Hello, September! We've been waiting all summer for you.
Parents are thrilled that their children of all ages are back to school. The promise of cooler weather is on the horizon. Football season is here. And if we can make it through the next 30 days without a major hurricane hit, we'll be in good shape.
September also is a great month to make some key tax moves.
Covering classroom costs: Let's start with the kids' return to their classrooms. If your children are in college, there are many tax-saving ways to pay for those higher education expenses. One of the most popular is the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which can help cover many college costs, including textbooks.
For youngsters still in elementary or secondary school, make sure you're stashing cash in a 529 plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account. And remember, you can use some of that Coverdell money for expenses, such as computers, that you kids need for classwork before they head off to college.
Home sweet tax breaks: Fall official arrives in the early morning of Sept. 23. It's my favorite season, bringing cooler temperatures and yummy seasonal baking. Ummmm. Pumpkin pies.
It's also the perfect season to some home maintenance. It's possible that Congress will include the tax credit for certain energy efficient home improvements in a package of tax extenders. If so, you might be able to claim this tax break on some relatively easy upgrades, like added insulation or new weather-proof windows.
But even without that specific tax credit, there are other home improvements you can make that could pay off tax-wise later. They increase the basis of your home, which will lower the potentially taxable portion of any profit you make on your home's sale.
Weather watch: If you're in a hurricane prone area, you also want to make sure you're ready for any possible storms.
September is traditionally the peak of the Atlantic tropical storm season. Here's hoping our quiet 2015 'cane season continues until its official end in November.
But just in case, check out the storm preparation and recovery tips on the ol' blog's special Natural Disasters Resources page.
More monthly moves: These are just a few of September Tax Moves you should consider. You can find even more in the tax tasks listing over in the right column, just under the digital clock counting down to the Oct. 15 extended filing deadline.
Some are easy, like giving to your favorite charity.
Others are required, like making your third quarter estimated tax payment.
But all could save you some tax dollars or at least keep you out of tax trouble. Check them out early this month so you'll have plenty of free time to enjoy the gorgeous foliage during this month of seasonal change.