Thursday, January 19, 2006
More Bang for Your Buck: Taxes
It's been said the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. But before you file with Uncle Sam, you might be deserving of a few more deductions this year. In tonight's More Bang for Your Buck, we've got some helpful tips for a higher refund in 2006.
WSVN--Lets face it - doing taxes can be downright taxing. But if you're beginning to prepare your paperwork, there are plenty of changes for 2006.
Ernie Hartman: "Tax laws change pretty much every year based on some change in the cost of living."
This year, even shopping can pay off for Floridians.
Since we do not have a state income tax, the sales tax is deductible.
Ernie Hartman: "Keep your sales tax receipts and add them up at the end of the year."
Also this year - if you own a flexible spending account - you have until mid march to shop for medical and child care expenses.
Ernie Hartman: "It used to be that you had to spend it for loss it at the end of the year, they now have allowed a 2 and half grace period to be tacked on to the end of the plan year."
As we all know, hurricane relief has been a hot tax topic for congress.
But if your property was damaged by Wilma or Katrina and the insurance won't pay for it, the government will.
Ernie Hartman: "You can deduct those losses as a casulaty loss."
Of course charitable donations are also deductible.
After Katrina, many South Floridians even opened their hearts and their homes to displaced victims.
If you hosted a family from the gulf, you good will is a good write off.
Ernie Hartman: "If there is more than one person in your home that your hosting you receive 500 dollars per person up to a max of two thousand dollars."
And if you remember what the hurricanes did to gas prices, now is your time to get a little payback.
Ernie Hartman: "The first 8 months of 2005 the milage rate for bussiness 40.5 cents. Then from Sept 1 to Dec. 31 that rate increased to 48.5 cents. That's when the gas prices jumped quite a bit and they tried to offer some relief."
Or you can save by investing in a more fuel efficient vehicle. Hybrid cars are worth a two thousand dollar deduction.
Ernie Hartman: "The IRS has acutally come out with a list of the cars that qualify. There's about ten of these cars on the list."
Tom Haynes: "If you lost valuable information and need more time filing, the IRS has extended their extension. It used to be you had until August. Now, you have until october."
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