12/15/2014 - Do You Have Enough Deductions to Itemize? Part II

After identifying and adding up all available medical expenses and subtracting 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), the next step is to add other itemized deductions from the categories we discussed last week.

Here are the remaining categories:

Gifts to charity.

A charitable contribution is a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value. In order for the contribution to be deductible the recipient organization must be qualified to receive deductible charitable contributions.

Subject to limitations on total charitable deductions compared to AGI, cash contributions to charities and churches and the fair market value of non-cash contributions to charities and churches are deductible. There are rules on what records must be kept and what supporting documentation must be obtained.

Casualty and theft losses.

A casualty is the damage, destruction, or loss of property resulting from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual. Deductible casualty losses can result from a number of different causes, including automobile accidents, earthquakes, fires, floods, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and vandalism.

A theft is the taking and removing of money or property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The taking of property must be illegal under the laws of the state where it occurred, and it must have been done with criminal intent. The taking of money or property through fraud or misrepresentation is theft if it is illegal under state or local law. Theft includes the taking of money or property by blackmail, burglary, embezzlement and robbery. You do not need to show a conviction for theft.

Job expense and other miscellaneous deductions.

Job-related expenses that your employer did not reimburse you for, union dues, cost of purchasing or cleaning uniforms, job-related education and professional development, job-related travel, home office expenses, tax preparation fees, investment fees and expenses (such as IRA custodial fees and annual brokerage fees), safe deposit box fees, gambling losses (only to the extent of gambling winnings) are deductible.

Have a great week,

Patti