Dangerous tax deductions to avoid

It's the height of tax season, and right now most of us are organizing our paperwork, looking for those 1099's,  and trying to figure out what to deduct this year.

But we have a warning about some former deductions no longer valid in 2014.

Were Valid Deductions....Until Recently

Did you donate an old car to charity?  You can no longer deduct the Blue Book value, as you could until a couple of years ago. Now you can deduct only what it sold for, which is often half the Blue Book.

Also, you can no longer deduct the sales tax you paid buying a new car.

And be very careful taking a deduction for energy efficient appliances or insulation, unless your purchase specifically qualified under last year's rules.  

The days of almost every washing machine and refrigerator qualifying for a tax break ended in 2011.  Nowadays, it must be a specific energy efficient heat pump, water heater or other device to get a break.

Deductions You Can Never Take

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, some things that you might think would be tax deductible, but are not.

The IRS warns that you cannot deduct:

     -Legal fees, in most cases.

    -Pet care expenses, even if its expensive surgery costing thousands of dollars.  Human medical expenses are deductible, pet care costs are not.

     -Points paid when refinancing.  You can deduct "points" only on a new home purchase.

    -Commuting costs.  Driving to client meetings while on the job is deductible, but the gas you spend getting to work is not.  Many people make this error, the IRS says.

    -Health club dues, unless it is under doctor's orders.

Many people who are trying to lose weight would probably say "doesn't that stink?"

You  need to a specific prescribed plan from a doctor for a gym or exercise plan to be tax deductible.

If you're itemizing, either work with a professional, or look up the latest IRS list of what is deductible and whats not, so you don't get in trouble, and so you don't waste your money.


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