What Medical Expenses Are Tax Deductible?

If you determine that you spent over 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (If you are over 65, the amount is 7.5 percent) on medical expense in 2014, you can potentially claim these expenses as a tax deduction. If you are using TurboTax 2014 to file your taxes, the TurboTax software will help you to figure out your medical expenses as it can potentially be a significant amount.

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Deductible medical expenses include those of any dependent, as well as those of you and your spouse.

Expenses for medical costs are not deductible if you get reimbursed for them in some way; for example, your company pays you back for the cost of medical treatment. If your insurance company covers some of the cost and you cover some, the part that you pay is deductible.

If you charged your medical expenses to your credit card, you can deduct those charges, but keep in mind that the year in which you charged them is the criteria.

Using TurboTax will help you to accurately determine the type of medical expenses that qualify for a deduction, and these include doctor and dentist visits, as well as X-rays and other preventative treatments or procedures. Procedures such as teeth whitening, and most types of cosmetic surgery do not qualify for a deduction, unless an accident or disease necessitated the cosmetic surgery.

Prescription drugs and insulin are eligible for medical expenses deductions, as are the costs of visits to a psychiatrist or psychologist, alcohol or drug related treatment or rehabilitation, and the cost of sending a disabled person to a special school. Over the counter supplies and equipment are deductible, but not over the counter drugs and medication.

There are various other deductible medical expenses, and TurboTax 2014 will alert you to these, which include the cost of laser surgery, contact lenses, dentures, crutches and a wheelchair. Lactation expenses, participating in a stop smoking program, treating sexual dysfunction, removing lead paint and the cost of a nursing home are all eligible too.

If you are enrolled voluntarily in Medicare A, the amount paid out of pocket by you is eligible, as well as premiums for Medicare B. TurboTax will inform you that the premiums for an insurance plan sponsored by your employer are not deductible, although the premiums for long term care insurance are eligible.

TurboTax will help you to understand all of these possible deductions – you don’t have to be an expert when using TurboTax 2014!

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The Tax Preparation Wars Have Begun

TurboTax Continues on With Its Own SuperBowl Ad

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Intuit is the maker of Turbo Tax, a leading tax-preparation software. During the Superbowl, they aired their advertisement with no mention of the recent squabbles with furious customers over their software.

Rather than address the problem, Intuit chose to simply state the benefits of their program, which was being able to file both state and federal taxes for FREE. Their ad displayed a Boston Tea Party reenactment with a small twist to it. While angry American Patriots were swarming a British Ship, tossing large boxes of tea overboard, the British Redcoats were able to stop them by offering them FREE tax filing.

The patriots end up accepting their offer, and then the ad transitions to George Washington, who is reversing his famous Delaware crossing. The voice-over makes this statement – “Alright, maybe this is not the way it actually went down, however, you can still file your taxes on Turbo Tax for FREE !”

Turbo Tax lets it be known that 60 million Americans will be able to file their returns for Taxes 2014, both state and federal, for FREE. Their website states that this offer applies to those who use forms 1040A or 1040EZ. It says there is no charge for filing a state return or the forms used for filing the Earned Income Tax Credit (this benefits the working poor).

Their website also has a list of its competitors charges for the exact same services, like on TaxAct or H&R Block. Their entire campaign ignores the cries of the outraged customers over the Turbo Tax Deluxe package for personal computers. Lots of people were surprised to see that the Turbo Tax Deluxe software for 2014 taxes, did not allow the electronic filing of Schedule Cs for business, Schedule Ds fo both capital gains & losses, and Schedule Es and Fs for rental properties or farms.

What the customers had to do for these privileges was to ‘upgrade’ to a paid version of the software. The cost was $30 over and above what the Deluxe version costs. There were some disgruntled users who already bought software from some of Turbo Taxes competitors (H&R Block and TaxAct), so H&R Block came out with a free version of their Deluxe product to those who had already purchased a Turbo Tax version. It seemed the war was on. All these people had to do was show proof of their purchase and switch over to the other side. Let the games begin!

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2014 Tax Filing Season Commences January 20

The income tax filing season starts on January 20, 2015, states the Internal Revenue Service. This means that people may begin filing returns for Taxes 2014 on that date. This day will kick-off the filing season even though the United State Congress passed a eleventh hour tax law, and it was signed by President Obama.

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In addition, the Congress passed a bill which extends more than 50 soon to expire income tax breaks. The extension goes through the end of 2014 and allows filers to take advantage of them on their 2014 federal income tax returns. The President signed the bill just recently on December 19.

Previously, these kinds of last minute laws have delayed the start of the income tax filing season, but it is not the case this time, stated Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, John Koskinen.

