13 tax breaks for 2010 that can save you money
These credits and deductions may make organizing and filing your taxes less painful.
Filing taxes isn’t a lot of fun, but maybe if you find out that you’ve got some good deductions coming, it will be easier to start.
Let’s start with this news story I recently shot that will provide some of the most important breaks you’ll get this year. Then meet me on the other side for a condensed version of the nitty-gritty.
Here’s a quick, concise but complete look at tax breaks and credits for the 2010 tax year:
1. Tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers, $6,500 for existing homeowners.
If you bought a home in 2010, you could qualify for a monster tax credit. (Credits are Nirvana in tax-land, because that’s a direct reduction of your taxes, not just a deduction from your income: Basically, they’re cash.)
Owned a house before? You could get a credit of up to $6,500. Property virgin? Up to $8,000. Rules and exclusions, however, abound. If you think you might qualify, check out the minutia at this page of the IRS website.
The good news: To try to get you out to the mall and thus get the economy back on its feet, last year you got a credit of 6.2 percent of your pay (the amount you pay into Social Security), capped at $400 for single filers and $800 for joint filers.
The bad news: You already got this money in the form of lower tax withholding in last year’s paychecks – it’s no help now.
The standard deduction if you’re married and filing a joint 2010 tax return is $11,400, same as last year. If you’re single, however, your standard deduction increased by $250 to $5,700.
Good for the rich: As I mentioned in the video above, for tax year 2010, itemized deductions didn’t phase out as your income increased. If it’s deductible, you get to deduct it, no matter how much you made last year.
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