2011 – Top 10 Tax Deductions Not To Be Overlooked

April 15, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

#1-Did You Receive Jury Duty Pay? – If you received compensation for Jury Duty, it is taxable, but not if you had to repay it because you’re already working. If you returned the pay to the courts, you can deduct it from your tax return. This is one that might be overlooked by many. Always keep in mind those things that you do in the cracks and crevices of your life that could be deductible.

#2-Did You Take Care Of Your Dependent Parent? – I’ve seen so many personal friends that fit in this category and are just unaware. If you provided more than 50% of their support and your expenses taking care of them exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you qualify. Don’t let pride or lack of knowledge get in the way on this one, you’ve done a great job with your parents, and you qualify for quite possibly a very substantial deduction.

#3-Did You Pay Mortgage Interest, Discount, or Origination Fees? – Every year my wife and I start looking for that trusty 1098 Mortgage Interest forms because they are always a big part of our deductions. Something to keep in mind though if you bought a home look on the good faith statement to see if you paid any discount or origination fees. Also watch the wording because it may differ a tad from actually saying discount or origination, ask your escrow or title company for clarification if needed.

#4-Did You Deduct Business Meals and Entertainment Expenses? You are allowed to deduct 50% of what you paid on meals and a full 100% for entertainment. If you hired a band to come in and play for your business, catered it, etc, that may be 100% deductible. I own an LLC and I’ve discussed my business several times with potential clients at Farmer Boys, Denny’s, and Starbucks! Go after this deduction!

#5- Did You Upgrade Your Home and Make it More Energy Efficient? You may get up to a $1500 credit if you upgraded your water heater, air conditioner, etc.. to a more energy efficient one. The 2011 Tax Credit is 30% of cost with no upper limit and existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify. The top 3 devices are:

1.Geothermal Heat Pumps
2.Small Wind Turbines (Residential)
3.Solar Energy Systems

Credit Details: 30% of the cost, up to $500 per.5 kW of power capacity. Expires: December 31, 2016 Details: Existing homes & new construction qualify. Must be your principal residence. Look for the energy star logo. More details at http://www.energystar.gov. It pays to upgrade your energy efficiency, and also many times helps the environment too.

#6- Did You Pay Sales Tax On A New Vehicle In 2011? If so, you may qualify for a deduction. Sorry, used cars don’t apply. I think this is our government’s way of saying thanks for upgrading your car and helping our economy. Also, if you made over $135,000 this deduction may not apply. If you live in California, or another heavily sales taxed state, like me, then you may be happily surprised by this deduction!

#7- Did You Have Medical Expenses Related To Obesity? If you pay for a weight-loss program because you are obese, you can deduct the cost as a medical expense. You cannot deduct the cost of low-calorie foods such as sugar free items that are a substitute for the normal food you consume, but you can deduct the cost of food if it doesn’t satisfy your normal nutritional needs, it alleviates or treats an illness, and the need for the food is verified by a doctor.

#8- Did You Have Childcare Expenses While Volunteering? If you paid a babysitter or nanny to watch your kids while you volunteer at church, that expense is deductible. If you sing in the choir at your church, or your one of those great men or women who help with setup for Easter plays, etc; don’t forget this one! You’ve earned it.

#9- Did You Pound The Pavement For A Job? Pounding the Pavement Has Its Perks The U.S. Government always encourages meaningful employment. And to prove it, you can deduct the cost of resumes, including production, printing and mailing costs; contact calls; and even travel to your interviews for jobs in your chosen field. Don’t forget, though, you cannot write off anything for which you are reimbursed. Congrats to those who worked hard to find a job! Deduct it!

#10- Did You Deduct Expenses For Mentoring Programs? The Big Brother, Big Sister Programs, Teen Challenge, many wonderful organizations have those who can volunteer on a regular basis. You are not allowed to deduct the money you spent on yourself personally, but you can deduct what you spent on the child. That could be a variety of items from clothes, meals, books, and more.Lastly, I’d like to refer our readers to one of the best sites I’ve found to find those little known deductions that are sometimes overlooked. Take a gander at:


where you’ll find more than 20 additional deductions you may have overlooked. Thanks for reading and happy 2011 deductions! Get back all the money you can, you earned it!

Don Alexander, Blog Owner
“Your on line resource on a variety of interesting subjects”

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