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Tax time brings about a host of questions from do-it-yourself tax preparers as well as people looking to have their taxes done by the most knowledgeable tax professional they can find. Tax laws and tax forms are notoriously confusing, which is why many people seek advice from certified public accountants (CPAs) and other tax experts.

Whether it’s time to prepare your taxes or you simply want to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the tax benefits you have coming to you, check out the common tax questions and answers below.

1. How Can I Reduce My Tax Obligation?

The easiest way to make sure you’re getting all the credits and deductions to which you’re entitled is to find a reputable tax accountant near you. Tax deductions lower your taxable income, while tax credits directly reduce the dollar amount you owe the government.

Which deductions and credits you qualify for depends on your financial situation. Thankfully, a knowledgeable tax professional can tell you exactly which ones fit your situation best. Common tax credits and deductions include the Child Tax Credit and deductions for employer-sponsored retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, and health savings accounts.

2. Which Is Better – A Tax Credit or a Tax Deduction?

In simple terms, a tax credit is better because it lowers your tax obligation dollar for dollar. On the other hand, a tax deduction only lowers your taxable income, meaning the impact on your overall tax obligation is minimal.

For example, if you qualify for a $1,000 tax credit, the dollar amount you owe the government would decrease by $1,000. If you qualify for a $1,000 tax deduction on your taxable income of $50,000, your taxable income will decrease to $49,000. This would result in a reduction of $0-$370 on your total tax obligation.

3. Should I Take the Standard Deduction or Itemize?

In short, if the standard deduction saves you more money on your tax bill, don’t itemize your deductions. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just take for granted that the standard deduction will be your best bet. Take the time to tally your itemized deductions so you can ensure you’re choosing the option that saves you the most money.

4. Can I Deduct My Medical Expenses?

The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses as long as they exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, if your AGI is $100,000, you can deduct any unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of $100,000 or $7,500. A few qualifying medical expenses you can deduct include preventative care, treatments, surgeries, dental/vision appointments, mental health care, prescriptions, glasses, hearing aids, and false teeth.

5. How Can I Keep Up with Tax Law Changes?

Tax laws change from year to year, making it difficult to keep up with it all. Working closely with a reputable CPA or other tax professional will ensure your taxes are prepared according to the latest changes. Also, you can opt to do your taxes yourself using one of the many tax preparation platforms on the market – all of which are updated to include the latest tax laws. Whichever way you choose to do your upcoming taxes, you can feel confident knowing they will be completed accurately and to your biggest benefit.

Tax season is often a confusing time for many people, resulting in a plethora of questions. For the most accurate advice, consult a reputable tax professional. In the meantime, we hope the common tax questions and answers above have been useful.