“Are your kids in camp yet?” My neighbor asked me this question just last week. School is officially out for summer, and since I work, my neighbor assumed (correctly) that our plans for summer involve a complicated slate of camps, trips, and juggling of schedules. He’s been there, done that, but even so, remarked, “It’s different having a kid these days.”
He’s right. It’s a very different world from when my mom would turn us loose for summer. For most of my childhood, my mom stayed home, so there was never a question of where we would be: it was more a question of what we would be doing. We would spend hours outside, riding bikes in our neighborhood or sitting on the bulkhead on the intracoastal waterway, hoping to snare a crab or two with a piece of string and some fish heads.
According to the latest data from the Department of Labor, 57% of American women – or about 72 million – participate in the workforce. That has changed the landscape of child care in our country. It’s changed how we spend summers and after school.
But that’s not the only thing that’s changed. Our families look different: we have more blended families and single parents. Adult children are staying home a little longer. Our dollars are shifting: spending on education by families has increased dramatically as parents pay for college and preschool.
Predictably, the Tax Code has reacted to adjust to our changing demographics and our changing priorities. While that can make the dollars a lot more bearable come tax time, it can also make it more complicated.
But just like kids don’t come with a “how to parent” manual, tax returns don’t come with a “how to make sense of kid-related provisions” primer. That’s why I wrote one for you.
My book, “Ask The Taxgirl: Everything Parents Should Know About Filing Taxes” is intended to help you figure out the basics like filing status, claiming dependents, and determining exemptions. You’ll also find helpful information about how to deduct expenses associated with raising kids, including the costs of medical care and child care. I’ve also tackled some of the most common questions parents have submitted to me as part of my “Ask The Taxgirl” series.
And if you think you’ve seen this before, you’re not crazy. This is an updated edition of my popular book from 2012. There have been a lot of changes (including Obamacare and the legalization of same-sex marriage) since that time, which is why an update felt necessary. I’ve also included new chapters on education and medical expenses.
There’s lots more to come, including a giveaway and some other fun stuff. Be sure to check us out on social media, too: I’ll be hosting a Twitter chat on Forbes on June 27 at 2 pm.
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