2 weeks until Tax Day: Low income help; tips for self-employed

April 1, 2013 3:31:59 PM PDT
If you haven't gotten together all of your tax documents yet, you might want to do that soon- especially if you're self-employed or need a little help.

Tax Day is just two weeks away.

This year Karolyn Rubin is getting good news from her accountant in Deerfield.

"I came in today prepared to have to write a check and I'm going to be receiving a check so I'm excited," Rubin said.

Rubin was laid off last year and started her own consulting business. Certified public accountant Jeffrey Butler said more clients are self-employed.

"It's important to keep accurate records. You take a deduction. I think I spent about this, I think I drive about that," Jeffrey Butler, Kessler Orlean Silver CPAs, said.

Possible deductions for those self-employed include transportation costs and home office.

"You have to have a spot in the house. One room or two rooms that are used exclusively and regularly where you see clients and or Keep track of your business records," Butler said.

Professional tax advice can help at any time, but especially during a life transition. The Center for Economic Progress offers free preparation for those making less than $25,000 and families making less than $50,000.They have centers in the suburbs and in the city. Look here for tax help sites.

The center's volunteers help clients get the money they are owed -- like the earned income tax credit. The center's community development director warns clients about businesses that may charge big fees for tax preparation.

"That's money that can be in your bank account. That's money that can be in your savings that can be very crucial for a family, definitely a huge thing to look out for," Juan Villalobos, Center for Economic Progress, said.

The Center offers assistance year round, and can help those who don't make the April 15 deadline file an extension.