Welcome March, the last full month of the annual tax filing season.
Traditionally, the month is said to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.
But savvy taxpayers know they need to keep attacking taxes like the king of beasts for the full 31 days of March.
Finishing, or getting started if you (like me) still haven't begun, your Form 1040, is the focus of most of March's tips.
Tax planning, too: Some folks, however, have been industrious. Kudos to you.
You already finished filers can take more of a tax lamb approach, calmly exploring ways to make the most of the 2018 changes to our taxes under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Regardless of whether you're a tax lion or lamb, the March's weekday pieces of tax advice, like January's and February's before them, will be highlighted in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
After a day in the spotlight, Monday through Friday from March 1 through the 31st, the tips then will be permanently ensconced on this March tax tips page.
So with an appropriate roar, let's get to the tips.
- Adjust your withholding to match new tax law — Want to make sure your payroll withholding matches the new tax law changes? Use the updated IRS online withholding calculator and file a new Form W-4, which also has been revised. (March 1, 2018)
- How to adjust your withholding — You used the new, improved updated to align with new tax laws Internal Revenue Service withholding calculator. Now what. Here's how to translate that to the W-4 that will actually impellent the changes. (March 2, 2018)
- 7 online security steps — Tax scams, like those that make the IRS' annual Dirty Dozen list, increase during tax filing season. That's why we need to be careful now and the other less taxing months of every year. These security moves can help keep your tax and personal data safe year-round. (March 5, 2018)
- 10 things that aren't taxed — What does the Internal Revenue Service tax? Just about everything. Earned and investment income. Gambling and prize winnings. Barter payments. Even ill-gotten gains (right, Scarface?). But despite the wide net that Uncle Sam's tax collector casts, there is some money that he doesn't get to reel in. Here are 10 examples. (March 6, 2018)
- Day camp costs and the child care credit — Summer will be here before you know it. That's why parents are now looking into camp options for their kids once school is out. If the youngsters go to a day camp, the costs can be used to claim the child and dependent care tax credit. (March 7, 2018)
- Where's the rest of your federal tax refund? — Did the Internal Revenue Service send you a smaller tax refund than you expected? The reason might be because Uncle Sam collected money you owed on delinquent debts. These offsets include past year federal taxes you owe, unpaid student loans and even state-ordered child support payments. (March 8, 2018)
- Retirement plan limits in 2018 — The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made a lot of changes to the tax code, but not to popular tax-favored retirement savings options. Check out the amounts that apply in 2018 to IRAs, workplace retirement plans and the Saver's Credit. You'll also find how they compare to and in some cases were increased from 2017 retirement plan limits. (March 9, 2018)
- Donation tax deduction rules — If you give to a legitimate charity, not a fake nonprofit that makes the Internal Revenue Service's Dirty Dozen tax scam list, your donation could be tax deductible. As long as your follow the IRS rules. (March 12, 2018)
- Business tax record tips — The impending March 15 filing deadline for some companies (that weren't granted a weather-related delay) underscores the importance of good, and separate, business records. (March 13, 2018)
- Choose auto expense deduction method carefully — Taxpayers generally have a choice in deciding how to deduct their business miles. They can claim the standard mileage deduction or write off actual auto expenses. Making the correct choice could mean more tax savings. (March 14, 2018)
- Why tax credits rule — Both tax deductions and tax credits help reduce what you owe Uncle Sam. But credits are better that deductions because they cut your Internal Revenue Service tax bill dollar-for-dollar. (March 15, 2018)
- Don't overlook these 17 tax breaks — Before you head out to St. Patrick's Day parties, check out these ways to save on your 2017 tax return. It's the last year for some of these deductions and credits, for a while at least in their current form. You don't want to miss out on the ones that could save you some tax green! (March 16, 2018
- Short-term home rental tax benefits — A city's hosting of a special happening, like South by Southwest here in Austin or some of the NCAA March Madness college basketball games, could provide homeowners a big tax break. When you turn your home into a temporary rental during a big event, the lease money you pocket could be tax free. (March 19, 2018)
- Valuing your donated goods — Spring is here, at least according to the calendar. That means it's also spring cleaning time. But don't just toss out your old and unused items. Those that are in good shape could help out a charity and, if you follow federal charitable giving rules and value your donated property properly, help lower your tax bill. (March 20, 2018)
- Watch out for these Dirty Dozen tax scams — Tax filing season is tax scam season. These 12 criminal schemes have been around for years because, sadly, they work. Don't fall for these oldies and baddies. (March 21, 2018)
- Checking out your tax pro — You decided to use a tax pro this year. You determined which type of tax preparer is best for your personal situation. Now follow these tips to ensure that your chosen tax professional is indeed competent and reputable. (March 22, 2018)
- 10 reasons to file a tax return — Tax filing can be a hassle that most of us have to deal with each year. But in some cases, it pays to file a Form 1040 even if you aren't legally required to do so. (March 23, 2018)
- 5 FAQs about RMDs — If you're in your 70s and have tax-deferred retirement accounts, then you must take some of the money out, and pay tax on it, every year. Here are some key things to know about these required minimum distributions, or RMDs. (March 26, 2018)
- Tax cost of eliminated exemptions — The 2017 tax year is the last (at least for a while) for which taxpayers can claim exemptions. So be sure to take them this filing season and make plans for the loss of the exemptions on your 2018 taxes. One move to make now is to reassess your payroll withholding if you're losing exemptions under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (March 27, 2018)
- Adoption tax credit helps families grow — Adopting a child can be a joy, but also costly. Your Uncle Sam, however, offers ways through the tax code to save when you add to your family. (March 28, 2018)
- Deducting moving expenses — When you move for a job, the costs of getting you and your family to your new work location are deductible. The good news is you don't have to itemize. But don't go wild with the moving expenses and be sure to back them up with receipts. Also, due to the new tax law changes, your 2017 tax return is the last time (at least until 2026) that your moving costs for most of us are tax deductible, unless you're a member of the military. (March 29, 2018)
- Alimony tax considerations — When the end of matrimony leads to the start of alimony, each parting partner can feel the tax effects. For divorces granted through 2018, that means alimony payments are tax deductible (without itemizing!) and the recipient of the spousal support owes tax on the money. In 2019, however, the tax treatment changes for both ex-spouses thanks to the new tax law. (March 30, 2018)
Want more tax tips? You are in luck! You can find the previous two month's collected tax wisdom by clicking the following links. (April to be added when that month arrives.)