10 Great Tax Tips for 2011

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Tax Services

Tax Services OfferIts that time of year again. As we open up our mailboxes in Ardmore, ok , we’re greeted with tax document after tax document, or else we’re waiting for that tax return 2011 to start our new year.

Suddenly we see signs up everywhere advertising tax services, and we hear tons of commercials on television and the radio advertising tax services, tax tips, and offers to convince you to allow them to prepare your taxes. Just deciding on the right tax preparer can be a daunting task, but before you do that, make sure you’ve got everything together that you need and that you have a clear game plan prepared before you hand your taxes over. Have an idea of exactly what you want to do with your taxes, and figure out what your expectations are. For instance, are you expecting a return, or do you want to claim any deductions? In an economy where we’re all looking for a little extra, it’s worth making sure your taxes are prepared just right and that you get every benefit you can when doing your taxes.

So here are a few tax tips so you’re prepared to do filing of your tax return 2011. Some you may not want to consider at all or may not apply to you, but there’s at least one tip here for everyone, and perhaps tips you can use in the future if not now.

  1. Start gathering all of your records from the previous tax year. Locate any forms, documents, receipts, canceled checks, income supporting documents, and any other papers you may need for any deductions or claims you request. For deductions, make sure you have all paperwork to support every deduction, labeled as to what it was for, etc..
  2. Stay on the lookout for your tax documents in the mail. If you’re an employee, watch out for W-2s from every company you’ve worked for in 2010, or look for 1099s if you’ve carried out any  you or any of your dependents/spouse has paid tuition, in addition to receiving tax documents regarding any student loan interest payments you’ve made. Your bank and any other financial accounts that are taxable will also send you their own statements. Make a list of what you’re expecting so you can check off each of the forms as you receive them.
  3. Find a qualified company or person to handle your tax filing if you don’t plan to do it yourself. While many companies offer seemingly great offers (such as a tax refund anticipation loan), look for any catches and look for a reputable company that you have heard about or feel comfortable with. In Ardmore OK you’ll be able to find a wealth of great tax preparers ready to give you sound tax tips. Just type “Tax Services Ardmore OK” into any search engine and you’ll find plenty of results.
  4. If you own a home, talk to your tax preparer about possible deductions. There are many great tax breaks to be found here. Home related costs, like property taxes and points you’ve paid to get a lower loan interest rate, can be deducted, including interest on some home equity loans. When you sell, and if you’ve lived in your home two of the five years before you sell, you get a tax break on some of the profit.
  5. Review any medical costs you’ve had in the past year. Medical expenses can equal tax savings if you have enough. Claim them as itemized deductions, You can also make miscellaneous deductions, again this depends on the total value of them.
  6. Adjust your payroll withholding. If you over-withheld on your federal taxes, you’ll get a refund. On the other hand, under-withholding will cause you to owe the IRS when you file, which isn’t bad unless its a big bill and you don’t pay over the year, thus receiving penalties. If you want to change your withholding, fill out a new W-4 for your employer. There are several payroll deduction calculators out there to help you figure out what to with hold so you get it ‘just right’.
  7. If you, your dependents, or your spouse are planning on attending college, make sure you look at educational accounts that can help with college costs and taxes. Almost every state offers a 529 plan, which is a savings account set up for children to help pay for college. Contributions to the account are not tax deductible, but the earnings aren’t taxed. Additionally, if you take out funds to pay for an eligible expense, you would not be taxed. There is tax free money from other educational savings plans that can be used in 2011. For college students, there are also tax credits to receive such as the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit and similar ones, so make sure you ask about these.
  8. If you own a business, whether its your main source of income or if its just a side business, there are tax laws that will allow you a few ways to save. The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 made increases to the Section 179 tax deductions. Now you can deduct expenditures in the year which they’re made instead of waiting for it over several tax years. Of course you can write off some of your business startup costs, and also home office expenses if you run an office out of your home.
  9. If you’ve given to charity in 2010, you don’t have to meet a certain threshold to deduct your donations. As long as you have given to an IRS approved organization, you can claim an itemized deduction for the full amount you donated. Try to spread your donations throughout the year.
  10. Lastly, review, review, review! After you’ve gathered up your information, go over it again to make sure you’re not missing anything that could benefit you. During the process, don’t panic! Handing over your documents to a preparer will give you the peace of mind to know that not only will they complete what you asked for, they may be able to find new tax incentives that you hadn’t considered before!

Before you know it, April 15th will have passed, and you’ll be looking forward to receiving tax returns for 2011

Find out what your options are, call us now for a free consultation:  for by calling us on, 1-580-224-9399