Tax Tips for Tough Times

FRESNO, Calif. 2009 was a tough year for many Americans, and if you lost a job or went back to school because you needed to find a new one, there are a few tax breaks you should know about.

If you received unemployment benefits the first $2,400 dollars are now tax free. In other words if you got $5,000 dollars in benefits last year you only have to pay taxes on $2,600.

If you lost your job and spent time looking for a new one, expenses such as preparing a resume, postage on mailing them, gas and parking for traveling to job interviews may all be deductible, if you are itemizing deductions.

If you went back to school for retraining, you may be eligible for an education tax credit courtesy of the federal stimulus plan.

The $2,500 dollar per student credit is available to all taxpayers with income of less than $80,000 or married couples who earn less than $160,000.

Anyone who has had a tax problem knows dealing with the I.R.S. can be frustrating. But there is actually a department within the agency to help you. The Taxpayer Advocate service is an independent organization designed to help tax payers resolve their problems with the I.R.S. The group can be especially helpful for those experiencing economic hardship.

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