Some deductions are available even if you don’t itemize

If you’ve given up itemizing deductions, you’re not alone. These days over half of all taxpayers find they’re better off using the standard deduction. But even if you take the standard deduction, you can also deduct some individual expenses on your 2011 tax return, including the following:

* IRA and HSA contributions

On your 2011 tax return you may qualify to deduct up to $5,000 in contributions to a traditional IRA. That increases to $6,000 if you’re age 50 or older. Income limitations may apply in some cases. You can’t deduct contributions to Roth IRAs.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are IRA-like accounts set up in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance policy. The annual contributions you make to your HSA are deductible. Contributions are invested and grow tax-free, and you’re allowed to withdraw money in the account tax-free to pay for your unreimbursed medical expenses. The HSA contribution limit for 2011 is $3,050 for singles and $6,150 for couples. An additional $1,000 may be contributed by those 55 and older.

* Student loan interest and tuition fees

Deduct up to $2,500 interest on student loans for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. For 2011, you can also deduct up to $4,000 of tuition and fees for qualified higher education courses. Income limitations apply, and you must coordinate these deductions with other education tax breaks.

* Self-employment deductions

If you’re self employed, you can generally deduct the cost of health insurance premiums, retirement plan contributions, and one-half of self-employment taxes.

* Other deductions

Don’t overlook deductions for alimony you pay, certain moving expenses, and early savings withdrawal penalties. Teachers can deduct up to $250 for classroom supplies that they purchased with their own money in 2011.

 

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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