We know, we know. It's hard to make Tax Season fun, or simple or easy or not a huge hassle!
First, you have to hand over a lot of your hard-earned money and, worse, give it to the government. Second, it's complicated to prepare your taxes, no matter how much simpler technology has made it or how much less complicated the U.S. government says it's becoming.
Face it, you're not filing your IRS taxes on a postcard-sized piece of paper anytime soon, as you've been led to believe. If you're like most people, you have stacks of work expenses, hotel bills and donation receipts on a wobbly stack on your floor.
Then it takes hours or days (or a few weekends) to file your state and federal taxes. That's true, even if you've saved much of your information from past years on tax-filing sites like FreeTaxUSA or TurboTax.
There is a glimmer of good news every year, though. You can write-off certain expenses, like car mileage and home-office equipment, so you end up paying less or getting a larger refund.
Surprise! Did you know that you can write off these tech devices?
Note: Consult with your CPA, a tax professional or the IRS with any questions about your taxes.
Tech you can deduct
The internet and Wi-Fi have radically changed your workday. While most of us once spent our days in cubicles in a tall building in downtown, these days your office is wherever you are.
You're working on the road, literally. Who of us hasn't taken work-related phone calls in the car or answered an email at a red light?
We've all spent at least a few hours using free Wi-Fi at Starbucks or other coffee shops to knock out a business letter, write up a contract or create a dazzling PowerPoint presentation.
You can deduct some of the expenses related to working remotely, whether you do that in a fast-food restaurant, the side of the road or in your home office. Those deductions start with the device you're holding in your hand.
If you work at least part of the time from your smartphone, you can deduct a portion of its cost as a business expense, according to TurboTax. You can also write off other work-related equipment, like PCs, laptops, printers and so on.
Surprise! You can deduct this
When it comes to tax write-offs, or deductions when filing, you should always consult with a professional about purchases you've made. There are some obvious write-offs, though.
If you're a salesperson who's hitting the freeways up and down the coast all year long, you know to write off mileage, repairs and other expenses associated with keeping your vehicle up and running. You can write off a smartphone if you're a busy executive who's fielding phone calls 24/7.
But what about your TV set and your cable TV bill? Well, if you're an advertising copywriter, a TV critic or you do something else where you need your TV, write those off.
Can you deduct the cost for Wi-Fi on an airplane? You can if you're up there doing work, whether you're reading resumes, creating Excel spreadsheets or writing business letters on Google Docs.
If you're a publisher, you might spend thousands of dollars each year on newspapers, magazines and website subscriptions. Those are business expenses that you can deduct.
What industry do you work in? Think about all the money you spend each year to do your job.
Deduct all at once or over time
You're in control of your taxes and your tax write-offs, although you may feel the federal government breathing down your neck. That includes the amount of work-related tech that you deduct from your taxes.
You can write off the full value of a smartphone at one time. You might deduct its entire value this year to get the biggest, quickest impact.
Or you can use a device's depreciated value. The IRS lets you write off some expenses little by little over time if that makes more sense for your budget.
Don't skip this step
Keep receipts and good records. The IRS is scary only when they come calling. Be well prepared to prove that the tech gadgets you deducted from your taxes are legitimate work-related expenses.
Tax deductions often change, it's probably best to have a CPA prepare your taxes for you or at least review them if you opt to do them yourself. Nobody wants the IRS knocking on our doors!
What? The IRS will call you now!
The IRS. It's hard to love them, especially when they pull a stunt like this.
After years of saying they would not call you, as a way to prevent IRS phone scams, the tax collection department has reversed course. Confusing, right?