Seven Tax Deductions That Could Get You Audited
Taxes are due one week from today, on Monday, April 18th. Before you file, here are seven things you shouldn't even THINK about deducting.
#1) Your Landline Telephone. Even if you only use it for work, the IRS says the first hard-wired phone in your home is always considered a personal expense. But you CAN deduct long distance calls as long as they're business-related.
--And if you install a second landline that's specifically for work, you can deduct the whole thing.
#2) Commuting Costs. It's tempting, because gas is so expensive now. But the cost of getting to and from work is never deductible.
--However, if you work at more than one location during the day, you CAN deduct the money you spend getting from one job to the other.
#3) Your Pet. Believe it or not, people still try to claim their pets as dependents (unsure what number you would put under “Social Security.”.
--But the only time you can deduct costs associated with your pet is if it's a Seeing Eye dog, or you need it for some other medically valid reason . . . like a helper monkey.
#4) Plastic Surgery. You can only deduct it on your taxes if it's medically prescribed. For example, if your doctor tells you to get a nose job to treat a respiratory issue, you CAN deduct it on your taxes.
--But if you just wanted fewer chins, you can't.
#5) Dry Cleaning. You can only deduct dry cleaning costs for a uniform you're required to wear to work. A suit and tie don't count because you could also wear them when you're not working.
#6) Time You Spend Volunteering. If you skip a day of work to go and volunteer, you can't write off the money you would have made. Yes, some people do try.
--What you CAN do is deduct OTHER costs associated with your charity work, like unreimbursed expenses. And you can also deduct your mileage at a rate of 14 cents per mile if you have to drive to get there.
#7) Over-the-Counter Medication. You can only deduct it as a medical expense if it's prescribed by your doctor. But you CAN deduct some over-the-counter tests, including pregnancy tests, and blood sugar tests if you're diabetic.
--And new moms can also deduct supplies used for breastfeeding, including bottles and pumps.