How can I be more savy about taxes?

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surfer949
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How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by surfer949 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:54 pm

I used to file single and never really paid too much attention to my taxes. Now that I am married with my wife who owns a small business (restaurant) I'm at a lost in understanding our taxes. We did deducted many things such as our house, baby, business expanses, and such. Our accountant is available if we have questions. However, I want to get some knowledge to at least understand what to look for when saving on taxes and build a strategy to become more "tax efficient". If anything be able to ask my account the right questions.
Is there a book someone can recommend or site with good basic information?

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Watty
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by Watty » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:08 pm

One thing that is good to do is to get the paper tax forms and booklets and to do your taxes on paper.

You could do last years tax returns and when you are done compare them to the tax return the accountant prepared.

You will learn a lot about just how the tax calculations work by doing this.

livesoft
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by livesoft » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:08 pm

Read all the titles of the IRS publications first. Then select about 10 to 20 publications that you think apply to your situations and read them. Then read some more of the IRS publications.

Here is where you can find the publications: https://www.irs.gov/publications/

Basically, you cannot be more savvy about taxes by osmosis. You have to work at it and reading the IRS publications is a great place to start.
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fantasytensai
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by fantasytensai » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:16 pm

livesoft wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:08 pm
Read all the titles of the IRS publications first. Then select about 10 to 20 publications that you think apply to your situations and read them. Then read some more of the IRS publications.

Here is where you can find the publications: https://www.irs.gov/publications/

Basically, you cannot be more savvy about taxes by osmosis. You have to work at it and reading the IRS publications is a great place to start.

Yup, no shortcuts. You gotta read.

If you don't want to read all that stuff (and it's a lot), hire a good professional.

surfer949
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by surfer949 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:27 pm

Thank you for the replies. Yes I'm not looking for a shot cut but the basics. I'll look for a book on Amazon to get me started.

livesoft
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by livesoft » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:33 pm

A book will not be as good as those IRS publications. I've browsed books and they just repeat what is found in the IRS publications for the most part.

Publication 17 is free and will get you started.
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surfer949
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by surfer949 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:41 pm

livesoft wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:33 pm
A book will not be as good as those IRS publications. I've browsed books and they just repeat what is found in the IRS publications for the most part.

Publication 17 is free and will get you started.
ok thx!

kaneohe
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by kaneohe » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:03 pm

https://www.amazon.com/Taxes-Dummies-Er ... or+dummies

You might be able to find this in local library. Generally reading gives you a general picture of things but if you really want to see how things work, there is nothing like filling out tax forms themselves. That in combination w/ reading IRS form instructions & publications will help more than just reading alone.

It is very helpful to have a specific topic you are interested in. There are so many things in taxes that if you start reading something and go from
A to Z, it is very likely that you will lose interest along the way. As an example, I once tried to learn Excel via an online tutorial that started with the basics and went thru a zillion topics. I learned nothing until I picked the particular problem I was trying to solve and then read specific sections that were relevant and that held interest for me. Over time, you will learn more, one topic at a time.

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FIREchief
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by FIREchief » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:58 pm

livesoft wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:33 pm
A book will not be as good as those IRS publications. I've browsed books and they just repeat what is found in the IRS publications for the most part.

Publication 17 is free and will get you started.
+1. I figured this out over 30 years ago. I ordered pub 17 every year. Of course, back then, you had to send a paper request to the IRS for them to send you the forms/instructions/pubs you thought you needed (or stop at the local court house and hope they had the IRS forms/instructions/pubs you needed). Invariably, you would get just about done with your taxes and an IRS instruction would say you needed to refer to another instruction/pub to determine a correct entry, so it would be another request and wait before you could finish.

Kids these days don't know how good they have it! 8-)
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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joe8d
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by joe8d » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:18 pm

Watty wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:08 pm
One thing that is good to do is to get the paper tax forms and booklets and to do your taxes on paper.

You could do last years tax returns and when you are done compare them to the tax return the accountant prepared.

You will learn a lot about just how the tax calculations work by doing this.
:thumbsup
All the Best, | Joe

Daryl
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by Daryl » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:58 pm

I'm a volunteer tax preparer, serving low income families (IRS VITA program). We have a copy of Pub 17 at each site.

BanquetBeer
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by BanquetBeer » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:12 pm

Walk through the forms and read the instructions. The tillable forms part on the main page (for those with high income) are a great source to see where all the additional schedules and forms fit in. You will still miss some if you don't know (like Roth conversion form 8###?)

The forms really take you step by step - far more basic than they should be (lots of re-enter number from 5 lines above so it's nearby vs just telling you to look a few lines up)

Then you need to learn what deductions you can and should take. Depreciation? Business expenses? Etc.

I would walk through last years filing.

JW-Retired
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by JW-Retired » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:59 am

surfer949 wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:54 pm
Is there a book someone can recommend or site with good basic information?
Surfer,
As urged by everyone the IRS publications and paper tax forms are the place to start.

Next, I highly recommend becoming familiar with one of the free online tax calculators. Using these, you can very quickly look at the impact on your tax from one thing or another changing on your income or deductions side. Your marginal tax bracket very often doesn't tell the whole story.

My favorite for this is the HR Block calculator. It has a summary table that you can choose to make a single change in and do a quick repeat to see what happens.
https://www.hrblock.com/get-answers/tax ... e/aboutYou
JW
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Hockey10
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:25 am

livesoft wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:33 pm
A book will not be as good as those IRS publications. I've browsed books and they just repeat what is found in the IRS publications for the most part.

Publication 17 is free and will get you started.
I had a Tax Accounting class in college many decades ago. Over the course of a semester, we went through Pub 17 from cover to cover. I don't even think the class had a textbook, other than Publication 17.

clemrick
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by clemrick » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:03 pm

For business taxes, I suggest "Small Business Taxes Made Easy" by Eva Rosenberg.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How can I be more savy about taxes?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:39 pm

Do your own tax is the best way to learn it.

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