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Tax season survival guide

It’s the most wonderful time of year. It’s tax season. Instead of dreading doing your taxes, you should be calculating your expenses from the year so you can get a refund just in time for Spring Break. Also, you need to know how The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, affects your taxes.

Going to school and working is difficult, so here are some helpful tips to get the most out of your tax return and perhaps get a better refund. The deadline to file your taxes is April 15, so you still have enough time, but don’t wait too long and rush to get it done without writing off important expenses.

So, what can you write off on your tax return as a student? All your tuition. On the Palomar e-services website your 1098-T will be available. This is how much you spent to attend college, as well if you received the BOG Waiver.

Paying the tuition is just half the financial battle you dealt with all year. You can write off:

• Room and board

• Look into claiming education credits such as the American Opportunity Credit

• As a California resident you can receive an extra $60 on your state refund if you paid rent.

• All your textbooks, school supplies, which includes anything that helped you succeed in school like that new laptop you purchased.

• The most frequent question asked is if you can write off the gas it took you to drive to school. The answer is no and I know; it doesn’t make any sense to me either.

Now, the biggest thing to watch out for while filing your 2014 taxes is the new health coverage law, also known as ObamaCare.

If you didn’t have health coverage in 2014 then you will either pay a fee or file for an exemption on your return. If you did have coverage there is a special box just for you on your return.

If you do not qualify for the exemption then the fee is either one percent of your yearly income or $95, which ever one is higher.

To find out if you if qualify for an exemption before you file your taxes then fill out the questionnaire on the HealthCare.gov website.

According to HealthCare.gov you don’t have to pay the fee for any months you were uncovered in 2014 if the lowest cost plan is more than 8 percent of your income.

There are a lot of reasons why someone would be exempt from having coverage, but being unable to afford it is most common, according to the Washington Post.

Don’t fret quite yet because, according to HealthCare.gov, if you don’t pay the fee you won’t be charged as a criminal, your future refunds will be reallocated back to the government.

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