Key Deductions for Individual Tax Payers

The best source for reliable information on legitimate tax deductions is the agency charged with collecting taxes from the populace: the Internal Revenue Service []. The home page will direct you to any number publications to answer questions, allow you to order forms and even e-file your return if you meet certain criteria. It may take time to search the site, but you are assured of its accuracy.

Deductions available to individuals are the “STANDARD” deduction amount set by the IRS for whichever status you classify [single, head of household, married, married-filing separately]. This can include a few key additional deductions such as: the deduction for being blind; over age 65/or disabled; and the deductions for dependents, such as a spouse and children.

On the form 1040:
*alimony- alimony payments required by court order made after 1984 are deductible. You cannot use Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ if you plan to claim this deduction.

*individual retirement account contributions – an IRA is a savings plan that lets you set aside money for retirement and offers you tax advantages while doing so. You may be able to deduct some or all of the yearly contributions to the IRA. IRS Publication 590 tells you the amounts, based on your individual situation, that you can contribute to your IRA and receive tax benefits.

*student loan interest – If you are paying on the loans for your education, you might be able to deduct the interest you pay on qualified student loans. [The deduction for the interest on these types of loans does begin to phase out when your Adjusted Gross Income is greater than certain amounts. You will need to check IRS Publication 970 for those income limits.]

*employee moving expenses – If you have to move because of a change in your job location or because you began a new job in a new city, you might be able to deduct moving expense. For more information on what is and is not deductible, see IRS Publication 521.
certain self-employment deductions such as health insurance, and self-employment tax reductions. If applicable, these deductions can be entered on the tax form regardless of whether the standard deduction or itemized deductions are utilized.

*If you have loaned someone money and are not able to collect that money, you should read IRS Publications 550 and 535 to see if your situation meets the definition of a “valid debt” under IRS guidelines. One of the criteria that must be met is the intention, at the time the loan was made, was that it was to be paid back, and was not considered a gift.

*If you are an educator who meets the following criteria:
1.)You are a Kindergarten through grade 12:
Teacher; Instructor; Counselor; Principal; Aide
2.)You work at least 900 hours per school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education,
You can deduct un-reimbursed expenses you paid for books, supplies equipment and supplemental materials that you use in the classroom

*Charitable deductions are often overlooked by those who don’t itemize, use an accountant or tax preparation software. The cost of supplies you use in volunteering for a charitable cause or mileage incurred while volunteering, such as driving to deliver meals for “Meals on Wheels” is deductible at the mileage rate set by the IRS for the tax year. For 2007 that amount is $.14 [per].

*The costs of preparing your 2006 tax return, whether that costs was incurred from buying software or paying an accountant, tax lawyer, or other tax return preparer is a legitimate deduction for 2007.

ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS: are listed on the IRS Schedule A, which is filed along with a form 1040. On the schedule A, one will find deductions such as mortgage interest, health care expenses that total more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. sole proprietorship expenses, state, local, real estate, property and other taxes paid out.

Information about personal tax credits or alternative tax can be found on the IRS web site or in Publication 17, “Your Federal Income Tax.”