Showing posts with label taxes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taxes. Show all posts

List of States with Tax Free School Shopping Days

School is starting just around the corner, and its time for the annual tax free shopping weekend all over the nation. Some states even include Hurricane preparation items too! Here is a chart from Fed Tax Administrators that lists all the states participating. This year in Florida you can get the discount on laptops and computers too.


Items Included

Maximum Cost
1st Year


Information Links *
Alabama3hurricane preparedness
generators - $1,000
supplies - $60
2012February 22-24
Alabama3clothing - $100
computers - $750
school supplies - $50
books - $30
2006August 2-4
Arkansas2clothing - $100
school supplies
2011August 3-4
clothing and footwear - $300
August 18-24
Florida3school supplies - $15
clothing - $75
computer - $750
2010+August 2-4
Georgia2school supplies - $20
clothing - $100
computer - $1,000
2012+August 9-10
Georgia3energy and water efficient products - $1,5002012+October 4-6
clothing - $100
August 2-3
all TPP - $2,500
August 2-3
hurricane preparedness items - $1,500
May 25-26
firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies
September 6-8
Maryland3energy star products2011February 16-18
Maryland7clothing & footwear-$1002010August 11-17
clothing & footwear - $100
July 26-27
Missouri7energy star products - $1,500 2009April 19-25
Missouri3clothing - $100
computers - $3,500
school supplies - $50
2004August 2-4
New Mexico3clothing - $100
computers - $1,000
computer equip. - $500
school supplies - $30
2005August 2-4
North Carolina
clothing - $100
school supplies - $100
instructional material - $300
computers - $3,500
other comp. - $250
sports equip - $50
August 2-4
North Carolina
energy star products2009November 1-3
clothing - $100
August 2-4
South Carolina
school supplies
August 2-4
clothing - $100
school supplies - $100
computers - $1,500
August 2-4
energy star products
air conditioners - $6,000; other - $2,000
May 25-27
clothing, backpacks and school supplies- $100
August 9-11
Virginia7hurricane preparedness items - $60
generators - $1,000
2008May 25-31
Virginia3clothing - $100
school supplies - $20
2006August 2-4
Virginia4energy star products - $2,5002006October 11-14

Have You Started Your Taxes Yet?

Have you started looking at your taxes yet? I have and it looks like I'll get a refund. I did my taxes using Taxact which is free for the basic forms.

TaxACT - Free Tax Preparation

How Much More Tax Will You Pay?

Only 53% of the people who read this will find it of value, those of you who work for a living. As we approach the end of the year, it is becoming more evident that our taxes will increase next year as the President and Congress are unable to compromise and prevent the Bush era tax cuts from expiring. The President holds all the cards and doesn't really need to play with the Republicans because he's already elected for his final term in office. Last time he signed to extend the tax cuts in 2010, he needed to please the electorate - but not anymore. Sure he's thrown out a proposal, but the Republicans laughed at it. There will be no more offers from his side of the game.
If there is no compromise, the tax increases would be significant:
  • FICA would go up by 2 percentage points.
  • All income tax brackets would go up by 3 to 5 percentage points.
  • Tax rates on capital gains would rise.
  • Tax rates on dividends would more than double.
  • The child tax credit drops from $1000 to $500.
  • The marriage penalty would return.
The hardest hit would be two-income couples with children, but everyone would see their taxes go up.
But what does this mean? Well, if you work and contribute your payroll taxes to build our highways and pay our public servants you will pay more starting next year. For the typical middle class family, it means about $2000 will disappear from your household budget as it is earmarked for income tax. You can go to the Tax Foundation and plug in your income in this handy calculator to see the difference how much taxes you will now pay starting next year.
What would you have done with your 2K? #My2K would pay for our groceries and household supplies for an entire year, plus pay for the dog food and all our car's gasoline. Two thousand dollars would pay for two week long vacations. Two thousand dollars would pay our property taxes and half of our home insurance. Two thousand dollars would pay for our vehicle insurances. All of these bills must continue to be paid, but we won't have the income now. It will be an extra frugal year on top of our already frugal lifestyle.
What bothers me about this is not so much paying more taxes, it's that 47% of people will not be paying more. The people who suck up government services like disability, food stamps, cash assistance and section 8 housing allowances. These people probably have never worked or paid taxes. They have a bunch of kids and they get a bunch of government checks each month to buy their groceries, pay their rent and provide for their sorry existence. They will not feel the pain or have the difficult decisions to make about what they must fore go this month in order to pay the bills.
Get ready, it's going to happen.


