Contrary to What the IRS Says...

You can take deductions without receipts. Here's how:

  • Keep a detailed diary, journal, or other written record, along with the dates that you purchased items or service.
  • Keep photo or videotaped records, along with the dates that you purchased items or service.
  • Gather documented verification from people who can vouch for your expenses.

Any tangible proof of activity and expense will do, so long as it verifies the situation for which you're claiming a deduction.

Income taxes are one of our largest expenses, second only to housing for most American families. Depending on where you live and your income level, your income taxes could be 15 percent to 45 percent of your annual income. Most of it is money you never get to see: It's usually deducted from your paycheck before you ever get to touch it.

Despite this significant expense, for many people "tax planning" happens too late. The only time most people consider their taxes is at the time they fill out the annual return. Consequently, because tax laws are complicated, many people pay more taxes than they are required to. People who don't hire a tax preparer or bone up on basic tax rules may end up overpaying their taxes.

In this article, we'll provide tax tips and suggestions that will take you from filing your taxes to deciding what to do with that rebate check.