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February 2, 2013

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

Happy New Year, everyone! It is that time of year when we are busy getting our tax paperwork in order. Before filing your taxes, don’t miss out on deductions related to medical expenses and other costs that come out of your wallet, especially if you care for a family member throughout the year.

Make sure to check if it is more beneficial to itemize your taxes instead of taking the standard deduction. An estimated one-third of U.S. taxpayers, or about 45 million people, itemize their taxes instead of taking IRS’ standard deduction. See if you can get a break on your taxes, with these 10 tax deductions.

Medical expenses

Nearly 100 medical costs related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of disease or costs for treating any part of the body can be deducted. Those include equipment, services and supplies, including glasses, eye surgery, acupuncture and prescriptions. Even artificial limbs, bandages, hearing aids and wigs are accepted medical expenses. For others, see IRS’ Publication 502. The medical and dental costs must total more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income to be deducted.

Long-term health care costs 

An often-missed expense is the amount paid for long-term care services and long-term care insurance. The latter is a more limited deduction, depending on age. Rehabilitation, therapeutic, preventative and personal care services are among those that qualify as long-term care services, if a family member is chronically ill and if it’s part of a plan set by a health care practitioner.

Someone is considered chronically ill if they can’t perform at least two activities of daily living, such as eating, toileting, bathing and dressing, without substantial assistance from someone else.

Mileage 

From weekly doctor’s appointments to out-of-town visits with a specialist or for a procedure, the miles you log for your medical needs can be deducted. You will need to keep a log for documentation. The reimbursement rate will be about 19 cents a mile for 2012. If you’re staying overnight for a medical purpose, deduct $50 per night, for each person, for lodging.

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