you money [Bargain Babe]

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  1. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    What do you plan on doing this week, as well as next year in order to ease the blow of the tax hammer?

    Move to someplace with a smaller tax hammer than Democratic Peoples’ Republic of New Jersey. That leaves 48 out of 50 states and most countries outside the EU.

  2. Hoss says:
  3. AllanG54 says:

    Uh…why bother to ask for an estimated W-2. Look at your last pay stub. But I guess that’s too easy. As for donating….remember if you’re not itemizing and filling out Schedule A you can donate everything you own and it won’t lower your tax burden. This seems to be a case of putting a little knowledge in the hands of a person who has NO knowledge.

    • sassypants says:

      Completely agree. Back in my naive days, I thought my $50 donation to whatever charity actually meant something on my taxes. I tried itemizing one year and it was a complete waste of time.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Itemizing never made sense until I bought a house. After that, it became my default filing method.

        • lucky13 says:

          Exactly – unless you have a mortgage or your own business, itemizing won’t beat taking the standard deduction.

          • Bsamm09 says:

            Actually if you own your own business most of those expenses will be deducted on schedule c or 1065 1120 or 1120S. While mtg interest triggers a ton of schedule a filings, payment of state taxes, gambling losses, investment interest and unreimbursed employee expenses account for a lot of them but these are to a way lesser extent.

  4. Bsamm09 says:

    Also don’t buy deductions. Energy saving improvements are great but dont buy just for tax break. If you make a decent amount of money or own a business get a CPA or an EA. They can provide great advice through out the year.

    If you have a decent amount of schedules to fill out, a CPA or EA can be cheaper than H&R Block and similar places. And you will have an educated person doing them and not have someone who just took a class. Ask your friends for a referral or contact your states assoc of CPAs.