Moving Right Along: Deducting Work-Related Moving Expenses

It’s a pretty exciting week at the law firm: we’re moving to a new location. I’ll admit to being a little nostalgic about the big move. We’ve been in the same offices for more than eight years. I was actually hugely pregnant with my daughter when we signed the lease and had to sign a Power of Attorney while in the hospital so that my office could move over utilities and such without me. I’m around for this move – though arguably, I might wish I was back in the hospital by the time it’s all over. Moving in August …

Why Does Congress Love Houses More Than Students?

Yesterday was Career Day at my kids’ school. So, around 9:00 a.m., I found myself standing in front of a room full of kids, touting the virtues of staying in school. I recited the saga of being the first in my family to go to college. I talked about how I loved what I do and how I couldn’t have done it without an education. Here’s what I left out. I didn’t tell that I borrowed so much money that my mom cried. I didn’t say that I owe more in student loans than I owe on my home. I …

IRS Announces 2012 Mileage Rates

The IRS has issued the 2012 optional standard mileage rates used for deducting the costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. They are: 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations These rates are effective as of January 1, 2012 and reflect very little in the way of movement from those rates which were effective as of July 1, 2011 (a rare mid-year change). The rate for business miles has not been changed while the …

Ask the taxgirl: Allergies and a New Home

Taxpayer asks: We bought a new house in June. The old owner was a chain smoker so we had to hire a professional cleaner to clean from top to bottom and it was quite expensive. Can we get a tax deduction for this? My wife has allergies so we had to do it. Thanks. We love your column. taxgirl says: Congrats on the new house! Before we get too far into your question, you need to consider whether the expense is worth claiming to begin with… Assuming that you itemize (only a third of taxpayers actually do), medical expenses are …

Giveaway Launches Series on Deductions

Editor’s note: We have a winner! Congrats to bstenger, I’ll be in touch shortly! This week, I’m kicking off my new series on the history of popular tax deductions here on the blog. To celebrate this auspicious occasion (insert chuckling here), I’m doing a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a Kindle with 6″ Display (Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers edition). Since it has Wi-Fi, it will make it easier than ever to keep up with the blog. Cool, right? Here’s how you enter: in the comments below, simply tell me your favorite legitimate tax deduction. There’s no need to …

Ask the taxgirl: Deductions for Cheftestants

Taxpayer asks: I was watching Top Chef Masters and I ahd a question. I know you have to report your winnings on a game show. On the Masters version, the chefs don’t get the money because it goes to charity. My question is can they take a tax deduction? taxgirl says: I haven’t seen Top Chef: Masters all season so I made an effort to catch up a bit tonight after reading your question. In the Masters edition, the cheftestants (yes, I’m using that word even though I hate it – but only once) win money for their respective charities. …

Taxes from A to Z: D is for Depreciation

Nothing lasts forever. Things you buy age, they wear down and sometimes, they become obsolete. That’s more or less the essence of depreciation. For federal income tax purposes, depreciation is a deduction that allows you to recover the cost or other basis of certain property. Depreciable property includes most tangible property (I like to think of tangible property as things you can touch) as well as certain intangible property. Tangible property includes buildings, rental properties, machines, cars and trucks, furnishings and equipment; land is not depreciable. Intangible property includes patents, copyrights and some kinds of software. You’ve probably bought one …

Saturday Night Live

I was on the radio Saturday night – late, my time – on KGO. You can listen to the clip here (I’m on at about minute 47). I’m talking about deductions (you can read the piece we’re talking about here). And yes, I now realize that the 2010 business mileage rate is 50 cents per mile… Cut me some slack.

taxgirl Talks Deductions

Yesterday, I made an appearance on the Ron Insana Show to discuss tax deductions. You can listen in here (my bit is about 6 minutes long) and you can read the article we’re discussing here.