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There are dozens of tax deductions you might be eligible for, even if you don't qualify for business-related ones. It's easy to overlook deductions that could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars when filing your 2012 tax return, which is why it's so important to know what deductions are out there and whether or not you qualify for them.
To help you out this tax season, we've listed a few of the less common tax deductions that you may want to claim. Make sure to carefully review your tax situation to determine whether or not you qualify.
Commonly Missed Tax Deductions
- Alimony: Deductible if paid via cash, check or money order (and not via services or transfer of property).
- Educator expenses: Deductible if you bought books, supplies, equipment, etc., for use in the classroom and you worked in a K-12 school for at least 900 hours last year.
- Medical expenses: This includes the obvious ones, plus birth control pills (if prescribed), lead-based paint removal, Medicare Part D premiums, pregnancy test kits, special items (artificial limbs, false teeth, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, crutches, etc.), stop-smoking programs, transportation for medical care, and weight-loss programs (certain expenses for obesity).
- Safe deposit box rent: Deductible if you use the box to store taxable, income-producing stocks, bonds, or investment-related documents (but not if used only for personal items or tax-exempt securities).
- Work-related education expenses: Deductible if the education helps you keep your job, but does not qualify you for a new career.
- Tax preparation:? Fees that were paid in 2013 for preparing your 2012 return.
Not Sure about Your Tax Deductibles?
If you're not sure about claiming certain expenses, ask a qualified tax preparer about them or look through a current book on taxes (e.g., Your Federal Income Tax For Individuals, free from the IRS?also available at libraries). The book will obviously require more work on your end, but it will give you a chance to get more familiar with the taxation process. If you are not comfortable identifying your own deductions, contact a local tax professional you think you can trust. Just note that you will have to pay him or her for the time spent reviewing your situation.
One final piece of advice about your taxes this year; unless you can afford to pay the balance off in full immediately, do not put your tax bill on your credit card. You may think that it's an easy way to score a big amount of rewards, but there's no reason to add a lot of interest to what you already owe the government. Every year, I always owe something and if I can't afford to pay it all by April 15th, Uncle Sam always accepts a payment plan with a really low interest rate (generally under 2%).
Best of luck this year with your taxes!