EITC Tax Credit

Do you qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?  Many low-income working individuals and families qualify for EITC, and don't claim it.  You could pay less federal tax, pay no tax, or even get a tax refund.  For more information and to find out if you qualify for EITC, go to the IRS EITC Home Page.
Basic Qualifications

All Workers Claiming the EITC Must:

  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Not file as "married filing separate,"
  • Not file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ (related to Foreign Earned Income),
  • Meet the investment income limitation ($3,150 for tax year 2011),
  • Have earned income,
  • Not be the qualifying child of another person,
  • Generally, be a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire year.
 To Claim EITC With a Qualifying Child, the Child Must Pass All of the Following Tests:
  • Relationship
    • A son or daughter (including an adopted child or child placed for adoption)
    • Stepchild
    • Foster child placed by an authorized placement agency or court
    • Brother, sister,  half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendant of any of them
  • Age, at the end of the filing year, the child was:
    • Younger than the worker (or the worker's spouse if married filing jointly) and 
      • younger than 19,
      • or, younger than 24 and a full-time student
    • Any age if permanently and totally disabled
  • Residency
    • Child must live with the worker, or the worker's spouse if filing a joint return, in the United States* for more than half of the year.
  • Joint Return
    • The child can not have filed a joint return, unless the child and the child's spouse did not have a filing requirement and filed only to claim a refund.
Warning: Only one person can claim the same qualifying child for EITC and other tax benefits.  If more than one person claims the same child, IRS applies the tiebreaker rules. Read more about the tiebreaker rules here.
To Claim EITC Without a Qualifying Child, The Worker, and The Worker's Spouse If Filing A Joint Return, Must:
Have lived in the United States for more than half of the tax year,
Be at least age 25 but not age 65 or older,
Cannot qualify as the dependent of another person.
*Special rules apply for members of the Military on extended duty outside the United States.  See the Military section on the Special Rules for EITC page on  for more information. 

An Easy Way to Do Taxes

TurboTax - Free Edition

TurboTax Online Free Edition is what I'm using this year to do my taxes. Your biggest tax refund, guaranteed. 100% accurate calculations, guaranteed. Up to date with the latest tax laws to help ensure your taxes are done right. Fastest refund possible, with free e-file.

Sales Tax Holidays by State 2011

Save money on back-to-school costs during the annual sales tax holidays. Use this list to see which states are participating, which items are eligible and state-by-state guidelines you need to know before you go shopping. Most states only have a weekend to take advantage of this opportunity, and for many it is this upcoming weekend!
Click the state link to see any exclusions - one I know is computer paper is excluded in FL.
Items and Max Cost (Per Item)
2011 Dates
More Information
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7
computers – $750
school supplies – $50
books – $30
clothing and footwear – $100
Sat + Sun August 6-7
Clothing accessories – $50
school supplies, art supplies, school instructional material
clothing and footwear – $300
Sun-Sat August 21-27
school supplies – $15
Fri-Sun August 12-14
books, clothing $75 (excludes computer paper)
clothing – $100
Fri + Sat August 5-6
all TPP – $2,500
Fri + Sat August 5-6
hurricane preparedness items – $1,500
clothing and footwear – $100
Sun- Sat August 14-20
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7
computers – $3,500
school supplies – $50
New Mexico
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7
computers – $1,000
school supplies – $15
North Carolina
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7
school supples – $100
instructional material – $300
computers – $3,500
other comp. – $250
sports equip – $50
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7
South Carolina
Fri-Sun August 5-7
school supplies
other (Check SC site for explicit items' exemptions)
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7
school supplies – $100
computers – $1,500
clothing, backpacks, and school supplies – $100
Fri-Sun August 19-21
clothing – $100
Fri-Sun August 5-7

