Local News

Apr 12, 2010 9:38 PM by Ariel Wesler

Tax tips to save you money

If you've been putting off doing your taxes, listen up! You have three days to get them done.

Don't worry. You're not alone. The IRS says around 40 million people wait until the last two weeks to file their taxes. As of the end of March, the number of returns the IRS received was down about two and half percent from last year.

"A couple of them are simple, but some of them, I told them. . .why did you get them to me so late?"

CPA Brooke Salvini has some late nights ahead of her and if you haven't filed your taxes, she says you may want to wait.

"Better to file an extension than do a sloppy job and pass up on deductions," Salvini said.

But she warns it's a six month extension to file NOT an extension to pay.

"Make sure you've made your IRA contributions and your health savings account contributions," Salvini said.

Also, look for tax breaks from charitable contributions, including mileage from volunteering. If you purchased a new vehicle, you may be able to deduct the sales tax.

Deductions aren't the only way to save money on your taxes this year. Federal and state programs are also offering thousands of dollars in home tax credits.

First time homebuyers could get $8,000 back if they purchase a home by April 30 and close escrot by June 30.

You could earn an additional $10,000 dollars courtesy of California if you are a first time home buyer or close escrot on a new home after May 1.

"We're building in Mission Meadows and San Miguel. We have three that will qualify for both credits, both the federal and the state," said Amy Sarzotti with Midland Pacific Homes.

That's a potential $18,000 if you buy before May and it could be enough money for procrastinators to get their future taxes in order.

If you don't get that check postmarked by April 15th, the penalty is five percent for each month your late plus interest.

According to Turbotax, this year's top three cities with the most tax procrastinators are Houston, Chicago, and New York.

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