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Extraordinary Tax Deductions: 10 Successful Claims You Won't Believe

Extraordinary Tax By Peter Blank, Editor, The Kiplinger Tax Letter

Okay, admit it: As you've struggled with your tax return, trying to come up with some extra deductions to pump up your refund or reduce what you owe, you've taken a few flights of fancy. "Can I claim a deduction for all those blood donations at the Red Cross?" Nope. "How about a charitable contribution for all the time I donate to the church?" No, again. "Can I count the wedding gift for my boss's daughter as an employee business expense?" Come on!

On the other hand, some of your fellow taxpayers have successfully claimed write-offs for many things that most of us wouldn't even imagine, ranging from cat food to a casualty loss for a vehicle totaled by a drunk driver.

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Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

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January 30 2012 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow! a guy who God made him a man then wanted to be a woman wanted tax on his stupidity? Yes it is stupidity. Like if u wanted to buy clothes, store got ur tax, but u will never get it back...he wanted to sex change, then he obviously wanted to spend money, then why letting tax payer pay for his stupidity? He choose to be one...then obviously got that money for his sex change, now he wanted IRS pay that No way...u wanted something, then go for it, but don't let others pay for ur wierd thing, duh! If IRS pay for this, then they will support those wierd people on their "dumb" stupidity...sorry, but it is...SODOMY is not supported by the CREATOR, he actually destroy those cities...SODOM and GOMORRAH! No way as a tax payer pay the stupid things people they do...he wanted sex change, then don't complain...he wanted it, then don't as IRS pay him from TAXPAYER'S MONEY...geez!

January 30 2012 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave Templeton

Help Send Congress to Jail. Congress making +8% using "Insider Trading" on company info 'before' the public is aware of it! Martha Stewart sold about $230,000 in ImClone shares on December 27, 2001 just a day before the announcement of FDA decision and was sent to jail for "Insider Trading"!

January 26 2012 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's the online tax tool? Turbotax?

January 26 2012 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against tax cheats, we have tax cheats?

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 235 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

maybe, we the people, need to vote out every incumbent in Washington, every election, every time...just to make them squirm...to make them fear for their job?

January 25 2012 at 8:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I cant beleive these people got to take tax deductions for this stuff. Ok maybe they are all in that 1%, they get anything.

January 24 2012 at 5:52 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Patricia's comment

your an idiot. anyone can do it, its just the smart people who do so. we know going in ahead of time what we can and can't write off. we took the time to learn these things because we knew it was worth our while while you played video games. maybe only a select few take advantage because the 99% are to busy crying to learn how to do so themselves. myself for example. I write off a portion of my bills because i rent a legal apt out of part of my house. i charge a flat rate for rent and include cable, phone, internet, heat, water, electric and then i deduct a % based on sq feet as expenses for the apt. I pay tax on the rent i make so why should i go look for ways to write stuff off? I learned that i was allowed to do that by reading, not by crying, you should try it sometime

January 24 2012 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chrisp442's comment
Carol Q

I am in the 99% and I don't whine. I don't support the occupiers and I definitely don't support you. You have a condescending attitude. The fact that you need to have that attitude tells me you are disastisfied with your life so being super rich does not mean you are happy. I am content and satisfied with where I am. I don't feel the need to put down others who are not where I am, nor do I whine or despise those who are in the 1%. I don't have to be super rich to love my life, and I certainly do not think I am better than anyone else.

January 26 2012 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down


January 24 2012 at 5:30 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to mrrsmhen's comment

sorry Nancy ... bush gave up that deduction to get a tax cut for the rich in 2008.......

January 24 2012 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to leandercannon's comment
Mikey D

tax cut for the rich? everyone got a tax cut, not just the rich. Get the story right!

January 24 2012 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Leave the guy alone, every one needs all the deductions thet can get, or the goverment might have a little more money to waist!!!!!!!!!!!

January 24 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Can I deduct property and school taxes if i don't itemize my dedutions.

January 24 2012 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Nancy's comment


January 25 2012 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Clarification: You can deduct these for rental properties that you own, on a Schedule E. Also, a small percentage of these may be deducted on a form 2106 for employee business expenses, provided you have a home office for your employer's convenience that is exclusively used for that purpose.

January 31 2012 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply