Tick Tock Goes the Tax Time Clock

Check out these tips from a Bay Area tax attorney

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If you've already  filed your taxes, good for you!

    If you haven't, tick tock, you have about a week.

    Here are some tips from a Bay Area expert to inspire you to organize that shoebox of receipts. 

    First,whatever you do, don't sharpen that pencil. Jim Brown, managing tax attorney at FreedomTaxRelief.com, says you should e-file.

    "That's one of the biggest errors, math problems," said Brown. "You just don't have those if you do your return on a computer."

    Though Brown's company makes its money charging clients for tax preparation, he said you can do your taxes efficiently and for free. "This year the IRS has a new program so many people can do their tax returns for free," said Brown. You can find the IRS's "free file" feature on their Website.

    In addition to filing online, using direct deposit and checking your math, other simple reminders include signing and dating your return.  Also, make sure you review any tax ID number and social security numbers on your return.

    As you prepare your return, don't forget to include any donations you made to Haiti relief and recovery funds between January 11 and March 1 of 2010. You can write of those charitable contributions on your 2009 taxes.

    If you bought a new car, motorcycle or mobile home between February of last year and January 1, 2010, you cna deduct the sales tax on the first $49,500 of the purchase price.

    And, pay attention to "Making Work Pay" tax credit, which could amount to $400 for single filers and $800 for joint filers. If you were out of work, you can exclude the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits for 2009.

    If this wasn't enough to get you on your way and you fear you won't make the April 15th deadline, file an extension. It won't buy you time to pay, but it will buy you time to prepare and send in your return.