Filing Your Taxes Online

Filing Your 2011 Taxes Online

Every year, many people race to tax preparation offices to have their annual taxes prepared, making sure to beat the April 15 deadline. Long waits and high fees are common, and many people find getting their taxes done a chore. Preparing your own taxes can save you time, money and hassle.

Tax preparation help at the library
Tax preparation help at the library (Photo credit: Newton Free Library)

Even if you have never prepared your own taxes, you will find filing your 2011 taxes online simple and easy. Online tax prep programs provide you with step by step instructions and guide you through the process of getting your taxes done. Simply gather your income information and basic documents and let the software do the rest.

Most people dread trying to figure out tax items like deductions, tax credits and multi-state taxes. When you complete your 2011 taxes online, the program will search for any applicable deductions and credits for you. The program will also help you to easily input information if you work in one state and live in another.

Don’t stress out about preparing your own taxes. With easy to use online programs that do all of the work, you can prepare your taxes without worry or hassle. With live phone support available, you can consult tax experts that can provide you with advice and guidance.

Waiting in long lines at the tax office is a thing of the past. File your 2011 taxes for free online and take the hassle out of tax filing. Gather your paper work and file your 2011 taxes online today.

Strange Federal Tax Deductions

2011 Federal Tax Deductions

Everyone is looking for deductions for their 2011 federal tax situation.  We’ve all heard of the mortgage deduction, the medical deduction, and even deductions for owning an electric car–but are those all the deductions you can find?  It’s important to know all the deductions, so you can maximize your own personal benefits this tax season.  There are many “unique” deductions that are perfectly legitimate that most individuals probably are not even aware exist.  These deductions have been used in the past and are still on the books. Perhaps they might even help you this tax season. Take a look at this list of the top ten strange and weird deductions.

10 Strange But Legitimate Federal Tax Deductions
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Should I File A Tax Return This Year?

The law requires you to complete a tax return when you have income above a designated amount.  The amount varies according to your age, filing status and income type.  However, even if you are not required to file, you might benefit as you could get a refund if taxes were withheld or you qualify of certain refundable credits.

The IRS website is a helpful resource to see if you should file.  The Interactive Tax Assistant on the site can lead you through a several questions to see if you should file.  Other information is found on printed tax forms.

Six reasons to file a Federal Income Tax Return in 2011 even though you are not required:

Taxes withheld – If any employer withheld taxes, you paid in estimated taxes or had a refund from a previous year credited to this year’s taxes, file for a refund.

EITC – EITC is for those who worked but had limited income.  This credit means you might get a refund even if you did not pay any taxes.  You must complete the return claiming the credit to qualify.

ACTC – A refundable tax credit for those with one or more children who qualifies that did not get the total amount of the  Credit for Child Tax .

AOCS – During the first 4 years of education past high school qualify for this credit of up to $2,500.  Even if there is no tax due 40% of the money ($1000) can be refunded to the filer.

Adoption Credit – This credit is available for expenses paid in adopting a child.

HCTC – This credit is available to some individuals receiving assistance in the back to work programs that were established as a part of economic recovery and those receiving pension benefits from a Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. for tax year 2011.  Eligible individual can include a large portion of the payments for health insurance they made when they file a tax return this year.

Home Energy Tax Credits: Save Money With Energy Efficient Appliances

Home Energy Tax Credits: Save Money With Energy Efficient Appliances

Homeowners know that energy bills comprise a hefty chunk of monthly bills, and have recently been getting even higher. Add to that the responsibility many Americans feel toward being more environmentally conscious, and making more green choices becomes a clear choice. The federal government has made this an even easier option by offering a number of home energy tax credits, given to homeowners that choose to save money with energy efficient appliances.

How You’ll Save Money Using More Efficient Appliances

The biggest benefit to using high efficiency appliances in your house is that greenhouse emissions are reduced significantly. However, from a financial perspective, utilizing Energy Star or similar appliances can save you up to 30% on your monthly utility bills, even with the same usage. Your house will be more comfortable, and with replacing windows and insulation, the units that provide heating and cooling for your home will not have to work nearly as hard. You won’t have to sacrifice style or features on these greener items, as most manufacturers are making environmentally-conscious versions of the majority of their products.

What Tax Credits Are Available?

For the past several years, the government has been offering incentives to taxpayers for switching over to environmentally conscious devices. Not only will this mean money in your pocket, but will hopefully extend the lifecycle of our planet. The tax credits are available to those who own their own home, and it must be an existing house (as opposed to a new build). There may be more credits available dependent upon which state you reside in, so be sure to check your particular local government website for more details.

The amount of credit received depends on what type of appliance you’re installing in your house. The general rule is 10% of the cost of your purchase, up to $500. However, there are a number of appliances with a set dollar figure for their tax credits. Once you’ve determined what rebates or credits you qualify for, complete IRS form 5695 and submit it with your taxes. Save your receipts in the event you need to show proof of purchase.

So how much can you get for purchasing a “green” appliance? For replacing your insulation, roof, or doors, you will receive 10% of the cost, up to $500. This is often an ideal area to prioritize, as a better insulated home is a more efficient one. The home energy tax credit on windows is capped at $200, and to replace a furnace or boiler, the cap is at $150. Installing an advanced main air circulating fan, you’ll receive a $50 credit. Lastly, for any central air conditioners, air source heat pumps, water heaters, or biomass stoves, you will receive a $300 credit.

While the home energy tax credits can seem quite beneficial, it’s always best to remember to maintain low usage in the interest of reducing greenhouse gasses. Excessive usage of any utility will increase the bills, no matter how efficient.

Steve Tlapnek is a real estate investor who buys and sells homes throughout the St. Louis, MO area. For more information about Steve visit We Buy Ugly Houses Saint Louis.