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maximizing tax deductions

Gambling losses and expenses are deductible only to the extent of gambling winnings. So, spending $100 on lottery tickets isn’t deductible — unless you win, and report, at least $100, too.

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  • Whether you have an employer or are a self-employed freelancer, here’s how to bolster your tax deductions and decrease what you owe Uncle Sam.
  • If you don’t you might end up paying even moretaxes than you have to or under-reporting your income and paying interest and penalties later.
  • Christina founded her own accounting consultancy and managed it for more than six years.
  • Keep in mind, though, that if you want to go beyond this year’s tax refund and minimize taxes on your long-term financial plan, your best bet is to find a financial advisor.
  • You can deduct the cost of your business insurance on your tax return.

If you’re self-employed and pay your own health premiums, you can deduct those at 100 percent. If you take business clients out, you can deduct the expense as long as you discuss business during the meeting and the entertainment takes place in a business setting for business purposes. You can deduct 50 percent of the cost of these entertainment expenses. You can also deduct as much as 100 percent of the cost of social events held for your employees. You can fully deduct expenses related to promoting your business, including digital and print advertising, website design and maintenance and the cost of printing business cards. You can deduct interest payments made toward mortgage loans to buy, construct or improve your home if you use your home for business purposes. If you take out loans against your home equity, you can also deduct the interest on those loans.

Tax Deductions For A Small Business

However, this compensation also facilitates the provision by of certain services to you at no charge. The website does not include all financial services companies or all of their available product and service offerings. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC. Think through the year and your accounts to make sure you don’t forget any income sources. It’s often 1099 income that’s overlooked—things like contract work, interest income and dividends.

It isn’t uncommon for the IRS to also look at returns from three to six years prior to the return they are actually auditing. And depending on which deductions you take, like the home office deduction, your return may be more likely to trigger an audit.

You must be enrolled in a health insurance plan that has high deductibles that meet or exceed the IRS’s required amounts. You can take advantage of the maximum contribution and, if you’re at least 50 years old, the catch-up provision can add to your IRA. Reinvested dividends – This one technically isn’t a deduction, but it can reduce your overall tax liability. When you automatically have dividends from mutual funds reinvested, include that in your cost basis. This way, when you sell shares, you might reduce your taxable capital gain. State sales tax – Using the IRS’s calculator, you can determine how much of your state and local sales taxes you can deduct.

This article can help you better understand the requirements for foreign-earned income exclusion. Costs you incur for caring for children or adult dependents is tax deductible. If your own children are twelve years old or younger, you can write off costs associated with their care. Adult dependents also qualify for deductions, including spouses and some other related adults who are unable to care for themselves because of physical or mental disability.

The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

It can be helpful to keep a spreadsheet of all of your tax information—including sources of income, 1099s, charitable gifts and IRA and 529 contributions. You’re less likely to forget about a 1099 if it’s listed in your prior year’s tax information. It’s finally spring—cue the flowers, warm weather and all-around greenery. Or you could put all that work into your taxes and get barely anything. Under the TCJA, the 2%-of-AGI threshold no longer applies, but you can no longer deduct the following.

maximizing tax deductions

You can also claim a tax deduction for making contributions to your HSA. There are many valuable tax deductions for freelancers, contractors and other self-employed people. The mortgage interest tax deduction is touted as a way to make homeownership more affordable. It cuts the federal income tax that qualifying homeowners pay by reducing their taxable income by the amount of mortgage interest they pay.

Instead, the amount claimed as depreciation is designed to spread the cost of the equipment over time and maximize the annual tax deductions associated with it. Most companies use a straight-line depreciation method for their financial statements, because the even amounts approximate the rate at which the equipment is used up and will need to be replaced. However, they tend to use accelerated depreciation methods for tax purposes in order to deduct a larger portion of the equipment’s cost sooner. The IRS applies different “life spans” to different types of equipment for the purposes of depreciation. For example, it applies a five-year life to telecommunications equipment and automobiles, and a seven-year life to computers and office equipment like desks, chairs, and fixtures. The deduction is figured on the size of the home office as a percentage of the total house or residence. For example, if the total house size is 2,400 square feet and the home office is 240 square feet, 10 percent of the total house is considered used for business.

