February 5, 2014
Every year, American tax payers give millions of dollars to the IRS that should be going into their own pockets, by missing key deductions on their returns. Here are a few write-offs that are often missed by people doing their own taxes.
Education deductions and credits - You can deduct up to $4,000 for tuition for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent, and may also take a deduction for interest that you paid on student loans. You may also be able to take advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and/or the Lifetime Learning Credit.
Job search expenses deduction - Costs of job-hunting, including printing/mailing resumes, travel for interviews, and fees for employment agencies, may be included in your miscellaneous deductions.
Deductions related to owning your home - Mortgage interest, property taxes paid, interest on a home equity loan, premiums for mortgage insurance, and the cost of medically-necessary home improvements may be valid deductions for you.
Health care deductions - If you spent more than 10% of your AGI on medical and/or dental procedures, you may claim some of those expenses as itemized deductions.
Donations to charity - Cash, items, and "digital" (text) donations to charitable organizations - as well as mileage for traveling to volunteer at qualified organizations - may be deducted.
Job-related moving expenses - If you had to move to a new location (over 50 miles from your old home) for a new job during the tax year, you can take advantage of this write-off.
Energy-efficiency tax credit - If you improved the energy efficiency of your home with qualified insulation, windows and doors, roofing, or some large home appliances, you may qualify for a tax credit. The purchase of some hybrid and electric automobiles may also qualify.
Dependents - If you care for either children or elderly parents or relatives, you may claim them as an exemption. You may also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and/or the Child Care Tax Credit.