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Deductibles you didn’t know about

Dec 9, 2011, 8:34 a.m.

Tax season is almost here again, so do not wait until the last minute to organize those important tax records. It could cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, in tax savings if your records are incomplete or you are unaware of some of the little known tax deductions.

Do you enjoy the excitement of occasional wins at the bingo parlor, buy scratch off lottery tickets, or play the slots at the nearest casino? If so, you need to know that you can deduct all your gambling losses up to the amount of any winnings. This is news to most! As with all tax-related documents, perfect record keeping is the trick to taking this deduction. If you keep records of your losses all year, you won't have to pay as much income tax on any big wins.

Itemizing your tax deductions using Schedule A provides taxpayers with an abundance of opportunities for deductions not available to those taking the standard deduction. Homeowners can miss out on a host of deductions, including property taxes, mortgage interest and points if they don't itemize. Don't forget charitable donations, including tithing to your church, which is one of the most frequently missed tax deductible donations.

Medical expenses and even state and local sales or income taxes are also deductible. Education- and job-related expenses along with theft and casualty losses are additional deductions. Use an online tax deductions calculator to see just how much you will save! Be sure to check the most recent IRS instructions on deductions for energy saving improvements to your home. Even the caulk you use to seal up air leaks around the home might be deductible!

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