March 15 is the final deadline to use the funds in your flexible spending account. Most over-the-counter items won't qualify.
When 2010 ended, did you leave some money unspent in your medical flexible spending account, usually referred to as an FSA?
Well, you might have a second chance at using that pretax cash. If your company allows you the IRS-approved two and a half month FSA grace period, then you still have time to use up last year's money.
But not much time.
Some states, such as Colorado, don't require much farming to get a tax-saving agricultural exemption.
Want a lower property tax bill in Colorado? Get yourself a couple of sheep. Or grow a little hay.
That's all it takes to earn an agricultural designation by the state. You don't really have to be a farmer or a rancher, just play one and that will get you the much lower property tax rate Colorado created for the agriculture sector.
The Denver Post lists the wide array of so-called Colorado agronomists who have "secured low property taxes through agricultural designations on land they own even though they personally have little or nothing to do with producing food."
Among those the newspaper cites as benefiting from being deemed owners of agricultural property are actors Tom Cruise, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, a network television executive and his former-actress wife, an energy industry billionaire, a professional blackjack player turned media mogul, a ski gear inventor and a Colorado state senator.
The IRS accepts plastic but, unlike mechants, it doesn't pay the fee for you to use it, which is up to 2.35%.
This article is by Mark Jewell of the Associated Press.
Use a credit card to pay taxes to Uncle Sam, and interest charges aren't your only worry. Expect to pay fees of at least 2% on the amount of taxes owed. And that has nothing to do with whether you pay off the balance quickly or not.
Those fees are big enough that using a card to pay should be a last resort.
Regardless of how big the tax bill, any convenience from paying by credit is likely to come at a steep price. That's important to understand because some card issuers are promoting use of their cards to pay taxes, including offering discounts on electronic tax filing products for those using plastic to pay.
Many states provide tax incentives for making movies there. But some are cutting the subsidies, saying the benefits are not worth the cost.
This article is by Errin Haines of The Associated Press.
Thanks to a tax break used to lure Disney filmmakers away from North Carolina to coastal Georgia, Harry Spirides figures his beachfront hotel raked in an extra $85,000 because Miley Cyrus spent a summer filming here.
The producers of Cyrus' film, "The Last Song," were brought in with an across-the-board tax credit of 20% when they rolled into Tybee Island in June 2009. Lawmakers in Georgia and other states, though, are worried that they can't afford to offer Hollywood those incentives any longer as they struggle to find enough money to pay for programs like Medicaid.
For Spirides, though, the economic benefit from the tax credit was clear:
The crew rented a parking lot at Spirides' Ocean Plaza Beach Resort for $30,000 to set up makeup trailers and dining tents. Then there were hundreds of families working as extras on the film, who would crash at the hotel after shooting until 2 a.m.
"The shooting of the movie definitely made it a lot better of a summer financially than it would have been," Spirides said. "It really, really helped when we were in the depths of the recession."
In January, though, a Georgia state council said those benefits are fleeting. It said even though the crews bring jobs -- and lots of people who spend money locally on food and lodging -- those benefits are lost when they pack up and leave after filming.
The council recommended ditching the film tax break, which meant $140.6 million in lost tax revenues last year. Film producers spent $617 million in Georgia last year.
What if you could take this year’s tax refund, spend every dime, then get it all back, plus 30%? Impossible? Not at all.
Last year I wrote an article called Transform Last Year’s Tax Refund Into Next Year’s Tax Credit. That story was about how I invested my tax refund in a $5,000 high-efficiency central air conditioner: something that generated a cool $1,500 tax credit.
It's not often that we get lump sums of cash, and the temptation is great to do the wrong thing. Here's a quick checklist.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average American's refund for tax year 2010 is about $3,000, a slight increase over the previous year.
But whatever you're expecting, there are smart things you can do with it, as well as things that aren't so smart. Here are some dumb things, along with some advice on how to check on the progress of your refund if you've yet to receive it.
Obama wants to increase the IRS budget and bring in more revenue, but GOP wants to cut the agency's budget.
This article is by Stephen Ohlemacher of The Associated Press.
Every dollar the Internal Revenue Service spends for audits, liens and seizing property from tax cheats brings in more than $10, a rate of return so good the Obama administration wants to boost the agency's budget.
House Republicans, seeing the heavy hand of a too-big government, beg to differ. They've already voted to cut the IRS budget by $600 million this year and want bigger cuts in 2012.
The IRS has dramatically increased its pursuit of tax cheats in the past decade: Audits are up, property liens are up and asset seizures are way up. President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress see stepped up enforcement as a good way to narrow the nation's staggering budget deficit without raising tax rates or cutting popular spending programs.
The costs of alcohol and drug abuse treatment are allowed as write-off for taxpayers who meet the medical deduction threshold.
Charlie Sheen, star of the popular CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, continues to speak out from what has been described as at-home rehab.
Two pieces of advice:
Second, check into a real rehab facility and stick with the program. It will help you clean up your act sooner.
Some of the costs might even be tax deductible.
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