Help With Those Dreaded Taxes

With every year that rings in, comes the dreaded tax season. Last year in March I wrote some posts on tax information. I decided to post the links to those posts for those of you who need the information this year. I realize that last year, by the time I wrote the posts, a lot of people had already filed their taxes, but maybe if I post them up in January, they can be useful for someone.

I recommend that you read the over the deductions posts; there are a lot of things that I’d never know were deductions, if I hadn’t read about them.

I also highly recommend that you take a look at the organizing posts. The accountant we went to last year said that I had a really good system. My systems are very easy and straightforward, and it’s really helped me to stay organized. Anytime my husband has a question about a particular business expense, it’s very easy for me to locate things on the computer or in our files, (Plus, because of this system, all our deductions are already added up this year…actually they were added up a couple of months ago….all I have to do is print out the spreadsheets and wait for the other forms to come in the mail. Yes!)

I didn’t update any of these for this year, but I did add a link at the bottom to some information on environmental deductions (which I don’t believe were in my posts at all last year).

Taxes: Basic Info – Information about how to file online/offline and information about deadlines, etc.

Tax Deductions for the Self-Emplployed and Other Job Related Deductions – A list of business deductions such as office & shipping supplies and uniforms. It also includes a list of deductions related to job searches.

More Tax Deductions – Misc. deductions such as medical & education expenses, moving, and others.

Organizing Tax Information, All Those Forms – This post teaches you my system for organizing the tax forms which are mailed to at the begining of the year. To tell you the truth, since I only do this once a year, I decided to re-read the post just to make sure that I do the same things this year that I did last, and it was actually helpful to me.

Organizing Tax Information, Personal & Business Receipts for Deductions – This post teaches you my system for organizing receipts throughout the year, including how I file the reciepts & how I keep the saved on the computer. The system is for businesses but it can also be used for business deductions. Or you could use it for non-tax related expenses & budgets if you wanted. This system works very well for me, and since it’s early in the year, if you like the system if would be the perfect time to adopt it, so that you can use it throughout 2009 for an easy tax filing in 2010.

Environmental Deductions – Not a post of mine, but rather a list from Energy star of things that you can get tax credits such as energy efficient home improvements, appliances, and cars.

I hope you find these helpful!


Back to College: Beating the Bookstore Again

Here are a few more tips to help you beat the bookstore:

Refunds – If you buy from the bookstore, make note of the refund policies. For a number of days, you’ll be able to get a full refund on the books you buy (with a receipt of course) but after the deadline passes, you will not be able to get a refund. Instead the clerk will tell you that you have to wait until the buy back period at the end of the semester.

Beware of the Buy Back – Unless you just cannot stand to look a book for another second, and you have no hope of selling it elsewhere, or you desperately need money now, I don’t advise selling your book to the bookstore.

I participated in the Buy Back program a few times when I was in jr. college to sell books that I had absolutely no use for, and as my husband would say, “it’s a big racket.”

Here’s an example of what I mean: First, they only have a demand for a certain number of books, so by the time you go to sell your book, they may have reached their quota, and won’t buy your book at all. But in a way that’s a good thing, because if you sell your book to them, you won’t get much for it. For example, say you bought a new book for $100. The bookstore will probably pay you $40 for that book. (maybe a little more or less, depending on what kind of book it is), but they will then turn around and resell that book for about $75 (more or less). And it goes on from there, when the next person who buys the book for $75 participates in buy back and only gets $30, and then the book is resold again for a greater value. (so they can profit again and again)

Sell the Books on Your Own
If you don’t want to keep your old textbooks, and you don’t feel that the bookstore is willing to pay a fair price for them, then you’re better off to try to sell the book elsewhere.

Ask your friends and classmates if they are interested in the book. They will be happy to buy the book from you rather than buying from the bookstore, and if they don’t need what you have, they probably know someone who does. Or you can make flyers and post them on the bulletin board. Use the college’s online message board if possible to advertise your books or advertise on Facebook to a broader audience.

You can also use ebay, amazon, or some of the other websites that I listed in the previous post to sell your books. A few weeks ago I also found out about this website where you enter in the ISBN for your books, and the site makes you an offer for the books & even pays the postage for you to send them the books. It’s called Cash4books. I’m not sure how much they’ll offer you. It may not be as much as the bookstore offers, or it may be more. I suggest getting an appraisal on this site, and then going to the bookstore to find out how much they offer, and then you can go from there.

