ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
75°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 93° L 75°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    75°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 93° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    90°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 93° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    84°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 93° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Q&A: What tax records should I be keeping in my 20s?

When you’re young, living at home, and all you have at tax time is a single W2, filing your taxes is pretty simple.  In fact you canfile your federal return online for free at IRS.gov. Most states have a free file online option as well.

But as you get older, your financial life gets a bit more complicated, and so might your taxes. Here are some things to remember throughout the year that will help you make the most of the available deductions.

INFOGRAPHIC: What our favorite TV homes are worth

If you’re still in college and your parents are claiming you, do them a favor and keep your book receipts. They may be able to claim them as part of the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Paying down student loans after graduation isn’t fun, but you may be able to deduct the interest paid on them. This can be easily overlooked because many times your Form 1098 is not mailed to you but posted electronically (I know, I forgot my daughter’s last year!).

The tax code allows for some miscellaneous itemized deductions that include unreimbursed employee expenses. That means that if you pay union dues for your job or have to purchase supplies, you may be able to deduct them. The catch is you first need to be itemizing deductions instead of taking the standard deduction, which you may not be unless you own a home.

Even so, you can only deduct the amount that exceeds 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Some states like Pennsylvania allow a deduction for those unreimbursed expenses without regard to a floor or itemization though. You’ll need to save receipts, and your last paystub of the year should show your union dues paid. Teachers currently can deduct up to $250 of supplies purchased (without reimbursement) even if they don’t itemize.

Becoming a homeowner usually gives you enough tax deductions to exceed the standard deduction and start using a Schedule A for itemized deductions. For that form, you’ll need to have your mortgage statement from your bank showing interest paid and your real estate taxes. If you pay them yourself, be sure to have a receipt from your tax collector showing how much you paid. 

In the year you buy your home, you may find some additional deductions hidden in your settlement statement, or HUD-1. Look specifically for real estate taxes you reimbursed the seller for at closing. Note though that in your first year of a homeowner you may not yet have accumulated enough interest and taxes to jump the standard deduction hurdle.

READ: Three financial habits to develop in your 20s

Itemizing your taxes also allows you to deduct charitable contributions  as long as you have a receipt (a cancelled check will do for single gifts less than $250). Cash donations won’t stand up to IRS scrutiny unless you have a receipt. Don’t forget to deduct any state taxes you paid in that tax year for a prior year’s balance due.

Looking for or changing jobs can help you at tax time too. In that miscellaneous itemized deductions category, you can add in costs for job hunting, including resume services. Did you move to change jobs? If your new workplace is more than 50 miles from your old home than your old job was from your old home; or if you did not have a previous job, more than 50 miles from your old home you may be able to deduct moving expenses.

You must also work full time for at least 39 weeks during the 12 months following your move. Keep track of the miles you drove, save receipts for any rental truck, storage fees, hotels, but no meals.

Keeping good records and saving receipts is work that pays a nice dividend with tax savings.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A Midwest City, Oklahoma, doctor is facing murder charges in connection with the opioid-related deaths of five patients. >> Watch the news report here According to The Associated Press and Washington Post, police arrested Dr. Regan Nichols on Friday and charged her with five counts of second-degree murder. One of the patients, Sheila Bartels, reportedly died after overdosing on painkillers in 2012. The Post reported that on the day Bartels was discovered dead, she had filled a prescription for 510 pills. The AP also reported that Nichols “prescribed more than 3 million doses of controlled dangerous drugs from 2010-2014' and in 2010 “prescribed one 47-year-old patient a total of 450 pills.” >> Read more trending news “Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said, according to the AP, adding that her 'blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable.” Nichols was released from prison on $50,000 bail.
  • Police in Georgia are hoping surveillance video that captured a violent attack will help them find the people responsible. Video shows a restaurant owner and her teenage daughter being beaten by two customers Thursday afternoon in Baxley, Georgia. >> Read more trending news The victims told police the suspects were unhappy with their order. The verbal argument turned violent when one of the suspects began punching the restaurant owner repeatedly. When the victim’s teenage daughter came out of the car to break up the fight, the male suspect punched her in the face. WJCL reported that Baxley police have issued warrants for the suspects, Nathaniel Smith and Latasha Smith. The pair could be charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children. The suspects drove away from the restaurant in a cream or tan Cadillac Escalade with tag number REU8495. Officials said they headed north on Highway 144. Anyone with any information about the assault is asked to call the Baxley Police Department at 912-367-8305 or the 911 call center at 912-367-8111.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a small plane crash that occurred Saturday morning near Fort Meyers, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said the plane crashed into an unoccupied day care building. >> Read more trending news One person died in the crash while another was taken to the hospital. The survivor’s condition has not been released.
  • A Transportation Security Administration agent has been arrested after he was accused of stealing money from a passenger at Orlando International Airport in Florida, Orlando police said. >> Read more trending news Alexander Shae Johnson, 22, was arrested Thursday night. Passenger Kathleen Duddleston entered the TSA checkpoint and was stopped for additional screening, police said. While she was patted down, Duddleston told TSA security officer Michelle Metz that she couldn’t see her luggage, so Metz moved her closer. Duddleston complained again that she couldn’t see her bag, and Johnson moved slightly. After the pat down, Duddleston reached for her bag and could not find her money, police said. She said she noticed a bulge in Johnson’s left front shirt pocket. Duddleston asked Johnson if that was her money, and he said he got the money from the bank, police said. The woman complained to Metz that she believed Johnson stole money from her. Metz contacted her supervisor. Duddleston has been charged with third-degree grand theft. TSA said in a statement to WFTV: TSA has a zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace. The TSA immediately reported the allegation to OPD and we aggressively investigated the incident with our law enforcement partner. TSA officers represent a professional and honorable workforce that is trained to treat passengers and their personal belongings with care and respect. No exceptions will be tolerated. We immediately ended the federal career of this individual.
  • A scare happened at a Leominster, Massachusetts, supermarket after a 4-day-old newborn was left locked inside of a hot car while her mother was inside shopping. >> Read more trending news Mother Sharma Murphy said that on her way to Market Basket supermarket on Friday, she stopped by the fire house to make sure her baby’s car seat was properly installed. Less than an hour later, those firefighters helped rescue her 4-day-old baby, who was locked in her hot car. A shopper called Leominster police after spotting a newborn alone inside a car. It was Sharma Murphy's silver Chevy Malibu. >> A reminder of hot car dangers as temperatures climb Murphy said she was out for the first time with her newborn daughter, 4-day-old Katherine, and was nervous. “I went, I bought it. Came right out and this lady just starts screaming at me. Screaming at me,” said Murphy. Murphy said she brought her newborn inside with her to Market Basket and then returned to the car when Katherine fell asleep. She said that she ran back inside for two or three minutes to buy some baby formula. “I went (in and) I bought it,” Murphy said. “(I) came right out and this lady just starts screaming at me.” Related: Two toddlers dead after 15 hours in hot car, police say Police said the windows were rolled up. “I believe she locked her keys in the car because they had to use the jimmy to get the baby out,” witness John Casey told WFXT. According to WFXT meteorologists, the outside temperature was 84 degrees at the time. Murphy said she didn’t want to wake her newborn. “I thought, ‘OK, if I run in and run out...’ It was one of those things where she's gotta eat because I have nothing left for her and that's when everything happened and I'm like, oh my God,” Murphy said. Katherine was taken to the hospital to be checked out. Her mother said he is fine. The baby is currently in custody of DCF. No charges have been filed.

The Latest News Videos