The 2008 tax season is over. Now is the time to start preparing for next year’s taxes. Here are some helpful links to get you tax-inspired:

It’s Deductible by TurboTax – Free deduction tracking software allows you track your charitable contributions, including cash contributions, items, stock, and mileage. If you use TurboTax to file your taxes, ItsDeductible will automatically transfer your info when you start your filing preparations next spring. If you tend to donate lots of items to charity, ItsDeductible has a handy little section that incorporates the IRS’ item worth tables so that you can easily enter items and see their tax worth come next spring. Make a list of the items you are donating, and staple that list to your donation receipt for ease in claiming the items come tax time.

IRS Withholding Calculator – This calculator can give you a rough idea if you need to change the amount you’re having withheld in order to keep from paying taxes (or loaning money to the government) next year. Just make sure you enter as accurate figures as possible, and if you use the calculator, consider re-calculating every few months to make sure you’re still on track.

Record Keeping Tips from about.com – with regards to length of time a taxpayer should keep their tax records:

Although legally you need only keep tax records for three years from the date you filed the related income tax return, you should keep a copy of your actual tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, etc., indefinitely. The IRS destroys original tax returns after three years, and you or your heirs may need information from the returns at some point, or you may need to prove your earnings for Social Security purposes.

3 tips to Maximize Deductions – this article includes a paragraph on bundling medical expenses to maximize your deduction. You can deduct qualifying expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. The author of this article recommends determining an estimate of 7.5% of your AGI at the beginning of the year, then keeping a running tally of medical expenses and if you near that amount, consider if there are any expenses that could be brought into the current year. For example, a household that makes $55,000 would realize a deduction after $4,125 of medical expenses are incurred. If, in December, a household is at $3,900 of costs, it may be a good idea to reschedule a couple appointments back into December (well-child checks, dental cleanings, chiropractic appointments, etc.) in order to realize a tax benefit.

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