It's the time of year when W-2s, expense records and IRA forms are stacked in a pile, and commercials for accounting firms and online filing software air during prime time.
With a few weeks to go before the April 15 deadline, the filing rush hasn't yet kicked in gear, but thoughts of what to do with the return are already brewing.
The majority of taxpayers will use standard deductions when filing instead of itemized deductions, said Richard Butler, a professor of accounting at York College, in an email.
The standard deduction is based on marital status and family situation.
If you own a home, itemized deductions -- which include mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions -- could come close or exceed standard deductions.
The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers to use the greater deduction when filing.
And there are common and lesser-used deductions, Butler said.
Most people are aware of mortgage interest, real estate taxes, donations and medical expenses, he said.
But you can also include tax preparation fees, job-seeking costs and non-reimbursed employee expenses.
It's important to remember, though, that some itemized deductions have limits they must exceed to be eligible, said Rob Gratalo, a partner and certified public accountant with Reinsel Kuntz Lesher, an accounting firm with an office in York.
For example, job-seeking and non-reimbursed business expenses must be greater than 2 percent of gross adjusted income.
Job-seeking expenses -- if you're looking for a job in the same line of work you're already in -- include the cost of printing resumes, postage and business cards.
"Unfortunately, haircuts, suits and shoes are not allowed as job-seeking expenses," Butler said.
So, that new suit might have helped you look professional at your job interview, but because it's not a uniform -- it's also acceptable dining or wedding attire -- it's not solely for work.
All business expense deductions must be ordinary and necessary, Gratalo said.
That means, most people in a certain occupation would deduct it and it is essential to the job, like the use of your car to drive a client or to go to the bank or post office, Gratalo said.
The overlooked mileage deductions are driving for charitable purposes like delivering meals or the traveling to and from the doctor.
When it comes to tax season, every year is a little bit different with changing laws and benefits. For details on filing in 2013 visit the IRS at irs.gov.
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