Tag Archives: taxes

Last Minute Tax Reduction Tips

2010-year-end-tax-tips-landlords-250x250I know we’re all distracted by Holiday shopping madness, but it’s never too soon to start looking for ways to reduce your 2013 income tax obligation. You only have 3 weeks left to make adjustments!

Things like deferring income until the new year, making charitable donations, pre-paying next year’s college tuition, and maxing out your IRA and HSA contributions are all legitimate ways to cut your tax bill. For a more comprehensive list of tax ideas, I went on a little Google search. Here is a list of links that will get you started.

And, just in case you miss the boat, there’s always next year!

Of course, you should definitely consult with your tax professional before doing this. That’s if you can catch him – he’s probably out Christmas shopping!

How about you? Have you used any of these techniques? Did you save much? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Tax Time 2013!

no-stress-tax-tips-600Standby for our annual, obligatory “Last Minute Tax Tips” post!

You might be thinking: How can it be tax time? There’s still snow on the ground! Well, you better hitch up the sleigh, because Uncle Sam waits for no man, snowman!

Anyway, the web is full of hundreds of articles on last minute tax advice, all of which I will share now and here are a few to ponder.

And FYI, in recent years, Tax Day has been postponed for the weekend, or due to some holiday. But this year, Tax Day goes Old School, i.e., April 15. Yay, tradition!

So, as a humble public service from your humble public servant (me) here are the links to everything you need to know. Have a good weekend!

Forbes     •     CBS News     •     Investopedia     •     US News Money

Fox News     •     TurboTax     •     Money Talks News

Wall Street Journal     •     Yahoo Finance     •     Detroit Free Press

Helpful Tips to Avoid an Audit

It’s a word that causes much anxiety this time of year: AUDIT, as in IRS. I found an article that helps explain who gets audited, why, how to avoid it and what to do if it happens. Here are some highlights:

Most audited tax returns are selected for review either because the filer is part of a target group or because a computer program selects the return. The computer system selects many returns randomly, but there are red flags that will draw the Internal Revenue Service’s attention.            MSN Money

So, what are some red flags the IRS looks for?

  1. Math mistakes: usually spotted by the computer, a human checks it, and sometimes they let it slide. But ya nevah know, so check your math, Einstein!
  2. Mismatched interest & dividend reporting: Whoops! If the amounts reported in supporting documents don’t match the amounts on your return, you will hear about it!
  3. You’re on the IRS hit list: Too much cash income? Small business owner? Self employed?
  4. You have a big mouth: Going on Facebook and yakking about the big scam-ola you pulled on Uncle Sam? Not good.
  5. You’re exceptional: IRS computers can actually predict which returns are most likely to generate revenue from an audit, i.e. which ones are worth their time. Any big weird deductions, too much charity giving, etc. and you are likely to stick out.
  6. You have the wrong preparer: I knew one with papers stacked to the ceiling – you know, other people’s returns lying out in the open. Also, she had a huge parrot, which is weird.

So, what do you do if your number is pulled? Well, you read the rest of the article!

Nutty but Legitimate Tax Deductions


Tax time approaches, and there is often little to smile about. But if you’re a whaling captain or an accused criminal, and you’re looking for some last minute deductions, you’re in luck! From TurboTax:

Whale Tale: You can claim up to $10,000 for repairs to your whaling ship. The catch is you must be a Native American!

Orthodontic clarinets? A 1962 ruling said that clarinets were helpful in correcting a child’s overbite. So, if you have a prescription clarinet, claim that sucker as a medical expense!

The Dog Paddle Deduction: I have a brother-in-law with a bum knee who has been told by his therapist to swim every day. If that’s you, you could claim your swimming pool as a deduction!

Butts for Bucks: The various tools, tricks and prescriptions for kicking the smoking habit are often deductible.

Volunteer for the Wrong Reasons! If you have to hire a babysitter when you do volunteer work, that’s deductible!

Deductible Defense: Crime doesn’t pay, but sometimes your legal defense is deductible!

Bow-wow Bonus! The cost of a guard dog may be deductible from your taxes. Enough to offset your higher homeowner’s insurance premium? Probably not!!

There are more goofy deductions here. Have you heard of any other weird deductions? And aren’t you glad our tax code is so delightfully simple?