Welcome to tax season -- the most dreaded time of year.
It's not just that preparing a tax return is time-consuming and costly -- although it's clearly both. The
There is also the stress of not knowing whether you've claimed all of the deductions and credits you're due, or made some dumb mistake that could have tax authorities on your tail.
"If we go too small we feel cheated and resentful, and if we claim too much we may feel jittery and anxious, looking over our shoulder for the tax man in the trench coat," said
Every year there are changes, whether to regulations or to your own circumstances. It's rare to be able to simply put new numbers on the same old lines.
This year there are some particularly vexing issues, said
If you buy health insurance and you're self-employed, there's a new write-off that could save you a serious chunk of change. It allows you to deduct your health insurance premiums against your self-employment taxes.
Health insurance premiums have been deductible against income taxes for years. But this break -- valid only for 2010 -- allows you to subtract this cost from the income that's subject to
Unfortunately, figuring out where to claim this deduction isn't easy. Apparently because it's so short-lived, no one bothered to include it on the 1040 or even the
Along the same lines: If you got laid off and received subsidized COBRA health insurance coverage through a former employer but managed to earn more than
A first-time home buyer's tax credit allows those who bought a home during early 2010 to claim a credit of up to
But because homebuyer breaks were revamped several times during the course of two years, the trigger dates and rules determining who qualifies and what documentation is required are complicated, to say the least.
Generally speaking, if you bought a home between
If you do claim one of these homebuyer credits, you won't be able to file your return electronically because the
In addition, if you bought a home during 2008 to take advantage of the first iteration of this break -- the credit was revised four times -- you didn't really get a credit. You got a loan. Taxpayers who claimed the
One more change: During 2009, the federal government opted to give unemployed workers a break by excluding
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Personal Finance - Tax Changes for Health Insurance Buyers, Home Buyers and the Unemployed
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