In truth, if you’re being offered $20 for sure, then you may not want to hold out for $35 potential dollars on ebay. It’s up to you, but as for me, when I pay money for a book, I’d rather keep it, than just give it away for practically nothing, and allow the bookstore to profit from it again…but that’s just me. =)

Back to College: Basic Textbook Q & A

There are a number of things to consider when getting ready to buy textbooks. To get started, I put together this Q&A about some basic concepts of textbook buying procedures.

Should I buy books before classes start or wait until after the first meeting?
It depends on how you look at it and what your situation is. Buying early is a great way to avoid waiting in long lines, and if you’re planning to buy used books, buying early will help you to ensure that you get the used books before they sell out. Also, if there is absolutely no chance that you will drop the class, I suggest buying your books early.

However, if you are sort of “feeling” your way through, and you think there is a possibility that you may drop a class that you’re unsure about/nervous about, you may want to attend a class before you actually buy the book, in order to avoid having to return the books later. Even if you just decide to postpone the class for another semester, and you keep the books, the books that you have may not be the ones used when you sign up for the class again.

Can I use financial aid to buy books?
This depends on your school’s financial aid policy. In some cases aid is not disbursed for a couple of weeks, and there is no system to deduct the cost of books from you account, so you will need to buy them with your own money. On the other hand some schools will allow you to come and pick up your books ahead of time using financial aid, and the amount will be deducted from your account. Meanwhile other schools will let you use financial aid, but they won’t actually allow you to pick up books until the first day of class. Just go several weeks ahead of time to find out what the policies are at your school.

If a book for one of my classes is labeled, “Optional,” “Supplemental,” or “Not Required,” should I buy it? I personally like to have all the books even if they’re not required (as long as it doesn’t cost an arm & a leg). But often these “unrequired”books are just an added reference, a study guide, or it may be that the book is used by some teachers and not others. If a book on your list is “Not Required,” I suggest visiting the professor or waiting until the first day of class before buying the book. (And keep in mind, often these “supplemental” texts are not returnable.)

My school uses to sell books online. Should I use this service or buy on campus?
Efollet is a convenient way to order your books, and it allows you to have the books shipped to your home or you can choose to pick them up at the bookstore, and it’s great because it saves you time (& a trip to the school, if you live away). The price will be the same whether you use the website or purchase them from the school store (except that you have to pay shipping costs to get them sent to your home). In fact, when you buy from efollet, the clerks at your school store will actually be the ones that fill the order (at least that’s the way it is at the schools I’ve had experience with). The good thing about buying books in person at your store is that you get to pick them out yourself, which means if you’re buying a used book, you can choose between getting a nice looking used book versus one that may be torn or written in.

Do I have to buy books from my book store?
No. You have other options. In short, there are several reputable sites where you can buy new & used books online. And most likely there is an off campus bookstore that sells the books you need at a lower price than the school store. In the next post, I’ll be pointing out some more specific ways that you can get your books online and offline and save money (up to 50 & 75% or possibly more).

Back to College: Textbook Dollars

For the final week of this “Back to College” series, I’ll be focusing on textbooks. Even if you have no kids in college and don’t go to college yourself, you probably buy books for yourself & family (which can also be quite expensive), and your tax dollars go toward buying elementary & secondary school books for public schools, so this is an interesting and relevant topic for everyone.

In the upcoming posts, I’ll have some tips on buying and selling textbooks (which can be applied to everyday books as well), and I’ll have some other information to keep in mind before buying your college textbooks.

But first, I wanted to share this information about where the money actually goes when you buy textbooks (and other books for that matter). I first saw this information on a poster outside my college bookstore…I guess they know that everybody complains about the costs of books, so they felt a need to explain themselves.

The information I’m posting here was published in 2003 (sorry I couldn’t find a more updated version), but I expect that the numbers are probably about the same today (with perhaps the exception of Freight, which I’m sure is now a slightly bigger percentage of the total cost) You can take a look at the actual chart of this information here: Where The New Textbook Dollar Goes

Here is a summary of the info –

For Every One Dollar Spent on Textbooks:
32.3 cents goes to Publisher’s Paper, Printing, and Editorial costs (production)
11.6 cents goes to Author income (research & writing costs)
10 cents Publisher’s General & administrative (state & fed taxes)
15.4 cents Publisher’s advertising costs (marketing, sending out free copies, etc)
7.1 cents Publisher’s income (after they pay taxes -goes toward new product developement & paying dividends to stock holders)
1.2 cents Freight (this amount has probably risen, in conjunction with gas prices)
11.3 cents for College Bookstore personnel
6.6 cents for college store operations
4.5 cents (pre-tax) for college bookstore income

