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50 of the Most Easily Overlooked Tax Deductions

By JLP | November 15, 2006

Be sure and BOOKMARK this for future reference!

Last night I was looking through The Ernst & Young Tax Guide 2007. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Ernst & Young Tax Guide, it is a HUGE (over 700 pages) book that covers the federal income tax in detail. Basically, the book is IRS Publication 590 in an expanded version with lots of tips, tricks, and other cool stuff. That said, here’s a list of the fifty most easily overlooked deductions in alphabetical order (you’ll have to consult the Guide for more informaiton on each deduction):

1. Accounting fees for tax preparation services and IRS audits

2. Alcoholism and drug abuse treatment

3. Amortization of premium on taxable bonds

4. Appraisal fees for charitable donations or casualty losses

5. Appreciation on property donated to a charity

6. Casualty or theft losses

7. Cellular telephones – more on this here.

8. Cleaning and laundering services when traveling

9. Commissions and closing costs on sale of property

10. Contact lenses, eyeglasses, and hearing devices

11. Contraceptives, if bought with a prescription

12. Costs associated with looking for a new job in your present occupation, including fees for r&#233sum&#233 preparation and employment of outplacement angencies

13. Depreciation of home computers

14. Dues to labor unions

15. Education expenses to the extent required by law or your employer or needed to maintain or improve your skills

16. Employee contributions to a state disability fund

17. Employee’s moving expenses

18. Federal state tax on income with respect to a decedent

19. Fees for a safe-deposit box to hold investments (e. g., stock certificate)

20. Fees paid for childbirth preparation classes if instruction relates to obstetrical care

21. 50% of self-employment tax

22. Foreign taxes paid

23. Foster child care expenditures

24. Gambling losses to the extent of gambling winnings

25. Hospital services fees (laboratory work, therapy, nursing services, and surgery)

26. Impairment-related work expenses for a disabled individual

27. Improvements to your home

28. Investment advisory fees

29. IRA trustee’s administrative fees billed separately

30. Lead paint removal

31. Legal fees incurredin connection with obtaining or collecting alimony

32. Long-term care insurance premiums

33. Margin account interest expense

34. Medical transportation, including standard mileage deduction and lodging expenses incurred for medical reasons while away from home

35. Mortgage prepayment penalties and late fees

36. Out-of-pocket expenses relating to charitable activities, including the standard mileage deduction

37. Health insurance premiums is self-employed

38. Penalty on early withdrawal on savings

39. Personal liability insurance for wrongful acts as an employee

40. Points on a home mortgage and certain refinancings

41. Protective clothing required at work

42. Real estate taxes associated with the purchase or sale of property

43. Seller-paid points on th epurchase of a home

44. Special equipment for the disabled

45. Special schools and separately stated fees for medical care included in tuition

46. State personal property taxes on cars and boats

47. Subscriptions to professional journals

48. Theft or embezzlement losses

49. Trade or business tools with life of 1 year or less

50. Worthless stock or securities

It’s a long list. I have to admit that some of these I would have never thought of. Anyway, you might want to bookmark this for future reference.

Topics: Books, Tax Planning, Taxes | 38 Comments »

38 Responses to “50 of the Most Easily Overlooked Tax Deductions”

  1. Mark Says:
    November 15th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    really dumb tax question….can you only deduct stuff if you itemize your taxes? so if you take the standard deduction you can’t use any of the items in this list?

  2. Dimes Says:
    November 15th, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    A lot of these things are itemized things, but several aren’t, like 1/2 self employment tax, childcare expenses, moving expenses, foreign taxes or capital losses. You should get a copy of the long form of the 1040 and look at it. A lot of these deductions are on the bottom half of the front side, but a few are on the back.

  3. Denise Says:
    November 16th, 2006 at 11:02 am

    Is it assumed that the medical expense deductions (obstetric classes, contacts, etc.) can only be deducted if the total of medical is > 7.5% of your AGI? Or can I itemize those out regardless of total medical expenses?

  4. Stacey Says:
    November 17th, 2006 at 11:38 am

    Denise, yes, they should exceed 7/5% of your AGI–thus, medical expenses deductions rarely are able to be taken unless a horrific medical year has occurred (or an equally horrific (low income) financial one!

  5. Posts I Enjoyed This Week - The Sun’s Financial Diary - Accumulating wealth is like building The Great Wall, one brick at a time Says:
    November 17th, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    […] Though it's still months aways from receiving your W-2 forms and preparing your 2006 tax returns, an early reminder of what you can deduct is already here.  […]

  6. Mighty Bargain Hunter » Roundup for week of 11 November 2006 Says:
    November 19th, 2006 at 2:30 am

    […] All Financial Matters with fifty easily-overlooked tax deductions. […]

  7. My Favorite Personal Finance Posts This Week (11/19/06) » Personal Finance - Save Money at Binary Dollar Says:
    November 19th, 2006 at 1:10 pm

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  8. Akio Says:
    January 12th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    more tax tips

  9. Lawrence Says:
    January 14th, 2007 at 2:32 am

    I’m confused by the “cell phone” tax deduction. Can you please give us a bit more information?

