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Tax Prep & Filing

Tax Forms: Cracking the Code

There are a slew of new tax breaks for 2009 returns, but you have to know how to claim them.

Schedule L This is the form that non-itemizers use to claim additions to the standard deduction, including the property-tax deduction, the sales-tax deduction on new vehicles, and disaster losses.

Schedule M You must fill out this new schedule to claim the Making Work Pay credit, even if you already received the benefit through lower tax withholding from your paycheck during the year. (Taxpayers who file Form 1040EZ must use the worksheet for the credit on the back of the form.)

Form 5405 Use it to claim the home-buyer credit for new and existing homeowners.

Form 5695 This is the form to use to claim the credit for making energy-efficient home improvements or installing renewable-energy systems.

Form 8863 Use this form to claim the new American Opportunity tax credit and other education tax credits.