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You are probably getting your taxes together, trying to figure out how much you owe for 2009. However, you might not be aware of these 5 tax breaks. While you don’t want to get too carried away with deductions and credits, there are some little-known tax breaks that you might be eligible for. Here are 5 tax breaks that you might be able to take advantage of on your 2009 return:
- Making work pay: Remember earlier in 2009 when Congress passed that economic stimulus package and President Obama signed it into law? One of the provisions was that workers would get a tax credit, up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married filing jointly. While most people have it automatically taken out of their 9-5 paychecks, the credit is also available for those who are self-employed. Double check withholdings from traditional jobs to make sure that everything is in train, and see if you have a tax credit coming when you fill out Schedule M.
- 2010 Haiti donations: Even if you have donated to the Haiti relief effort this year, between January 12 and February 28, you can actually deduct it on your 2009 taxes. If you donate less than $250, you need bank records, and if you donate more than that, you will need a receipt from the charity. Just hurry; you are running out of time to deduct it from 2009. Of course, even if you don’t donate by the end of this month, you will be able to make donations for deductions on your 2010 taxes.
- Expanded standard deductions: There are a host of new deductions that extend standard deductions, so you might end up with more deductions than you thought — without having to itemize. Some of these include state and local property takes, sales and excise taxes on new vehicles and certain deductions for disabilities.
- Job search expenses: If you racked up expenses related to a job search in 2009, you might be deduct some of them. You can deduct some travel expenses, fees paid to job search services and other expenses. You do need to be looking for a job in the same field. If you have been taking unemployment, you are exempt from paying income taxes on the first $2,400 in benefits that you collect.
- Supporting struggling relatives: Maybe you are doing okay financially, but your relatives are not. If you are helping struggling relatives, providing enough support that they are considered dependents, you might get some tax breaks.
There is also a one-time tax credit for retired government employees who did not have Social Security taxes taken out. There are also new tax benefits for education expenses and extensions of tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades to your home. And, of course, nearly everyone knows about the home buyer tax credit. All of these can add up to significant tax savings if you qualify.
2009 saw around 300 changes to tax law, so there are a number of opportunities to save a little money and reduce your tax liabilities. You can visit the IRS web site for more information, or consult a tax professional who can help you figure out what tax breaks you have coming to you.