  10. AllFinancialMatters » Blog Archive » How to Deduct Your Cell Phone Says:
    January 14th, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    […] I posted a list of the 5o of the Most of the Most Easily Overlooked Tax Deductions back in November. The deduction for cell phones received a lot of attention. So, here’s what I found out about this particular deduction (NOTE: I am NOT a tax expert. I’m just sharing information that I have found): […]

  11. James Says:
    January 15th, 2007 at 12:41 am

    A useful and importnat post! I’ll be checking back at tax time!


  12. JLP Says:
    January 15th, 2007 at 12:56 am


    I posted a follow-up to the cell phones here.

  13. shanna Says:
    January 19th, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I thought this was pretty cool. I have been trying to find out if there is a way I could claim the money I spend on my childrens lunches at school on taxes. I know.. sounds like a crazy question lol. But hey.. I have 3 kids youngest isnt in school yet but will be in just a couple of years. at 2 bucks a day for each child ( even with just the two older ones) it certainly adds up!!. Thanks for the info.. it definatley helps.

  14. imagesafari blog » Blog Archive » 50 of the Most Easily Overlooked Tax Deductions Says:
    April 9th, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    […] Link […]

  15. Future Millionaire » 50 most overlooked tax deductions… Says:
    September 30th, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    […] …I agree with AFM. Bookmark the list! […]

  16. Betty Says:
    January 2nd, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I have a two family house and rent out the second floor. I know that I can deduct improvements to that apartment but what about improvements to my own apartment or to the rest of the house – exterior (steps, siding) or repairs to boiler, water heater?

  17. Marie Says:
    January 4th, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    If I need to modify my home for medical reasons and get an appraiser to estimate the new value of my home, can I deduct that appraisal fee on my taxes?!?

  18. diane Says:
    January 22nd, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    can you deduct personal travel expenses? gas & food?

  19. Dominick Says:
    January 26th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    I recently had to relocate for a new job. In the process, I lost $40K on the sell of my home. Can I claim this as a tax deduction?

  20. Nolan Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 5:06 am

    If you filed bankcruptcy, can you deduct the fees you paid to do so? I sold my house and gave my ex $5,000.00 of the profit, can this be deducted on mine?

  21. Shirley Says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    The interest on your RV deductable?

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    February 19th, 2008 at 11:59 am

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  23. lucy Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Last year I paid alot of debt (student loan, judgements and back taxes) is any of this deductible?

  24. A List of Tax Deductibles You Might not Believe | Says:
    December 12th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    […] Travel laundry service.  Seriously.  If you’re traveling on business and you need to have your clothes laundered, save the receipt (and keep a currency converter handy).  That dry cleaning bill you rang up in Russia after the unfortunate borscht spill is deductible.  If your white blouse ran into some BBQ sauce in Memphis and you let the hotel cleaners take care of it, you can write it off.  The government is willing to cut a break for your sloppy co-worker who can’t avoid the whole mustard-on-the-tie problem at conferences. […]

  25. Patti Says:
    January 15th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Can a person claim any vehicle repair or maitenance costs when filing long form? If so, is there a breakdown of what they are? Please advise and thanks, Patti 01.15.09

  26. Dede Says:
    January 25th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    What items can or cannot be claimed as over the counter medical expenses. What type proof is needed?

  27. Vanya Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    How do I go about deducting worthless stock? I have a few of those unfortunately.

    Thank you much,


  28. Rick Middleton Says:
    April 2nd, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I loaned $220K on an investment property. I paid taxes for 2 years on the earned interest income. The borrower filed BK and I received the property back. Re-sold the house for $190K.Can I deduct the $30K as a loss??


  29. Story Says:
    April 4th, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Very useful files search engine. is a search engine designed to search files in various file sharing and uploading sites.

  30. jim ghia Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 6:29 am

    Can I deduct estate tax planing exp. in the year paid to lawer?

  31. Kim Sparkman Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I saw a few things we should have deducted in 2007, how can I go back and claim them? How can you get a deduction for a depreciated Home Computer? It said Hospital Services – Therapy, is Chiropractor therapy included? I saw someone made a statement about receiving a deduction for lunch money for children, I never saw an answer. Can you deduct money spent on lunches for your children? Even if part of the year you had to get reduced lunches because you lost your job? Also, how can you go about getting a deduction for costs associated with looking for a new job? I had to do that for 5 months in 2008 and 3 months in 2007 that was never counted for, along with other things.

  32. juan Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    thank you for this usefull information

  33. mandan@09 Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    i get ripped on taxes every year i really need good advice from somebody about saving tax.

  34. Gina Says:
    October 4th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Can I deduct the milage driven to and from Weight Watcher weekly meetings? I have a letter from my doctor & a diagnosis, so the monthly dues can be claimed.

  35. Rita Says:
    January 30th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I heard you can write off the tax you paid on the purchase of a new vehicle, cell phone if its used for work, gas mileage due to travel for work (not to and from work but actual travel), and cell phone usage for work…can anyone confirm this? and how do you go about writing off something…Ive never done it before…just dropped off my w2’s and other forms and let them handle it..

  36. Defense ain't what it used to be | Says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    […] and Ends – As tax time is almost here for most Americans, I thought this link was mighty interesting and relevant…  Hat tip to AJ Stevens for finding this one.  The NCAA […]

  37. Ron Ferguson Says:
    February 20th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Can I deduct legal fees I’ve incurred from a child custody case?

  38. Chantel Says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Can I deduct or itemize my child’s school lunch on my taxes?