Homeowners get some great tax breaks. They can write of mortgage interest, energy saving home improvements and other items that renters just don’t have an opportunity to cash in on. But just because you rent an apartment in Roanoke, VA doesn’t mean you can enjoy other incentives. Whether you own or rent, you can take advantage of these often-overlooked tax breaks.
Non-cash Charitable Contributions
You remember last spring when you cleaned out the entire basement, hastily clearing items from sports equipment to old clothing. If you donated those items to Goodwill, or another charitable organization, you can deduct that amount on your taxes. Just remember to get a receipt each time you donate, and then keep the receipts in a file throughout the year. It’s easy. If you forget the receipt, you can still claim a donation on your taxes by carefully figuring the value of the items donated.
If you are self-employed, you can deduct your health insurance premiums without itemizing. If you have employer-paid health insurance, you also might be able to deduct a portion of the premiums you paid. If your medical expenses, including health insurance premiums, exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, they are deductible.
If you are an educator, you know how easy it is to spend your own money on items to enhance learning in your classroom. You can deduct up to $250 for items including books, supplies and computer equipment. No itemizing required, just go for it!
Higher Education Expenses
If you are enrolled in higher education courses, you can deduct up to $4,000 without itemizing. The only qualification is your adjusted gross income must fall below $65,000 for singles, and $130,000 for joint returns. Higher education interest paid on loans is also deductible if your balance is higher than $18,000.
Other programs for students include the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit is available to undergraduate students completing their first four years of college and can be worth as much as $2,000. The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to postgraduate students and is worth up to $2,500 in deductions.