Do We Have Any Tax Experts In Here??

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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:10 pm
Location: United States

Postby JoDa » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:43 pm


First, it depends on whether you itemize your deductions or just claim the standard deduction. If you don't itemize, then just claim one exemption for each dependent in your household (including yourself) and you're finished. You're fine to make this 2 in years you do claim your child and 1 in years you don't. Just remember to file a new W-4 with HR. You'll probably get a small return under these circumstances. Not enough to bother with the more complicated math.

If you itemize (i.e., you file IRS form 1040 schedule A...look at last year's return to see if it's in there), THEN you total up your deductions listed on that schedule, divide by 3950, and claim that number of exemptions (rounded down). Deductions included on this form include local taxes, mortgage interest, high medical expenses, etc. If your expenses and income are pretty steady, and you round DOWN, you'll almost always end up with a small return under these circumstances. If much of your income is variable (bonuses, commission) or your expenses vary wildly (you've recently had major medical bills but are better now, or you sold your home and started renting) you may end up missing the mark (either owing a lot of getting a big refund).

It may not hurt to pay a tax professional ONCE to totally walk you through this, with real numbers from your returns. I'm not talking about H&R Block. I'm talking about someone like an "enrolled agent" (EA) (or CPA, but they're *really* pricey unless you happen to have a CPA friend you could hit up). My EA charges me about $400/year, but it sounds like I have more forms than you do AND I live in an expensive area AND he's REALLY good and well-established, so you could probably find someone a bit cheaper than that. They can show you the math with real numbers for your situation so you can make the adjustments yourself in the future.
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