The number of taxable purchases you've made this year may be too high to count, but knowing which of these purchases can be deducted from your taxes is crucial to getting the best return possible. Everything from office supplies to home-building expenses can be deducted from your taxes. Make sure that you have proof such as receipts to back up any deductions you make.
State Sales Tax
If you made large purchases during the last year such as vehicles, airplanes, boats or home-building materials, you can deduct these from your taxes. If you live in a state that does not impose income taxes, you can choose to deduct state and local sales taxes. Refer to the IRS tables to find out how much residents of your state can deduct. If you live in a state with income taxes, deducting state taxes will not be as helpful.
If you made any charitable contributions such as new clothing, food donations or other items, you can deduct these expenses from your taxes. Make sure to hold onto your receipts as proof. If your donation totaled more than $250, you will need a letter from the organization that lists what you donated.
Job Search Costs
When you look for a new job, you incur lots of costs that you may not think about. Food, lodging, cab fares, transportation and the payments you made to employment agencies may be deducted. You can also deduct what you paid to photocopy your resume, print your business cards and mail correspondence. Other advertising costs you incurred may be deductible as well. The exception is that if the position is your first job, you cannot deduct these items.
If you moved because of a job change, you can deduct any moving expenses that you paid for. Moving trucks, use of your own vehicle, tolls, boxes and other supplies are among the expenses you can deduct. Your new job has to be a minimum of 50 miles from your home to take the deduction.
Military Reserve Travel
If you are a member of the National Guard, you can deduct some travel expenses you incur when you go to meetings or drills. If you travel more than 100 miles and are away overnight, you can deduct what you paid to stay at hotels and meals. In addition, you can deduct 50 cents per mile you drove and any parking fees or tolls.
Energy Efficient Home Improvements
Home improvements that save energy can allow you to claim a credit (different from a deduction) of up to 30 percent of the cost of the appliance up to a total of $1,500. The credit includes skylights, windows, doors, furnaces and air conditioners among other appliances. You will need to have proof from the manufacturer that the item is energy-efficient and qualifies for the credit.
Whether you work for yourself or someone else, you can deduct any expenses you incurred for work if you were not reimbursed for them. This includes any supplies, computers or other items you purchased. Educators can also receive up to a $250 deduction for any books, supplies or other classroom equipment they purchased. If you are self-employed, you can deduct a variety of expenses that you used for your business, including phone lines, computers, Internet service, cell phones, company vehicles, supplies and travel and home office expenses. You must ensure that these items were used strictly for business; otherwise they will not qualify.
Megan Martin has more than 10 years of experience writing for trade publications and corporate newsletters as well as literary journals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.