There are two different options for taking deductions at tax time. You can use the standard deduction, which ranged from $6,300 to $12,600 for 2015 taxes, or you can itemize. The choice is up to you. You should check to make sure that itemizing your expenses doesn’t amount to more than the standard deduction if you chose to use it, otherwise you’ll get a bigger tax benefit if you itemize.
If you chose to itemize, you’ll want to keep all your receipts for the items you are claiming, such as charitable donations, supplies, etc. If you use the standard deduction, you don’t need to save your receipts.
There are some deductions that you can claim separately even if you don’t chose to itemize. These deductions include:
- Student loan interest
- Moving expenses
- Current tuition expenses
- IRA contributions
- $250 worth of supplies for professional teachers
If any of these deductions apply to you, you’ll need to keep your receipts whether or not you itemize.
Self-employed individuals or freelancers don’t need to itemize business-related expenses, as they are listed on a Schedule C. You will need your receipts to validate any of these expenses, including client dinners, meeting expenses, gas, travel expenses, and the like.