The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


February 2, 2013

From the Office: Don't miss a deduction when filing taxes this year


Dental expenses

Go ahead and smile — dental expenses are among the medical costs that some people ignore at tax time. This includes dentures and artificial teeth.

Home improvements for aging adults

Investing in ramps for a wheelchair-bound individual, as well as handrails and grab bars in the bathroom, or a stepless shower, can be part of a deduction as long as it doesn’t add value to the house. 

The IRS says that the cost of the improvement is reduced by the increase in your property value. Other changes, such as widening doorways and hallways, lowering kitchen cabinets and installing lifts, also typically do not add value to houses.

Energy-saving home improvements

Any energy-saving changes are eligible for a credit. For more traditional items such as insulation and windows, it’s 10 percent of the cost, up to a maximum of $500. For alternative energy equipment, such as a solar hot water heater, the credit is up to 30 percent of the cost. Find more details from the EnergyStar program at

Anyone filing for these credits will need to wait until the end of February, as the tax law was not enacted in time for the forms and software to be updated. 

Mortgage interest

If you are paying interest on your home loans, construction loans or home equity lines of credit, it’s deductible. There are some limitations, though, so you need to discuss with your accountant.

State and local sales tax

This is an excellent idea if you live in a state that doesn’t have income tax, which New York is not. If you do, you’ll need to make a choice: Deduct state and local sales taxes, or state and local income taxes. You may find that the best financial benefit is to stick with the income tax deduction. 

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