A Helpful Overview on Tax Deductions
It’s important for taxpayers to understand the different tax deductions that they can claim during tax season, as it can significantly reduce the amount of taxes owed. Tax deductions are expenses that can be subtracted from a taxpayer’s taxable income, resulting in a lower overall tax bill. In this article, we will discuss the most common tax deductions, eligibility requirements, and important updates related to tax deductions.
Common Tax Deductions
1. Standard Deduction: The standard deduction is a flat amount that taxpayers can deduct from their taxable income without the need to provide any supporting documents. The amount varies depending on filing status, age, and whether the taxpayer is blind. The standard deduction for the 2021 tax year is as follows:
– Single: $12,550
– Married Filing Jointly: $25,100
– Married Filing Separately: $12,550
– Head of Household: $18,800
2. Itemized Deductions: Taxpayers who have specific expenses that exceed the standard deduction can choose to itemize their deductions. Itemized deductions require taxpayers to provide supporting documents, such as receipts, to prove their expenses. Some common itemized deductions include:
– Home mortgage interest
– Charitable donations
– State and local income taxes or sales taxes
– Medical and dental expenses
– Property taxes
3. Above-the-Line Deductions: These deductions are subtracted from a taxpayer’s income before the adjusted gross income (AGI) is calculated. This means that taxpayers who claim above-the-line deductions can reduce their income, which may result in a lower tax liability. Some common above-the-line deductions include:
– Student loan interest
– IRA contributions
– Health savings account (HSA) contributions
– Alimony payments
– Educator expenses
To claim tax deductions, taxpayers must meet certain eligibility requirements. Some common eligibility requirements include:
1. Filing Status: Depending on marital status and dependents, the taxpayer’s filing status will determine the amount of the standard deduction, the eligibility requirements for certain tax credits, and other tax breaks.
2. Income Level: Certain tax deductions, such as the student loan interest deduction, have income limits. Taxpayers must meet these income limits to claim the deduction.
3. Documentation: Taxpayers who want to claim itemized deductions must provide supporting documentation for their expenses, such as receipts and invoices. If the taxpayer cannot provide the required documentation, they may not be eligible to claim the deduction.
Tax laws and regulations change frequently, which means that taxpayers need to stay informed about the latest updates related to tax deductions. Here are some recent updates that taxpayers should be aware of:
1. Changes to Charitable Donations: For the 2020 tax year, there was a $300 above-the-line deduction for charitable donations, even for taxpayers who did not itemize their deductions. The American Rescue Plan Act increased the above-the-line deduction for charitable donations to $600 for married couples filing jointly starting in the 2021 tax year.
2. Student Loan Interest Deduction: The American Rescue Plan Act made changes to the student loan interest deduction. For the 2020 and 2021 tax years, the interest on federal or private student loans is tax-free.
3. Medical Expense Deduction: Taxpayers who itemize their deductions can deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their AGI. The threshold for the medical expense deduction was temporarily reduced to 7.5% for taxpayers who filed their 2018 through 2020 tax returns. The threshold will return to 10% for tax years after 2020.
4. Home Office Deduction: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended the home office deduction for employees who work from home for an employer. However, self-employed taxpayers can still claim the home office deduction.
Understanding tax deductions is important for taxpayers because it can result in a lower tax bill and more money in their pocket. Taxpayers should always consult with a tax professional to help them navigate the tax regulations and take advantage of all the deductions they are eligible for. By staying up to date with the latest tax laws and regulations, taxpayers can ensure that they are maximizing their tax savings and minimizing their tax liability.
Application of Tax Deductions and Differences from Tax Credit:
For individual tax payers, tax deductions are different expenses which are eligible to be reported on a tax return in order to reduce the amount of the individual’s taxable income. Individuals are generally given the choice between an itemized tax deduction and a standard tax deduction to determine the total taxable income. The choice is generally dictated by which method produces the greater amount of tax deductions for the taxpayer. The standard deduction procedure, which is generally a more attractive choice for individuals who wish to avoid disputes and adjustments by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is only available for U.S. citizens and resident aliens. Also, itemized tax deductions require a taxpayer to keep detailed records of their expenses and other transactions, as such deductions require proof before being applied to tax returns.
Business expenses, which are the costs that are incurred by a company to carry out its daily business operations, are generally tax deductible. This can include the renting of office space and storefronts, business trips provided to employees, and operations associated with employee payroll. One of the largest items that can be written off by a company are its cost of goods sold (COGS), the amount of money it costs for a company to purchase raw goods, develop it into a final product, and sell it to the public.
Capitalized items in a company are generally considered to be items purchased by a company as an investment which are used to create a profit in the future. For example, a capitalized business item can be factory equipment for manufacturing a product, which is depreciated over time. In most cases, capitalized items that have depreciated value are deducted over time.
Difference Between Tax Deduction and Tax Credit:
Though both terms are easily mistaken, tax deductions and tax credits are two completely different terms in United States tax law. Though both terms reduce the amount of money and individual or business owes in taxes to the government, they are both given for different reasons and use different methods for doing so. A tax deduction is a method used to write off certain expenses incurred by an individual or business in order to lower the taxable income. In some instances, this may place a taxpayer into a lower tax bracket, requiring a smaller percentage of taxes to be paid. A tax credit, is a payment to an individual or company after their tax bracket has been determined, and it directly reduces the amount of taxes a taxpayer is obligated to pay to the federal government. The tax credit would then be subtracted from the total tax amount.
Itemized Tax Deductions:
Eligible Itemized Tax Deductions:
Medical Expenses: Though there are certain limits, medical expenses may be written off. The amount of allowed deductible medical expenses is determined by calculating 7.5 percent of a taxpayer’s gross adjusted income and subtracting it from the total medical expenses. These will usually include payments to doctors, physical therapists, psychologists and other health care professionals.
Mortgage Interest: Can include debt which has been accumulated from up to two different houses.
Charitable Contributions: These include donations that are made to eligible charities, such money, goods and expenses incurred for providing services.
Small Business Tax Deductions:
Small businesses write off deductible expenses to help lower the taxable profit. By doing this, it will have more money to reinvest and spend for future operations and expansion. Businesses should keep organized records of all deductible expenses to ensure the maximum amount of deductible expenses. These expenses are decided into business expenses and capital expenses.
Expenses on Entering a Business: This type of expense is considered to be a capital expense because it is part of an investment that a company puts into something for future income and profit.
Books and Legal Fees: It is not uncommon for a business to seek professional legal counsel when performing operations and acquiring additional knowledge. Yearly fees for professional help and amounts paid for books and other educational sources can be tax deductible.
Interest: For an owner to purchase a business, in many cases credit would be used to finance it. The interest and carrying charges for such a procedure are tax deductible.
If you need legal advice and assistance, contact tax lawyers.