It’s March, which means that tax season is officially here and RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. But don't panic. We’re here to help ease some of the stress before you start scrambling to collect receipts and scour your bank statement.. Sure, taxes can be a drag, (or something to look forward to if you know you’re bound to get a tax refund), but if you’re like most independent contractors or freelancers, you might have to owe a hefty amount of money back to your state and the IRS.
However, there are so many things tax payers fail to claim in their yearly taxes that could definitely help ease the fees that you owe back. To help you get a tax break, we’ve listed some of the most overlooked write-off items that people fail to claim.
Out-of-pocket charitable deductions
If you contribute to your community and help with charitable work, or give charitable donations that include out-of-pocket costs, your good deeds may be rewarded with a tax write-off. If you’ve donated food for a soup kitchen, bought clothes for a women’s shelter, or even driven your car for charity, make sure to keep those receipts as they can work as a great tax deduction.
Job hunting costs
Job hunting can be time consuming, and without realizing it, you spend money heading from interview to interview. If you’re unemployed, and you’ve spent money on transportation, printing new business cards or resumes, or have paid a hefty amount to an employment agency to help you land a job, you can definitely deduct these and other qualifying expenses this tax season.
Moving expenses for your first job
Once you’ve moved past the job hunting phase and have landed your dream job on the other side of the town, or even the other side the country, you’ll need to move closer to your job. If you’re moving farther than 50 miles away, you can write-off your moving expenses this season, including transportation.
Child care credit
If you have to leave your child, who is filed as your dependent under 12 years of age, with a sitter or at a daycare while you’re at work, your child care expenses can serve as a tax credit, up to $3000.
If you are going back to school to sharpen your skills, are taking special courses for work, or have bought literature (books or magazines) that are relevant to your field of work, make sure to mark these as your “smart taxes.” Which, goes to show that any money that you spend on your education is always an investment.
Did you know you can get those annoying baggage fees right back into your pocket? Save the airline receipts from any checked baggage that you had to pay for, and mark them as a deduction when you file.
If you’re eco-savvy and have turned your house into an eco-friendly home in the past year, you can be rewarded with a great tax credit for your improvements. We know you went for paperless last year, but in this case you might want to keep those paper receipts.
If you have a financial advisor, tax preparer, or even paid to use a program like Quickbooks or Intuit to manage your finances and taxes, you can deduct those fees for the year in which you payed for them. If you still have your receipts from paying your preparer or the programs that you bought, make sure to include those in on your deductions!
Healthcare for self-employed
If you’re a boss lady of your own and are paying your own bills, like your own healthcare, then make sure include your medical and dental bills in your deductions, as well as those bills for your family and dependents.
If you’re always using your phone for work and have not yet put your phone bill as a part of your deductions, you have been missing out on getting some money back! Make sure that you keep track of what calls are work and which calls are personal as those will be very important to differentiate when it’s time to file.
Fostering a pet
Some people can’t commit to adopting a pet, but if you were able to foster a pet in the last year, you can include expenses from the pound, vet, and even food when you’re filing for taxes. A good tax deduction can come from your charitable work.
Jury duty may be a drag, but the pay you get from the court is tax-deductible if it was turned over to your employer. It all comes full circle!
Bad luck, accidents, and damages
There are things that are simply out of our control, like your car breaking down, your roof caving in after a storm, or even you actually breaking a leg after your colleagues told you to break a leg at your client meeting. If you don’t have insurance and you have to pay out of pocket for repairs and and medical bills, you can include them when you’re filing for taxes as a tax deduction. It’s not all bad luck after all!