Last call for 2012 income tax deductions
By Janet Simons
You’ve got only a few days to make charitable donations that you’ll be able to deduct from your 2012 income taxes, so you might want to know about how I hope to rid myself of some steep expenses while increasing the deduction on my income tax.
Here’s the deal. A couple of years ago, I moved out of a three-bedroom house with a basement, garage and attic and moved into a 750 square foot condo. Needless to say, although neither of my children was still at home, I had anything but an empty nest. My nest was so full, as a matter of fact, that my only option was to rent a storage unit that could accommodate the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates when you stay in the same place for some 20 years.
I needed a storage unit, so I rented one. I’ve now been paying rent on the unit for more than two years, and in January that rent rises from $75 to $85 a month. In other words, it goes from $9,000 a year to $10,200 a year, for a yearly increase of $1,200.
I’d rather not pay that kind of money, and I also don’t want to pay another year of income tax on the money I now make by renting the condo. What to do?
The answer is so obvious I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. I need to donate the remaining contents of the storage unit to charity. That way, not only do I get rid of an onerous $85-a-month expense, I also glean a deduction on the value of my donation.
Of course, that’s not as simple as it sounds. I’ve got lots of questions about how to value my donation for tax purposes. For example, is the IRS going to believe that 15-year-old educational software is still worth what I paid for it? Or do I need to value it according to what it’s selling for today on Amazon?
So it’s a good thing I have backup in the form of ShopAtHome.com’s Tax Center. The software, combined with the online and telephone support I’ll get with a subscription to such sites as H&R Block at Home, TurboTax and CompleteTax offer enormous value.
What are the benefits? Let me count the ways.
1. I get the storage-unit monkey off my back.
2. I can stop dreading the chore of doing my income tax because these sites make it simple – plus they provide live help with my questions.
3. Charitable deductions will give me a break on my total tax bill.
4. Goodwill, the Salvation Army, ARC or some other good cause will be able to sell the software to provide money for their programs.
5. Finally, these educational games will get a chance to be used by children who will learn from them.
Oh, and just one more thing. ShopAtHome.com is boosting the value of each tax preparation package with cash back: 12% for H&R Block, 12% CompleteTax and a whopping 17% for TurboTax.
So what’s in YOUR storage unit?