Tax Deductions

What Is a Tax Deduction? 

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A tax deduction reduces your taxable income. Your total deductions are subtracted from your taxable income in order to determine your total tax bill for the year. 

Tax credits are similar to tax deductions, but they reduce your tax bill dollar for dollar. Learn more about tax credits.

This page lists tax deductions as well as tax credits.

NOTE: There are specific items that you cannot deduct from your taxes, such as home repairs and political contributions. Learn more about nondeductible expenses.

What Tax Deductions Can I Claim on My Tax Return?

The tax deductions might apply to you depend on your current life situation. Find out which life-changing events and other life situations can qualify you for tax deductions:

Different Types of Tax Deductions

In order to claim most tax deductions for the current Tax Year, the payments have to occur during the Tax Year or no later than Dec. 31.

Please review these major tax deduction areas as they might apply to your current life situation or circumstance: 

bulletpoint Tax Deductions for Families and Parents

bulletpoint Tax Deductions for Homeowners

bulletpoint Tax Deductions for Employees/Workers

bulletpoint Medical Tax Deductions

bulletpoint Student Tax Deductions

bulletpoint Charity Tax Deductions

bulletpoint Standard Deduction and Itemized Deductions

bulletpoint Tax Deductions for Car and Travel

bulletpoint Miscellaneous/Other Tax Deductions

NOTE: There are specific items that you cannot deduct from your taxes, such as home repairs and political contributions. Learn more about nondeductible expenses.

Life-Changing Events

Did you lose your job? Job loss expenses might be tax deductible.

Did you search for a new job? Turn job search expenses into tax deductions.

Did you get married? Marriage may actually save you money on taxes.

Did you get divorced or separated? This might also affect your tax return.

Did you have a child? Children or other dependents can mean tax credits and deductions.

Did you adopt a child? Adoption expenses can be deductible.

Did you go to college? Find information about tax deductible education expenses.

Did you purchase a home? Find information about homeowner tax deductions.


Parent Deduction Tax Deductions for Parents and Families

You can claim exemptions (similar to tax deductions) for qualified dependents. There are also tax credits for child care expenses and adoption expenses. 


Home, Mortgage Deduction Tax Deductions for Homeowners

Homeowners can take advantage of deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes, installing energy-efficient home improvements, canceled debt on a mortgage, having a home office, and more.


Employee, Worker Deduction Tax Deductions for Working

There are various tax deductions available for employees and the self-employed. There are also deductions to help you find employment. If you contribute to a retirement plan, you may be able to take a deduction or claim a tax credit.


Medical, Health Deduction  Tax Deductions for Medical Expenses

If you have medical expenses, such as health insurance premiums, which total more than 7.5% of your income, you may be able to deduct them. There are also deductions for contributions to health savings accounts.


Student, Educational Deduction  Tax Deductions for Education

There are two different tax credits (American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit) available for students. There is also a deduction for paying student loans. For teachers, there is a deduction for educator expenses.


Miscellaneous, Other Deduction  Tax Deductions for Charity

You can deduct many charitable contributions and donations. You can also take a deduction for using your vehicle for charity.


Seasonal Tax Deduction  The Standard Deduction and Itemized Deductions

When you file a tax return, you will either take the standard deduction for your filing status, or you will itemize deductions. Find out which is best for you.


Green Energy Deduction  Tax Deductions for Car and Travel

You can claim tax deductions for using your car for the purposes of business purposes, medical purposes, or for charity. There are deductions for travelling out of town for your job. Also, there is a tax credit for buying an electric car


Retirement, Retirement Savings Deduction

  Miscellaneous/Other Tax Deductions

There are a number of other tax deductions and credits that don't fit neatly into any of the above categories, such as for gambling losses, investment expenses, foreign taxes, tax preparation fees, and more. There are even some strange, unusual tax breaks that have been successfully used in the past.


Tax Calculators and Tools

Our selection of free tax calculators, tools, and estimators will help you figure out some of the deductions you qualify for. They can help you determine if someone is your dependent, what your filing status is, and more. 

Are There Expenses I Cannot Deduct? 

Yes, there are certain expenses you cannot deduct from your taxes. Check out our lists below for various nondeductible expenses-it could save you from receiving a tax audit.

What Tax Deductions Have Expired? 

Every Tax Year, the tax laws often change. As a result of rewritten tax rules, tax breaks change or expire. In addition, dollar amounts are adjusted every year to adapt to the new laws.

Review our complete list of changed or expired tax laws that could affect your tax return.

General Tax Tips: Deductible Expenses, Filing Tax Returns, Saving Money, & Paying Taxes

There are other ways to gain more tax savings besides claiming tax deductions. The following income tax tips could also help you save money on your taxes:

Adjust Your W-4 Paycheck Withholding

Not sure what you should enter on your W-4 form? Make sure you are not having too little or too much tax withheld from your paycheck.

Learn more about adjusting your paycheck withholding

Do You Have to File an Income Tax Return?

Find out which income amounts require you to file or efile a tax return and why you might want to even if you owe no taxes.

Learn more about the requirements for filing a tax return

Choose the Right Income Tax Filing Status

Your tax filing status must be decided before you can calculate your correct tax rate, deduction amounts, and filing requirements. Your income tax filing status generally can be divided into Married and Unmarried (Single, Widow, Head-of-Household). Whether you may file as married or unmarried depends on your legal marriage status on the last day of the tax year, December 31. There are five filing options, each with its own specific qualifications and consequences.

Learn more about tax filing statuses

Know Your Federal Standard Deduction

If you do not itemize deductions or if the total of your itemized deductions does not exceed the federal standard deduction amount, you should claim the standard deduction on your tax return.

Learn more about the Federal Standard Deduction

Find Ways to Save Tax Money

Tax loopholes are not only for big businesses and savvy tax attorneys. Read about ways to save money on taxes--from charitable giving to income deductions that the IRS cannot tax.

Learn more about tax loopholes and more ways to save money on taxes

Find Tax Exemptions

Tax exemptions are similar to deductions--they reduce your taxable income for the year. Exemptions are divided into two categories: personal exemptions and dependent exemptions.

Learn more about tax exemptions

Find Tax Credits

Tax credits are even better than tax deductions! Credits reduce your taxes dollar-for-dollar and some tax credits are even refundable. A refundable credit will be paid to you in a tax refund if you owe no taxes.

Learn about federal tax credits

Owe Taxes? Have Difficulty Paying Taxes?

The IRS has continued to assure taxpayers that it will balance its responsibility to enforce the tax laws with the realities of the current economic climate. All IRS staff has been given a greater degree of flexibility to help taxpayers who are struggling to pay their income taxes.

Learn more about owing taxes and what to do about paying them

Know the Mileage Deduction Rates

If you use your vehicle to commute to work or for other business purposes, you may be able to deduct a set amount for each mile driven. There are also standard mileage rates for vehicle use in the service of charity, for the purposes of moving to be closer to a job, and for qualified medical use.

Find out the latest standard mileage rates

Make Sure You Get Your Tax Refund!

Every year for the last few years, over 100,000 tax refund checks have been returned to the IRS as undeliverable. Why? Because they were sent to incorrect or outdated mailing addresses. The average amount of these checks is about $1,140. Is one of these tax refund checks for you? If you are the intended recipient of one of these returned checks, all you have to do is update your address with the IRS. The IRS encourages taxpayers to efile their returns and use direct deposit to receive their refunds. Electronic filing and direct deposit help reduce errors, increase the speed of tax refunds, and eliminate the problem of undeliverable refund checks.

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