So what's new? If the question is about your 2009 federal income tax return, the IRS has been ready with the answer since June, when a draft copy of this year's Form 1040 was released.

Here are six items you can expect to see.

  1. A reminder that the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009 are tax-free.
  2. An adjustment to income for the educator deduction. Up to $250 of qualified out-of-pocket costs for classroom supplies can be deducted, even when you don't itemize.
  3. An increase of the $3,650 exemption for you and your dependents if you provided housing for victims of the 2008 Midwestern disasters. You can claim an additional $500 for each person you helped (up to a $2,000 maximum).
  4. A new deduction for real estate taxes you paid in 2009. You can add up to $1,000 ($500 for singles) to the standard deduction of $11,400 for joint returns ($5,700 for singles).
  5. You can also increase your standard deduction by adding state and local sales and excise taxes on new cars bought between February 17 and December 31, 2009. The deduction is limited to taxes paid on the first $49,500 of the purchase price. Income limits apply.
  6. A potential refund of a portion of the American opportunity education credit. When the amount of your credit exceeds your 2009 tax, you can get a refund of up to $1,000 per eligible student.

Please call for details on these and other changes.

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