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Get a Discount Off Student Loans if You Can

Disclaimer: this is not for everyone, and is a great example of how adding complexity sometimes goes along with “tax optimization.” If you get a kick out of that sort of thing and have student loans, read on! If you have student loans, and also live in a state that offers a tax benefit for […]

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Pay As You Go, or You Will Owe

Or…why do I have to pay more money in April when I’ve been paying all year long? The U.S. income tax system is pay-as-you-go, meaning, the IRS expects you to pay taxes on your income as you earn it throughout the year. In fact, if you owe too much at tax time (relative to your […]

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File Your Taxes For Free If You Can

Did you know there are a number of ways to file your taxes for free? By “free” I mean where you don’t have to pay a tax preparer, you don’t have to pay for tax software, and you don’t pay for any other out of pocket costs. “Free” probably does mean using some of your […]

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Why Charitable Donations Are Not Tax Deductions For Most People

(aka: explaining the Standard Deduction and Itemized Deductions in Three Easy Steps) “Everybody knows” that charitable donations are tax-deductible. “Everybody knows” that you get a tax break on your home mortgage. Everybody is mostly wrong. Here’s why: Step 1: In the U.S., it basically works like this:  Step 2: You have two options for that […]

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You Should Understand Your Largest Expense

Oh, you thought housing was your biggest expense? I doubt it. Most Americans spend more on taxes than anything else. Federal income tax, state income tax, local income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, capital gains tax, tax for paid family leave, sales tax, utterly indecipherable taxes on cell phone and utility bills, tolls for […]