GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. —

The tax deadline is just around the corner, and KARE 11 is teaming up with the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) to offer some help.

MNCPA member Steven E. Warren, CPA, MBT, of Schechter Dokken Kanter CPAs, provides a few tips to get you through this tax season.

You can also call the KARE 11 Taxline at 1-888-546-8811 to get live help from MNCPA experts from March 19-22 4-7 p.m. and March 23 8-10 a.m.

RELATED: KARE 11 Taxline offers free tax help all week

Here are Steven's tips:

  • For 2018 only, you can itemize your deductions for your Minnesota individual income tax return even when using the standard deduction on your federal income tax return.

  • Your auto tabs registration fee less $35 per vehicle can be deducted as tax expense when you itemize your deductions. You can learn the deductible amount at https://app.dps.mn.gov/dvsvehicletax/default.aspx by selecting “Plate” for the Record Type, enter the plate number and click on the “Search” box.

  • State income taxes are deductible to taxpayers who itemize, including the balance due with your last year's state income tax return. However, total state and local taxes including real estate taxes and auto tabs are limited to $10,000 per year.
                                                                        
  • Make sure you have the appropriate support for your deductions in the proper form and in a timely manner. For example, obtaining proper support for a charitable contribution prior to filing your tax return is normally required to deduct the donation.

  • Out-of-pocket charitable contributions and charitable mileage are deductible and are often overlooked.

  • Deduct the balance of any unamortized points (a payment to buy down your interest rate) when you refinance your home mortgage. Interest on a home equity line of credit is only deductible when the loan proceeds were used to buy or improve the home.

  • Use the trade date rather than the settlement date for determining when a security was purchased or sold.

  • Consider any dividend reinvestments when calculating the gain or loss on the sale of a security.

  • If you’re unable to complete your individual income tax return by the initial due date, file for a six-month extension by April 15 using Form 4868. Form 4868 also extends Minnesota individual income tax returns, but some states require use of their own extension form. Also, any amount owed is still due April 15 and should be paid with the extension request when possible.

  • Some lower-income people choose not to file because they don't owe anything. However, they may be missing out on a refundable earned income credit, working family credit or property tax refund. Filing is also the only way to get a refund of income tax withholding that was not owed.

  • For paper filers:
    • Sign and date the returns.
    • Attach to the tax returns copies of W-2s and 1099-Rs that include withholding.
    • Copy the signed returns for your records.
    • Use correct postage. Consider sending using certified mail if additional proof of mailing is desired.


Provided by MNCPA member Steven E. Warren, CPA, MBT, of Schechter Dokken Kanter CPAs. swarren@sdkcpa.com or 612-332-9391