IRS-logothmbIowans who pay estimated quarterly taxes face their first deadline of the new year next week as fourth quarter taxes are due January 15th. Bob Burger, a CPA in Omaha-Council Bluffs, says there are new rules every filing season.

The year’s biggest issue is thanks to new requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act, as the penalty is rising for anyone who doesn’t have health care coverage.

“That penalty, if you don’t have health insurance, at a minimum is increasing from $95 in 2014 to $325 for an uninsured household in 2015 and then in 2016, it goes up to $695,” Burger says, “so that’s a significant jump.” As you begin to organize all of your tax paperwork, Berger says don’t forget about contributions to non-profit groups you made during the past year.

“Most of the people don’t realize how big of an advantage charitable donations are,” he says. “Make sure, when you go to the charity, get a receipt and bring that with you because it’s a huge deduction and it benefits both parties.” The IRS requires you have proof of such donations, with a canceled check, a bank or credit card statement, or a letter or receipt from the organization.

Donors also need written acknowledgment from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more.

By Karla James