Think tax time is tough? Take it from me: It used to be a lot tougher.
When I became a certified public accountant 40 years ago, you did taxes with a pencil, not a computer. To uncover deductions, you waded through wads of paper rather than opening an expense-tracking app. When you were done, you mailed in your tax form, along with a paper check if you owed. If you didn’t, you waited weeks for your refund check.
If you went to an accountant or other tax professional, which was the only option if you didn’t do your taxes by hand, you paid through the nose for the privilege.
These days paying taxes may still be painful, but the process of filing is easier, smoother and much faster.
If they’re simple, now you can do your taxes in five minutes on your cellphone. Even if they’re complicated, if you keep good digital records, you can be done in an hour or two.
While there are still pros out there who want to charge big bucks to do your taxes for you, now there are myriad ways to get your taxes done for nothing. According to the IRS, about 70% of taxpayers — about 100 million people — are eligible for any number of free programs through the IRS.
But even though filing is easier today, one thing that isn’t is keeping on top of all the potential tax savings available. There are tons of tips and tricks you can use to legally lower your tax bill. You just need to know what they are.
That’s what this week’s “Money!” podcast is about. We’re going to talk about often overlooked deductions and tax credits, including things you can do now to reduce your 2021 taxes. And we’re going to try to do it without boring you to death in the process.
Sit back, relax and listen to this week’s “Money!” podcast:
Don’t listen to podcasts?
A podcast is basically a radio show you can listen to anywhere and anytime, either by downloading it to your smartphone, or by listening online. They’re awesome for learning stuff and being entertained when you’re in the car, doing chores, jogging or, if you’re like me, riding your bicycle.
If you haven’t listened to our podcast yet, give it a try, then subscribe. You’ll be glad you did!
Want more information? Check out these resources:
- 3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances
- 9 Tax Deductions You Can Claim Without Itemizing
- You’re Almost Out of Time to Snag This Tax Deduction (about the charitable deduction Miranda mentioned)
- Will You Owe Taxes on Last Year’s Stimulus Payment?
- 6 Ways to Get Your Taxes Done for Free (about the Free File, VITA, TCE and other programs Stacy mentioned)
- Cash App Taxes (formerly known as Credit Karma Taxes, which Miranda mentioned)
- The IRS’ Sales Tax Deduction Calculator Stacy mentioned
- Commonly Overlooked Tax Breaks and Other Tax Stuff to Know
- Tax Strategies That Save You Money
- Investopedia: The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions
- Kiplinger: 20 Most-Overlooked Tax Deductions, Credits and Exemptions
- Jackson Hewitt: Top 50 Most Overlooked Deductions
- MoneyWise: 9 tax breaks and deductions that are easy to overlook — start thinking about them now
- U.S. News & World Report: Don’t Overlook These Valuable Tax Write-Offs
- NerdWallet: 12 Tips to Cut Your Tax Bill This Year
- U.S. News & World Report: 18 Legal Secrets to Reducing Your Taxes
- CNBC: 5 tax tricks that could save you thousands
- Stacy’s stock portfolio
- Subscribe to the Money Talks News newsletter
- Take our course The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need
- Take our course Money Made Simple
- Miranda Marquit’s website