Monday, January 16, 2006
IRS Not All Bad

Still working on those New Years resolutions? Well maybe you can get the IRS to help out. The catch is that you can only take advantage of these tax breaks if you itemize your return. Less than 33 percent of taxpayers itemize but consider these deductible resolutions:

Improve your skills. If you are planning to return to school to help you advance within your current profession you can deduct your tuition, as well as the cost of books and periodicals. However, you must itemize your return, and miscellaneous expenses must reach at least 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Learn for the fun of it. You could qualify for the same tax breaks that young college students routinely receive, such as the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits.

Declutter. If you crave more storage space, as well as an extra tax break, grab a box of trash bags and spend an afternoon in your garage or head to your worst closet. If you liberate your junk and dispatch it to a charity, you might be amazed at how much you can deduct from your taxes.
Lose weight. Nearly one out of every three American adults is obese, and as such, the IRS will consider the cost of a weight-loss program as a medical expense.

Quit smoking. A smoking cessation program, it's also considered a deductible medical expense.

Thanks goes to Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of "The Retirement Bible" and "The Investing Bible" and," Bob D. Scharin, editor of Warren, Gorham & Lamont/RIA's Practical Tax Strategies.


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