TaxTips

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If you made a new car purchase after February 16, 2009 and before January 1, 2010, don’t forget that you may be able to deduct the sales or excise tax paid on up to the first $49,500 of the purchase price of the new vehicle, as an itemized deduction or as an addition to your standard deduction. Ask your tax preparer for details.

Too many sweets from your sweetheart?

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Relax—dental expenses may be tax deductible! It’s just one of the most commonly overlooked deductions that could cost you at tax time!
Jackson Hewitt® can help you find all of the deductions and credits you deserve, including those hard-to-find and commonly overlooked tax deductions. And, getting every deduction and credit you’re entitled to can mean more money in your pocket.
Some commonly overlooked deductions include:
• Fees for tax preparation and advice (yes, even your Jackson Hewitt tax preparation can be a deduction)
• Education expenses you paid to maintain or improve your job skills
• Points paid on mortgage or refinancing
• Services of a housekeeper, maid, or cook needed to run your home for the benefit of a qualifying dependent while you work
• Mileage incurred in performing charitable activities
• Cellular phones required for business
• Taxes paid to a foreign government
• Equipment for disabled or handicapped individuals
• General sales tax deduction (including large items such as cars or boats) in lieu of the income tax deduction
For a complete listing of our Top 50 Overlooked Tax Deductions check out the Tax Resource section on JacksonHewitt.com.


Tips for choosing the right tax preparer!

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With the 2010 tax-filing season underway, finding the right tax preparer can be difficult. These tips can help you find one that’s right for you:

• Experience: Select a tax preparer who is well established and has experience preparing a variety of individual income tax returns. Make sure your tax preparer can handle your specific needs, whether you have an easy return with one W-2 or a more complex return.

• Knowledge: Make sure your tax preparer is up-to-date on the new and changed tax laws, has state-of-the-art tax preparation software and quality training on the current tax laws.

• Accuracy: Verify that your tax preparer has quality, up-to-date software with built-in error checks. For added accuracy, filing a tax return electronically via IRS e-file provides checks on common errors and provides faster receipt of an expected refund and confirmation from the IRS within 48 hours, after your tax return has been received.

• Guarantee: To assure that your tax preparer will be there for you in the event of any errors made, be certain your tax return includes a guarantee.

• Year-Round Support: Make certain you have year-round access to your tax preparer if any tax-related questions or concerns arise.

Donations to Haitian Earthquake Relief may be deductible for 2009

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Taxpayers wishing to lend support the relief efforts in Haiti now have an additional incentive to do so, thanks to new legislation signed into law by President Obama.

The new bill gives taxpayers two options regarding monetary contributions for Haitian Earthquake Relief. They can either deduct contributions made after January 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010 on their 2009 tax return or they can wait and claim the deduction on their 2010 return. In addition to allowing contributions to be deducted on a 2009 tax return, the bill also includes a provision that recognizes donations made to a charitable organization via text message, provided that a copy of the phone bill showing the date, time, organization name and donation amount is available.

There are several ways to make a tax-deductible contribution to a qualified charitable organization: through a cash payment, check or credit card charge or by making a payroll deduction to a charity.

Be sure to keep records of your donations. Acceptable records include a receipt from the organization that states the date, name, address, location, and amount of the donation; a cancelled check; or other bank documents that provide the same information. Don’t forget to claim all the household items and clothing you donated to your church, school, or other local charity during the year. The fair-market value of all items in good or better condition that are donated to a qualified organization are deductible. Make sure you keep a list of all items donated and their value when you contributed them. If you volunteer your time, you can also deduct out-of-pocket expenses you have that are directly related to your volunteer work.

When choosing a charity to make a donation to, keep in mind that contributions to domestic, tax-exempt organizations that provide assistance to individuals in foreign lands qualify as tax deductible contributions for federal income tax purposes, provided the U.S. organization has full control and discretion over the uses of such funds. Contributions to foreign organizations are generally not deductible. Contributions to benefit specific individuals or families are also not deductible. 

You can search for qualified organizations on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Web site at www.irs.gov