To me, the most interesting part of this data is that the bookstore gets a total of 22.4% of the money. Obviously they have to pay for employees & operational costs, and we could sit and argue all day long about whether schools & publishing companies are profiting too much from poor students, and we’d never agree on a definitive answer…but I think that if the school book store is there to serve the students (& without the students there is no bookstore), they should make no more than a limited profit. (and of course, in addition to the 22.4% they make from the sell of new books, they also profit again when they buy back the book for practically nothing and then resell it for a higher amount than it was bought back for.)

I mean no offense to those who work at college bookstores, most clerks that I’ve met are very nice people (and you guys don’t set the price or buy back policies). But I’ve never met a single student or teacher that doesn’t think the cost of textbooks is too high, so I wanted to highlight this issue and try to help people who will be buying textbooks for the first time in the next few months or years, and I think the percentages on this chart are interesting to look at as an introduction to the topic.

Back to College: Financial Aid, Part 2

The Positive Side of Getting Financial Aid Through Your School:

  • Convenience, you read the info. they give you and sign the proper paper work. They do the rest.
  • Easy to get a loan regardless of credit history, or lack their of.
  • You are guaranteed that you don’t have to pay it back until you’ve been out of school for 6 months.
  • When the time comes to pay back, you have options for postponing payments

Negative Side of Getting Financial Aid Through Your School

  • The school processes your loan & disburses it to you, and for doing that they take a small portion of your loan money.
  • Because they process your loan for you, they also control when and by what means you get your money. Years ago you would get a check within the first couple of weeks of classes(even on the first day of class in some cases). But as schools are adopting the corporate model, it is becoming a common practice to issue debit cards instead. I have nothing against debit cards, considering the fact that my husband and I have one with our 3 bank accounts. But I believe that when you take out a loan you should have the option of getting that loan in cash. Then there’s also the issue of the school having your money in the bank of their choice (till you use the debit card), and of course, the debit card gives them the opportunity to monitor your purchases.
  • Also, if the school still gives you the option of having a check issued to you, it often comes from an out of state bank, which means that when you take it to your bank, they may put a hold on it, which means you won’t be able to use the money for 2-4 weeks.
  • These loans often have a very high interest rate, and though the payment plans can be quite flexible, the interest adds up, and over time you will be in debt for a lot more than you had expected.
  • A lot of loan companies, like Sallie Mae, actually pay the school for the opportunity to process your loan. In turn, the loan company (subsidized by the govt) and charging you a huge interest rate, stands to profit from every loan they oversee.

My Advice:

  • Shop around for a private loan from the institution of your choice. This is the only way you can truly get a competive interest rate and have total control over the kind of loan you take out, and ultimate control over the money you borrow. (& you don’t have to give you’re school a cut)

My Experience:

  • The first two years I was in college, I got a government subsidized loan through Sallie Mae, which I’m currently paying. I won’t go into all the details, but the following is a very revealing estimate of my payment history: My original loan balance was around $5250. And over the past year, I’ve been making payments, totalling nearly $1200, and yet my current loan balance is still over $5000. hmmm, the numbers don’t add up to well, do they? But that’s just an example of the high interest rates that can get tacked up to these government loans. Actually I’ve now talked it over with my husband, and I’ve decided in a couple of months when my husband and I start our new jobs, I’m going to begin making “large” payments on this loan until it is paid off.
  • Also, I had considered postponing my payments (after I had already begun paying) And I found out that I would have to pay a fee of $50 per loan in order to “process my request for forbearance,” and each school year is counted as a separate loan. Since I was at my first school for 2 full years and then 1 extra semester, that means I have 3 loans, so I would have to pay them $150 before they would let me stop making payments, but since my monthly payment is lower than $150, why would I want to pay this amount?
  • As for my other loan, it is a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. I will not begin making payments on it till sometime next year, and I believe the terms of this loan are far better than SM…but again, by getting the loan through my school, I had no real choice in the matter (and didn’t have full control of the money) but when I start making the payments on this loan, I’ll let you know how it goes from there.

More Articles & Info on Sallie Mae:

News America

Buy a copy of Outrage

Back to College: Financial Aid, Part 1

Money is often the deciding factor when it comes to what school we choose to attend or if we choose to attend at all, and long after the diploma is in hand, the financial burden is still felt.

