Turn life's lemons into lemonade when you file your taxes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Turn life's lemons into lemonade when you file your taxes

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

December 30, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - December 31st is the last day for anyone looking to cash in on any loses in the stock market. It is also the last day for you to make any tax deductible contributions that can apply toward your 2008 federal taxes.

And this has the Salvation Army and Goodwill very busy.  The last couple of days people continued to donate old clothes and house wares to the Goodwill. Most of them asking for a receipt.

Donations are also flooding the Salvation Army family store as people clear out the old to get a little extra from Uncle Sam.

"It's usually best for them to have their own itemized list. And we write up a Salvation Army receipt with brief description of what they brought in and sign off on it. We are not allowed to place a value. That is sole based on the donor," said Store Manager, Crystal Kegler.

Tax preparers say you should also look beyond your closet and into your portfolio and sell any bad stocks. "If you have a loss and you sell it before the first of the year than you can file that loss," said tax preparer, Jimmy Peak.

If you suffered through a home foreclosure this year, you can breathe a little easier knowing that you don't have to file on the amount of debt that was forgiven. "You will get a 1099 cancellation of debt form. You will have to file it, but in most cases you would not be subject to income taxes," said Peak.

Those of you who are currently unemployed can also apply any expenses used to help find a new job. "From July 1st to the end of they year the mileage rate went up to 27 cents per mile which can add up to a substantial amount if you have to travel to look for a job," said Peak.

But the key to getting the most from your losses is organization. " Keep good records and save your receipts. The more accurate you are the more expenses you will get," said Jimmy.

Tax preparers encourage you to file your tax returns electronically and have any refunds directly deposited into your bank accounts. It takes approximately six to seven business days to receive that deposit.

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