Tips for Maximizing Your Schedule A Tax Deductions

Tips for Maximizing Your Schedule A Tax Deductions

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By Jane Sanders

Every American has an obligation to pay his or her share of income taxes, but there is no need to overpay! You can significantly reduce your income tax bill by itemizing your deductions on Schedule A when you file your Form 1040 this year.

Schedule A is where you will include a great number of deductions, ranging from the common to the unusual. Here are some tips on how to maximize your Schedule A tax deductions to reduce your tax liability as much as possible:

Count Your Charitable Gifts

Besides the mortgage on your home, there are other tax deductions for you to consider.

When you write a check or give a monetary contribution by cash or credit card to a tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you can deduct that amount on Schedule A. You also can deduct the value of goods that you donate.

This means that when you contribute old clothing to the Salvation Army or food to your local soup kitchen, you should ask for a receipt from the recipient organization to substantiate your contribution. You do not need to have receipts for non cash contributions of less than $500, so if you forgot to get your receipts this past year, only take up to that amount and start stockpiling your receipts for this year’s return.

Do you volunteer regularly? You can deduct your charitable mileage to and from volunteering at a rate that is set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Keep a log throughout the year of where you went and how many miles each trip was. Use a map web site like Google to get an exact distance.

Your Losses Can Count Towards A Deduction

If you went through a major casualty loss last year, such as a fire or flood, that cost you a great deal of money out of pocket, then you may be able to deduct your loss from last year’s taxable income while preparing Schedule A. Remember, though, if you received reimbursement from your homeowner’s insurance or another insurance policy, you cannot count the amount of the reimbursement toward the casualty loss total.

Make Your Education Work For You

If you, your spouse (if you are filing jointly as a married couple) attended classes last year, then you may be able to deduct the cost of the tuition, fees, books, and even transportation back and forth to the school on Schedule A. Your college or university will send you a statement saying how much tuition you were billed for during the year, but you can stretch this Schedule A deduction even further. Keep your receipts for your textbooks, lab fees, and any other fees charged by the college or university to include them in your tuition and fees deduction, if applicable.

Keep Track Of Medical Expenses

Your medical expenses may be deductible on Schedule A. Medical expenses that may be deductible on Schedule A include your insurance premiums and co-pays, prescription medication costs, tests, medications to quit smoking, and oddball items, such as clarinet lessons for occlusion, which is a jaw condition, some weight loss programs, and more.

Author Information

Jane Sanders writes about debt management and personal finance for DebtManagement.net. For more tips, check out her guide to choosing a debt management program.

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