The deadline day for filing federal tax returns is less than month away now, and a tax preparer is reminding his Iowa clients about a particular refund this year, the federal telephone excise tax. Jeff Strawhacker, a C-P-A in West Des Moines, says it’s a one-time refund that applies to virtually everyone who has a phone.
Strawhacker says he’s getting lots of questions about the refund but it’s actually very simple to claim, as the I.R.S. has put together a standard deduction based on the number of people in your household. The refund ranges from 30 to 60-dollars, depending on how many people live in your house.
Strawhacker says another big change in federal taxes this year is in how you contribute to tax-deductible charities. As of January first of this year, the I.R.S. is requiring everyone to have written documentation for any charitable donations. He says if you usually give cash, you’ll have to get a receipt for it from the organization if you hope to claim it next year.
Strawhacker says there’s another change this year for charitable giving when it comes to donating household items to places like the Salvation Army. He says "For all those people that give property or used clothing, used furniture, there is a requirement that it has to be in good condition, so they’ll have to do something such as taking pictures or taking notes on the items that they’re donating to charity."
Strawhacker says there’s also a tax credit being offered for residential energy improvements, so Iowans who put in new windows, exterior doors or insulation during 2006 should keep their receipts.