When filing your taxes, you may be surprised at what you can claim as deductible. Generally, anything you pay to get taxable income can be written off as a deduction, and other specific types of deductions are available. While it takes more work to pull the necessary paperwork together, you will save money if your write-offs are more than the standard deduction.
You can claim out-of-pocket medical expenses and health insurance premiums. This includes any uncovered doctor visits, surgery or dental expenses. Even driving to and from the doctor’s office is deductible at a rate of 23 cents per mile, as of 2013, though the rate is subject to change. There are some restrictions to claiming medical expenses, so check with a tax professional.
If you give money to a qualified charity, be it a cause or a church, that’s tax deductible. Also, giving items like clothing to Goodwill are also tax deductible, though the value of the gift may determine how much you can claim. If you donate your car and its value is more than $500, you need a statement from the charitable organization. Giving time or your skills to a charity is not deductible, and neither are political contributions.
Work and Business Expenses
Whether you work at home or on a job, you may incur on-the-job expenses. If your boss doesn't reimburse you for work-related expenses, such as gas for on-the-job trips or even a pair of steel-toed work boots, you can claim the deduction, but you can’t claim commuting expenses. If you're looking for a job you can claim the job-hunting costs on your taxes as long as it's not for your first job. If you work at home and buy a computer for the work, that purchase is tax deductible if you use it strictly for business. If you use part of your home as an office a portion of your rent is also deductible, though proving it may be difficult.
If you take classes to keep your job, such as continuing education for medical professionals, that cost is tax deductible, but your college tuition is not. You may decide to take a tax credit for your work-related education expenses rather than a deduction, which gives you a break even if you use the standard deduction.
If your personal property was stolen you can deduct the actual value of the items on your taxes. You may also get a partial deduction if you total your car and have to pay out-of-pocket expenses. If you lose money because your bank went broke you can also claim a deduction.
If you gamble in a casino or even buy lottery tickets, large jackpots are also considered income and you’ll get a tax form with your winnings, but some of what you put up for bets is tax deductible. You can’t claim any more than you win, so if you’re losing your shirt the IRS isn’t interested. You can get a receipt for any rolled coins or chips you buy, but you have to ask for one when you make your purchase.
Taxes and Preparation
Some state taxes you pay may also be deductible. Even sales tax on your car or part of your car registration costs can be claimed, but you can only deduct parts of the registration fee that are based on the car’s value. If you hired a professional to decipher tax law and file your return for you, you can claim the deduction.
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