6 Useful Tax Deductions that You Might Not Be Aware Of

1. Educational costs. Even if your income is too high to quality for the Lifetime Learning tax credit — meaning that your adjusted gross income totals to more than $55,000 for a single person or $110,000 for joint-filing married couples — you might still be able to deduct up to $4000 in college fees and tuition costs. But when you look, you may notice that there is no line for this on your 1040 form. Go to line 35 on the form, which is labeled ‘domestic production activities deduction’ and write the deduction amount in the blank.

2. Dog food. This write-off is allowed in some certain cases, such as a seeing eye dog or another service animal. Service animals are viewed as medical devices by the IRS. All costs that relate to its maintenance, including food, training, and other equipment, are valid deductions. Dog owners who use their pet to guard their place of business or cat owners who use their cat to rid their business of vermin can deduct these costs, as well.

3. Weight loss. You could get a tax deduction by losing weight — as long as it is medically justified. Perfect examples of this justification are diagnoses from your doctor, such as obesity, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Any costs that are associated with your weight loss, a weight loss program, or a procedure like lap-band surgery, could possibly be written off.

4. Gambling losses. While your Vegas vacation can rob you not only of your dignity, but life savings, as well, you might be able to count some of your losses as deductions. You can only deduct losses against any winnings, though — you cannot deduct losses exceeding your gains. Because gambling income is taxable, though, you will reduce the amount that you owe on winnings by deducting any losses.

5. Your kids’ summer camp. Sending your children to summer camp can give you and your checking account a nice break. If you are going to work during the hours that your kids are in camp, you can deduct up to $3000 for one child’s summer camp experience and $6000 if you are sending more than one of your children.

6. Celiac disease food costs. If you have celiac disease, where you have to avoid eating anything containing gluten, you might just be able to claim the cost of your gluten-free foods on your taxes. First, make sure that you have an official diagnosis from your doctor that you do have celiac disease. Get it in writing. Without this, you can’t claim any tax deductions for it. Save all of your receipts and other records of gluten-free food purchases. This includes canceled checks and supermarket receipts. Make a list of the costs of all of your gluten-free foods and figure out the difference in prices between regular foods and the gluten-free varieties that you have to buy. You can only claim that difference. For example, if regular bread costs $2.50 and your gluten-free bread costs $7, you can only claim $4.50 for it on your deductions. If the amount that you pay for gluten-free foods equals more than 7.5% of your annual gross income, you can claim it as a deduction.