5 Easy Ways to Save on Taxes

City of Industry, CA –  It’s hard to get ahead with Uncle Sam stretching out his hand every time you earn a few extra bucks. While paying what you owe is the patriotic way, it’s always nice to owe less rather than more. Here are some of the best (and strictly legal) ways to reduce your taxable income but still satisfy Uncle Sam when he comes knocking. 1. Take advantage of perks at work. If your employer offers a dependent care spending account or a health-care spending account, the dollars you sock away in the programs are deducted from your pre-tax pay.

Sometimes enrollment times are limited, so check with your human resources department to determine when you’re eligible. Familiarize yourself with what qualifies as a reimbursable expense. [Read the full article]

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — For post-communist Romanians a Big Mac and soda meant much more than a meal: It was a culinary signpost from the free and capitalist west — a sign they too, at last, had arrived. But modernity requires something different today: the Balkan country is moving to join the health conscious 21st century by proposing taxes on burgers, french fries, soda and other fast foods with high fat and sugar content.

The ministry says that — in marked contrast to the situation under communism — half of Romania’s 22 million people are overweight, while instances of obesity have doubled among 10-year-olds. Officials have refused to say how high the taxes would be. But Cercel says authorities expect to generate up to euro1 billion ($1.37 billion) in new revenues — compared with an estimated euro16 billion in total revenues for 2010. [Read the full article]

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Adjournment loomed for the New Mexico Legislature as lawmakers sought a compromise Wednesday for balancing the budget with spending cuts and tax increases. The 30-day legislative session ends at noon Thursday, but Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez said he remained hopeful the House and Senate will resolve their differences on budget issues sooner. “I am not at the pinnacle of optimism, but I see a little bit of movement,” said Sanchez, a Belen Democrat. {loadposition in-article}

The chairman of the House committee that handles the budget, Rep. Henry Kiki Saavedra, said legislative leaders continue to negotiate and are trying to blend tax and spending proposals approved separately by the House and Senate. “Hopefully we can avoid a special session because there is no use coming to a special session unless there is an agreement,” said Saavedra, an Albuquerque Democrat. [Read the full article]

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two audits released Wednesday provided new details about the Kansas system for providing tax credits and exemptions to various groups and programs. But legislators agree that more information is needed if they are going to make changes to the system and find the state more revenue. “I think this will make an excellent study for an interim,” said House Taxation Committee Chairman Richard Carlson, a St. Marys Republican.

One lingering question that wasn’t answered by the Legislative Division of Post Audit reports is whether the tax policies are working in terms of generating jobs and economic activity in Kansas. Rep. Ann Mah, a Topeka Democrat, said a follow-up audit looking at the effect of the elimination of taxes and fees in recent years would be helpful to determine if jobs were saved or created as a result. Legislators have been discussing the tax policies and the potential of rolling back some sales tax exemptions. [Read the full article]

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