Sneaky ways to get more back on your taxes

money
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



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…