Income Tax Tips - Powerful Tools That Will Streamline Your Tax To-Do List Have you ever sat down after submitting your income tax return and found that there were moves that you could have made in the previous year that would have saved you money on taxes? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. There are resources that you can use today that will help you to get better tax results in the future. Three tools are layed out for you inside this article. 1. Automated Tax Reminders. With all the important tasks that you need to keep up with, adding income tax reporting and filing requirements is an important reason to have a good scheduling system in place. One action that you can take is to sign up for free emails alerts that will remind you of upcoming tax filing and reporting dates. Do this soon so to stay in compliance with tax reporting requirements. 2. Income Tax Organizer. If you are like many others looking to reduce the amount of taxes you pay each year then a good resource for you is a tax organizer. This tool will help you maximize the allowable deductions and credits that you can take but the key to its success is the commitment that you are willing to make in using it. Although most people reserve the use of the tool for tax filing it is also a handy aid in tax planning. Take it along with you to quarterly tax reviews so that you can discuss any questions you have with your accountant. Then make sure to take it with you when its time to prepare your return. 3. Tax Refund Tracker. Have you ever filed your income tax return and expected to receive a refund on a certain date but it never arrived? If you follow-up to check the status by phone then you may experience long hold times when call volumes are high. One solution to this is to track your refund online. You will need a copy of your income tax return handy and internet access. The process is very simple and it will save you lots of time. You can check the status of your federal refund and most states offer the feature, as well. Now that you know about some of the tools that you should have in your tax planning toolkit, here's the next step. Visit http://tbsusa.com/taxcenter2.php and start using the resources that will streamline your list of tax To-Do's. Income Tax - Filing for a Child Care Provider Tax Deduction Each year parents of school aged children pay the cost of child care in order to work or look for employment. The costs can be expensive but if you keep track of the payments then you may be able to recapture a portion of the expense at tax time. Here are three points to know if you're considering taking the write-off. What is the Child Care Credit? The Child Care Credit allows parents and guardians of qualifying children and disabled adults to claim the costs of child and dependent care on their tax return. It is a non-refundable credit that does not automatically qualify you for a tax refund. However, if you have costs to claim it is a good idea to do so in order to lower your taxable income and pay less tax. Who Qualifies? You may be eligible to claim the Child Care Credit if you pay child care expenses for a child between the age of 0 - 12 years. The credit also applies to guardians of adults who are disabled. There are several tests that you must meet in order to claim the credit. Some examples include qualifying your dependent, earnings, reason for payments, and child care provider. The internal Revenue Services provides a discussion of the criteria on its website. What you need to claim the credit? In order to take the credit you will need the names and social security numbers for each qualifying dependent. In addition, you must include the identifying numbers and address for each child and dependent care provider. Identifying information can be a social security number for individual providers or a tax identification number if the provider is a business. Maintain an accurate total of the amount that you pay for child care costs so that you can maximize the tax benefits. Many companies that provide care will give you a summary of your payments at the end of the year. If you are eligible you will need to file this information on Form 1040 or 1040A. This will allow you to complete the schedule for the Child Care Credit. To learn more about how you can take income tax credits and deductions to lower your taxable income and keep more of what you earn this year, visit the tax center. And while you're there be sure to download a free Income Tax Organizer to help you plan for a smooth tax season. Tax Write-Offs For Small Business Owners The write-offs that you can claim when running a home-based business are similar to those of with offices outside the home with a few exceptions. Running a company from home allows you to deduct a percentage of the expenses that you would normally pay but aren't allowable on your personal income tax return. This article gives examples of write-offs that you should consider. Repairs. Leaky roof? Broken window? If you need to make repairs to the area where you work then see if they qualify as costs for your business. These are expenses that would not have been deductible on your personal tax return but having a home based business makes all the difference in the world. Maintenance. Lawn care and snow removal are necessary to the attractiveness and safety of your business when meeting clients in your home. Be sure to keep receipts showing who you paid, the amount, and date of payment in order to claim this cost when you file your return. Office Supplies are a necessity to running your business. Some that are specific to the area that you claim for your home office are allowable deductions. Keep up with the cost of computer supplies, ink, envelopes and even cleaning items that you use for your dedicated office space. Utilities. Guess what? The lights and gas you use to see and keep warm while you work are part of the cost of doing business, too. But in order to claim these expenses you will need to do some math first. Determine the square footage of your office space in relation to the total square footage of your home. Use that percentage to figure out the right amount to deduct. Then subtract that amount from your profits when determining taxable income. If you run a day care center in your home, the use of your home may be different. Seek the advice of an accountant for help figuring out what applies. Property Taxes and Mortgage Interest. Other costs that are related to your home include property taxes and mortgage interest. If you are a home owner be sure to include these costs when filing your business return. To claim the expense you will need to allocate them between your business and personal tax return. Mortgage Insurance. The amounts that you pay for property insurance can be a signification deduction for home based business owners. This also applies to renters who have rental insurance costs. As you can see there are many benefits of running a business from home. To learn more about the requirements of claiming home based business deductions download a copy of the Business Use of Your Home here.