While I’m not an expert of student loans and financing, I have learned a few lessons about student loans and aid, and as I am currently paying back a student loan myself (and will begin to start paying my husband’s very soon as well), I can tell you that I wish I knew then what I know now about student loans.

So here are a few tips and basic info I’ve come up with:

  • If possible, begin saving for your child’s tuition as soon as you can. Find a pre-paid college tuition program. (In which you put back a certain amount of money each month.) Or invest a little money in bonds or cds early on in your child’s life, or at the very least start your child a savings account. (small deposits can add up)
  • Every college student is required to fill out financial aid application. (aka FAFSA)
  • Shortly after filling out your application, you’ll get a “reward letter.” If you receive a grant, you should definitely accept it, as this means that you will not have to pay the money back. But before you accept a loan, you should review how much money you actually need for tuition, room/board, books, transportation, etc. More than likely you will be “rewarded” more money than you actually need. If you don’t need all the money they want to loan you, don’t accept the loan. Instead except a reduced amount. (though if you are on a fixed income, the extra money may be of great help to you, so just use your best judgement.)
  • A few months before your first semester you need to talk to the people in charge of financial aid at your school to find out what the procedure is for paying tuition. Where I went to school, you had to pay tuition out of pocket, and the financial aid would later be disbursed to you. However, at the school where my husband currently goes, his tuition is subtracted from his financial aid total, which means he doesn’t have to have the money ahead of time. (very valuable information to have)
  • Also, when you receive you’re reward letter, don’t forget to turn it in to your school’s financial aid department, and make certain that the person you give it to does something with it. If you’re reward letter is not signed, turned in, and processed you will not get your aid money on time (if at all). I ran in to this problem myself when the person I handed my reward letter to failed to deliver it to the proper person for processing.
  • If you mail in tuition money and/or reward letters, it is a good idea to call about a week later to confirm that it was received and processed into their system. If for some reason there is a glitch or an oversight, and you don’t take care of it before the start of semester, then you will have a big headache on your first day.
  • And this is important tip: If possible, avoid getting the loan through the government & the school at all! Instead shop around for a private loan with a competitive interest rate. And when you get your school’s reward letter, just decline the loan. More on this, on the next post.
  • Adding to my last point which I will expound upon in the next post, I advise you to be especially careful if your school uses companies like Sallie Mae to process loans. If you have bad credit, and can’t get a loan from a bank, than these loans will obviously have to suffice, however, they carry a very high interest rate, and if you ever miss payments or want to stop/postpone payments, you have to pay penalties which can cost you a lot of money.
  • While in school, you will be getting notices about paying interest early. If you are able to do this, I’d advise paying. But you don’t have to. And before deciding on whether to pay or not, you need to look over your loan documents to make sure that the interest will not be compounded at the end of the year.
  • After graduation, if you’re on a fixed income or don’t yet have a well paying job to help you make the payments, postpone your payments for as long as you can. Once you start making the payments, it’s hard to stop. However, be aware that the interest on your loan will continue to accumulate, and at the very least you should try to pay this every quarter.

Next time, more on the positives and negatives of getting a loan through your school

Send & Recieve Money for Free, Get a $25 Bonus, & Help Me at the Same Time

Hey Everyone. Near the top of my blog on the right hand sign, you’ll find a green graphic that says, “Sign Up Now & Get $25.” I don’t usually talk much about affiliate programs that I link up to on my site, but this is a pretty good program, so I wanted to mention it.

I just signed up for Revolution Moneyexchange. It is a program that is very similar to paypal. Basically you sign up and your account is linked to a bank account, and you send and recieve money for free. (use it to make purchases online, request money from online customers, or send and recieve money from a friend or family member without making a trip to the bank)

When you sign up, you automatically receive $25 in your account. Plus they currently have a refer-a-friend program. For every person that you refer by email or via your blog or website, you’ll recieve $10. (not too shabby)

I don’t know about you, but I can always use a little extra cash, and it also doesn’t hurt to have an alternative to paypal either. So please click on the graphic near the top, right hand side of my blog and sign up. It takes less than 5 minutes, and we’ll both get paid!

