Contrary to what many self-employed individuals believe, long-standing regulations usually prohibit most of them from claiming bad-debt deductions on their federal and state returns when they are unable to recover amounts due from clients and customers.
On his April 27 broadcast, while challenging whether the Mormon Church is a charity, Bill Maher told viewers that donating to the arts also does not qualify as charitable giving, because "unlike food and water, access to Mozart is not a basic human necessity."
Your goal should be to receive little or no tax refund next year. Better to use that money throughout the year to pay down credit card balances or other debt, build emergency savings, beef up your retirement plan contributions or invest it.
If you're like me, and putting off finishing your taxes until the last minute, you can at least be thankful that we have until April 17th this year to file. I turned to Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and the Turbotax Blog Manager, for advice.
We're not supposed to toot our own horns when we give, but change that way of thinking when it's tax time. Take credit for doing good! Don't forget to count the cost of driving to and from the place you volunteer, and don't undervalue that bag of clothes you donated to Goodwill.
Tax credits don't work to encourage behavior if Americans can't understand them, so let's get Congress and the president to enact the "Baffle Rule" this year, so that our taxes for next year are friendlier and less baffling to the self-employed and small businesses.
Whether you are filing an EZ form, fighting an IRS penalty, undergoing an audit or just beating the April 17, 2012 deadline, these tips will help you put your best leg forward on the path to financial freedom.
What should the Democrats be offering as one of their top priorities to deal with the enormous inequities in our tax code? I call for the "flatter tax." I believe all income from whatever source should be taxable.