5 Great Tax Breaks for Regular Folks

Most Americans aren't rich, and we are usually too busy working to keep abreast of all the tax law changes that Congress decides to make every year. So, here are some great tax breaks for regular folks that you shouldn't overlook this tax season.1. Did you own a phone the last two years? Then don't forget the 2006 telephone tax credit. This year, the IRS is giving everyone a credit for telephone taxes that were overpaid by everyone on their regular telephone bills. Anyway, don't forget to get this credit on your 2006 return. It's worth 30 dollars for individuals, and 60 dollars for joint and head-of-household filers.

2. Do you support your parents, cousins, friends, or other relatives? Maybe you didn't know this, but if you support someone completely and they live in your home, you can probably claim them as a dependent, even if they are not related to you! If you support your parents, they do not even have to live with you for you to claim them as dependents. This applies to your parents even if they live in Canada or Mexico. My husband supports his parents in Mexico, and we legally claim them as dependents every year. Ask you tax professional about how to get an identification number from the IRS so that you can claim your parents if they live outside the United States.

3. Do you have unreimbursed job expenses? Does your boss ask you to drive around town running errands, but doesn't offer you any reimbursement? Keep track of your mileage! That's a write off! Also, do you have two jobs? You can write off the mileage from one job to the other. Do you have to wear a uniform? Does your company direct you to wear something with a logo, or company slogan? Do you have to wear special shoes, like no-slip clogs, or shoes with a logo? If your uniform is required, all costs relating to the uniform are deductible, including the costs of cleaning, pressing, and maintaining those uniforms.

4. Do you pay for daycare? Don't forget the child dependency care credit. It applies to any childcare costs that you paid so that you could work. This credit applies to any 12 year old child (or younger), any disabled child (of any age), or any disabled parent that cannot care for himself.

5. Don't forget the education credits!The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to any college student, regardless of age, and can be applied for an unlimited number of years to offset your tax, and it applies to 20% of your tuition costs. The Hope Scholarship (credit) is even better, and gives you a direct credit of up to $1500 of tuition and fees, not just a percentage. The Hope Credit applies to the first two years of college education.

So, don't forget these great tax breaks! Just because you're not a millionaire doesn't mean you can't get some of their tax breaks!

Christine P Silva, BA, CRTP, lives in California with her husband, two children, and three spoiled cats. She earned her undergraduate degree from San Jose State University, and her advanced accounting certificate and California tax registration from Cosumnes River College. She is the founder of the Sacramento Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinic, a free service offering tax assistance to low income and Spanish-speaking taxpayers.

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