Fiscal cliff and healthcare will affect your tax returns

This year's tax filing season brings more uncertainty than usual.
         
Many people are asking tax preparers "How will the recent government changes in the fiscal-cliff legislation and healthcare affect my tax returns and refunds?"

A spokeswoman for H&R Block's Tax Institute said both Obamacare and the recent fiscal-cliff deal will affect you and your taxes eventually.

Tax preparers said recent changes to the law will not change your 2012 income tax returns or refunds because Congress extended all of the existing, family-friendly provisions.

However, since Congress allowed the payroll-tax holiday to go away, you will be taking home less this year.
Families who earn $50,000, for example, will see $1,000 less a year.

That means that this year your tax preparer will likely suggest that you adjust your withholdings.

Taxpayer Jacqueline Sublett said, "I'm going to learn to live on less."

Experts suggested that instead of going for a big tax return, withhold less through the year and earn interest on that money to help make up for what you are losing.

New healthcare law changes, contained in the Affordable Care Act, will not impact your 2012/2013 tax returns.

But tax preparers said it is important to know that your 2012 tax return will help determine whether you can qualify for an insurance subsidy from the government.

Enrollment for that subsidy and for the government's healthcare plans, called exchanges, start this October.

Theresa Pattara, H & R Block's director of tax policy and practice, said, "So that's why we're out there with the message: come in now as your 2012 tax return process ... We'll give you a free ... healthcare review that will give you some basic information about the subsidy and the tax impact if you don't purchase health insurance."

In 2014 everyone, except for a few, will be required to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.

So next year, when health and fiscal-cliff tax changes are fully implemented many American families will feel very big changes.

It is why experts suggested you do this year what Jacqueline is doing: learn how to live on less.

Some other suggestions on how to put more in your pocket:

*Pay with cash instead of credit cards; it can save you 20 percent.
*Refinance your mortgage. Interest rates are at rock-bottom prices.
*Evaluate your finances. Look for ways to shave $10 off of each of 10 spending categories to spread out the cuts
*Shop around for cheaper insurance premiums.

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