school supplies – $20
chart via

A Cool Tax Credit

Did you know that your summer daycare expenses may qualify for an income tax credit?  Many parents who work or are looking for work must arrange for care of their children under 13 years of age during the school vacation.  Those expenses may help you get a credit on next year's tax return.
Here are five facts the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know about a tax credit available for childcare expenses.  The Child and Dependent Care Credit is available for expenses paid during the lazy, hazy days of summer and throughout the rest of the year.
  • The cost of day camp may count as an expense towards the child and dependent care credit.
  • Expenses for overnight camps do not qualify.
  • If your childcare provider is a sitter at your home or a daycare facility outside the home, you'll get some tax benefit if you qualify for the credit.
  • The actual credit can be up to 35 percent of your qualifying expenses, depending on your income.
  • You may use up to $3,000 of the unreimbursed expenses paid in a year for one qualifying individual, or $6,000 for two or more qualifying individuals to figure the credit.
For more information check out IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses. This publication is available on the IRS Website, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).  Please note that Revenue does not guarantee any tax credit and employees should consult a tax specialist if you have questions or concerns about filing your federal taxes.     
Source: Internal Revenue Service web site

Florida Sales Tax Holiday 8/13,14,15

It's back!  Florida's popular "back-to-school" sales tax holiday returns after a two-year break.  From August 13 through August 15, you and all Florida shoppers will not pay state or local sales tax on books, clothing, footwear, and certain accessories priced at $50 or less.  School supplies priced at $10 or less are also tax exempt.  Even if you don't have kids at home, you can also buy any of these items and donate them to schools and other volunteer organizations. 
What's In, What's Out?
A tax-exempt book, priced at $50 or less, is a set of printed sheets bound together and published in a volume.  It doesn't include newspapers, magazines, other periodicals, or audio books.
Tax-exempt clothing, priced at $50 or less, is any article of wearing apparel, including all footwear (except skis, swim fins, roller blades, and skates), worn on or about the human body.  However, "clothing" does not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, or sporting equipment.
Tax-exempt school supplies (priced at $10 or less) include:
  • pens
  • pencils
  • erasers
  • crayons
  • notebooks
  • notebook filler paper
  • legal pads
  • binders
  • lunch boxes
  • construction paper
  • markers
  • folders
  • poster board
  • composition books
  • poster paper
  • scissors
  • cellophane tape
  • glue or paste
  • rulers
  • computer disks
  • protractors or compasses
  • calculators

Thank You to the 53% of You Who Paid Taxes

Today is Tax day and in honor the government office where I work has decorated the break room with red white and blue streamers, nice colored tablecloths and centerpieces. Seems they're going to have a little pot luck to celebrate the 53% of you who actually paid Federal Income Taxes this year.
To you other 47% who paid no taxes this year, shame on you for sucking off society. Our economy and Federal deficit would be in much better shape if you would just forget about all those deductions that have been recently created and now have contributed to our economic downturn. I hope you stay off the roads that you didn't help maintain this year, and stay out of the libraries and parks too.

Have you done your taxes yet?

Tax Act
I hope you at least have gathered your tax information together, and if you're ready to do them, go HERE to use Taxact which I used for my taxes. Its really easy and the prompts are clear and easy to understand. I changed from having to owe to getting a refund and Taxact helped me verify it all. I'm getting ready to submit my tax return by efiling with Taxact this weekend.

How I Changed from Owing Taxes to Getting a Refund

I did my taxes a couple weeks ago using Taxact (I used to use Turbotax but they charge now for anything other than basic) and determined that we owed $92 in taxes. Not bad, but not a refund. The trouble with having to pay is you have to tear out all the little w2 forms and write a check and find a big envelope and remember to wait for April 15th to mail it all in. I like to just do it, and be done with it, and move onto the next big deal.
Well today I was reading the Sunday paper with my valentine in bed this morning and saw a little tip printed in the business section about to how to reduce what you owe to Uncle Sam. Just make a contribution to a traditional IRA account for the year 2009 and it will reduce your taxes. Well, that seems simple. I'd rather pay myself a few hundred bucks to an IRA than pay $92 to Obama. So I logged into Taxact adjusted some numbers and determined I can contribute $350 into an IRA and this swings our taxes to a refund of $8. Whalaaa - I can just file online and not have to print and sign all those stupid papers, and get we'll get a refund to boot - direct deposited into our checking.
So, if you haven't done your taxes - get to it. Its free to use Taxact online and you'll get an idea of what your obligation or refund will be. And you still have time to change it if you owe.

