Taking the right tax preparation steps

January 30, 2013

Single moms know there have enough problems in the day without worrying about whether taxes have been filed yet, let alone whether all the documents they need to do so properly are in their possession. This should be a priority for any woman, however, since even financial aid for moms will need to be quoted on tax returns sometimes. Ensuring that everything is in order now can help moms avoid financial problems in the future with the IRS and other tax authorities, and getting all the important deductibles and credits submitted could help college moms earn a bigger refund check.

Accumulating forms
Being aware of all the documents a single mom will need to proceed is the first step in the process. Think back on every job worked, grant received or investment made and make sure each of these is documented. Child support income may need supporting records, bank accounts must be noted for current overall balances to provide an accurate picture of overall expenses and any stocks or bonds that appreciated or depreciated in the last year need to go on the form. If an employer or school hasn't sent payroll or college scholarship information by the end of January, it may be wise to inquire with that institution's Registrar or financial aid office.

Learning the credits
Moms can claim a child tax credit of $1,000 for every dependent under 17 in their homes, according to Daily Finance. They can also claim themselves as heads of household instead of just single, giving them a strong boost in deduction credit.

Speaking of credits, the child care credit is available to moms who spent money on daycare, babysitting or nanny services in the previous year, as well as any other programs that looked after kids while a woman was at work or school. This credit can be taken along with dependent deductions, gaining moms that much more in refund credit. This makes the child care credit more valuable in some ways than the dependent care exemption, Nolo Online wrote, because it actually grants an extra $1,000 to a refund check. whereas the deduction is only worth about one-third of that after the math is worked out.

Get professional help
For women feeling overwhelmed with college finals, applying for financial aid for moms and running a household, sometimes using an online filing system or doing paper forms is too daunting. In those cases, spending a bit extra on an accountant or service can be worth the money. These professionals usually will take their payment out of anticipated refund checks, and using these options may help moms get the most money back possible.

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