From the child tax credit to claiming medical expenses…and quite a few odd things in between, to be honest, these are a handful of the oddest itemized deductions we as Americans can claim every spring.
Teacher Tax Expenses
The IRS, aware that teachers pay out of their own pockets more often than not, allows K-12 educators to deduct up to $250 for classroom materials. And while that pretty much amounts to seven Crayola 64-packs and enough tissues for half the year, it’s still nice to have, and the educator expenses deduction is a deduction whose threshold is easy as mud pie to meet.
Small caveat to the teacher tax deductions: This deduction number increases to $500 if the teacher is married filing jointly, and both spouses are eligible educators. However, this will not amount to any more than $250 each.
Child Tax Credit: The Babysitting Deduction
And while we’re talking about the kiddos, you can get a deduction for paying someone to watch them…so long as you were volunteering for a recognized charity while you left them. With a few more hoops, you can also qualify to itemize under the child tax credit to claim up to $3,000 of child care expenses if the child was under 13 years of age.
According to Intuit, so long as you were at school or work when the child was being watched, or (if you are married) both you and your spouse work and were at your job during the hours the child was cared for, the credit for this is 20-35% depending on your income.
To streamline itemizing the child tax credit, you’ll need the EIN of the child care provider and know the total amount you paid on hand at the time of filing.
Medical Expense Deduction
What tax deductions list would be complete without a medical deduction? While this is hardly one of the oddest itemized deductions out there, it is one you should be aware of, especially if you spend a lot of money on your health or lack thereof.
In order to deduct your medical expenses, they have to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income before you can claim them as an itemized deduction. So if your adjusted gross income is $50,000, you need to have spent over $5,000 on medical expenses before you qualify to claim this tax deduction. The silver lining is that this minimum threshold to qualify is only based on your AGI (the number arrived at after the deductions on the first page of your tax return like alimony or student loan interest) and not your total income for the year.
If you’re self-employed,and therefore in charge of your own health insurance, you might be able to deduct 100% of what your premium costs. This will be taken off your adjusted gross income, though, not as an itemized deduction.
Money Loaned to Deadbeat Relatives
Now this can actually qualify as one of the oddest itemized deductions out there, and it certainly is one of the oddest on this tax deductions list. You can write off the total amount of money you loaned in good faith if you never got it back. Providing you documented this loan, it was indeed a loan and not a gift, and there truly is no hope of getting the money back, the IRS will let you write that money off as what is called a non-business bad debt. On their website, the IRS states that you must establish that you have taken steps to collect the debt. If you knew the person you loaned to wasn’t good for the money it is to be considered a gift and therefore you cannot write it off as a bad debt deduction.
Weird Work Expenses
To clarify, these are not expenses you get to write off because your job is weird. Rather, these are things that seem incongruous, but are actually tenuously connected to your job.
If your business keeps a cat around to cut down on the mice population, or a dog to guard the storefront, you can deduct pet supplies as a business expense––so long as you can prove it. Don’t try to sneak in any personal pet expenses. Less commonly, if you can prove plastic surgery was required for your job, you may be allowed to deduct the cost of the procedure.
If you need more time to file your taxes to incorporate this information, let ExpressExtension help. We’re an IRS-authorized e-file provider, and we’re here to make sure you get the extensions you need so you can stay compliant.