50 Commonly Missed Tax Deductions

When it comes to keeping your money out of the hands of Uncle Sam, things can sometimes be a little challenging.  Did you remember to deduct those charitable contributions that you had taken out directly via payroll deduction at work?  What about your union dues?  The list goes on and on.

Someone once said “that which is not measured, cannot be improved.”  Well, in the tax world we like to say, “that  which is not tracked, cannot be deducted!”  If you make it a habit to just throw things in your “tax file” throughout the year, you can rest assured that you won’t forget it come tax time.  We can’t tell you how many people come to us at the end of the year with their tax support in folders, logs, envelopes, boxes, garbage bags, cereal boxes…we think you get the point.

So if you are filing a tax return for this year or a prior year, take a look at the commonly missed deductions outlined below.  To make things easy, we’ve even grouped them by category and indicated where they are deducted on the return.

Medical Deductions (Schedule A)

  • Medical transportation expenses such as tolls, parking, and mileage for trips to health facilities, doctor’s offices, laboratories, etc.
  • Hospital fees for services such as nursing, physical therapy, lab tests, and x-rays
  • Nursing home expenses related to medical care
  • Medical aids such as canes, crutches, canes, orthopedic shoes, etc.
  • Hearing aids, eye glasses, and contact lenses
  • Equipment for disabled or handicapped individuals
  • Portion of retirement home fee that is related to life-care fee designated for medical care
  • The cost of alcohol and drug abuse programs, and certain smoking-cessation treatments
  • Wages and amounts paid for in home nursing services
  • Seeing-eye dogs for the handicapped

Work/Job Deductions (Schedule A)

  • Education expenses paid to maintain or improve job skills
  • Professional journals, magazines, and newspapers that are job-related
  • Required uniforms and work clothes not suitable for street wear
  • Union dues
  • Home office expenses, if for your primary place of business
  • Job-seeking expenses within your present field of employment
  • Dues to professional organizations
  • Business gifts up to $25 per customer or client
  • Business expenses including travel, meals, lodging, and entertainment not reimbursed by your employer
  • Cleaning and laundering services while traveling for business
  • Tools for use at your job
  • Cellular phones required for business

Home Related Deductions (Schedule A)

  • Commission to brokers or agents for the sale of property
  • Mortgage or loan interest paid on a second home (e.g. summer home, time share, boat, RV, etc.)
  • Property taxes paid on all buildings and parcels of land owned
  • Personal property taxes on cars, boats, etc.
  • Mortgage insurance premiums
  • General casualty and theft losses in excess of $100 and totaling more than 10% of adjusted gross income

Rental Property Related Deductions (Schedule E)

  • Property management fees
  • Hazard insurance
  • Interest paid to third parties (e.g. private investors, private businesses, crowdfunding platforms, etc.)
  • Operating expense carryovers
  • Suspended passive activity losses
  • Office expenses
  • Other expenses such as postage, bank fees, education, HOA fees, subscriptions, cost of books, meals and entertainment, and gifts to clients or tenants.

Miscellaneous Deductions
Deducted on Schedule A

  • Taxes paid to the state for a balance associated with last years tax return
  • Sales taxes paid in connection with large purchases (e.g. cars, boats, etc)
  • Out of pocket charitable contributions (cash and goods)
  • Cost of safe deposit box used for investments
  • Investment and brokerage fees
  • Fees for tax preparation or advice
  • Legal fees associated with settlements, tax advice or to collect taxable alimony or Social Security
  • Hobby expenses to the extent of hobby income you included in gross income

Deducted on Schedule D

  • Worthless stock or securities

Deducted on the face of Form 1040

  • Student loan interest
  • Half of the self-employment tax paid if you report income on Schedule C
  • Self-employed health insurance premiums if you report income on Schedule C
  • Moving expenses
  • Child care expenses paid to allow you to go to work (e.g. day care, babysitter, summer camp)
  • Educator expenses (i.e. out-of-pocket expenses associated with a teacher’s classroom or school)