Sneaky ways to get more back on your taxes

Follow these tips and you’ll get more money back this spring.

Doing your own taxes could mean missing out on hidden deductions. Julius Green, a tax practice leader at accounting firm ParenteBeard, gives tips on what to keep in mind when filing so you can get the most money back.

Work-related expenses
“If you had a job-related move, you can certainly deduct moving expenses,” Green says. Besides moving, if you had any other expenses related to your job that you weren’t reimbursed for, those expenses are deductible too. “For example, let’s say you bought a computer. If you are able to reasonably argue that you use your computer 50 percent for personal use and 50 percent for work-related reasons, then you can deduct 50 percent of the cost of your computer,” he says.

The same applies to your phone bill. Green says to take a monthly bill typical of your year-round usage and highlight the work-related expenses. If your job requires tools that you bought and weren’t reimbursed for, you can list those as well. All of these type of deductions are located on your Schedule A, under miscellaneous.

Energy credits
The government is rewarding people making a conscious effort to live more environmentally friendly. “Certain energy-efficient improvements in your home, which are listed, you can get a credit for,” says Green. “If you have energy-efficient furnaces, solar panels or water heaters, you can get a credit.” Unfortunately, taking public transportation to work or carpooling doesn’t count as helping the environment as far as your taxes are concerned. “Commuting expenses are never deductible,” Green explains.

Charitable contributions
“People are usually aware of their charitable contributions and remember to deduct those, but they often don’t know that any money you spent while volunteering is deductible, too,” says Green. “For example, if you use your own personal vehicle driving around doing things for the charity, you can deduct the milage at 14 cents a mile.”

Medical-related expenses
“On your Schedule A, there’s a section for medical-related expenses, which you can deduct as long as you are over a certain threshold,” explains Green. If you don’t have insurance or underwent a particularly expensive medical treatment, this is one way to get money back you don’t want to miss.

College costs
“If the interest on your student loans went up, you are able to deduct that, based on your income,” says Green. Also, if parents have a 529 Plan, saving for their kids’ college, remember that they are tax-free contributions for federal taxes and are generally deductible for state tax purposes when contributed, although there are limits, which varies state to state.

Teaching deductions
If you’re a teacher and spent any of your own money on classroom decorations, supplies or other school-related expenses, Green says they are deductible up to $250. You don’t have even have to complete a Schedule A for itemized deductions to get this benefit.

If all of this still sounds too complicated to do on your own, don’t think you can’t afford to hire a professional to prepare your tax return for you. As Green points out, that’s deductible too.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…


Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…


Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.


Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…


‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."


'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…


Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…


Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.


Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.


Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.


Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.


Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…


Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…


Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…


4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.