Taxpayers should know the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of both fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based solely on the variable costs.
While the 2017 business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile from 2016, the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile. Set by statute, the charitable rate remains unchanged. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is:
Believe it or not, there are some pet-related expenses which may be deducted from your taxes. Here is a summary of such expenses. And you thought all you were ever going to get out of this relationship was love, affection, and undying loyalty!
Taxpayers may include the expenses of buying, training and maintaining guide dogs used for assistance in cases of either reduced vision or hearing. This may include all necessary food, training, grooming and veterinary care. You may also deduct this expense if you’ve been diagnosed with a physical or mental condition that benefits from the attention of a trained therapy animal. Keep in mind that unless the animal is trained or certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition, the IRS will disallow any deduction.
All of us as taxpayers continually think we have a lot of expenses that we can itemize and deduct to help reduce our respective tax bills. But they come, they go, all for naught and no effect. The problem usually arises from the fact that our costs regularly fall just short of the required income thresholds for some categories of deductions. One solution is “bunching expenses,” which is a term used to describe incurring as many expenses as possible in a particular category during a particular tax year. Of course, doing this in one tax year will usually significantly diminish any chance of repeating it the following year.
Unsure of whether you should use the standard deduction amount, or take the time to itemize deductions? The answer is fairly straightforward; you should itemize deductions if your total deductions are more than the standard deduction amount. Also, you should itemize if you don’t qualify for the standard deduction. Taxpayers should initially calculate itemized deductions and then compare that amount to their standard deduction to determine which provides the greater benefit. A taxpayer may be subject to a limit on some itemized deductions if he or she exceeds the adjusted gross income limits.