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The 7 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions of 2015

Some experts believe that one in five filers who prepare their own taxes overlook significant tax deductions. Thankfully, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released its annual list of most overlooked tax deductions to give you a leg up on your 2015 filing.

1. Hobbies. If you have a hobby that you make a little money on, you can actually deduct the cost of your supplies. This applies if you sell paintings on eBay, sell knitted scarves on Etsy, or sell hand-crafted children’s toys in your own backyard. Make sure you are deducting your supplies.

2. Mileage. One of the most frequently confused rules involves your commute to work. The IRS does not allow you to deduct your daily commute from your house to your office and back again. However, you are permitted to deduct the mileage when you drive during business hours, so long as the driving was for work. How does this apply? It’s simple. If you have to drive to a work meeting, to a conference, or to a client’s office, that is deductible mileage. Some costs of maintenance may also be deductible, but they must be related to the way you use your vehicle for work.

3. Work supplies. Remember, in many instances you can deduct work expenses from your taxes, as long as your employer is not reimbursing you for them. People who wear uniforms or protective clothing or buy their own supplies may deduct their costs. Don’t overlook dry cleaning expenses that you incur if you travel for work, but again, they have to be expenses your employer doesn’t already pay for. The most important new deduction for the 2015 tax year applies to educators. Teachers may now take a special deduction of up to $250.00 for the amount they invest in school supplies.

4. Union dues. Union dues are a special subset of work expenses that you can deduct. If you belong to a union, the dues are usually withdrawn from your paycheck. Recoup them as a deduction from your taxable income.

5. Job search expenses. Looking for a new job? You can deduct the expenses associated with hiring resume writing experts, joining paid job websites, and hiring third parties to help you find a job.

6. Telephone costs. If you are self-employed, you are probably aware that you can deduct the percentage of your home that you devote to the business. But you may not know that your telephone use is also deductible, even if you don’t maintain a strictly separate phone line for the business. If you use your cell phone or home land line for the business, you may deduct the expenses, provided you calculate the percent of time you use the phone for the business versus the amount of time you use it for personal reasons.

7. Childcare expenses. If you have minor children, you know about the childcare credit. However, there is also a childcare deduction that comes into play whenever you pay for someone to take care of your kids. The IRS says that expenses for overnight camps do not count, since they are not “childcare.” Instead, you are looking for times when you needed to pay for childcare, such as during vacations or during the summer. If you pay a babysitter or send your child to day camp, then you probably qualify. The same is true of expenses for after-school programs if they take the place of parent childcare.

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7 Comments

  1. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to
    my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

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  4. rightsaidfred says:

    Death and Taxes FTW

  5. Bradley says:

    thanks for the explanation about childcare expenses.

  6. Raul says:

    Keep more articles up about tax as deadline comes near

  7. Taxman Cometh says:

    I had to argue about work supplies iwth the guy at HR Block. Pro tip, do you taxes yourself, people of HR Block no nothing.

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