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December 30, 2009 > Tips to Maximize Your 2009 Tax Return

Tips to Maximize Your 2009 Tax Return

Submitted By Clay Merrill

With the end of the year quickly approaching, evaluating your possible deductions, tax credits, and write-offs before the end of the 2009 tax year could make 2010 a great year. University of Phoenix instructor and CPA, Morris Hamm, offers tips to help maximize your next tax return:

Keep track of "work search" expenses - Keep track of expenses related to your job search, which could include costs of printing your resume, taking individuals to lunch, going to interviews, etc. These can be written off only if they exceed 2% of your gross adjusted income.

Research self-employed status - There are dozens of deductions for expenses incurred while working from home. Deductions include mileage, expenses for business equipment or other miscellaneous expenditures. Keep good records and file a Schedule C.

Make "going green" profitable - If you have purchased solar panels, or installed energy-efficient air conditioners or water heaters for your home, you could be eligible for write-offs up to 30%.

Training and re-training - Educational expenses to improve your professional skills can be considered continuing education, so keep track of them. Training and education expenses for a career in a different field are not deductible so keep clear records of what you studied and why.

Retirement Accounts - Deductions for retirement account contributions cannot be carried over. If not used, they will be lost. The state of social security and the nation's debt make taking care of your future more imperative than ever.

American Opportunity Credit - It is a tax credit for as much as $2,500, generated by spending on tuition and other education expenses up to $4,000. Currently this credit is available for 2009 and 2010 to single taxpayers with less than $80,000 of modified adjusted gross income and married couples earning less than $160,000. Amounts paid in 2009 for the spring of 2010 are eligible for a 2009 credit.

Take the loss and the gain - Capital losses up to $3,000 can be offset against ordinary income and any losses above $3,000 can be carried forward. It looks like tax rates will increase and the losses will be more valuable in future years.

To schedule an interview with UOP Professor and Tax Expert Morris Hamm to discuss these tips, contact Clay Merrill at 916-448-5802.

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