As April 17 approaches, you might be wondering, “What can I claim on my taxes when it comes to tax breaks or deductions?” Because every tax return is different, there’s no easy answer to this complicated question. However, there’s a long list of tax deductions that can reduce your taxable income and you should take every one to which you’re entitled, because overlooked tax deductions are wasted opportunities.
From child-care costs to mortgage interest to charitable donations to moving expenses, the IRS offers a lengthy list of tax write-offs that can reduce your taxable income, so read carefully and decide which ones you can take. To help get you started, here’s a list of the 50 best tax deductions for 2017.
Even if you don’t have a lot of itemized deductions to file, you still qualify for a standard deduction, which has increased to $12,600 for married couples filing jointly on income earned in 2016. That number is the same for surviving spouses. For single filers and married couples filing separately, the deduction is now $6,300. If you file as head of household, you can deduct $9,300.
Mortgage Insurance Premiums
If you obtained a mortgage insurance policy in 2007 or later, you might qualify for a deduction on the amount you’ve paid toward the premiums. As part of the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act, qualified mortgage insurance will be treated as tax-deductible interest through the end of 2016.
Tuition & Fees Deduction
Regardless of whether you take the standard deduction or itemize, you can deduct up to $4,000 in qualifying higher education tuition and fees you paid for yourself, your spouse or a dependent in 2016. If you’re married but filing separately, or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent, you don’t qualify for this deduction.
State & Local Sales Tax
Taxpayers have the option of deducting either the state and local income taxes or state and local general sales taxes they paid during the tax year, but not both. If you live in a state with no income tax, consider deducting state and local sales taxes you paid.
You can deduct cash donations to IRS-approved charities for up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income. You must have written records of donations to deduct cash gifts in any amount, and a copy of a bank record or statement from the organization will work.