Oklahoma Expert Gives Ideas To Get More Out Of Tax Return

Wednesday, March 18th 2015, 11:37 pm
By: Craig Day

Plenty of people are still working to get their taxes done since we're now less than a month away from the deadline.

Discussing taxes isn't the most fun thing to do, but if someone offered you hundreds of dollars for only a minute and a half of your time, it would get your attention.

So, with the help of a tax expert, I'm going to try to Seriously Save you Money with some often overlooked deductions.

Richard Gardner, who has nearly 40 years of experience doing taxes, is helping us learn about sometimes overlooked deductions and credits.

First: the Lifetime Learning Credit.

If you take any type of seminars, courses or other training to improve your job skills, you could get a tax credit.

"You will get a 20 percent tax credit on that up to ten thousand dollars," Gardner said.

You don't need to be pursuing a degree program, but income guidelines apply.

Donating things to charity is another way to lower your taxes. Many know about it, but don't keep track of things and that can cost you.

"If you were in a 20 percent tax bracket and you give away $1,000 worth of clothing, that's worth basically $200 to your tax refund," Gardner said.

Thrift stores often will assign a fair value range for items. The key is to document donations throughout the year.

Gardner said, "Make a list of how many pairs of pants, how many shoes you give away and things of that nature."

Don't forget about charitable mileage. If you use your car for charitable work, you can claim 14 cents per mile off your taxes.

"Boy scouts, that would be mileage too. Shriners, would be mileage, any of that stuff would be deductible as volunteer mileage," said Gardner.

Another way to save is by deducting expenses if you look for employment or move to a new job more than 50 miles away.

"You can deduct your moving expenses, such as transportation, storage, travel, lodging," Gardner said.

One more often overlooked deduction: State income taxes paid on a prior year's return. 2013 state taxes paid during the calendar 2014 year, can be deducted off your 2014 federal return.

Here's one more thing. You still have until April 15th to contribute money into an IRA for the 2014 tax year. That can lower your overall taxable income.

These are just some ideas. Of course, it's best for each individual to check with a professional.