You work hard for the money—then there’s taxes. Be sure to get back what you’re entitled to by focusing on mom-friendly deductions, says CPA Laura Ross, a partner with Harb, Levy & Weiland in San Francisco. Here’s your last-minute tax return reminder.
Child Tax Credit Each dependent child under age 17 you claim on your return garners you a $1,000 credit. This credit begins phasing out at an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $110,000 for married couples and $75,000 for single parents. By the way, this credit is in addition to the standard exemption you can claim for dependent children.
Child-Care Credit This may be available even if you use a workplace flex spending account (FSA) to pay for child-care expenses (on a pretax basis) for kids 12 and under. Depending on your income and child-care costs last year, you may be eligible for a credit of up to $1,050 for one child, with a maximum of $2,100 for two or more children.
Medical and Dental Expenses Fertility treatments (like in vitro) and a vasectomy for your partner may qualify for tax breaks. And breast pumps are tax-deductible medical expenses if you weren’t already reimbursed through your FSA. However, medical and dental expenses have to exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) before you can claim them.
Job-Hunting Costs These are only deductible if you search for work in your current industry—after the first 2 percent of income paid out. What you can deduct: flight, hotel and car rental costs, if you fly to an out-of-town interview and the employer doesn’t reimburse you; moving expenses, if you move more than 50 miles specifically for work; and things like paper, stamps, resume printing, and phone and Internet use during your search.
College Tuition Credits The American Opportunity Credit offers a $2,500 tax credit for paying for your child’s qualifying tuition and expenses during the first four years of college. For married couples, the credit begins phasing out at $160,000 AGI; for single parents, at $80,000. If your child, you or your spouse attends grad school, you may be eligible for a Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000. This credit phases out beginning at $122,000 for married couples and $61,000 for single parents.
Out-of-Pocket Charitable Expenses Money, clothing, books and other donations to nonprofits are deductible, with receipts. But you can also deduct things like donated classroom art supplies, stamps for a community fund-raising campaign or casseroles made for your church’s potluck—actual costs only, not the cost of your labor. Hey, giving really is receiving.