Now that the holidays are over and we’ve all made our resolutions for 2015, it's time to eagerly await our W-2, 10-99 and other misc forms so we can get our taxes done. Why? Whether you’re hoping to pay off your Christmas present bills, or buy some amazing product you’ve been saving for, it all comes down to that twinkle of hope that this is the tax season when you’ll get money back. Now we don’t always get a lot, but with the help of this list, hopefully you can at least check to be sure you got as much as you can. Here are 10 items families may be able to deduct this year.
1. The Kids
This is a no-brainer, I know, but it’s important to remember to add your kids as a deduction. If you're divorced or separated, remember that a dependent can only appear as such on one person's taxes, so you need to decide who will get to claim the kiddos.
2. Child Care
Keep a record of how much you've spent on child care, and ask your child's school for an end-of-the-year statement with their tax ID number. You won't get the full amount of child care costs back, but you will get a bit based on your income and amount spent.
3. Breast Pumps and Related Devices
That’s right, in 2011, the IRS made it legal to write off the purchase of a breast pump and milk storage containers. Just be sure to keep your receipts! If you had to get a pump that insurance didn't cover this is a great opportunity to reclaim some of that cost. (Now, if only they’d add a deduction just for breastfeeding your children.)
4. Medical and Dental
Certain family dental procedures or medical items exceeding an amount can be written off if you choose to itemize your deductions. Depending on your annual income and the amount of deductions you have this could be a benefit or it could be a better deal to take a general deduction. Again, keep those receipts just in case.
5. Dependent or Live-In Relatives
If you take care of a family member (whether they are live-in or live elsewhere) and they depend on you and do not file a tax return of their own you can list them as a dependent.
6. Adoption Fees
If you adopted one or more child in 2014, be sure to gather all receipts for adoption-related fees including: travel, court, attorney, paperwork, and filing costs. The Adoption Credit allows for a max of $13,190 per child.
7. Business-Related Expenses
Do you have a small in-home business? Be sure to write off any expenses related to running your business!
8. College or Trade School Expenses
Whether you're finishing up college or going back, you can deduct your own education expenses (even loan interest). Be sure to check out the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.
Dropping off a box of clothes to a homeless shelter or donating to a nonprofit is a great way to "give back" and also get a bit of money back on your tax return. Again, depending on your income your tax return preparer may tell you it's more beneficial to just go with a standard deduction instead of line deductions like this one, but it's good to be aware of.
10. Earned Income Tax Credit
Depending on how much you make and if you have kids, you may be eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit. Your household can't make more than around $40,000, but if you're under that you may qualify, so check it out!
This list is not exhaustive and is meant to be informative. Please be sure to follow up with a tax professional who can give advice on your particular tax situation. Need to find a tax return professional? Check out these awesome tips on what to look for from the IRS.