Day 9: Get smart about your taxes!

I was going to cover something else completely today but saw that taxes are the topic du jour on Twitter (if you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m @Jessc098).

That got me thinking… the vast majority of Americans file on or after the deadline…very much unlike me. I consider a perk of being self-employed being able to file my taxes extra-early without waiting for a W-2, but I’m weird like that. Also, being an adoptive parent (two adoptions in three years) we see gigantic refunds every year due to the Adoption Tax Credit. We don’t even end up paying AMT.

Do you pay someone else to do your taxes? If you don’t have businesses or trusts, or other unusual circumstances, you might try giving tax-preparation a try.

We’ve used TurboTax online for the last several years, and one of my favorite features is that I can print my return to a *.pdf file and keep it on my computer. Also, every time I loose this file I can just grab it from the Web. Furthermore, it keeps track of things like the carryover balance of the adoption tax credit that we’ll get to claim for 2009 because we didn’t reach the max in 2008. This is all stuff my tax preparer might miss, and it provides me the extra assurance of being able to find the return later if I need it.

Also, if you are (or have) gotten money back this year–is it time to re-evaluate your withholding? What if you reduced your withholding and stopped giving the government an interest-free loan? Just something to think on for today. You could put the difference into an IRA or if you’re afraid of underpaying and getting stuck with a bill, put the extra into a SmartyPig savings account to keep around until you’ve calculated your 09 taxes.

Just my $.02 for today.