4 Little-Known Personal Tax Write Offs

At tax time, many tax payers can benefit by investigating and then itemizing some little known personal tax write-offs, but ferreting them out requires some research.

1.  Little Known Personal Tax Write-Offs for Senior Citizens

If you are a homeowner seventy years old or older, chances are your mortgage has been paid off, eliminating one of the most substantial and best known tax breaks.  

The US government requires senior citizens over age seventy with IRA's to withdraw a minimum amount from their IRA every year. This withdrawal is added to your taxable income.  But right now, congress has created a "limited time offer" only for senior citizens over age seventy who have IRA's. This provision allows senior citizens to benefit from a little known personal tax write off on their mandatory IRA withdrawal by allowing them to donate their withdrawal to charity.

Under congress's limited time offer, you can have your mandatory IRA withdrawal donated directly to the legitimate charity of your choice, such as your church, and then it becomes tax free. Instead of paying income tax on your withdrawal, you can now write it off -- in essence, deducting the withdrawn amount from your personal income tax.

2.  Tax Write-offs for Investment Activity 

It's fairly common knowledge that you can't deduct the direct costs of personal investment activity, such as the fees you pay your broker. But there are peripheral costs of engaging in investment activity that provide a few little known personal tax write-offs, such as the cost of researching a potential investment, research which can include the cost of subscription material and books geared to investment advice, fees paid to get advice from investment professionals (not your broker), and even the cost of a safe deposit box.

3. Job Search Costs

You can deduct your job search expenses under certain conditions. For example you can't deduct the cost of changing careers, or allow too much time to elapse between jobs. And you cannot be entering the job market for the first time. However, if you find yourself out of work and are diligently searching for employment in your field, you can deduct job search expenses such as the costs of photocopying and mailing resumes and other employee-application paperwork, transportation expenses to and from job interviews, any fees paid to headhunters and employment agencies, and your job-hunt related telephone and fax costs.


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