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February tax moves to make

Hello February. Although you're the year's shortest month, your fewer days can be full of extremes, like snow this week in the Midwest and Northeast and weather warm enough here in Central Texas for us to turn off the furnace and open windows.

Male cardinal enjoying a February snow shower_Tammy King-PinterestImage courtesy Tammy King's February Pinterest Board

February's changes can be dramatic. But there's no need to over-react to your taxes this month. There are lots of easy moves you can make over the next 28 days.

Collect your tax statements: Filing data on a variety of forms is filtering in this month. If you work for a company, you should have your W-2 in hand soon. The deadline to get it out was Jan. 31.

The same is true for 1099-MISC forms you'll get if you're an independent contractor and earned at least $600 for each job. Remember, the Internal Revenue Service gets copies of these, so don't ignore the self-employment income.

Even if you don't get 1099, you're legally required to report those earnings, too.

Many other types of taxable income are reported on several different 1099 forms. Pull out last year's tax return and see what info from some of these other 1099s you entered back then. For many of us, it's a good guide for what to expect with this year's filing.

You also can get more details on what you might need to complete your 1040 in this year's tax filing checklist.

Holiday tax hooks: Although February is the year's shortest month, it is full of special days.

The whole month is officially Black History Month. Among the celebrations are the educational successes, exemplified by the country's historically black colleges. If you want to contribute to one of these higher education institutions, your gift could be tax deductible if you itemize.

Valentine's Day is a good reminder for married couples to make sure they are using the best filing status. It's probably filing jointly, but taxes, like relationships, aren't all hearts and flowers. There are situation when a couple should consider filing separate tax returns.

Big game, big tax possibilities: And then there's the Super Bowl.

Even if you're not a fan of the Atlanta Falcons or New England Patriots, chances are you'll be watching the game. Or at least the halftime.

A lot of folks will be paying close attention because they have some money riding on the outcome of the NFL championship, either via traditional wagers (remember, sports betting is legal only in Nevada) or through fantasy football.

Either way, any of those gambling winnings (yes, I count fantasy sports as games of chance more than skill) are taxable income.

More moves: There are more holidays and tax moves in February. You can find them in the ol' blog's right column.

February_tax_moves_160They're listed under the February Tax Moves heading (like the one at left), just beneath the countdown clock that's keeping track of how many days until the April 18 deadline for our 2016 returns to be on their way to the Internal Revenue Service.

But don't wait too long. The next 28 days will be gone before you know it.


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