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Thanks, Mitt and Newt: 12 Tax Tips for the Rest of Us

Mitt Romney and NewtBy Kevin McCormally, Editorial Director, Kiplinger.com

While the punditocracy dives into the details and debates the vices and virtues of Mitt Romney's and Newt Gingrich's 2010 tax returns, we decided to see if we could glean any ideas that might help you with your taxes ... and maybe even save you some money.

We found a gold mine for ordinary folks who'll never need a Swiss bank account or have to file forms like the Form 926 "Return by a U.S. Transferor of Property to a Foreign Corporation" or Schedule M of Form 5471 "Transactions Between Controlled Foreign Corporation and Shareholders or Other Related Persons" that were attached to Romney's return.

More from Kiplinger:

• Nation's Tax Burden?

• How Much Would a Payroll Tax Increase Cost You?

• Tax Breaks for the Middle Class

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Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

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I hear the Democrats in Washington talking about the "Fair Tax." Why would they give more tax breaks to the very rich? I thought they hated the very rich.

February 07 2012 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Will somebody quantify "Fair Tax?"

February 05 2012 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The vast majority of todays millionaires did not inherit it. They earned it through education, ambition and hard work.

February 05 2012 at 5:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Many, not all of the rich have a large, un-taxed chunk of their salary automatically placed into the stock market, and other investments of all sorts... Meaning they make LOADS and LOADS of un-taxed money. They can AFFORD to have lower tax rates??? I wonder who they're paying off... those lobbyists. Yeah, lemme put my money in a tax shelter, of Swiss bank. Simply put, they receive a lower tax rate. That's a feudal caste system, you call that Capitalism? Yet I'm called Communist for saying this.

January 31 2012 at 10:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to serranojacobkael's comment

Translation: Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme.

February 02 2012 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They want no competition. No one else should climb up the ladder. "Stay beneath us! Stay poor!!!", says the millionaires of the GOP.

January 31 2012 at 9:41 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to serranojacobkael's comment

The millionaire Dumbercraps say, " I'll give you other people's money if you vote for me."

February 02 2012 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Are you talking about millionairea or union bosses?

You do know there are two kinds of democrats. One tells you they will lead you through life and the other believes them.

February 05 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Republican ideal: you need to be rich to be rich. Everyone else can go to H3LL.

...Nice going... how Capitalist of you... morons. Then they complain about Democrats being un-American Communists. They are stupid.

January 31 2012 at 9:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

These two buffoons are either a liar or or a rich bureaucrat or both that wants to enhance their mediocher attempts to subjectcate a country based on stupid people, so they think, that they look down on to accentuate their desire to build their alter ego to guarrentee their desire to overwhelm the poor while gratifying their rich constituants . They want to divide this great nation into classes. They are poor candidates for the highest office in the land ! We dont need these two ! Lets move on not backward ! If thats the best that the GOP has to offer then let us wonder whats following behind them ? Obama will win a second term ! Tell this to the Donald ! and all the rich of the rich !

January 31 2012 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ldp555pr's comment

If Obama wins, the worst nightmare of the rich comes true- EQUAL tax rates. (The middle class: Yayyy!!!) (The millionaires: WTF!!! *starts crying*)

...and rightfully so. Why should the poor pay a higher rate to the government??? Because they can't afford to pay less??? Does that make sense? You need to be rich to keep money? So the poor gets trampled and the rich become richer!!! B.S.
America, in order to make money and keep it all is to be a millionaire. Anyone that makes less than $125K is screwed. Thank you, G.O.P, you REALLY make sense!!!

January 31 2012 at 9:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to serranojacobkael's comment

Funny. The "poor" not only pay no federal income tax, they receive numerous forms of Welfare (paid by actual taxpayers). The bottom 50% of actual income earners pay an aggregate of Zero (0) federal income tax, and receive all federal government services for free, paid for by real tax payers. They get "trampled"? LOL! Anyone who makes over $125,000 is a "millionaire"? Well, at least free speech is not wasted on the intelligent. "EQUAL tax rates" would be a huge tax cut for the "rich" and a huge tax increase for almost all others. NEVER would BHO or the Dems do that - the last thing they want is "equal" tax rates.

February 05 2012 at 8:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down


January 30 2012 at 10:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Newt "isn't rich," only worth about $7 Million. Romney worth zillions - has he ever actually had a job, I mean, not counting being a top executive? Newt already disgraced himself in office once. These two clowns are predators, not presidential material.

January 30 2012 at 7:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to savemyidiotwaldo's comment

Yet, either would be better than Obummer.

January 30 2012 at 8:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thanks, evan.

January 30 2012 at 8:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

if** not it sorry typo

January 30 2012 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply