Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes: Simple Strategies Every Taxpayer Should Know

Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes: Simple Strategies Every Taxpayer Should Know



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Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes: Simple Strategies Every Taxpayer Should Know by Sandra Block, Stephen Fishman

Reduce your taxes with great tips written in plain English.

While many tax books claim they can sharply reduce or eliminate your tax burden altogether, too often their dubious methods apply to nearly no one — or their accounting schemes run the risk of drawing unwelcome IRS scrutiny. Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes provides legitimate tactics and useful insights that can really lower your tax bill without running afoul of the IRS.

Learn more about tax planning:

 Get a lower tax rate Boost your tax-free income Defer paying your taxes Make the most of deductions Take advantage of exemptions Identify and use credits Shift income to other taxpayers — legally

Each rule is accompanied by excerpts, strategies, ideas, and real-world examples, plus information on retirement plans, home mortgages, student loans, charitable contributions, medical expenses, dependents — even businesses that never get started! You'll save big with the simple strategies found in Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781413309133
Publisher: NOLO
Publication date: 11/03/2008
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.86(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Stephen Fishman is the author of many Nolo books, most recently Tax Deductions for Professionals. Other titles include Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes, Every Landlord's Tax Deduction Guide and Home Business Tax Deductions - plus many other legal and business books. He received his law degree from the University of Southern California. After time in government and private practice, he became a full-time legal writer.

Sandra Block is a personal finance columnist/reporter for USA TODAY's Money section. Her "Your Money" column appears every Tuesday in the newspaper and online at USATODAY.com. She joined USA TODAY as a markets reporter in 1995 and then moved to the personal finance team in 1996. Prior to joining USA TODAY, Block also worked as a personal finance reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio; held a Knight-Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University in New York; and was a reporter for Dow Jones News Service in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Your Companion in Winning the War on Taxes 1

1 Tax Basics Everyone Can Understand 5

What Can Tax Planning Do for You? 6

Income Tax 101: How the System Works 7

How Low Can You Go? Stopped by the AMT Stealth Tax 10

Most States Have Income Taxes, Too 12

When to Start Tax Planning 13

2 The Best Tax Is No Tax: Income That's Tax Free 15

Timing Your Home Sale for Maximum Tax-Free Income 18

The Minor Advantage: Tax-Free Income for Children 29

Tax-Free Home Rental Income 33

Bonds, Roths, and Other Tax-Free Investment Income 34

Saving for College, Tax Free 36

Health Savings Accounts: The Triple Tax Break 50

Employee Fringe Benefits: Don't Miss These Tax Savings 54

Social Security Benefits: Tax Free Until They're Not 61

Live and Work Abroad and Avoid U.S. Taxes 65

Bonus Round: Other Types of Tax-Free Income 66

3 Dollar-for-Dollar Refunds: Tax Credits 69

Hybrid Cars: New Wheels and a Tax Break, Too 73

Solar Power-Let the Sun Burn Up Your Tax Bill 75

Tax Joy From Your Bundles of Joy 76

Get Educated and Get a Tax Break 80

Is Saving for Retirement a Challenge? Here's a Boost 86

Own a Business? Tax Breaks for Good Corporate Citizens 87

Expats' Delight: Credit for Income Taxes Paid Elsewhere 91

Bought Your First Home? A Tax Credit That's Really a Loan 93

Take Credit for Rehabilitating an Old or Historic Building 94

Benefit From Investing in Low-Income Housing 96

4 Delaying the Pain: Deferring Income and the Tax It Brings 99

Everybody's Deferral Tool: Retirement Accounts 100

No Profits, No Tax: Holding on to Your Investments 113

Happy New Year: Deferring Business Income to Next Year115

Can You Wait for That Bonus? Deferring Employee Compensation 116

No Need to Ask: Automatic Interest Deferral on U.S. Savings Bonds 118

Annuities: Sometimes Worth the Trouble 119

Swapping Real Estate: Deferring Taxes on Investment or Rental Property 120

Spreading Out Profits (and Taxes) With Installment Sales 124

5 Count Every Penny: Reducing Taxable Income With Deductions 127

Something for Everyone: Types of Tax Deductions 129

What's in It for You: The Dollar Value of a Deduction 130

Going the Easy Route: The Standard Deduction 132

Going for Every Dollar: Choosing to Itemize 135

Adjust Your Income With Above-the-Line Deductions 159

Own a Business? Deduct Your Expenses 162

Plan Ahead to Maximize Tax Savings From Deductions 168

6 Join the Low-Rate Club: Reduce Taxes Through Investing 175

Keeping Your Capital Gains Tax Low 177

Keeping the Tax on Your Dividends Low 191

Minimizing the Taxes on Your Mutual Fund Earnings 194

Different Rules When You Sell Business Property 200

7 All in the Family: Shifting Income Within Your Household 203

All Aboveboard: How Income Shifting Works 204

Thanks, Mom: Giving Your Kids Income-Producing Property 207

The Kiddie Tax-The IRS Puts the Brakes on Income Shifting 207

Giving Assets to Children Not Subject to the Kiddie Tax 211

Minor Detail? You Can't Take Your Gifts Back 213

How to Give Away Plenty Without Gift Tax Concerns 215

Give Junior a Job and Shift Your Tax Burden 217

8 Making the Most of Your Filing Status and Tax Exemptions 225

Choosing the Classification for You 226

Taking All the Tax Exemptions You Deserve 238

9 Help Beyond This Book 253

Information From the IRS 254

Other Online Tax Resources 255

Tax Publications 256

Consulting a Tax Professional 258

Index 261

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