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Tax Savings

Uncle Sam's Taxes
Uncle Sam's Taxes

While it’s been a difficult year for most, one person is certain to get paid this April—Uncle Sam. Tax time doesn’t take a skipping even during a recession. Here are some tips for 2009 tax time.

Converting IRAs

Because many IRA values have decreased significantly in the past year, you might consider converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. According to Craig Spears, a CPA with Stuedle, Spears and Franke, “While taxes are due at conversion, you’ll pay the tax while the stock market is lower,” he explains. “As the stock market hopefully recovers in future years, your total tax burden will be lighter.”

You may want to discuss a conversion with your tax advisor if you’re married and filing jointly and have an income of less than $100,000, anticipate a higher tax bracket in retirement, expect income taxes to rise, or plan to leave your IRA as an inheritance.

Dig deeper for deductions

Most people are aware of the “biggies” in deductions such as interest on your mortgage and student loans, and charitable contributions. But if you are self-employed, other deductible items may offer relief. These include unreimbursed mileage, cell phone and Internet expenses, home office use, advertising, legal and accounting fees, professional seminars, publications or books, parking fees, and professional dues and licenses. However, be aware of these IRS red flags.

Save money, save taxes

As an incentive to encourage Americans to save for retirement, the IRS offers deductions for retirement contributions, which can lower your taxable income. You have until April 15 to contribute up to $5,000 (plus an additional $1,000 if you are age 50 or older) to your IRA.