August's dog days are perfect for getting taxes ready to show the IRS.
I'm not here to judge. You do you. But if you are intent on being productive this last month of summer, let me suggest you use some of the time on your taxes.
Technically, the Dog Days of Summer take up more of July than August. But the eighth month of the year usually is more popularly associated with the term. So I'm sticking with that take, and suggesting this month we look at dog show preparation as a tax guide.
Know and follow the forms: We can think of the tax forms and laws as the canine competitions' breed standard documents. These are the rules you and your pup must follow if you want to come out on top. T
ax-wise, following the Internal Revenue Code mean you stay out of tax trouble. Knowing the tax laws also mean you could claim some money-saving tax breaks.
Get some guidance: Then there are the dogs' handlers. They know the ins-and-outs of the show world, and guide their breeds through the competitions. We taxpayers also rely on tax handlers, the tax professionals we hire.
If you need a tax preparer, this off-season is a good time to figure out just which kind of pro works for you. If you already have one, it's also a good time of year to talk about moves to make now before we face another tax rush.
And if you got an extension to file, you definitely want to hire a pro now to get your return done by the Oct. 17 deadline.
Don't overlook the requirements: Finally, there's getting ready. Show dogs must be immaculately groomed, their coats clipped and cleaned and combed to show off their breed's best features. The animals also must follow their handlers' leads around the ring, hitting all their marks.
The same is true of taxes. Your return must be complete and correct, or you'll hear from an Internal Revenue Service examiner.
What? You say you're rethinking your go-go-go attitude as summer winds down. All this tax and dog show talk is wearing you out. You just want to laze away the rest of the month.
So take a break (again, not judging), but don't forget your taxes (or pets) altogether.
When you're ready to work on your 1040s or make other tax moves, the August tax tips below will be here to help.
- States to issue inflation-related relief — If you live in one of the 16 states issuing inflation relief payments, make sure you know how to get your money. Most are offering stimulus checks or rebates based on their revenue departments' data. Check with your state tax office to make sure it has your correct data and that you're on the inflation payment list. (Aug. 1, 2022)
- August is heart of annual sales tax holiday season — With schools about to open for the fall semester, 16 states are holding sales tax holidays. Most are the first weekend of August. (Aug 4, 2022)
- 6 tax holiday shopping tips — Is your state is holding a sales tax holiday this month, check out these 6 shopping tips before you hit the shopping center. They could help you make the most of your state's no or reduced-rate tax event. (Aug. 5, 2022)
- IRS getting more audit money. Don't make your 1040 an easy target — The House is expected later this week to pass the Senate-OK'ed Inflation Reduction Act. Among the tax provisions in the $739 billion total bill is $79 million for the Internal Revenue Service, with most of that money going toward enforcement efforts. While the focus will be on wealthier tax evaders, all of us want to avoid undue IRS attention. So with more tax examiners on the way, it's a good time for a refresher on audit red flags none of us want to fly. (Aug. 8, 2022)
- IRS provides written tax security plan guidance — Taxpayer security is more than just a promise from a reputable tax preparer. Having a written tax data security plan is required by federal law. Now the IRS and its Security Summit members have created a document to help tax professionals create the mandated written program. (Aug. 11, 2022)
- Educator expenses tax deduction rises (finally!) to $300 — Students and their parents aren't the only ones who spend when it comes to school supplies. Most teacher also use their own, unreimbursed dollars for items that will enhance their students' classroom experiences. Now up to $300 of those expenses can be deducted. (Aug. 15, 2022)
- American Opportunity vs. Lifetime Learning tax credits — As young people head off to college, it's time for a lesson review on two popular federal educational tax breaks, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. (Aug. 23, 2022)
- IRS penalty relief for COVID-related late returns — The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on health, finances, and our taxes. Now the IRS says it will provide some late-filing penalty relief, amounting to more than $1.2 billion to millions of affected taxpayers. Some of the automatic refunds or credits should be delivered next month. (Aug. 26, 2022)
- When a swimming pool might be tax deductible — Swimming pools can be a nice property upgrade. In most cases, it will bump up your property value and subsequent real estate taxes. But in certain situations, a pool and other residential improvements might be tax deductible medical expenses. (Aug. 31, 2022)
And yes, you can click on the September through December links below, too, but you'll just be greeted (again) by this nay-saying guy's GIF, instead of helpful Internal Revenue Service and tax code tips.
Meanwhile, check out the 2022 filing season tips already posted in the months for which we've turned those calendar pages.