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Tax effects of the "fiscal cliff" decisions

With the last minute agreement on a bill to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff", along with other changes that were due anyway January 1, there are several extensions & amendments that affect real estate transactions, home ownership, and home building. Here is a nice summary:
Fiscal Cliff Avoided - What it Means for Housing and Home Builders

Tax Refund App for iPhone and Android

The IRS has introduced a free app for iPhone and Android, that allows you to check on the status of your tax refund. Download IRS2go from the App Store, or Google Play Store.

2010 Tax Year filing deadlines

The deadlines for filing your 2010 Tax return are slightly different this year. "Tax Day" this year will be Monday, April 18, 2011 (due to Federal and Washington DC holidays); and the regular extension deadline for filing will be October 17, 2011 (due to October 15 falling on a weekend).

2011 & 2010 Standard Mileage Rates

The following Standard Mileage Rates apply for 2011 (2010 in brackets):-
    ● business mileage - $0.51 per mile; ($0.50 per mile)
    ● medical or moving expenses - $0.19 per mile; ($0.16 per mile)
    ● in service of charitable organizations - $0.14 per mile; ($0.14 per mile, no change)

The tax impact of losing a job

The IRS has produced an information booklet which discusses the tax implications of losing a job, unemployment benefit, effects on pensions, incurring expenses for job hunting, relocation, and many other related issues. You can view and download the booklet by clicking on the following link:- Tax Impact of Job Loss

Extension of 179 expensing

New rules introduced in 2008 extended the scope of qualifying equipment where businesses can write-off 100% of the cost in the year of purchase, rather than depreciating it over time. The Section 179 scheme has been extended into the 2009 tax year, with a maximum write-off of $250,000.

Tax credits for improving energy efficiency in your home

Tax credits are available for improving the energy efficiency of your home, with items such as insulation, replacement windows and doors, and energy efficient water heaters and furnaces. These are for items placed in service from January 1, 2009 onwards.

Free review of your past tax returns

If you believe your previous tax returns may have been incorrect, we can review them for you and help to correct them for up to the maximum prior three years allowed. Unlike with many other tax preparation firms, this is a free review if we are also preparing your current tax return.

2009 & 2010 Tax Credit incentives for home buyers

If you bought a home as a first time buyer between January 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010 (provided it was under firm contract by April 30, 2010), you may qualify for a tax credit of 10% of the purchase price, maximum $8,000.

If you bought a home as a repeat buyer between November 7, 2009 and September 30, 2010 (provided it was under firm contract by April 30, 2010), you may qualify for a tax credit of 10% of the purchase price, maximum $6,500.

Basic requirements for eligibility:
$8,000 first time buyer tax credit ● purchase of a principal residence only
$6,500 repeat buyer tax credit ● contracted by April 30, 2010, and settled by September 30, 2010
Tax Tips, Royal Taxes ● credit not repayable, provided you own the home for three years

There are income restrictions, and other rules apply. There are also some special rules for active military personnel. We can help you ensure that you are eligible and claim the full benefit.

You can see see more information at Chris Laurence's website

Gains and losses in the stock market

If you have experienced losses on sale of stocks or most mutual funds, you can claim a maximum $3,000 loss against capital gains in the same tax year. However you can carry unused losses forward into future tax years.

Job-hunting expenses

If you are job-hunting, you can generally claim the expenses involved.

Claiming dependents

Remember that Dependents don't have to be living with you to qualify.

Medical expenses

Ensure that you claim all your medical deductions - these can include things such as travel expenses to collect prescriptions.

Re-training expenses

If you change job or career, any costs of re-training that you incur yourself are tax deductible.
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