Why do we always owe taxes?

May 25, 2011: 10:10 AM ET

NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -- Q: My husband and I always seem to owe on our taxes. What can we do? -- J.B., Indianapolis

A: Assuming you have the correct amount of money withheld from your paycheck (use the withholding calculator at irs.gov to check), chances are you either have sizable investment income or you're getting hit with the alternative minimum tax (AMT), says New York City CPA Ryan Himmel.

If you get lots of income from interest, capital gains, and dividends, paying estimated quarterly taxes will at least prevent you from getting surprised in April.

If the AMT is the culprit, you have less wiggle room.

Send The Help Desk your tax questions

You could adjust your withholding, or bumping up your charitable contributions might help.

Do our kids qualify for financial aid?

And you can always up your 401(k) deferrals, which will cut your federal tax burden and boost your retirement savings too.  To top of page

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