Bauer Business Focus

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Janet Meade | March 5, 2010

Published on March 1, 2010

UH Bauer associate professor Janet Meade talks tax with KUHF's Ed Mayberry.

On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on reducing the cost and trouble of income taxes with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF-88.7 FM

Janet Meade, who teaches tax at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, offered advice on reducing the cost and trouble of income taxes during a conversation with KUHF business reporter Ed Mayberry.

The Associate Professor of Accountancy and Taxation pointed out that “sometimes deductions seem buried under a rock.”

New this year, the tax credit for college students has been expanded to four years, from two years. Better known is the credit available for first time home buyers — $8,000 in 2009. This credit also extends to 2010 and has been expanded to include long-time home buyers, although at a lesser amount of $6,500.

As for the answer to that question posed on the TV spots for a well-known tax preparer: are haircuts deductible? The answer is no. Job search expenses, like miles driven to interviews and résumé copying costs, are deductible if you are looking for a job in a field you were previously employed. But new clothes or haircuts are not on the list.

Those looking for answers should consider an unlikely source of help: the IRS website. The agency has added helpful content to its website, though it’s easier to get to a specific fact with a search tool like Google than the navigation available on the site.

For those with simple situations, tax software can do the job. But those with more complicated situations — rental property or a stake in an S-type corporation — may well find the cost of hiring an expert is worthwhile.

“In my class I ask students to prepare a return using tax preparation software,” Meade said. “Oftentimes they answer one question wrong and then they find themselves on a schedule they’re not supposed to be on, and it turns into a mess.”

Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.

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