Monday, October 25, 2010

Top 10 Halloween Season Tax Tips

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I always look forward to my law firm’s annual celebration. However, there is more to Halloween than costumes and trick-or-treating. The end of the year is only a few weeks away, and Halloween season is a good time to start thinking about taxes. To help my readers save a little money this year, I have put together ten spooky Halloween tax tips.

1. Haunted Home Renovations

Before you have guests over for a Halloween party, you might want to consider making some green renovations to save on energy. By installing a programmable thermostat, or upgrading to dual pane windows, you can keep your guests comfortable and also qualify for an Energy Star tax incentive. For more information, check out

2. Spooky Soiree's

Most teachers try to throw Halloween parties for their students, but due to budget cuts many educators are forced to finance these events out of their own pockets. Fortunately, if you are a qualifying teacher then you can use these expenses as part of your educator expense deduction.

3. Supernatural Savings

The average consumer spends about $66 each year on Halloween decorations, costumes and candy. Unfortunately, if you visit your local party supply store then you may end up paying more then you need to for your Halloween supplies. Instead, check out deals online to make your money stretch.

4. Eerie Extensions

If you had to file a tax return extension in 2009, then October 15th was the deadline to get your return in. The longer you wait to file your return, the more you will have to pay in IRS late penalties. If you have not yet competed your return, I highly recommend calling a tax professional right away.

5. Chilling Charity

As the weather cools down in October, charities begin asking for cool weather donations. When you have some free time, go through your winter wardrobe with your family to see if you have any extra sweaters, or blankets to donate. Keep the receipt for your contributions, and you can deduct the donation on your next tax return. However, you will need to itemize your return to qualify for this specific tax incentive. For more information, you can read this article explaining the charitable contribution deduction on

6. Tip or Treat

If you receive tips at your job, then the IRS requires that you keep track of your total tips and report them to your employer. According to Topic 761, if you get $20 or more in tips during a calendar month then you are required to report them to your employer by the 10th of the following month.

7. Witchy Work Party

Throwing a Halloween party at the office is not only great for moral, but also comes with a nice little tax deduction. Food and supplies purchased for your employees can usually be written off if the party is held on the premises. If you plan a dinner or get together at a nearby restaurant then you can deduct half of the expense.

8. Dastardly Deadlines

Since every taxpayer is not required to make estimated quarterly tax payments, it can be easy to forget about the deadlines. Unfortunately, September 15th was a payment due date, and if you did not remember to send in your check then you should try to do so as soon as possible to avoid excessive penalties.

9. Franken-Farming

October is a busy month for many farmers. Luckily, there are several ways for taxpayers who own farms to save on their taxes. Hiring family members or depreciating capital farm assets are both tax savvy moves to make. For more information, you can read IRS Publication 225, Farmer’s Tax Guide.

10. Creepy Calculating

Like it or not, Halloween means that there are only two months left in the year. It is a good idea to think about calculating your tax liability so that you get a head start on end of the year tax planning. If you are looking for ways to prevent owing the IRS a large payment, then check out this article on with advice on how to lower your tax liability.

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