State tax holidays- local stimulus could be worth your wait

The state tax holiday idea is spreading as the economic turmoil saps the income of middle-class Americans. The idea is that a state picks a day or more on which it waives state sales tax on purchases of selected types of goods. Some states use it as a carrot to encourage purchases of more environmentally friendly goods, such as Vermont's tax holiday for the purchase of Energy Star appliances. Many times the holiday is timed so that parents shopping for back-to-school clothes and electronics can save a few bucks. Georgia waives taxes on a computer purchases made on the first few days of August, while North Carolina extends the break to clothes, sports equipment, and school supplies.

At present, over a dozen states have some form of tax holiday. Smart Money has compiled an excellent list of states, dates, and what the tax break covers. Most of the holidays occur in the very near future, so make your plans today.

A caveat: while these states waive their sales tax, local taxes are not necessarily included. Smart Money makes a particularly clever suggestion for those residing in tax holiday states- any purchases of covered items they make on that date online, even from firms in other states, should also be free of state sales tax. You may, however, have to wrangle with those companies to receive this break, as it falls outside of the normal routine.

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What is the Educator Expense Tax Deduction?

The Educator Expense Tax Deduction allows teachers and certain academic administrators to deduct a portion of the costs of technology, supplies, and certain training. Here’s what teachers need to know about taking the Educator Expense Deduction on their tax returns.

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Self-Employed Less Than a Year? How to Do Your Taxes

Have you been self-employed less than a year? If you’re just starting out, it’s possible you worked at a job earlier in the tax year before making the switch to self-employment, or you’re working multiple jobs. In this case, you may have more than once source of income you’ll need to report on your income tax return.

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Taxes for Grads: Do Scholarships Count as Taxable Income?

Heading off to college to broaden your horizons is exciting, but funding your education via scholarships? That's even better. Scholarships often provide a path to education that might not be feasible otherwise, which is why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be generous in minimizing students' tax obligations. But sometimes scholarship money does count as income, and it’s better to find out now if your scholarship adds to your tax liability than to have a surprise later. Here’s how to decode your scholarship taxation.

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