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3 On Your Side: Tax Preps in Final Stretch

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Tax day is one week away! Maybe you’ve already spent your refund or maybe you haven’t even started filling out your return. For all the procrastinators out there, 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan has some advice as we head into the home stretch.

You can’t hide from the calendar any longer. April 15th is almost here! So dig out your calculator it’s time to do your taxes.

If you’re still looking for deductions, start with your house. State and local property taxes, mortgage insurance and mortgage interest are some of the most common deductions.

A home office can also be deducted, if it’s really a home office. Gary Duboff, Managing Partner for CBIZ MHM says, “if you just decide that you want to work from home on a Friday for example, you won’t be able to deduct those expenses as a home office.”

What you can’t deduct is any loss you suffered selling your home. According to Duboff, “Unfortunately you can’t deduct the loss on a sale or a personal residence however the I.R.S. would want to tax the gain.”

Also take into account any higher education costs or job-hunting expenses. Charitable donations and contributions to a tax-deductible IRA are also fair game. Consider medical expenses you paid in 2012 too. If the amounts are large, you might want to consult a tax professional.

Your return and payment should be mailed together and must be postmarked by April 15. For the quickest return file electronically and opt for direct deposit. If you owe money but can’t afford to pay you should still file. Send what you can and work out a payment plan for the rest. The penalties for not filing are much higher than not paying.

By the way, if your home suffered from damage from Hurricane Sandy, you can find more information on my blog.

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