Click on the links below or inside this package for videos and content on why the tax deadline this year is April 18, help on choosing a tax preparer and what you need to know about your 2010 income tax returns. Also, learn the best way to file your taxes, the first-time home buyer tax credit and more.
Watch this video and find more videos below on the best way to file your taxes, the first-time home buyer tax credit and more. Scroll down below the videos for quick tax tips for the unemployed, the e-filer and commonly missed deductions. Or check out related stories to the right.
Don't go it alone -- here are must-know tips from tax experts for the unemployed and the e-filer, and a helpful list of the most commonly missed credits and deductions.
Tax tips for the unemployed
Gary Lundberg, a tax software professional with CompleteTax, offers these tax tips to help people who have been unemployed.
1. Understand your tax responsibilities. People who are out of work are still responsible for filing a tax return and paying income taxes, including taxes on unemployment benefits or severance benefits.
2. Make sure to get all the tax breaks you deserve. Unemployment may allow for several credits and deductions, such as certain job-search expenses if you're looking for a job in your current profession, printing and mailing resumes and outplacement firm fees.
3. Look for affordable tax prep and file as soon as possible. People who are out of work may be able to file for considerably less than others. Efile.com has a tax refund calculator to help you get an idea of how much to expect back.
Tax tips for the e-filer
Jessi Dolmage, spokeswoman for TaxACT, shares simple tax tips for e-filing:
- Nearly 70 percent of taxpayers e-filed their federal returns last year. E-filers will know if the IRS accepted or rejected their returns within 48 hours, and they can get their refunds in as few as eight days with direct deposit. If you owe, e-file now and pay later via credit or debit card or a scheduled automatic withdrawal any time before or on April 18. You can also schedule payments using the IRS' free Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
- Not all online solutions are created equal. Many free solutions exclude forms for complex returns with itemized deductions, investment income and capital gains and losses, so choose wisely.
- Remember your state return. Most states pushed their filing deadline to April 18, but a few did not. The solution you used for your federal return likely offers a state solution, so let the software transfer your information to state forms to save time and reduce errors.
Commonly missed deductions and credits
Here's a list of commonly missed deductions and credits from Dolmage of TaxACT:
- If you paid for child care in 2010, you may be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
- 2010 is the last year to claim the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit, worth up to 30 percent of the costs for many energy-efficient home improvements. Up to $1,500 for 2009 and 2010 combined can be claimed, but only for the year during which the improvements were made.
- Be rewarded for contributing to your employer-sponsored retirement plan or an individual retirement arrangement, or IRA. The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is worth up to $1,000 for taxpayers born before Jan. 2, 1992 –– $2,000 for joint filers.