Tax season is here and time to start looking into the tax deductions that may be available to you! Many require you to have proof in paperwork, especially in the event of an audit, and if it’s not information that your employer can provide, it’s up to you to keep accurate records.  Here are some common tax deductions that you can start preparing for today.

  • Interest on your mortgage. Let’s be honest–interest is pretty much all you’re paying for in the first few years of owning your home.  Of course, I doubt there’s even a chance you’d let this deduction slip by, so just consider it a friendly reminder and something to look forward to when preparing your taxes.
  • Health insurance premiums and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). This might not increase your tax return significantly, but it sure feels good to be able to deduct some of those expensive premiums we all have to pay for health care, particularly if you’re self-employed.  (Hint: if you are self-employed, you get to deduct more than the rest of us.)
  • Student loan interest. That’s right.  Uncle Sam lets you deduct this one, too.  You should receive a statement from your bank come tax time to help you with this part, so be sure not to toss it aside or let it get lost!
  • IRA contributions. This only applies to traditional IRAs.  You’re going to have to pay taxes on your withdrawals when you reach retirement age, so prior to that point in time, you get to deduct your contributions.  If you have a Roth, you don’t get to deduct, but you won’t have to pay any taxes on your withdrawals.
  • Your home office. If you’re self-employed, don’t overlook this deduction.  However, do check into the specific restrictions to make sure you qualify.  For example, a room in your home that is purely used for your business counts as a home office.  Using the computer in the corner of your bedroom does not.  Once you’re certain you qualify, you can deduct not only the space itself, the mortgage/rent payment respective to it, electricity, etc., but you can also deduct your computer, business phone line, office supplies, etc.
  • Charitable contributions. You probably already know this one, but did you know that it’s not just for monetary contributions anymore?  Did you donate some old clothes or used items to a place like Goodwill or your local church?  These can be deducted.  It’s best if you make sure to get some form of a receipt if possible.
  • “Green” credit. If you recently renovated your home to be more energy-efficient and “green” or perhaps bought a qualifying fuel-saving, hybrid, or otherwise “green” car, the government will reward you with a tax deduction.