What are the top 10 most overlooked tax deductions?

Check to see if you qualify for some little-known tax deductions.
Check to see if you qualify for some little-known tax deductions.

It’s income tax time, and the hunt for deductions is under way. TurboTax has compiled a list of the top 10 most overlooked, little-known tax deductions and credits.

» RELATED: Obamacare’s impact is costly surprise for some taxpayers

Charity Mileage

Everyone knows you can deduct charitable contributions but not work you do for charity. But did you know you can deduct the cost of transportation to a charitable event? Heading to a fundraiser? Keep track of your mileage and deduct it come tax time.

» RELATED: Identity-theft related tax fraud remains the top scam

Home Office

The self-employed are eligible for a variety of tax deductions that other workers aren’t. They can deduct a portion of the cost of utilities or even rent for their home office as well as magazines they subscribe to or member organizations in their career field.

Disaster Recovery

If your home was struck by a natural disaster for which federal aid was issued, you could be eligible to deduct uninsured costs you paid in getting your life back together.

Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing your mortgage could pay off in more ways than one. You will save each month on the interest for your home loan, and you can deduct any loan points you pay on the refinance.

Medical Insurance Premiums

You can deduct the cost of medical insurance premiums that surpass 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, even if you are covered in an employer plan; for those who are self-employed, the 10 percent threshold for health insurance premiums is removed.

Classroom Materials

Educators, including K-12 teachers, teacher aides, instructors or principals, can get an above-the-line tax deduction for materials they buy for use in classrooms. Because it’s an above-the-line deduction, itemizing isn’t required for this deduction.

Financial Planning

Keeping your finances healthy also could land you a healthy tax deduction. Tax planning and investment expenses can be deducted if you itemize and the costs exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. Investment expenses could include phone calls to your broker or even subscriptions to financial publications like Forbes and Fortune.

Working parents

Parents who work and leave their children with a caregiver are eligible for a tax credit to offset the cost of a baby sitter, day care, nursery school or preschool. Limitations on the credit include the age of the child and the percentage of the credit.

Moving Expenses

Lucky enough to find a new job, but bummed that  it’s in the next state? You can deduct what you spend packing and moving your belongings as well some costs for storage, insurance, transportation and lodging associated with the move. There’s no limit to the deduction, but your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your home than your old job.

Mileage from one job to another

For most people, the costs they incur heading to and from work every day are not deductible. For part-time workers, however, if you work two jobs, you can deduct a portion of the costs of getting from one job to the other.

Fake TurboTax email should be deleted. It’s a scam.

If you receive an email like this one, delete it.
If you receive an email like this one, delete it.

People are receiving fake emails purporting to be from TurboTax, and the company is warning people not to respond. They’re from scammers.

Last year and in prior years, criminals used TurboTax to file returns ahead of legitimate taxpayers. In some cases, they simply opened another account in the victim’s name, and were not caught by TurboTax. The result was an identity theft nightmare for the victims and delays in obtaining their refunds.

The fake emails have the title “TurboTax not working for days now…”

Intuit, the company which owns TurboTax, advises the following:

  • Do not open the attachment in the email.
  • Send a copy of the email to spoof@intuit.com.
  • Do not forward the email to anyone else.
  • Delete the email.

On the Internet, “phishing” refers to criminal activity that attempts to fraudulently obtain sensitive information.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from a phishing attack:

  1. If you suspect you have received a phishing email from Intuit, please forward it immediately to spoof@intuit.com. We will look into each reported instance.
  2. Make sure you subscribe to an anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date.
  3. Make sure you have updated your web browser to one that includes anti-phishing security features, such as Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox version 3 or higher.
  4. Make sure that you keep up to date on the latest releases and patches for your operating systems and critical programs. These releases are frequently security related.
  5. Do not respond to emails asking for account, password, banking, or credit card information.
  6. Do not open up an attachment that claims to be a software update. We will not send any software updates via email.
  7. Do not respond to text messages or voicemails that ask you to call a number and enter your account number and pin.
  8. Make sure you have passwords on your computer and your payroll files.

 

 

 

Bondi offers tips to safeguard against identity theft and tax fraud

Take what precautions you can to protect yourself from identity theft.
Take what precautions you can to protect yourself from identity theft.

It’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is urging Floridians to be especially alert to identity theft and tax-related scams.
Tax identity theft occurs when someone other than the taxpayer:

  • Files a fraudulent tax return using a taxpayer’s Social Security number and personal information to receive a tax refund;
    · Uses a taxpayer’s Social Security number to get a job fraudulently, causing a victim’s income not to match what has been reported to the IRS; and
    · Claims a taxpayer’s child as a dependent fraudulently, preventing that child being rightfully claimed as a dependent on the taxpayer’s annual return.

As Floridians prepare to file annual tax returns this year, they can safeguard against identity theft and tax fraud by following these tips:

  • File tax returns early in the tax season;
    · Research a tax preparer thoroughly before providing personal information;
    · Use a secure internet connection when filing electronically. Do not use unsecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots;
    · Mail tax returns directly from the post office, not from home;
    · Know that Floridians are eligible for an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS. Should someone enrolled in the IRS IP PIN program and file a return with an incorrect PIN, the IRS will reject or delay the return until it is submitted with the correct PIN and the taxpayer’s identity is confirmed. To obtain an IRS IP PIN IRS.gov;
    · Know that the IRS will never initiate contact by email, phone, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will first contact by mail; and
    · If a Social Security number has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.

Consumers victimized by identity theft should call local law enforcement. Victims wanting to file a complaint can visit FTCComplaintAssistant.gov. Consumers can also file complaints about tax-related scams and other types of fraud through the Florida Attorney General’s Office.