Tax time is upon us. While some people look forward to this time of year, many more dread it as they think about the amount of money that they may have to pay. It must be done, so let’s work at getting the most money back. After all, the IRS claims that millions overpay each year.
1. State Income Taxes
If you paid state taxes last year, then you are eligible to subtract them from your federal taxes this year. Make sure to know the exact amount that you paid in these taxes, so that your return is not delayed.
2. Job Search Expenses
Did you look for a new job in 2011? If so, you are allowed to deduct up to 2 percent of your gross income for the expenses involved in a job search from this year’s taxes. To claim this deduction, you must not be looking for your first job, nor have any substantial break between your last job and the new one. The search must be for a job in the same occupation. If you pay an agency fee to help you in your search, then you can subtract that cost unless your new employer reimburses you for the cost. You can deduct cost for mailing and distributing your resume. If you travel, then the cost is deductible, as long as the primary reason for traveling was to look for a job.
We love those who give and so does the IRS, as long as you give to a qualified organization. If you get merchandise or a prize in exchange for your donation, then you can only donate the amount over the normal price of the merchandise. If you donate stock or real property, you can get a donation for the fair market value of those items. You must keep a record of the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the donation. For amounts over $250, there are specific forms that you must file with the IRS. You can deduct the cost of travel to a volunteer position. You can also deduct any cost involved in your participation, such as uniforms. Don’t forget that you can also deduct your tithes and offerings to a religious organization.
Many expenses can be deducted thanks to working. If you must have a cell phone for work, then the amount you pay for the cell phone above your normal usage is deductible. You can also deduct any dues paid to unions if you must belong to it in order to have your job. If you choose to belong to a professional organization, you can deduct those dues. You can also subtract the costs of any reading material that helps keeps you abreast on what is happening in your industry. If your job requires uniforms that would not be worn in the rest of your life, then you can subtract those costs.
Looks a little better, doesn’t it? Remembering to take each deduction that you can will help to lower your tax bill – so don’t be lazy!
Ashley Miller likes to write about finance, travel and Flowerdelivery.net.
- Top Ten Most Overlooked Tax Deductions (2009taxes.org)
- Some Weird Small Business Deductions (2009tax.org)