Tips for itemized tax forms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tips for itemized tax forms

December 21, 2005

Albany- The office at Joy's Bookkeeping service is relatively quiet right now, but in a few weeks it will be buzzing.

Tax preparer Jimmy Peak says many people don't realize if they use an itemized form they can claim a host of medical expenses including some over-the-counter medicines, glasses, contacts, hearing aids, and diabetic supplies.

"Other things you can deduct as long as they are prescribed is if your doctor prescribes you to have a spa, or a pool or something like that for your back," Peak says.

There may be a silver-lining in this year's skyrocketing gas prices. The amounts you can claim for driving to the doctor have risen.

"They've actually split the year. Up through August 31st its $0.15 a mile for medical miles. From September 1st through the rest of the year, its $0.22 a mile."

Job-related mileage has also increased, although you can not claim your daily mileage to and from your office.

"But, say you are at your work, and they require you to go make bank runs. Then that could be mileage that you relate to your job. It depends on whether you are reimbursed or not of course."

There are also a host of other business-related expenses you can claim.

"School teachers can deduct some of their supplies that they furnish for their kids or school, your job search expense if you are unemployed and you are looking for a job. Of course, there again your mileage comes into effect, your resumes, if you have internet expense, and continuing education also if you are improving in your present occupation would be deductible."

Peak says it's best to document all these expenses throughout the year. Hang on to your receipts though; you'll need them if the IRS audits you,but, most tax preparers will take your word if you use an itemized form.

As always, charitable contributions need to be done before the end of the year if you plan to claim them, just be sure to get a receipt for what you've donated.

"You need a receipt because if it's going to be over $500 in the donation, it has to be itemized out," says Joy Glass, owner of Joy's Bookkeeping Service.

The tax laws haven't changed that much this year, but if you want to claim everything you're eligible for, tax preparers urge you to start doing your homework now.

One more thing you may not know about, you can always claim a deduction on the fees you pay to have your taxes done.

The rules have changed for Hurricane Katrina-related charitable contributions, so you should check with your tax preparer or accountant before claiming any of those donations.

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