10 Creative (But Legal) Tax Deductions

Tax Preparation and Appraisals
Did you know you could deduct the cost of doing your taxes?
Did you know you could deduct the cost of doing your taxes?
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Even though it's hard to see it at 11:38 on the night of April 15, there is a silver lining to filing taxes: You can deduct all expenses related to the preparing and filing of taxes! Sort of... Tax preparation deductions fall under "miscellaneous itemized deductions" that are subject to the 2-percent limit. That means you can only deduct tax preparation expenses and fees that exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income [source: Internal Revenue Service]. Fine, it's more of a bronze lining.

Deductible expenses and fees include your accountant's fee, any software you purchased to help you prepare your taxes (Web-based services like TurboTax count), and even "how-to" books about taxes [source: Internal Revenue Service]. If we charged you for reading this article, you could deduct that, too.

Another deduction that falls under the two-percent limit has to do with appraisals. If you are donating a particularly expensive item to a charity or tax-exempt institution, the IRS requires a professional appraisal to determine its fair market value. You can't include the cost of the appraisal as a charitable contribution, but you can deduct the appraisal fee as a miscellaneous itemized deduction [source: Internal Revenue Service]. The same is true for property that is damaged in a storm. The IRS requires an appraisal to assess the extent of the "casualty loss" for tax purposes. Again, the appraisal fee is deductible.

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