Tax Deductions That Are Often Overlooked

Posted by Cindy Wilson on July 12, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Did you know, millions of taxpayers overpay the IRS each year, often without knowing it? If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, make sure to take full advantage of the deductions available to you. Here are some commonly overlooked ways to help minimize your tax bite:
  • Rifle through last year’s receipts. On your federal income tax return, you can deduct either the state sales taxes or state income taxes you paid throughout the year. So if you live in Florida or another place with no state income taxes, the effort of organizing your receipts is well worth it. Even if you’re not a resident in such a state, sales tax may give you the biggest deduction. For example, if you buy a car or some other big-ticket purchase, you might come out ahead with the sales tax choice.
  • Tally up your charitable contributions. Not only the big charitable gifts made by check or payroll deduction, but also those little out-of-pocket expenses you may not necessarily think about as deductible: Ingredients for that soup you prepared for a homeless shelter, stamps for a school fundraising mailing. It can all add up. Again, be sure to track down receipts, which youʼll need when itemizing deductions. If your charity work involved driving, you can deduct 14 cents per mile (2018 mileage rate).
Give yourself a head start for the next tax season by considering my top two tax rules:
  • Contribute as much as you can to your 403(b) and traditional IRA before December 31st. The larger your pretax contribution, the smaller your taxable income becomes. Not only does this mean a bigger tax refund next year, but a larger income for you in retirement!
  • Use other tax-advantaged accounts. Contributions to healthcare savings or flexible spending accounts are also made on a pretax basis.
Itʼs always nice to have a substantial tax refund deposited into your checking account. To help ensure that you receive as much as you deserve, stay on top of tax deductions this tax season and for the remainder of the year.
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America has sponsored Ask the Expert posts for informational purposes only. Many of the experts are unaffiliated with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, College Retirement Equities Fund, and their affiliates and subsidiaries (collectively TIAA), and TIAA makes no representations regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information on the posts or otherwise made available by the experts. Statements of external featured experts are solely their own and are not endorsed or recommended by TIAA.
Responses from experts to questions posed by Woman2Woman community members are intentionally general in nature and are not intended to give personal, financial, or specific advice. Some strategies are complex, and more information is often needed to determine the personal needs of a community member. We strongly recommend that you consult with a financial advisor before taking any action based on an expertʼs opinion or other information you obtain from the Woman2Woman:Financial Living site so that all of your personal circumstances can be taken into consideration. Participation in the site does not render the member a client of the expert or of TIAA.
This site is not designed to accept or respond to requests or complaints regarding specific TIAA accounts, products or services. If you wish to discuss an issue of that nature, please contact TIAA at 800 842-2252. TIAA is not responsible for any opinions provided by members of this site. TIAA is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of third-party sites to which you may link.
The TIAA group of companies does not offer tax or legal advice. You should consult an independent tax or legal advisor for advice based on your own particular circumstances.
This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice under ERISA. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on the investor’s own objectives and circumstances.
Experts may not have medical or scientific training. Any information related to physical or emotional health is not intended to be used in place of a consultation with a physician.
TIAA is not responsible for the statements of community members. We may link to posts made by community members only to direct you to topics that may be of interest to you. This does not mean that we agree with the opinions of these community members. Their statements are solely their own and are not endorsed or recommended by TIAA.
< / Global Footer legal (cannot be modified) >
Investment, insurance and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, are not deposits, are not insured by any federal government agency, are not a condition to any banking service or activity, and may lose value.
‡ Deposit and lending services and products are provided by TIAA, FSB. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender . TIAA Direct ® and EverBank ® are divisions of TIAA, FSB.
The TIAA group of companies does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult your legal or tax advisor.
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC , distribute securities products. Annuity contracts and certificates are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), New York, NY. Each of the foregoing is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America is domiciled in New York, NY, with its principal place of business in New York, NY. Its California Certificate of Authority number is 3092.
TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company is domiciled in New York, NY, with its principal place of business in New York, NY. Its California Certificate of Authority number is 6992.
Read the TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Statement of Financial Condition.
Read the Getting to know TIAA's individual financial solutions and its financial professionals brochure
©2018 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund, New York, NY 10017