Is Your 2009 IRA Fully Funded?

You still have a few months to contribute to your IRA and Roth IRA's for 2009. This is a great way to cut your tax burden and save for retirement. There are some exciting changes for Roth IRA conversions this coming year that you should investigate which allow you to defer claiming half of the contribution until 2011, therefore easing the tax burden. According to the IRS, maximum IRA contributions for 2009 are the same for both a Traditional IRA and Roth IRA.  You can also split your contributions among both Roth and Traditional, but your combined contribution amounts are subject to these same limits.
Under 50 years old at the end of 2008:
  • Traditional IRA contribution limits = $5,000
  • Roth IRA contribution limits = $5,000
  • Combined IRA contribution limits = $5,000
Over 50 years old as the end of 2008:
  • Traditional IRA contribution limits = $6,000
  • Roth IRA contribution limits = $6,000
  • Combined IRA contribution limits = $6,000
  • IRA deadline for 2009 contributions is April 15, 2010.

  • Are you ready for Tax Day?

    Well its almost the end of the 3rd quarter of the year and this is a great time to assess your tax burden for the year 2009. If you are typical wage earner and have your taxes taken out of your paycheck, you can easily determine if you're going to have enough to have your taxes paid and maybe get a refund this year. We typically like to have less than a $1000 tax refund so more money goes into our pockets during the year, but I absolutely hate to pay additional taxes on April 15th.
    The IRS has a nifty calculator that lets you calculate your tax burden and it takes into consideration several legislative events that occurred this year.
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, introduced several changes that affect this Withholding Calculator:
    (1) The new Making Work Pay Credit:   The new withholding tables that employers should have implemented by April 1 have been incorporated into the calculator.
    You should use this calculator to ensure that the reduced withholding will not result in having too little income tax withheld (possibly causing you to owe taxes next year) if:
    • You are an employee with two concurrent jobs,
    • You and your spouse both work, or
    • You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return (since you are not eligible for this credit).
    (2) Pension income: Non-government pension income is not eligible for the Making Work Pay Credit, and the calculator now accounts for this. If you expect to receive a significant amount of pension income in 2009, you should use this calculator so that you can adjust your withholding appropriately for the second half of the year.
    (3) Unemployment Compensation:  The first $2,400 of unemployment compensation an individual receives in 2009 is now tax free. The Withholding Calculator now accounts for this, so enter the full amount into the calculator.
    Purpose of This Computer Program The purpose of this application is to help employees to ensure that they do not have too much or too little income tax withheld from their pay. It is not a replacement for Form W-4, but most people will find it more accurate and easier to use than the worksheets that accompany Form W-4. You may use the results of this program to help you complete a new Form W-4, which you will submit to your employer.
    Tips For Using This Program
    • Have your most recent pay stubs handy.
    • Have your most recent income tax return handy.
    • Fill in all information that applies to your situation.
    • Estimate values if necessary, remembering that the results can only be as accurate as the input you provide.
    • Consult the information links embedded in the program whenever you have a question.
    • Print out the final screen that summarizes your input and the results, then use it to complete a new Form W-4 (if necessary), and keep it for your records.
    Who Can Benefit From This Application?
    • Employees who would like to change their withholding to reduce their tax refund or their balance due;
    • Employees whose situations are only approximated by the worksheets on the paper W-4 (e.g., anyone with concurrent jobs, or couples in which both are employed; those entitled to file as Head of Household; and those with several children eligible for the Child Tax Credit);
    • Employees with non-wage income in excess of their adjustments and deductions, who would prefer to have tax on that income withheld from their paychecks rather than make periodic separate payments through the estimated tax procedures.
    For Special Situations If your situation is among those listed below, you will probably achieve more accurate withholding by following the instructions in Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?

    • If you will be subject to alternative minimum tax, self-employment tax, or other taxes; or
    • If any of your current jobs will end before the end of the year.
    NOTE: The information you provide is anonymous and will be used only for purposes of this calculation. It will not be shared, stored or used in any other way, nor can it be used to identify the individual who enters it. It will be discarded when you exit this program.
    2009 IRS Tax Withholding Calculator
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