1040 Tax Tips : A few lesser-known ways to save at tax time.

1040 Tax Information

Note: This is not an IRS site, but a collection of ways to save money at tax time - ways that you may not have heard of.

IRA Tax Deduction Secret

Starting an IRA (Individual retirement account)? There is a way to get two tax deductions from your contribution. Instead of using cash, sell any stock you own which has decreased in value, and then put THAT cash in your IRA. Why? Because you can write off the capital loss for the sale of the stock, and thereby reduce your taxes even more than if you just put savings into the IRA.


What if you still like the stock? Buy it back using your IRA. There is a "wash rule" in the tax code that says you can't sell and repurchase a stock (within a certain amount of time) just to claim a loss. However, you and your IRA are separate entities as far as this rule is concerned, so you can immediately repurchase the stock in your IRA and still write off the loss.

The Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR)

This is a one-time payment available on your 2006 federal income tax return. It is designed to refund previously collected long distance telephone taxes. Individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations are eligible to request it.

Taxpayers have a choice: a standard refund amount between $30 and $60, based on the total number of exemptions claimed on their 2006 tax return, to eliminate the need to locate old phone bills; or they can locate those bills and use the actual amount. Ask your tax preparer about this one.

File Your Taxes Electronically For Free

Free File is a relatively new IRS program is a free service offered by companies for taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $52,000 or less. You can find the links to these companies at the IRS web site.

Before selecting a company link, review the tax software company’s criteria to confirm that you meet their eligibility for preparing and e-filing your federal return for free.

Fees for state tax returns may apply. Some companies offer free state tax return preparation and e-filing.
Some companies offer free e-filing of the Form 1040EZ-T, Telephone Excise Tax Refund, for those who want to claim the refund credit and are not required to file a federal income tax return.

You are under no obligation to buy any of the company’s other products or services.


General Tax Savings Tips

1. Take every deduction you can. Audits are rare, and if you honestly think you are entitled to a deduction, taking it is not a crime. If you are not entitled, at most you'll have to pay a penalty and interest - but only if you are audited.

2. Put off income or capital gains. We once delayed a closing on a property we sold by a week, in order to close after the new year. Our profit wasn't taxed for an extra year that way.

3. Accelerate your deductible expenses. If you pay the property taxes on that rental unit this year, you get to claim it as an expense this year, and so pay less tax.

4. Get good advice. If you have a high income, or a business, stock market or real estate investments, you need to talk to a good tax accountant (not just a tax preparer).