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Dozens of tax breaks set to expire



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SALT LAKE CITY — It may seem early to talk about tax returns, but there are a slew of tax breaks — 55 in all — that you'll need to act quickly on to take advantage of.

Many of those tax breaks set to expire in 32 days are for small businesses, but several impact individuals.

Here's one: The educator expense deduction. With it, kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers and aides can deduct $250 for education supplies they purchase from their own funds. Almost 4 million educators used it in 2010, but unless lawmakers step in it will expire.

The brakes also are being applied to a transit tax break for mass commuters. Some 2.7 million Americans use this deduction.

"Anyone buying a bus pass, UTA rail pass, parking fees, it cuts the benefit in half if it's not extended by the end of the year," explained Val Oveson, a CPA with Wisen Smith Racker and Prescott.

So the maximum deduction will drop from $245 to $130 for commuters, including VanPool riders.

Also on the chopping block, the $7,500 tax credit for buying an all-electric car. So if you're interested in buying a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, "This should motivate you to run out and buy one of these vehicles, to make sure you get the full benefit," Oveson said.

A large one is the $4,000 max deduction for college tuition and fees. Your last chance to get that tax credit is to pay your, or your kids', Spring 2014 expenses by the end of the year.

So, why are these and some 50 other tax credits facing extinction? Oveson said it's a part of the game being played in Congress.

"They can't make them permanent; it would cost too much in the budget. But they're popular and come back to extend them or not at the end of each year," he said.

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Bill Gephardt

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