As the deadline nears for filing 2015 income taxes, there's no time like the present to get a jump on being ready to file. Experts say planning ahead may help lower the stress created by filing your income taxes. Getting an early start can give you the time you may need to cover all the bases. The following tax strategies may help.
Planning For 2015 Taxes Made Easier
1. Be sure to check and double-check all tax withholdings. Review your withholding information with your employer's payroll department to make sure you're not having too much – or not enough – withheld from your paycheck. If you make quarterly estimated tax payments review them, too.
2. Consolidate your outstanding debts. Give some thought to paying off high-interest credit card balances with a home equity loan or line of credit. The rate will be lower and the interest will be tax deductible.
3. Take refinancing into account. If you refinanced your mortgage during the tax year, you probably have a lower interest deduction. And if you used any or all of the refinance proceeds for anything other than home improvements, that money may be subject to an alternative minimum tax. Don't forget, you can deduct points that were paid in the refinance if you haven't already.
4. You should prepay your quarterly estimated state taxes. Pay the fourth-quarter 2015 estimated state income taxes and any balance owed by December 31. You can deduct the payments for the 2015 tax year and you won't be subject to the alternative minimum tax.
5. You should prepay your personal property taxes. Some counties bill taxpayers twice – once in November and again in February. If you pay the February installment by the end of the tax year you can deduct it on your 2015 income taxes. A word to the wise, however, the alternative minimum tax does not allow this deduction.
As always, if you have questions about your withholdings, exemptions, deductions or other tax matters see a qualified tax professional.
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