Whether you’re still prepping your tax return—due on April 18 this year—or are ahead of the pack and have filed already, you should be sure to check that you didn’t miss any simple deductions and give Uncle Sam more than necessary.
Most taxpayers opt for the standard deduction, which is a fixed dollar amount based on your filing status and age. The standard deduction is subtracted from your earnings, so it reduces your taxable income and your tax bill.
The federal standard deduction for the 2016 tax year is $6,300 for single filers and married individuals filing separately; $12,600 for married couples filing jointly and qualifying widow(er)s with dependent children; and $9,300 for those filing as head of household.
But you may actually be better off itemizing your deductions this year if the write-offs you’re entitled to claim add up to more than your standard deduction. This video highlights some of the expenses you might be able to subtract from your income by itemizing. You should try the math both ways to see if the standard deduction or itemized deductions are better for you.
Common itemized deductions include donations to charities, mortgage interest, property taxes, and state and local taxes. These expenses can quickly add up to help significantly cut your tax bill.
There are also plenty of odder and commonly overlooked deductions you can claim, for everything from student loan interest to medical expenses to tax preparation to work clothes (but only in limited circumstances). The video above also breaks down seven of the most missed deductions you should see if you can claim this year.