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Money Matters: Your 2009 Taxes

February 2, 2010, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Money Matters: Your 2009 Taxes
If you haven't received it already, your W-2 form should arrive any day now. Employers had to have it in the mail by Monday.

The biggest tax news of 2009 is the first-time homebuyer's $8,000 credit.  If you're eligible, don't expect a quick refund because to get it your taxes can't be filed electronically.

"Probably because of amount of fraud and abuse the IRS was seeing in that over the past year. And they'll start processing those returns in the middle of February," Tim Ness of Ness Tax and Bookkeeping Service said.

A few lucky second-time homebuyers can also get the $6500 tax credit for 2009.

"Some people got caught in the middle where they didn't qualify because they moved in the second home before November 7 and couldn't get $6500. They were kind of bummed out; that happened today," Ness said.

Workers also qualify for the "Making Work Pay" credit of $400 for individuals or $800 for married couples, unless you received an economic stimulus payment of $250 from the Veterans Administration or Social Security Administration last year.

"That stimulus payment is not taxable, but it reduces your other credit and we're seeing a lot of rejected returns because of that. People just don't remember getting the $250," Ness said.

Also new this year, parents and students can get a federal education credit to offset the cost of college under the new American Opportunity Credit.

"If you had paid over $4,000 in tuition, fees, and technology, equipment like laptop computers, you would qualify for credit, credit of $2500. If that credit is more than the amount of tax due, you qualify to get a $1,000 refund," Ness said. 

If you just claim a standard deduction, you can now also add on real estate taxes and sales tax on a brand new vehicle.

"Our simple standard deduction went from one number to a 21 line page to calculate the correct number," Ness said.

A couple of other new things for your 2009 taxes: you can get a tax credit of up to $1,500 for making energy saving improvements to you home.

And if you collected unemployment, your first $2,400 is tax-free, but any amount over that is taxed.

Learn more about what to expect when you file your 2009 taxes at the IRS Web site.

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