Tax tips and discounts for UFCW members
April 4, 2018
April 4, 2018
Did you know your UFCW membership gives you access to a number of money saving coupons and discounts? Right now, UFCW members can save up to $20 on TurboTax Federal Products or 15% off at TaxACT.
File early to prevent identity thieves from claiming your refund
If you are the victim of identity theft, waiting until the last minute to file your taxes leaves more time for those who have stolen your identity to claim your refund. Though identity theft on tax returns has been falling in recent years thanks to improved security measures, the threat is still out there and the IRS still encourages filing early. “We tell taxpayers to file as early as they can,” says Cecilia Barreda, IRS spokeswoman, “but not without the supporting forms they need to file an accurate return.”
Confused about the new tax law?
You’re not alone. The new law eliminates numerous tax breaks for 2018 and beyond, but you can still write off those deductions on your 2017 tax forms. One major change from the new law that does affect 2017 returns: You can write off more in unreimbursed medical expenses than the prior law allowed.
File early and research payment options
If you owe money to the IRS, it’s still a good idea to prepare and file your tax return early, though you don’t have to make the payment until the tax deadline.
Knowing the amount you owe before the deadline gives you more time to plan how you’ll pay. You can pay by credit card, but you’ll get hit with a service fee of as much as 1.99 percent of your tax liability. If you pay by debit card, you’ll owe a flat fee, which ranges from $2.58 to $3.95.
On the IRS website, you can find the agency’s list of accepted services that process tax payments by credit or debit card.
UFCW Membership is Tax Deductible
Your membership contributions to the UFCW are tax deductible. The IRS categorizes “union dues” and “initiation fees” under miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 21.
Be careful not to confuse your pension contributions with your membership, because pension contributions are not tax deductible. Also, if you have chosen to be an Active Ballot Club (ABC) member, those donations are separate from your membership and go to a special fund for the UFCW’s political advocacy and to passing pro-worker legislation. Not all UFCW members choose to donate to ABC. Those kinds of political activities are not considered tax deductible by the IRS, unlike other non-political donations to charities the UFCW supports like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or Faces of Our Children.
The 2% Rule
You can only deduct the amount of combined miscellaneous expenses that exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). That means if you want to deduct your dues, you probably need to take a look at any other miscellaneous expenses you might have. A good first place to look is if you had any work-related expenses in 2016 that were not reimbursed by your employer.
Miscellaneous expenses that might count towards the 2% rule include:
- Job search expenses, even if you didn’t necessarily get the job.
- Work Clothes and Uniforms.
You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met:
- You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
- The clothes aren’t suitable for everyday wear.
- Protective clothing.
You can deduct the cost of protective clothing required in your work, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves.
- Repayment of Income Aid Payment
An “income aid payment” is one that is received under an employer’s plan to aid employees who lose their jobs because of lack of work. If you repay a lump-sum income aid payment that you received and included in income in an earlier year, you can deduct the repayment.
- Tools Used in Your Work
Generally, you can deduct amounts you spend for tools used in your work if the tools wear out and are thrown away within 1 year from the date of purchase. You can depreciate the cost of tools that have a useful life substantially beyond the tax year. For more information about depreciation, see IRS Publication 946.
- Tax Preparation Fees that you paid during 2016, even it they were for an earlier tax year.
You can find a full list of eligible miscellaneous itemized deductions in IRS Publication 529 on the IRS website.
For example, if your adjusted gross income in 2016 was $40,000 and your combined miscellaneous expenses totaled $1,300, you can deduct $500 of that, because the other $800 equals 2% of $40,000.
Take Full Advantage of Credits and Tax Breaks
Did you know that only about 20% of those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit actual claim it? That’s a big deal given that it can be worth up to $6,242 for those who qualify. Check out this list from CNBC of the ten most popular tax credits to see if there’s one you may qualify for.
And don’t forget if you have already filed your taxes and forgot to take deductions or credits you should have, you can still file an amendment as long as it’s within the past three years.