Tax Deductible Expenses
Are you getting all the deductions you deserve? Find out what you may be missing
Deductions allow you to reduce your taxable income and thus reduce your tax bill. Most taxpayers are entitled to the standard deduction - a fixed amount that reduces the amount of income on which you are taxed. However, certain kinds of deductions are called itemized deductions. If you have enough of them to beat the standard deduction, it is usually a good idea to itemize instead.
For many taxpayers, purchasing a home is the event that makes itemizing worthwhile. Most tax payers will not be able to itemize with the new 2018 tax reform, due to the fact that the standard deduction amount have increased.
See a complete list of deductions, whether filing as an individual or for a business: IRS Credits and Deductions
Your mortgage interest and real estate taxes may be your biggest deductions, but don’t forget:
- Medical expenses: includes doctors, hospitals, medicines, health insurance premiums, prescription eyeglasses and contacts, hearing aids, medical transportation, equipment for disabled people, and nursing home expenses.
- State and local income taxes: real estate taxes, state withholdings, state disability insurance, and personal property taxes like car registrations. Thus total is limited to $10,000.
- Charitable contributions: including property donated to charitable organizations and household items donated to Goodwill and similar charities
- Out of pocket job expenses and employee expenses: these expenses are no longer deductible as the standard deduction amount increased.
Tax preparation fees and individual moving expenses are no longer deductible on your tax return.
“Above the Line” Deductions
Remember, the good news is that you may claim these deductions whether you itemize or take the standard deduction.
- Student loan interest: up to $2,500
- Tuition and fees deduction: up to $4,000 of qualified higher education expenses
- Alimony paid
- Military reservist’s deduction: a deduction for non-reimbursable travel expenses for reservists who service more than 100 miles from home and stay overnight
If you are self-employed...
- One-half of your self-employment (social security and Medicare) tax
- 100% of self-employed health insurance premiums for yourself and family
- Contributions to self-employed retirement plans, such as SEPs, SIMPLEs, and defined-contribution plans
Schedule C or Self Employed Deductions
If you own your own business, don’t forget:
- Advertising and promotional costs
- Business liability insurance
- Legal and professional services
- Car and truck expenses
- Wages, employment taxes, employee benefit plans, and contributions to employee retirement plans.
Office and maintenance expenses are also deductible.
Of course, there are many rules and limitations about claiming deductions. Be sure to discuss them with your income tax professional.