How to boost your tax returns

Thanks to Emancipation Day, everyone gets an extra three days to file their taxes for 2015. So, why not spend those extra three days productively?

Jon Frutkin, principal at Frutkin Law Firm, has three quick and easy tips, one for each extra day, that you can follow to lower your taxes.

  1. Expand your home office deduction: Many folks only account for the size of their home office when writing it off as a deduction, Frutkin said. What many people tend to forget is to include a percentage of the expenses running the house for the home office. People can include things like a pro-rated amount of the utilities, alarm system, insurance or taxes used for the home office, he said.
  2. Make that IRA contribution: Frutkin said many forget to make contributions to their Individual Retirement Arrangements, and they can still make their contributions for last year, as long as it’s done before April 18th. You can make a back-dated contribution up to $5,500, or $6,500 if you’re older than 50, Frutkin said. All you need to do is make sure you indicate it’s for 2015, he added.
  3. Use those school tax credits: There are two school tax credits available in Arizona, one for public institutions, and the other for private schools. These are dollar for dollar tax credits, so if you owe Arizona $400 then you could reduce your taxes by $400 by using one of the tax credits, Frutkin explains. You can file both tax credits every year. The public school tax credit is good for up to $400, and you can choose which school you’d like the money to go to, and how it puts the money to use, from extracurriculars to books. The private school tax credit can go up to $2,150, and that can go to schools that will use the money for scholarships, Frutkin said.

“This is a way for you to send your tax dollars directly to the schools,” he said.