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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Taxes and Savings

Yes, I know it isn't April 14th yet, and you're probably waiting until then to start on taxes, but don't you think we might be able to get a jump start on taxes? After all, part of frugality involves planning ahead, and making wise financial decisions now for the future. I am by NO MEANS a tax professional. Nor am I qualified to give tax advice. I am not a CPA, don't have a business degree, and am only mentioning some things I have found that might be helpful. Truly my only suggestion here is to do the research yourself to see if you qualify for this tax credit! However, every year since I had my first job, I've filed my own taxes with only the help of my mother (thanks!). As I'm beginning to work on my 2007 taxes this month, I want to share a few things I've found this year, or in the past, that are really beneficial to me as I prepare my taxes. Most of you will probably already be aware of them, but in the event that you aren't, maybe what I share will encourage you to study the relevant tax laws yourself to see if they might apply to you, or to ask your tax preparer about these deductions and credits.

The first income tax 'discovery' I'd like to share is what I have found concerning retirement savings contributions. Most people are aware of the fact that if they make contributions to a traditional IRA, the contributions may be tax-deferred (see IRS Form 1040 Instructions for requirements). Many of you, like myself, however would rather pay the taxes today, and be able to withdraw those funds after retirement tax free, expecting to withdraw more than you put in, and so we choose Roth IRA's. Here's the great news - just because you don't get the above the line deduction for a Roth IRA contribution, doesn't mean there aren't any tax benefits! You may qualify for a tax credit for contributions to your retirement account (whether it is a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), or other plan). IRS Form 8880 should be consulted to see if you are qualified. Some specific requirements concern your Adjusted Gross Income. If you meet the other qualifications and have an AGI of $15,500 or less ($31,000 or less for married couples) you can receive a credit for 50% of your contributions to the retirement savings plan, up to $2,000. The credit phases out for those with a higher AGI, with a 10% credit for individuals with an AGI less than $26,000 ($52,000 for a married couple).

So then, supposing your income is as low as mine, and you work to deposit $2,000 into your Roth IRAs throughout the year, you will pay $1,000 less in taxes - essentially allowing the federal government to match your first $1,000 of contributions!

Don't pass up this great possibility at a tax credit that encourages you to save for retirement! And, if it is already too late for your 2007 taxes, work towards utilizing this credit in 2008 by beginning to make regular deposits into a qualified retirement account now!

NOTE: I am by NO MEANS a tax professional. Nor am I qualified to give tax advice. I am not a CPA, don't have a business degree, and am only mentioning some things I have found that might be helpful. Truly my only suggestion here is to do the research yourself to see if you qualify for this tax credit!

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