Ah, the allure of the deduction.
Come tax time, it's so appealing to dream about all the different ways you could have the government foot the bill. Isn't there some way you can claim your cable bill? What about all the work clothes you had to buy when the office banned jeans? And didn't your sister-in-law's aunt tell you once that she wrote off the entire cost of a new car?
If it all sounds too good to be true -- say it with me now -- it probably is. Sure, there are a lot of deductions out there, but there's one big caveat: If you're itemizing your deductions -- and that means you're not just taking the standard deduction the government gives you -- you can only claim whatever deductions are over 2 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). So say your AGI is $40,000. Two percent of your income is $800. So, you have to find a way to get your deductions over $800 before you begin writing them off.
Of course, many of us aren't going to be able to write off more than the standard deduction, particularly if we don't have big-ticket deductions like mortgage interest to factor in. That's set at $6,300 if you're single, $12,600 for married couples and $9,250 for heads of household in tax year 2015 [source: IRS].
But we aren't here to discourage. Let's begin finding some common miscellaneous expenses you can shove at Uncle Sam.