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  • Michael Green

March Madness

All right, you’ve spent an ample amount of time putting your brackets together. You’ve picked the favorites and spotted all of the upsets in the process. All that’s left now is to sit back and watch the annual bracket implosion.

Yes, “The Madness” is upon us! Some consider this the best two and a half weeks in sports, so go ahead and enjoy every tip-off, lay-up, three-pointer and buzzer beater.

Why take the time to enjoy it? Because you know that what follows “March Madness” is “April Anxiety”, better known as tax time! I want you to try to muster up the same enthusiasm and creativity for your taxes as you had when you developed your bracket. To help with this unavoidably less enjoyable ‘bracketology’, we’ve provided some tips to use to cut your tax bill.

As always check with your tax professional to be sure if your situation applies. Here are a few items that most often used to save you money:

  • Taxes: State and local income taxes paid during the year. Personal and real property taxes paid during the year.

  • Interest: Interest incurred on first mortgages and home equity loans on your primary home and one other home. Mortgage insurance premiums. Points paid on your primary residence.

  • Casualty Losses: These are deductible if they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income with some qualifications, and if they aren’t covered by insurance. Some examples are storm damage to home and plants, loss of a bank account due to failure of the bank, and auto accidents.

  • Medical Expenses: These can be included if they exceed 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI); that’s 705% if you were born prior to January 1952. There is a range of treatment and services that qualify from insurance premiums to acupuncture, so check with your tax specialist.

  • Charitable Contributions: Contributions to charity are deductible up to 50% of your AGI. Any amount that you can’t use can be carried over to future returns for up to five years. Some things to include are the fair market value of clothing and household items, expenses incurred while volunteering, cash contributions (these require proof) and up to 30% of AGI in appreciated stock.

  • Other: Tax prep fees, legal fees paid in connection with a business transaction, subscriptions for professional publications, professional membership or union dues and expenses for employment searches can also be included.

These are just a few of the items you should be aware of. Again, consult your tax professional for what may apply to your situation. May you land in the lowest bracket in both March Madness and at tax time!

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