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Overlooked tax deductions - part 1

With the economy being the way it is, this year it is especially important to claim all the deductions you are entitled to on your tax returns.  Here are some that are often overlooked:

1. State taxes paid in early 2009: Any state income tax paid or withheld during the calendar year are deductible as an itemized deduction.  If you make estimated tax payments and made your 4th quarter state payment in January of 2009, you should include that amount on your 2009 Schedule A, line 5 (state taxes).  Additionally, if you paid a balance due on any years state tax return filed during 2009, that amount should also be included on your 2009 Schedule A.

2. Out-of-pocket charitable contributions: Any out-of-pocket costs incurred while doing charity work is deductible as an itemized deduction.  For example, stamps you buy for your organization's fundraising mailing or ingredients you buy for your organization's bake sale count as a charitable contribution.  Just be sure to keep your receipts to support your deduction.

3. Moving expenses to take a job:  If your new job is at least 50 miles further away from your old home than your old job was from your old home or, if you are starting your first real job, the job is at least 50 miles from your old home, you can deduct the cost of getting yourself and your household goods to the new area whether or not you itemize.  If you drive yourself there the deduction is 24 cents per miles plus any parking fees or tolls incurred.  One other requirement if that you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months right after you arrive in the general area of your new job.  There are exceptions to this test in the case of death, disability and involuntary separation, among other things.

A quality tax preparer can provide a thorough interview to assure you receive these and all other deductions you qualify for.




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