Koskinen has indicted that nothing was stopping the IRS from keeping its systems current and fully tested. Annually, many millions of taxpayers, desiring to obtain their refunds as soon as possible, file their returns during the very first weeks of the tax season.

Most recently, the IRS has indicated that refunds should be issued within 21 days of filing when the process is done electronically with TurboTax or other online means. This is the quickest way to file and get a refund.

Koskinen said that tax refunds may be late because the IRS has experienced budgetary cuts. He did not indicate, though, how late refunds would be.

Average refunds for 2013 were around $2,800 each. The IRS figures on processing around 150 million tax returns for individuals this year.

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Charitable Summer Giving Equals Tax Deductions

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During the leisure-driven summer season, people should still want to increase their charitable giving. Not only is this a noble enterprise, but it also benefits the taxpayer during tax season. There are many avenues of giving that can earn a tax deduction for the average person.

For instance, children’s summer camps provide fun and safe day care to many needy kids. They rely on donations to help parents with summer time care while parents are working and the kids are not in school. Another good avenue is finding a community fan and air conditioning drive which helps families and the elderly avoid heat-related illnesses during the sweltering summer months.

The national debt clock outside the IRS office...

The national debt clock outside the IRS office in NYC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or, finish your spring cleaning in the summer. Donate the clothing, household goods and other items no longer needed to not for profits who refurbish and resell them in their thrift stores.

Here is a caution, however. While charitable giving is important and worthwhile, be sure to check that the organization is legitimately not for profit. Check its references online. Ask friends and relatives what they know about it. Call the organization to inquire about its tax exempt status. Don’t donate unless you know all the proper paperwork is in the hands of the Internal Revenue Service.

To further credential your charitable giving this summer, be sure to save the receipts the not for profit provides with a donation. Use online tax software such as Turbo Tax to keep your donation records in good order. Turbo Tax Its Deductible records everything necessary to give correct documentation to the IRS come tax season.

Remember, no matter how you spend your leisurely summer days, plan to send some money, time and belongings to the charitable organization of your choice. Correctly recorded and documented, those donations will add up to nice tax deductions in April.

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Consider Investing In H&R Block – Soon!

In the past, many people have filed their taxes for free with H&R Block. January through April is H&R Block’s make-or-break season due to tax filings. The company brings in enough revenue in the early spring to cover any losses over the rest of the year. 2014 stands out as a year of smart, positive changes at H&R Block.

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This year, the company has decided to downsize its unprofitable retail operations and cut down on free tax form preparation. As a result of these changes, there was a slight drop in tax returns prepared in H&R Block offices this tax season. Industry analysts polled by FactSet predict earnings per share of $3.26, quite an increase from $2.42 a year ago. This increase can be attributed to the aforementioned strategic changes at the company.

There are other changes happening within H&R Block in 2014. In April, the company signed a deal to sell its bank. This deal has been in the works for quite some time, and the stock market rejoiced upon the news. This is not to say that the bank is a drag on earnings. Selling the bank frees management from the burden of regulatory oversight on banks, and it gives people the option to buy back even more shares.

Another recent development at H&R Block is their plan to increase revenue as a result of the Affordable Care Act. As the law is implemented, health insurance and taxes are becoming more and more intertwined. Difficulties with connecting consumers to insurers presents an opening for H&R Block to expand its business model beyond tax preparation and financial services.

Despite the good news on the bank sale and health insurance opportunity, the company’s stock is still priced to sell. Get it below cost, before the stock price catches up to these recent improvements.

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Turbo Tax 2014 And Mortgage Tax Deductions

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Turbo Tax 2014 and Mortgage Tax Deductions

Many homeowners feel that it is more beneficial to claim a mortgage tax deduction than to pay off their mortgage. However, they really need to consider whether it is more beneficial to build up their savings or to pay off the mortgage debt completely.

English: mortgages Green Bay, WI

English: mortgages Green Bay, WI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, a homeowner needs to look carefully at all the items on the return. You need to know that a tax credit is not the same as a deduction. Deductions decrease the taxes you are obligated to pay; while tax credits reduce your taxable income. If you do not have a mortgage, you may pay more taxes; however, the taxes you pay may be lower than the annual interest you pay on your mortgage. It is not good long term planning to keep a mortgage on your home for a tax break.

What you need to be careful with is using your savings to pay off your mortgage in this uncertain economy. Look carefully at your job security, health and what would happen if you lost your job. You never know when you will need to utilize your emergency funds. If you pay off your mortgage, you might have to sell the house or borrow against it if your emergency funds are depleted. Ensure that you are saving for retirement and maintaining an emergency fund before considering paying off your mortgage.

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