Thanks everyone for the encouraging words. The family is beginning to feel better. Still don't want much food.
I know everyone does not want to think about taxes at this time of year. But there are some changes it is important to know early especially about the real estate tax payments being added to the standard deduction without having to itemize. Here are a few of the highlights from the IRS . To read more check out www.irs.gov
First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit — First-time homebuyers should begin planning now to take advantage of a new tax credit available for a limited time. The credit applies to primary home purchases between April 9, 2008, and June 30, 2009. Normally, this tax credit must be paid back in equal payments over 15 years. The credit is 10 percent of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $7,500 for either a single taxpayer or a married couple filing jointly. First-time homebuyers are those who have not owned a home in the three years prior to a purchase.
Real Estate Tax Deduction — There is an additional standard deduction for those who don’t itemize their deductions, but pay real estate taxes. The additional deduction amount is equal to the amount of real estate taxes paid up to $500 for single filers or up to $1,000 for joint filers. This deduction is available for the 2008 and 2009 tax years and increases your standard deduction.
Tuition and Fees Deduction — You may be able to deduct qualified tuition and required enrollment fees up to $4,000 that you pay for yourself, your spouse or a dependent. You do not have to itemize to take this deduction. However, a taxpayer cannot take both the tuition and fees deduction and education credits (Hope & Lifetime Learning Credits) for the same student in the same year. Income limits and other special rules apply to each of these provisions. To determine whether your expenses are qualified, refer to IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education. The 2008 edition is available soon online. This publication also describes other education-related tax benefits.
Educators’ Out of Pocket Expense Deduction — The educator expense deduction allows teachers and other educators to deduct the cost of books, supplies, equipment and software used in the classroom. Eligible educators include those who work at least 900 hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide in a public or private elementary or secondary school. Worth up to $250, the educator expense deduction is available whether or not the educator itemizes deductions on Schedule A.
Recovery Rebate Credit — If you did not qualify or did not receive the maximum amount for the 2008 economic stimulus payment you may be entitled to a recovery rebate credit when you file your 2008 tax return. Review the tax return filing instructions including the recovery rebate credit worksheet. You need to know the amount of the payment you received in 2008, which can be found on your Economic Stimulus Payment Notice (Notice 1378). Two online tools on IRS.gov will be available soon — the Recovery Rebate Credit Calculator will help taxpayers figure the amount they should claim on their 2008 tax return, and How Much Was My 2008 Stimulus Payment? helps you determine what your stimulus payment was.
New Rules for “Cash” Charitable Contributions — Since tax year 2007, to deduct any charitable donation of money, you must have a bank record, credit card statement or a written communication from the recipient showing the name of the organization and the date and amount of the contribution. In determining what may be deducted as a charitable contribution, see IRS Publication 526 for 2008 to be released in the near future.
Everyone have a Blessed weekend!