Tax Deduction FAQs

Are you confused about what you can deduct on your federal tax return? There are many different kinds of deductions that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows you to take. Make sure to read the instructions from the IRS to claim all the deductions you're entitled to. Most of these deductions can only be taken if you itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Here are some frequently asked questions about tax deductions.


Q: Should I choose to itemize my deductions or should I choose the standard deduction?

  • Itemize your deductions if they're more than the standard deduction amount.


Q: Can anyone choose the standard deduction amount?

  • No, there are certain people that aren't eligible to choose the standard deduction. They include dual-status and non-resident aliens.


Q: My wife and I file separate tax returns. If my wife chooses to itemize deductions, can I choose the standard deduction?

  • No, if your wife chooses to itemize deductions, you must also itemize deductions.


Q: Am I entitled to deduct expenses for education?

  • A:

    There are certain types of educational expenses that are deductible. Some examples include money spent on supplies, books and tuition. Sometimes travel expenses may also be deductible. For more information, please examine Publication 970 (2009), Tax Benefits for Education.


Q: Can I deduct work-related education expenses?

  • Yes, under certain circumstances. The education must be to improve or maintain your performance on the job. You can also deduct expenses if the education is required by law or by your employer.


Q: I usually have to work very late at my job. Can I deduct the expense of my dinners that I have to pay for?

  • No, you can't deduct the expense of meals while working late.


Q: I'm eligible for the lifetime learning credit and to deduct educational expenses. Can I claim both?

  • Yes, you can claim both. However, the same expenses for education can't be used to claim both benefits.


Q: May I deduct the interest and taxes I pay on my house?

  • Yes, mortgage interest and property taxes are usually deductible.


Q: May I also deduct the interest and taxes I pay on a second home?

  • Generally, you can deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes you pay on a second home just the same as your first home.


Q: Can I deduct losses from gambling?

  • If you itemize deductions, you can deduct losses from gambling. However, you can't deduct more than your gambling income.


Q: Do I need proof to deduct gambling losses?

  • Yes, you must provide evidence, such as receipts or tickets. The IRS recommends keeping an accurate record of your gambling winnings and losses.


Q: I have to pay alimony to my ex-wife. Can I deduct this amount?

  • Yes, you can deduct this amount from your income.


Q: May I deduct the child support payments I am court-ordered to make?

  • No, you aren't entitled to deduct child support.


Q: I have to pay interest and penalties to the IRS. Can I deduct this amount?

  • No, you can't deduct these expenses.


Q: Can I deduct dues I have to pay to a union?

  • Yes, you can deduct union dues or fees to a professional organization as long as it's connected to your employment.


Q: Can I deduct losses from a flood?

  • You can deduct casualty losses from a flood not covered by your insurance if you live in a declared disaster area.


Q: I pay a lot of interest on my credit card. Can I deduct this interest?

  • No, you can't deduct interest on your personal credit card.


Q: My wife and I spent a large amount of money in adoption expenses. Can I deduct these expenses?

  • No, these are non-deductible expenses.


Q: May I deduct the funeral expenses I spent on my spouse?

  • No, you can't deduct funeral or burial expenses.


Q: I live in an area with a high crime rate. Can I deduct the expense of a home security system needed to protect my family?

  • No, security systems are non-deductible expenses.



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