Organizing Tax Information Part 2 – Keeping Up with Receipts and Deductions

Time for my small business accounting & organizational class. This post is kind of long, so I hope you’ll indulge me. It’s hard to take steps in a business procedure and condense them down, but I think I did an okay job.. Before I begin, let me say that I am not a trained tax accountant. But I did work in accounts receivable for a few years, and I had to deal with packing lists and invoices on a daily basis and handle record keeping for computer files and physical files. So that experience taught me a lot about organizing and the importance of coming up with a system that works for me, and I’ve based my own home accounting and record keeping practices on the systems that I’ve learned in business. I’ve just put it on a smaller scale. As I’ve said, everyone has their own way of doing things. What works for me, may not work for you, but maybe my ideas will help somebody or at least give others an idea for a system that will work for them.

This system is primarily used to keep up with expenses that are tax deductible (business or non business), and it’s a simple, time-friendly system that you can use throughout the year. You can also check out Tax Blog Site to help you deal with taxes.

Gathering Receipts
First of all, throughout the year I keep all my papers in a “temporary” file box, until I’m ready to go through them, and the file box contains hanging folders for various kinds of paper work (bills, new mail, and so forth). For my accounting purposes, I have 2 folders in the box for receipts. One is for personal receipts, and the other is for business receipts. About once a week or so, I empty the folders and enter the totals for the receipts onto a spreadsheet. The personal receipts are entered into my “monthly budget” spreadsheet and are then thrown away. But business receipts (and other important receipts) are entered onto a separate spreadsheet for business expenses and are then copied and filed. (Note – After I pay bills, I place them in the receipt folder as well, so that they can be counted along with all my other receipts.)

Computer Records

At the beginning of the year, I create a spreadsheet/workbook in Excel. You could create an Access database if you prefer or use some other accounting software, but Excel is pretty sufficient for my particular system. (and if you don’t have excel, Google has an online spreadsheet program that’s free) My spreadsheet is primarily for business expenses, but you can use it to calculate any expenses you like.

For organizational purposes, I create separate worksheets within the workbook for various kinds of expenses. For example, my husband has a truck that he uses for his business, and every time he gets an oil change or has work done on the truck, those totals go on a worksheet labeled, “Truck.” Another worksheet is labeled, “Gas,” which obviously is for gasoline totals. Another worksheet is for “Office supplies” and so on.

And basically each worksheet contains a list of expense records. At the top of the worksheet, there is title and underneath the title are the headings which my information is entered under. The headings I use are as follows: Date, Vendor, Item Description, Total. Each receipt that I get becomes a record/line item on the worksheet, and all the information from the receipt is entered under the headings.

Paper/Physical Records

Before or after the receipt info. is entered into the spreadsheet, I attach the receipt to a sheet of printer paper. To save paper, I usually attach 2-4 small receipts on to the same sheet of paper. After attaching the receipts and entering all the receipts into my spreadsheet, I make a copy of all the receipts. Then I punch holes in the papers and place them in my Business Expense binder. I have one binder for the original receipts, and one for the copies. (I make the copies b/c sometimes the ink on receipts tends to fade, and I just like having 2 copies. I also got pretty use to the practice when working with monthly credit card statements at my old job.)

Each expense binder is “equipped” with tabs/subject dividers. The labels on the tabs match the labels on the worksheets of my spreadsheet, and the receipts are filed behind the appropriate tab. By creating “expense categories” for your computer spreadsheet and your physical/paper files, it is much easier to stay organized and to keep a check of your records to make sure that they match. It also makes it easier for you to find a specific record.

We’ve managed to file all of our receipts for the year in a single binder. (with the copies in a second binder) But if you have a lot of receipts, you may want to use more than binder. You may even want to create tabs for specific vendors that you use a lot. And of course, if your business is bigger, than you can always apply this system to a filing cabinet.

Not Just For Businesses
I know that I’ve focused on small businesses, and many of us don’t have businesses, but this system can be applied to individuals as well. I’ve used this same system to keep up with receipts for college books. (I don’t worry about keeping up with tuition totals b/c the school sends us a tax form w/ that info) And you could use this system for other expenses/tax deductions as well, from medical expenses to charitable donations. (or use a less detailed version for your home budget)

Filing Your Taxes and being Prepared for an Audit.
When it comes time to file your taxes, simply print out all your spreadsheets and use the grand totals for your deductions. No need to to pull out your receipts except to double check your totals. (if you use an accountant, having a spreadsheet or list of totals will make his job easier too.)  If you don’t have an accountant, you will have to do it on your own, either via mail-in forms or online (efiling). If you decide you want to efile it’s easy and a lot faster than the traditional mail method.

