28 Tax Deductions You Might Be Missing

Tax Form

Paying less tax is something you probably want. Tax deductions can help with that. This article will explain what they are and how they work to reduce your taxes.

Keep reading to find out how to save money on taxes.

What is a tax deduction?

A tax deduction reduces the amount of money on which you pay taxes. Think of it as a discount on your taxable income. If you earn money, some of that might not count when calculating how much tax you owe, thanks to deductions.

You have two choices: take one significant standard deduction or list specific costs, called itemized deductions.

The IRS sets the standard deduction amounts depending on whether you’re single, filing jointly, or head of household in 2023. Itemizing means adding up eligible expenses like mortgage interest and charitable donations to lower your taxable income more than the standard deduction would.

This choice depends on which method saves you more money on your federal income tax return.

Tax Deductions to Consider for Your Tax Return

Thinking about your tax return can open up ways to save money. There are several tax deductions you might not know about that could lower how much tax you owe.

1. State and Local Taxes (SALT)

You can deduct state and local taxes from your federal income tax. This includes both income and property taxes you pay during the year. But there’s $10,000 combined for these deductions.

You can’t deduct the excess amount if you pay more than $10,000 in property and state or local income taxes.

Itemizing your deductions allows you to take advantage of this tax break. Instead of taking a standard deduction, itemizing lets you list expenses like SALT that lower your taxable earnings.

Remember that this method works best if total itemized deductions are more than the standard deduction amount set by the IRS for your filing status.

2. Mortgage Interest Deduction

You can save money on your taxes with the mortgage interest deduction. If you own a home and pay interest on your mortgage, this deduction lets you reduce how much of your income gets taxed.

You list it as an itemized deduction on Schedule A of Form 1040. But there are tax cuts and the Jobs Act that sets a limit: only interest paid on the first $750,000 of the loan qualifies.

This rule helps homeowners keep more money in their pockets. If you’re paying your home loan, make sure to claim this benefit. It applies to most homes—houses, condos, mobile homes, boats, or similar properties with sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.

Check how much interest you paid last year and see if it falls within the allowed amount. This way, you lower what you owe in federal taxes while enjoying your home.

3. Charitable Contributions

Giving money or items to charities can lower how much tax you owe. The IRS lets you deduct gifts to charity from your taxable income if you list them on your tax return. You can write off up to 60% of your adjusted gross income through these donations.

Make sure to keep records of all the gifts you give.

To claim a deduction for giving, you need to follow some rules. First, the IRS must approve the organization as a qualifying charity. Gifts can include cash, property, or goods but must be reported as itemized deductions on your tax form Schedule A.

This step is crucial for reducing the tax you must pay while supporting good causes.

4. Medical and Dental Expenses

You can deduct medical and dental costs for treatments, procedures, medicines, or devices. To qualify, these expenses must be over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You should list them on Schedule A of your tax form if you itemize deductions.

Paying for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and dental care can increase yearly. If these costs go beyond 7.5% of what you earn before taxes (your adjusted gross income), using Schedule A might help reduce how much tax you owe.

This deduction makes it a bit easier to handle significant healthcare expenses.

5. Educational Expenses

Paying for school or college gets a bit easier with tax credits. The American Opportunity Tax Credit lets you reduce your taxes by up to $2,500 for what you spend on education. This helps cover costs like tuition and books if you’re in your fourth year of college.

Another help is the Lifetime Learning Credit. It gives you back 20% off the first $10,000 spent on education each year, without a limit on how many years you can claim it.

These credits mean when filing your tax returns, school fees don’t hit don’t. Using these credits wisely can lower how much tax you owe or increase your refund from Uncle Sam. Make sure not to miss them if paying for school stretches your budget.

6. Retirement Contributions

You can lower your taxes by putting money into retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs. These contributions come from your paycheck before taxes, so you pay less to the IRS now.

Over time, this can add up to a lot of saved money. Also, you might get extra savings from the Saver’s CreSaver, and your income fits within certain limits. This credit adds more value to your retirement savings by giving back 10% to 50% of what you put in, depending on how much money you make each year.

Saving for when you stop working does two big things for you right away: it reduces your tax bill and grows your future nest egg. Each dollar you contribute lowers the amount of income tax Uncle Sam takes from your earnings today.

