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New tax codes this year

WILMINGTON -- It's that time of year again: tax time. Before you file there are some new tax codes you should be aware of. Peter Foley used to do his own taxes. "You came to April 15, you found out how much you really owed and at that time it was quite surprising," he said. After a few years of being caught off guard Foley decided to hire a Certified Public Accountant in hopes of saving money. "Try to minimize my taxes and maximize my returns," he said. CPA Tony Stroud helps Foley plan ahead for how much he will owe. But says if you do your own taxes there are changes in 2008 that you should know. "If you are in the 10 to 15 percent tax bracket you pay zero for capital gains this year. That's around $32,000 for a single, $62,000 for married," Stroud said. There's also a higher cap this year on the amount of equipment expenses you can claim. Stroud said, "If you're used to buying equipment and expensing it in the first year -- that's up to $128,000 in 2008." And keep in mind for the future. If you're going to buy a hybrid vehicle this year you'll be eligible for a tax credit. And if you're lucky enough to be getting a refund check make sure you take the steps to ensure you actually do get your money back. In 2005, Stroud says, 60,000 refund checks were stolen right out of people's mailboxes, but Stroud says there are ways to avoid theft. Visit, electronically file, then click on direct deposit to have the refund check go directly to your account. Stroud says to be complete when you file your taxes. The IRS has improved its ability to check mismatched documents. Also make final copies of your W-2.

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I love my country, but not so much as to give them an interest-free loan. Always set up your W-9 withholding so that on April 15th you owe a small amount of money. Get your "refund" throughout the year, in every paycheck, and put the money into savings or invest it. At the end of the year you'll have the cash to pay anything you owe, plus you'll have the interest or dividends you've been collecting.