Every year at tax time Americans leave billions of dollars on the table. Make sure you get your slice by following these tips for grabbing every deduction and tax credit.
Choose sales tax vs. state income tax
If you itemize, you're allowed to either deduct state income taxes or state sales taxes you paid. You choose whichever gives you the bigger deduction. This is particularly important if you live in a state with no income tax.
But even if your state has income tax, if you purchased a big ticket item like a car last year, you can add that to the amount that the IRS shows in sales tax for your state. That can make sales tax the one to choose.
You can get money back from job hunting
As long as you were hunting in your current field (and these costs pushed miscellaneous costs past 2 percent of your adjusted gross income), you can deduct transportation (56 cents a mile), hotel stays and food (if you were away overnight), cab fare, and employment agency fees.
And note: you can take the write-off even if you're still looking.
Check your charitable donations
Don't forget the ones that you made through payroll deductions at work. Check your December pay stubs. Donations can include physical things too, not just money. Stamps you bought for a fund-raising mailing can be written off, for instance. Or canned goods you bought for the local food pantry and items you gave to Goodwill. Just remember to get and save your receipts, otherwise the donations aren't deductible.
This story was originally published on March 13 at 10:38 a.m.