You should still keep your receipts in the event of an audit. And I’ve been advised by an accountant that if you are ever audited it looks much better (to the auditors) if you have a folder or binder of receipts that is neat and organized rather than a box or folder full of loose receipts.

For those of you who don’t like to keep paper files and prefer to scan your receipts, that is fine too, as long as you can can quickly print and organize your receipts in the event of an audit. The most important thing is that you are able to take any record from your spreadsheet or computer database and quickly locate the receipt for that record.

Well, that’s about all I can think of. I hope this helps.

Organizing Tax Information Part 1 – All the Forms You Get in the Mail

I wanted to take a little time to do some posts on organizing your tax stuff, because I think one of the a main reasons people hate doing taxes is because they get overwhelmed with the stacks of paper and forms. So I’m going to explain the system that I have for organizing my stuff, and hopefully it will be of some help to somebody out there.

This first part will deal with all the forms that come in the mail because everyone has to deal with them, and then in the next day or two, I’ll explain my system for dealing with receipts that you keep up with yourself in order to take deductions (for small businesses, donations, and whatever else you have).

Generally the tax forms begin coming in the mail at the beginning of January, and you should have all of these by February. If it appears that you’re missing something, then you may want to contact the company that you’re missing stuff from and find out what the deal is, but generally you can expect to get all your forms fairly early, and if not, then you may also want to check online. My credit union and one of the companies that I had a student loan through had our statements online to print out.

Whenever I start getting my forms in the mail, I immediately get a out a file folder and label it “Taxes” and I write the year on it. I place all my forms in this folder as they come in the mail, and eventually after our taxes have been submitted/filed, I keep all my forms and printouts/copies in this same folder and file it in the filing cabinet at home.

Once I feel that I have recieved all the paperwork in the mail and am ready to file our taxes, I go through the folder and open all the evelopes and I separate the forms into groups. Generally they are grouped into two stacks. One stacks is Incomes. This includes records of our wages, student loan and scholarship disbursements, accrued interest on our savings accounts, etc. I attach all these forms together with a paper clip, and place a post it on top of the stack, labeled Incomes.

My other stack is for Expenses Paid (or whatever you want to call it…I don’t call it deductions b/c I have several different kinds of deductions, which will be discussed in the next post). Anyway, this is for forms that we get, regarding interest that we’ve paid on student loans, tuition that we have paid, and that sort of thing. Again, I clip all of these forms together with a paper clip and label the stack with a post it.

Of course, you may have other forms that come in the mail as well, which you can group any way you like. You may also want to take it a step further and do individual stacks for you and your spouse or other people in the house as well. Or you may want to separate “wage” forms from “bank interest forms,” or put all your “college related” forms together. It’s really up to you. Everyone has their own personal preferences and an idea of what’s logical to them. But this system works for me, it’s very simple.

The bottom line is that it is better to have 2, 3, or 4 stacks of paper that are organized, clipped together, and clearly labeled than to have 10 or 20 random sheets of paper thrown together in a folder. Whether you do the taxes yourself or hire an accountant, a little organization will make the work a whole lot easier.

Next time, I’ll explain my simple system for keeping up with business expenses and other deductions throughout the year. A lot of people don’t take deductions because they either lose their receipts, or they think it is too much trouble and hassle to keep up with receipts and keep a record of their deductions. (but it doesn’t have to be a hassle!)

Hope you’re all having a good weekend. See ya next time!

More Tax Deductions & Resources

Greetings tax filers! Today I have some more tax deductions for you and a few links to some resources that you may find helpful.

Education Deductions:
-Tuition paid (out of pocket)
-Books & other supplies that are required for classes
-Interest paid on student loans (but not principle)
-Lifetime learning credit (a one time deduction)
-cost of special schooling for the disabled

Medical Deductions:
-alcohol & drug addiction recovery programs, and smoking cessation programs
-cost of contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids, etc.
-cost of wheel chairs, prosthetics, and other aids for the handicapped
-wages paid to a nurse
-fees for medical services such as diagnostic tests (xrays, etc), physical therapy, and other medial services
-medical care given to nursing home residents

Other Deductions:
-alimony paid
-moving expenses
-state taxes due for a previous year (paid in the current tax year)
-taxes paid on cars, boats, etc.
-housekeeping, cooking services, etc for a qualified dependent (disabled or otherwise qualified)
-sales tax on large items such as cars
-contributions made to qualified charities
-penalties paid for savings account withdrawals

-credits for buying a hybrid vehicle