Changes for your 2012 taxes
Tax deadline: Monday, April 15
As April 15 approaches, millions of Americans will be rushing to get their dreaded tax returns filed by the deadline. But before you do, there are some new things you need to know for the 2012 tax year, and some of those things Congress just decided in the first few days of 2013.
"On Jan. 2, they finally put it into law and extended a lot of things that were due to expire, which is a good thing for the taxpayer," said Vera Hedge, of H&R Block.
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Hedge is an expert on taxes and has to stay on her toes.
"My head spins a lot because I've been doing this for a very long time and I have to keep throwing out stuff in order to put the new stuff in," she said. "That's where my head spins more than anything else."
This year, Hedge says the fiscal cliff crisis at the beginning of the year brought back some tax breaks that were going to expire. For example, you can deduct your sales tax. And if you don't have receipts, no problem.
"The IRS has a nice little chart that says if you live in Florida and Duval County, your sales tax rate is 7 percent, and based on your income and family size, it's called safe harbor. This is how much you spent on sales tax in 2012," said Hedge.
You can even deduct the sales tax on a car, boat, RV or airplane you bought in 2012.
"Another nice credit that expired in 2011, that they've put in for 2012 and 2013, was the energy tax credit," added Hedge.
With the energy tax credit, you can claim a $500 deduction if you bought energy efficient windows, doors or insulation.
This year is also an important year when it comes to the Affordable Health Care Act. By 2014, every American citizen has to have health insurance. If you don't make enough money, you can get money from the government to help pay for it. And this has a direct link to your 2012 taxes.
"One thing people did not realize, that it's going to be based on your 2012 tax return," Hedge said. "Your eligibility to apply for these subsidies, to get subsidized health care is based on 2012 tax return. That's your income, number of dependents and your brackets."
If you don't buy health insurance by 2014, you'll have to pay a fine.
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