Get Every Deduction You Deserve

In other words, the home office deduction cannot be used to make an otherwise profitable business show a loss. Education expenses are deductible if they are necessary to improve or maintain the skills involved in one’s present employment or are required by an employer. However, education costs cannot be deducted when they are incurred in order to qualify for a different job. Generally speaking, itemizing is a good idea if the value of your itemized expenses is more than the value of the standard deduction.

You also need to keep those receipts after you file just in case of an audit. (Don’t forget that the IRS may audit a return from as long as six years ago.) On the other hand, if you take the standard deduction, there is no extra math and you don’t need to keep any receipts. A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe to the IRS on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For example, if you owe $6,000 in taxes and claim a credit worth $1,000, your bill drops to $5,000. Certain credits may even be refundable, which means you can claim them even if you don’t have any tax liability.

Just be sure to keep up-to-date, accurate records because the IRS does not accept estimates. To maximize their deductions, Pomerantz recommends freelancers use a time-tracking app or keep their own time ledger.

Just don’t actually file your taxes until you make a decision, as you can only file once. A tax credit provides a lump sum dollar amount to qualifying taxpayers and directly lowers the amount of tax you pay. TaxActcalculates both the standard deduction and itemized deductions to tell you which is more advantageous.

You can minimize your tax liability, and potentially snag a larger refund, by taking advantage of every possible tax break. In this article we’ll discuss a few strategies to keep in mind as you look to get the biggest refund possible. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to go beyond this year’s tax refund and minimize taxes on your long-term financial plan, your best bet is to find a financial advisor. You do not pay taxes on the Roth when you withdraw it in retirement.

When you file your taxes, you have to decide whether to take the standard deduction or itemize. For many filers, the Trump tax plan’s doubling of the standard deduction has made this choice an easy one. However, itemizing becomes the smarter choice when you have a lot of deductible expenses. In terms of your tax refund, credits typically yield a bigger tax return than deductions.

If you are active duty military, you can even deduct your moving expenses. For the many Americans that suffered loss due to fires, flooding, and other disasters this deduction could be a welcome relief. Funeral expenses, over-the-counter medications and most cosmetic surgery can’t be deducted.


You may consider being a little loose with the truth when reporting your deductions on your federal income tax return. The temptation can be even greater if you’re self-employed or run a business, and every expense counts. Also, the law prohibits pre-payments for income tax to be used as a deduction in the current year.

maximizing tax deductions

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform . But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you.

The credit for 2020 through 2022 is up to 26% of the cost of certain qualified energy expenditures. That means if you installed solar panels at a cost of $20,000, your total credit is $5,200 in 2020 or $4,400 in 2023. Aqualifying dependentcan be a child you supported financially and who lived with you for more than six months. When you useTurboTax, we’ll do this calculation for you and recommend the best filing status.

It’s the job of an accountant to know what tax deductions are available and how they can apply to your small business. When you file federal incometax return, you have the choice between taking the standard deduction and itemizing your deductions. The option that you pick should depend on which strategy will maximize your tax benefits. Your calculations may also have changed recently because of the new tax plan passed by President Trump and Congressional Republicans. A financial advisor can help you figure out exactly what you should do with your taxes.

If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox. What you don’t know about the changes due to the TCJA could certainly have you missing out on valuable tax savings. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. If you bought a house during the year, you might have paid money, often called “points,” to reduce the interest rate on your mortgage loan. This article was fact-checked by our editors and Christina Taylor, MBA, senior manager of tax operations for Credit Karma Tax®. Of course, the offers on our platform don’t represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.