The date of April 15th wasn't always so horrifying. According to Wikipedia the original filing date for income taxes was March 1, 1913. That changed to March 15th in 1918, and April 15th in 1955. I'm not sure why the dates changed, but it does appear to keep postponing the date was popular in the 20th century.
So Many Different Taxes
Alas, it hasn't evolved in a positive light, more of a burden for an already burdened populace. One of the reasons for this is that the number of different taxes has grown. I will list some of the more common ones here:
- capital gains
- excise, and inflation.
An odd tax called Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was figured for those income earners who claim enough deductions that they pay little to zero taxes. The powers to be couldn't have anyone not paying, so a tax was instituted.
The 2009 tax brackets for federal income based on ranges for taxable income are predicted to be the same now, in 2010. The tax rate varies from 10% to 35% for married couples filing jointly to single filers. Of course there may be some exceptions. The personal exemption, standard deduction, annual gift tax exclusion ($13,000.00), and both IRA contribution limits won't change. The overall tax bracket thresholds will increase at a lower amount than past increases. All this from Money Blue Book website.
Now that some of what we file and pay is acknowledged we can look at deductions. They too, are numerous and take research on an expert's part to implement correctly. I am going to share some of those that are overlooked, forgotten or not heard of.
Age - if you were 65 in 2009, you are eligible for a larger standard deduction.
- Charitable deductions that were out-of-pocket, like food donations, and driving to a charity drop-off place (.14 cents/mile).
- Did you re-locate for a job? If so, you can deduct moving costs for both yourself and household goods. If you drove your own vehicle you can get .24cents/mile.
- Child care credit claim reduces your tax bill. It is better than reducing the amount of income taxed.
- This one involves extra paperwork, but it is a good one for those of us who don't itemize, and take the standard deduction. Single filers can raise their standard deduction up to $500.00. Married, joint filers can raise theirs up to $1,000.00.
- Energy-saving home improvements credit is well worth looking into. There are new rules like the repeal of $200.00 credit cap for windows, so ask your tax preparer about this.
- Casualty loss for disaster areas can be added to nonitemizers standard deduction.
The IRS April 15th date is nearing, so start combing through your past year of finance, and make your appointment with your tax person. Prepare yourself for the myriad possibilities that await you from your government. Oh, and find out if they (IRS) did purchase the guns they were soliciting.