Deduction Changes on Tax Returns

This may be your last chance to benefit from write-offs that are easy to overlook, since the new tax law has eliminated some of them starting in 2018. If you can, claim some of these:

  1. Unreimbursed Employee Expenses – They are deductible along with other miscellaneous expenses if they exceed two percent of your adjusted gross income. Examples include tools, uniforms, home office equipment, subscriptions to professional publications and business trips you paid for yourself.
  2. Job-Search Expenses – You can only deduct if the search was in the same field you were already in, claiming miscellaneous expenses exceeded two percent of your adjusted gross income. Examples are out-of-town trips, mileage, and fees for events related to your line of work.
  3. Moving Costs for a New Job – To qualify you must meet the “distance test,” having the new workplace at least 50 miles farther from your old home – requiring the move.
  4. State and Local Taxes – The change for state and local income, sales, and property taxes for 2018 will be a $10,000 maximum write off. Watch for actual sales taxes on big-ticket purchases like a boat or car.
  5. Casualty and Theft Losses – Disaster damages not covered by insurance or recouped in a salvage sale on a home break-in, a stolen car, fire, wind or flood can be written off. If you live in a federally-declared disaster area you will not be able to deduct casualty and theft losses after 2017. Revisit your insurance coverage to be up-to-date on changes.
  6. Dependent Exemption – The 2017 tax law killed off personal exemptions starting in 2018, replacing them with a nearly-doubled standard deduction. So for 2017, you can take exemptions worth $4,050 for yourself and your dependents. Don’t overlook family members who you supported last year but did not live with you.
  7. Expanded Medical Expense Deduction – The threshold for qualifying to deduct medical expenses fell from 10 percent of your adjusted gross income to 7.5 percent. Aside from out-of-pocket health and dental costs, eligible medical expenses include home improvements related to health care, such as adding rails, grab bars or a stair lift.

From: Ellen Stark, personal-finance writer and editor. For additional details go to: nextsocial@nextavenue.org