And as a bonus, that money grows with interest until you’re ready for it after retiring. So, by saving smartly now, you not only cut down on taxes this year but also prepare well for tomorrow’s tomorrow, which is pinched financially in the present.

7. Business Expenses for Self-Employed

Self-employed people can deduct many costs from their taxes. These include half of what they pay for Medicare and Social Security. They also get to subtract money spent on their home office and health insurance premiums.

This helps lower the tax they owe.

Other expenses that self-employed individuals can write off are advertising, travel, and bad debts. These deductions significantly affect how much tax they need to pay. By tracking these costs carefully, self-employed folks save money on taxes every year.

8. Health Savings Account (HSA) Contributions

You can reduce your taxable income by putting money into a Health Savings Account (HSA). This move is brilliant because it means you pay less tax. You report these savings on your tax form, so you don’t need to make all your deductions separately.

An HSA helps cover medical costs with tax-free dollars and boosts your savings come tax time.

Putting cash into an HSA is easy and works well if you have high-deductible health plans. You use the account for bills like doctor visits and prescriptions before meeting the plan’s bed plans.

This way, you can save on taxes while paying for health expenses, making it easier for you to save money and stay healthy.

9. Job Search Expenses (currently suspended under tax reform)

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act significantly changed, including job search expenses. Before this act, you could deduct costs like resume printing or travel for interviews. Now, these expenses are on hold.

You can’t and can’t lower your taxes at the moment.

This means you have to plan carefully. Save where you can, but know that those job hunt costs won’t and won’t tax time. Keep track of changes, though; rules about taxes can always change back in the future.

10. Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

You can get up to $3,200 back on your taxes for making your home more energy efficient. This is because of special tax credits aimed at encouraging homeowners to choose upgrades that save energy.

Think about adding things like better insulation or solar panels to cut down on your electricity use. These improvements not only lower your bills but also help the environment.

Choosing these eco-friendly options means paying taxes, thanks to federal programs supporting green renovations. Whether you install advanced windows or upgrade to a high-efficiency heating system, these changes qualify you for valuable savings.

So, investing in your home this way pays off in the long run by making it greener and more cost-effective.

11. Child and Dependent Care Credit

The Child and Dependent Care Credit helps you with daycare costs so you can work or look for a job. This credit covers up to 35% of expenses, which means if you spend money on care for one dependent, you might get a credit for up to $1,050.

If it’s for Twit’s more dependents, this could amount to $2,100 back in your pocket.

This tax break aims to ease the financial load for parents who are juggling jobs and caring responsibilities. It recognizes the high cost of child care and offers significant savings at tax time.

You’ll need to double-check specific tax forms with your federal income tax return to claim this benefit. Still, it’s worth it because every dollar saved is vital when managing family expenses and budgeting carefully.

12. Earned Income Tax Credit

You might get money back with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if you don’t work. This tax credit gives extra cash to working people and families with low to moderate income.

For 2023, you could receive between $600 and $7,430. Your exact amount depends on how many children you have and whether you are married or single.

Filing for the EITC helps keep more money in your pocket. It’s a refuIt’sle credit, which means if it’s more than what you owe in taxes, the IRS will give you the difference as a refund.

Families across America use this boost for essential expenses or savings goals each year. If your earnings fall within the qualifying range, don’t miss don’t this opportunity during tax filing season.

13. American Opportunity Tax Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit gives you up to $2,500 back on your taxes for each student in your family during their first four years of college. This can help with tuition, books, and other school needs.

If the credit brings your tax down to zero, you could still get a refund of 40% of the remaining amount (up to $1,000). That means this credit could give you money back even if you don’t owe donations.

Fill out the proper forms when doing your taxes to get this benefit. If paying for college worries you or your family, remember this credit. It’s designed to ease some financial stress during the early years of a student’s education journey.

14. Lifetime Learning Credit

You can get a tax benefit from the Lifetime Learning Credit if you pay for college classes or courses to improve your job skills. This credit gives you 20% off the first $10,000 qualified education costs.

You could save up to $2,000 on your taxes each year. This credit is not limited to how many years you can claim it, making it great for lifelong learners.

This credit is not just for kids in college; adults taking career development courses can also use it. Whether you are returning to school or taking a course online, the Lifetime Learning Credit helps make learning more affordable.

Keep track of your education expenses and talk to a tax preparer about claiming this credit on your tax return.

