6 deductions not to miss on your tax return
So if you think your dreams of a summer vacation, or even a day at the spa, will be gone thanks to Uncle Sam, take another look at what you might be missing. You might just see the beach this summer, after all. Here are a few of the most obvious deductions people miss. We’re guessing you’re savvy to the obvious ones – like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. But you might have overlooked a few golden nuggets.
Be sure to do more research before you get excited, because everyone knows – the intricacies of tax laws are tricky:
If you’ve made your donation via check or credit card, you have the proof you need to take the deduction. But keep in mind that even the goods you’ve donated – especially if they’re in good shape and have value – are eligible. The trick? You need to get a receipt at the thrift store or location where you donate. Because the pros know – being kind to others pays off.
Nothing to sneeze at:
If you’ve spent more time than ever in the ER with a coughing child, or you or your family member have had any kind of surgical procedure, you’ve no doubt paid heavily. Keep in mind that if those medical expenses are not reimbursed by insurance or paid through a flex spending account, they’re most likely deductible after they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.
The tax equation:
You know those state and local taxes you pay? How about the money you shelled out on real estate or property taxes? They could be deductible. H&R Block points out that for state and local taxes, taxpayers can choose to deduct either their sales taxes or their income taxes, but not both. Also, we doubt you’ve purchased a plane or a boat, but TurboTax experts note that if you’ve purchased a vehicle, you can add the state sales tax that you forked over to the amount you’ll see in IRS tables for your state, as long as the rate you paid does not go over the state’s general sales tax.
If you have to pay for things like uniforms, union dues, or you put money into or educational training for your job, you may be looking at a deduction. And speaking of education – be sure to take a good look at the breaks for higher education for your kids – and on the student loan debt that Mom and Dad are paying off.
Moving right along:
TurboTax points out with humor that while money you might spend trying to get that new job (read, the new outfit) is not deductible, you’re in luck when you land it. That’s because moving expenses are deductible, including the cost of getting your awesome, employed self to your new digs, if they happen to be more than 50 miles from your old digs.
Consider your profession:
If you’re in the military, or you’re a teacher, you might look into deductions that are specific to your field. Report to the National Guard, for instance? You may be able to deduct travel expenses, if you’re traveling far from home. And teachers may be able to deduct money they’ve spend for classroom supplies (unreimbursed, of course).