I donated a lot of clothes and shoes to goodwill and Salvation Army, but i used the drop off places and don’t have a receipt. Can I still claim the deduction?
The requirement for a receipt is not enforced when dropping off clothes at an unattended drop box; however, you must have your own reliable written records of what you donated, such as an itemized list you made at the time you made the drop.
Is 401k a traditional IRA?
No, a 401K is an employer sponsored retirement plan. An IRA is an individual retirement account that you fund on your own. They are not the same.
Would I be better off filing Head of Household or EIC? I have two dependent children in 2010 and am the custodial parent.
You can do both, they are separate tax questions.
You can file as head of household if you are single, or separated for at least 6 months, and you paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home, and you provided care for at least one qualifying person (such as a child-dependent).
You can claim earned income credit if you have qualifying dependents and your earnings are below a certain level. Claiming EIC does not stop you from filing head of household, and filing head of household does not stop you from claiming EIC.
If you have been separated less than 6 months, then you probably have to file as married filing separately, and this does block EIC.
How much is too much to claim for donations?
There's no such thing as too much. When your deductions/donations are greater than your income, that could increase your audit risk, but many people spend years gathering items and then donate them to charity and that amount could very well be more than they're income. So it's not an unreal situation.
Last year you only needed to provide receipts of donations if the donation was greater than $250. In 2008 the IRS changed that law and made it mandatory that ANY donation, even $1, must have a receipt.
If you donate clothes (or any item), the place you donate them to will issue you a receipt stating the fair market value and the general type of item. That is the amount you can deduct.
Can I deduct health insurance premiums?
Health insurance premiums that you paid for are tax deductible as a medical expense.
What do I put on my federal taxes if I have a 401K plan through my job?
When you enter your W-2, just make sure that you are entering exactly as you have received it. If the amount is pre-tax, the amount in Box 1 should be less than Box 3 and 5. In Box 12, you should have the code D with the amount that has been set aside by you into your pre-tax 401k. You won't enter the amount anywhere else.
How much can I donate to charity without records?
The rules for charitable donations have changed in recent years. For a cash donation of any amount, you must have a written record. That can be a canceled check, a bank or credit card statement entry, or a receipt from the charity. For a cash donation of $250 or more, you must have an acknowledgment from the charity stating the date and amount of the donation, and whether you received any goods or services in exchange for the donation. With no written record, you cannot deduct a donation.
For goods that you donate, you must have a receipt from the charity, unless it is impractical to have one, such as you dropped off goods at an unattended drop-off site. Even so, you must keep a detailed list of the items donated, where, and the value.
When you buy a used car, can you deduct both the registration fee and state tax?
Yes. You can deduct the sales tax if you itemize deductions and take the sales tax deduction instead of the state income tax deduction.
Which charities are deductible?
Qualified charities include: churches, synagogues, non-profit schools, hospitals and volunteer fire companies, federal state and local governments if contribution is solely for a public purpose, public parks and recreation facilities, public charities such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Goodwill, United Way, Boy/Girl scouts, and war veterans groups.
Do you have to have children to qualify for the Earned Income Credit (EIC)?
No, you can qualify without children. If your income is under $13,440, or $18,440 (married filing jointly)
AND you are at least 25 years old but under 65 as of December 31, 2009
AND are not the dependent of another person
AND have lived in the United States for more than half the year
AND have a valid social security number
AND are not Married Filing Separately
AND were a US Citizen or resident alien all year
AND have investment income of under $3100.
I have over 25 charities I donated money to, do I name each one?
You only need to separate those that are over $250. The rest you just need to keep proof on.
What’s the DOT standard meal allowance for truck drivers?
If you meet the requirements of being in the transportation industry, you can claim a standard meal allowance of $59 a day ($65 for travel outside the continental United States). Using the special rate for transportation workers eliminates the need for you to determine the standard meal allowance for every area where you stop for sleep or rest. If you choose to use the special rate for any trip, you must use the special rate (and not use the regular standard meal allowance rates) for all trips you take that year.
If I paid my tuition bill with a student loan can I still claim the payment amount as an expense or do I need to wait until I pay off the student loan after graduation?
Yes, the payment of qualified tuition and fees with the proceeds of a student loan is includable as qualified educational expenses in the year of payment (in your case, 2010) for purposes of the education deduction/credit. There is no deduction or credit in the year in which you pay back the principal amount of the student loan. Remember that if you are claimed as a dependent on someone else's return only that person can take the education deduction/credit.
Do I include books and fees in the amount I actually paid to the college?
No, only tuition is included.