Can teachers deduct their classroom supplies? sjenner13/iStockphoto/ThinkStock Picture the inside of a classroom. Depending on the grade, the room might be full of colorful paper cutouts of animals on a bulletin board, each illustrating one of the letters of the alphabet. Perhaps you see posters of important historical figures on the wall, or the periodic table. Elementary school teachers might have a supply of crayons and markers; junior high teachers might keep a little library of books. In a kindergarten classroom, you can bet any teacher has a stash of underwear, just in case a five-year-old doesn't quite make it to the bathroom fast enough. In general, the school or its parent district often can't provide all those supplies and extras you see in a public school classroom. A kid in the class can't afford a binder? The teacher is probably going to pay for one out of pocket. An educator needs to buy loads of construction paper to give the kids a fun afternoon of … [Read more...] about Are teaching supplies tax deductible?
Silent auction tax deduction letter
A rental property may seem like a great to make extra money, but it will come with a number of new tax considerations. iStockphoto/ThinkStock Perhaps it's when you see that cute little bungalow next door with a "For Sale" shingle hanging outside. Maybe when you're looking at your bank statements and frowning about your own mortgage payment. Or maybe it's when you sigh with satisfaction after fixing your own leaking sink and think to yourself, "I could totally be a landlord – fix sinks all day and feel endlessly smug." Whatever the reason, many of us have had pleasant, idealistic daydreams about owning rental property. We'd just buy this nice house, get some nice people in there, and collect a nice paycheck every month! Of course, the reality is a little less romantic. You have to pay a sizable chunk of taxes on that nice paycheck, and there are several rules about what goes where. For instance, if your tenant pays you for January rent in December, count it toward the … [Read more...] about Can you get tax deductions if you own a rental property?
Prescriptions can get pricey. Can Uncle Sam help with that cost? © Brian Lee/Corbis In a totally fair and just world, medical expenses wouldn't carry dire consequences. Outstanding medical bills wouldn't affect our credit score. We wouldn't have to figure out if there was some way to deduct them from our income to get a tax break. Unfortunately, that's not yet the case. Many Americans are forced to wonder, come tax time, if it's possible to get a little relief from their medical bills by writing off the costs of care or prevention. Like so many responses to IRS tax code questions, the answer is an emphatic ... kind of. But don't throw your hands up in frustration and call it a day. While figuring your taxes might seem overwhelming, the rules are in plain sight; you just have to know where to look. Let's sleuth around for some breaks that might work for you. First off, medical expenses are not deductible if you elect to take the standard deduction. The standard deduction is … [Read more...] about Are medical expenses tax deductible?
Wouldn't you think Dale Earnhardt Jr. knows the answer to this tax question? © Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire/Corbis I have often wondered: If you are a race car driver, can you write off your personal car as a business expense? Surely you're "practicing" when you're driving, right? Of course, that's not very realistic. While you might be able to depreciate the cost of the race car and equipment, you're going to have a hard time convincing the IRS that your personal vehicle counts for work [source: Szabo]. But since cars are one of the most expensive things we buy that immediately devalue the second we take them home, it would be nice to get a little tax break for the expenses we put into them -- professional driver or not. And it's not so far-fetched to imagine: There actually are some nice tax deductions available for you if you use your car in certain ways. Naturally, you're going to find a lot of deductions if you do have to use your car for work. So if you have a … [Read more...] about What are some common vehicle tax deductions?
Talk to a tax professional to find out how you can maximize your deductions. Jupiterimages, Creatas Images/Thinkstock "You can deduct that." "You can write that off." "Deductible expenses." You've probably heard these phrases a hundred times. But what do they mean? What are tax deductions and how do they work? And why are tax deductions so important? The purpose of tax deductions is to decrease your taxable income, thus decreasing the amount of tax you owe to the federal government. There are hundreds of ways to use deductions to reduce your taxable income, but many people don't know about them or know how to take advantage of them. The IRS is currently holding more than $1 billion of unclaimed tax refunds. [source: Bell]. To find out how you can maximize your deductions, it's best to talk to a tax professional, such as a tax preparer or lawyer. It's their job to know about tax deductions, and they can guide you to use deductions efficiently and legally. The earlier in the year you … [Read more...] about How Tax Deductions Work