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Tips for the weary tax return preparer

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(RNN) – Taxes are complicated enough for most people – especially those who prepare their own returns – but they have become that much trickier with the passing of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

In order to maximize the amount of money on a return, it is important for filers to remember common deductions they may qualify for.

According Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, there are thousands of tax deductions and tax credits available to taxpayers each year if they know where to look.

Some of the most commonly overlooked include:

  • Student loan interest paid
  • Hearing aids, eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Required uniforms and work clothes not suitable for street wear
  • Business gifts up to $25 per customer or client
  • Cleaning and laundering services while traveling
  • Fees for tax preparation or advice
  • Tools bought for use at your job
  • Medical aids including crutches, canes and orthopedic shoes
  • Union dues
  • Cell phones required for your business
  • Penalties for closing an interest bearing account, such as a certificate of deposit, before maturity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for volunteer work

Life changes like getting married or divorced, having a baby, buying a home or caring for an aging parent also affect the amount of returns. It also important to know if employers deduct for expenses like training or other materials and services, and keep all receipts related to work.

Steber also recommended e-filing, which will speed up processing time and help confirm the IRA has received tax forms.

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