15. Adoption Credit

The Adoption Credit is a big help for families who add to their home through adoption. For 2023, the government allows you to reduce your taxes by up to $15,950 for costs related to adopting a child.

This includes lawyer fees, court costs, and travel expenses during the adoption process. If you earn more money, this credit might lower because it phases out at higher income levels.

This tax break makes becoming parents less expensive for many people. It helps cover some of the significant expenses that come with legal adoptions. So, if you’re thinking about adopting or are already in the process, make sure to check if you can claim this credit on your tax return.

It could give your family’s business a boost.

16. Alimony Payments (for agreements made before 2019)

If you had to deal with alimony because of a divorce before 2019, there are some things you should know. Such payments were deductible for the person paying and considered taxable income for the one receiving them.

This meant that paying alimony could lower your taxes. On the other hand, if you received alimony money, you needed to include it as income when filing your tax return.

For example, imagine you paid $10,000 in alimony in one year. You could reduce your taxable income by that amount. If you received $10,000 in alimony from your ex-spouse, that amount should be added to what you earned that year and taxed accordingly.

It was crucial for both parties involved to keep accurate records of these payments since they directly affected their finances come tax time.

17. Casualty and Theft Losses (in federally declared disaster areas)

If your home gets damaged or stolen in a big disaster that the government says is an emergency, you might be able to lower what you owe in taxes. This means if something bad like a flood or theft happens where you live, and the president has declared it a disaster area, you can deduct some of these losses on your tax return.

But these losses must be more than 10% of what you make in a year before adjusting for taxes.

First, use this deduction to add up how much money you lost from damages or theft that insurance didn’t cover and subtract any payment you received from insurance. The amount left over could help reduce your taxable income.

Remember, keeping good records is vital. Make sure to save all documents related to the damage and insurance claims. This will help when it’s time to title your taxes and claim this deduction.

18. Investment Interest Expenses

You can deduct the money you spend on investment interest. This is for things like loans you take out to buy stocks or bonds. You must file this deduction under Schedule A if you decide to itemize your deductions.

But there’s an amount you deduct that can’t exceed net income from investments.

Think about using Schedule A on your tax form to list these expenses. This helps lower your adjusted gross income (AGI). Lowering your AGI means you might pay less in taxes. Remember, this works best if your investment earnings are more than what you spent on interest.

19. Gambling Losses (to the extent of gambling winnings)

If you love to gamble, your losses might not feel so bad at tax time. You can deduct your gambling losses on your tax return, but only up to the amount of your winnings. This means if you won $1,000 in a poker game but lost $1,500 throughout the year in different betting games, you can only deduct $1,000 of those losses.

To claim these deductions, you need to itemize them on Schedule A. Always keep receipts or records of your wins and losses as proof. The IRS requires this documentation for any gambling loss deductions.

So next time you’re tall and calculating your wins and losses after a day at the casino or track, remember it could help during tax season.

20. Home Office Deduction

You can save money on taxes if you work from home. If you are self-employed and use part of your house regularly and only for your business, the IRS lets you deduct some costs. This deduction depends on how much of your home is used for business.

You figure out this percentage and apply it to certain expenses like rent, utilities, and repairs.

To get this benefit, make sure your workspace meets IRS rules. It should be a specific area in your home where you do most of your business tasks. You cannot claim this deduction if you work at the kitchen table and use that area for family meals.

Keep good records of all related expenses throughout the year to make claiming easier during tax time.

21. Capital Losses

Capital losses happen if you sell an investment for less than what you paid for it. These losses can help lower your taxes by offsetting your capital gains and up to $3,000 of other income.

If your losses are more than your gains, don’t worry. You can carry over the excess to future years to reduce taxes later.

This means if you have a bad year in the stock market, not all is lost tax-wise. The IRS allows this move to soften the blow and give investors a way to recover in better times. Please keep track of these losses, as they could be valuable for reducing future tax bills.

This strategy works well within retirement plans or investments outside traditional savings accounts.

22. Educator Expenses

Teachers and other eligible educators can deduct up to $250 for money they pay out of their own pockets. This deduction is special because you don’t need to make all your deductions to use it.

If you spend your own money on classroom supplies or other school materials, this helps lower the tax you owe.

This means if you’re a teacher who bought books, supplies, or even software for your class without getting paid back, you can reduce your tax bill by up to $250. You do this before figuring out other types of deductions, which makes it easier come tax time.

