Year-End Tax Tips to Get a Bigger Refund from Jackson Hewitt
With ongoing discussions of tax reform and tax changes since 2016, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., wants to help taxpayers keep more money in their pockets with eight year-end tax tips.
“We understand that each and every American has unique life circumstances that impact their tax returns,” said Alan D. Ferber, CEO of Jackson Hewitt®, “which is why Jackson Hewitt tax pros are here to help hardworking Americans navigate tax code complexity and find every credit and deduction available to them.”
Select a Tax Pro
Tax filing is complicated. Finding a professional tax preparer should be at the top of your list to make sure you get the most from your return. You want a tax pro that is well-versed in all of the recent federal and state tax laws and current changes so you get all the deductions and credits you’re entitled to.
Hunt & Gather
Time to start digging through those piles; you’ve got documents to pull together that are needed to file your annual tax return and more coming in the next weeks. Stay organized by separating paperwork into four simple categories: income items, deductions, life changes, and other. If you have self-employment activity or experienced other significant life challenging events, such as taking care of parents or losing a job, you probably can use a couple of more categories. You’ll appreciate having all that you need at your fingertips when it’s time to meet with your tax pro.
Reduce Taxable Income
Even if you contribute regularly to your traditional 401(k), or a similar workplace retirement plan, consider contributing up to the max before December 31 to reduce your taxable income for the year. For those with an IRA, keep in mind that you have until April 17, 2018 to make 2017 IRA contributions. If you are age 70 ½ or older and you have a traditional IRA or conventional pension plan, be sure you have taken your annual required distribution to avoid penalty.
Declutter and reap a tax break! Donate your gently used, unwanted items (in good condition) to a qualified charitable organization. Remember, only contributions to IRS approved charities are deductible. Also, be sure to retain receipts for any donated items you’ve purchased, like food or gifts.
Review your upcoming education expenses; consider maximizing your tax return education credits by prepaying college tuition bills that are due in early 2018. This can result in a bigger credit on this year’s Form 1040, as you can claim a 2017 credit for prepaying tuition for academic periods that begin in January through March of next year. Talk to a tax pro if you have any questions.
You can deduct the mortgage interest on your first and second home that you pay on loans, home equity lines of credit, and on construction loans. Did you buy that boat or RV last year? You may be able to deduct the interest on your tax return. And don’t forget your real estate taxes and maybe even sales taxes — these may also be deductible.
Small business or self-employed
There are dozens of considerations, tax deductions and even tax credits available to small businesses and for the self-employed. Be sure to know all the rules related to your full time business or smaller business on the side. Those extra deductions including travel expenses, computer expenses, cell phone, internet fees and even business gifts are often overlooked but can make a better tax bottom line.
That Miscellaneous Sweet Spot
“Miscellaneous expenses” is a catch-all category that includes tax preparation fees, expenses for income-generating hobbies, gambling losses, unreimbursed employee expenses such as union dues, travel for work, even business related gifts and more.
Tax returns are one of the biggest financial transactions that Americans have each year. No one wants to leave money on the table. Be sure to get professional assistance if you need it. Visit Jackson Hewitt online to find an office near you.