23. Dependent Care Expenses

You can get a tax credit for money you spend on care for your dependents, like children. This is so you can work without worry. The child and dependent care credit covers up to 35% of $3,000 in expenses for one person you care for.

It’s big. It’s related to the costs of services necessary for employment.

Paying for someone to look after your kids or other dependents isn’t just a personal cost; it’s also ritualized by the IRS. This means that while you’re out of your money, part of what you pay for care comes back to you through tax benefits.

It makes working and managing family needs easier by reducing the tax you owe at the end of the year.

24. IRA Contributions

Putting money into a traditional IRA can lower your taxes. You get to take off what you put in, up to certain limits, right from your income before the IRS taxes it. This taking off is known as an above-the-line deduction.

It’s a help. It’s a way for many people, including heads of household and single filers, to save on tax bills while saving for retirement.

The amount you can deduct depends on how much you make and other details, like whether you or your spouse also have a retirement plan. Checking with the Internal Revenue Service or looking at their guidelines helps you figure out these limits so that you save the most while following the rules.

Saving for later years doesn’t just mean the future; it also offers tax benefits now.

25. Mortgage Points Paid

You can deduct mortgage points paid at closing on your home loan. These points are prepaid interest, lowering your overall mortgage rates. You usually spread this cost over the life of the loan.

Yet, if your situation meets specific criteria, you can deduct all of them at once. This could mean a nice tax break for you as a homeowner.

If you’re buying or refinancing, paying points upfront will lower your mortgage interest rate. Check if these payments qualify for an immediate deduction based on IRS rules.

Doing this could save you money on federal income tax returns, proving beneficial in managing housing costs effectively.

26. Adoption Expenses

Adoption expenses can include court costs, attorney fees, traveling costs, and other expenses directly related to adopting a child. These are part of the adoption credit, which helps you cover these costs on your tax return.

This means if you spent money on adopting a child, you might get some of that money back when you file your taxes.

Paying for adoption involves many steps, each with its expenses. Every dollar counts, from legal fees to travel expenses to meet the child. The good news is that U.S. taxpayers can use the adoption credit to lower their tax bill.

This makes the dream of expanding your family more reachable for many people across the country.

27. Military Reservists’Reservists’enses

If you are a military reservist, your travel costs might get you a tax break. This is if your duty takes you more than 100 miles from home and requires staying overnight. You can lower your taxable income with these expenses.

They count as an above-the-line deduction, meaning you don’t have to itemize to benefit.

You subtract these costs right from your income before taxes. It’s not just long journeys that qualify; even short overnight trips qualify if they meet the distance rule. Keep track of what you spend on travel, lodging, and meals while away on duty.

These records will help during tax season to claim this valuable deduction effectively.

28. Legal Fees for Producing or Collecting Taxable Income

You can deduct legal fees that you pay to produce or collect taxable income. This includes money spent on disputes or advice regarding taxes, investments, and other sources of income.

For example, if you hire a lawyer to help with rental property issues or to defend investment earnings, these costs can lower your taxes.

Legal costs tied to tax matters, like getting refunds or understanding complex rules, are also deductible. Paying for expert guidance when dealing with the IRS or getting back overpaid taxes falls under this category.

So please keep track of what you spend on these services throughout the year; it could save you money during tax season.

Limitations and Restrictions on Tax Deductions

Not all tax deductions are unlimited. For example, the state and local taxes (SALT) deduction has a cap of $10,000. This means you can’t deduct more than this amount, no matter how high your payments were.

Medical expenses also have a limit. You can only deduct them if they exceed your adjusted gross income (AGI). So, if your AGI is $50,000, medical costs under $3,750 won’t count, and credits and deductions will change with recent tax laws. The job search expense deduction is on hold now because of tax reform changes. Check current rules before claiming expenses like these on your return.

Also, remember that some benefits are for specific situations or income levels. Credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit vary based on earnings and family size.

The Bottom Line

Tax deductions let you pay less to the government by lowering your taxable income. You can take a simple, significant deduction or list specific expenses like house payments and charity gifts.

Changes have made some deductions more significant and others more minor, but they all aim to lower your tax bill. If your research saves you more money, consider talking with a tax professional who can guide you through the process.

This way, you pay only what you owe, keeping more money in your pocket.

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