Monthly Newsletter for February 2014

by in Newsletter on Jan. 21, 2014

Don’t Overlook the Benefits of Miscellaneous Deductions

If you are able to itemize your deductions on your tax return instead of claiming the standard deduction, you may be able to claim certain miscellaneous deductions. A tax deduction reduces the amount of your taxable income and generally reduces the amount of taxes you may have to pay.

Here are some things you should know about miscellaneous tax deductions:

Deductions Subject to the 2 Percent Limit. You can deduct the amount of certain miscellaneous expenses that exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Deductions subject to the 2 percent limit include:

  • Unreimbursed employee expenses such as searching for a new job in the same profession, certain work clothes and uniforms, work tools, union dues, and work-related travel and transportation.
  • Tax preparation fees.
  • Other expenses that you pay to:

– Produce or collect taxable income,
– Manage, conserve, or maintain property held to produce taxable income, or
– Determine, contest, pay, or claim a refund of any tax.

Examples of other expenses include certain investment fees and expenses, some legal fees, hobby expenses that are not more than your hobby income and rental fees for a safe deposit box if it is not used to store jewelry and other personal effects.

Deductions Not Subject to the 2 Percent Limit.  The list of deductions not subject to the 2 percent limit of adjusted gross income includes:

  • Casualty and theft losses from income-producing property such as damage or theft of stocks, bonds, gold, silver, vacant lots, and works of art.
  • Gambling losses up to the amount of gambling winnings.
  • Impairment-related work expenses of persons with disabilities.
  • Losses from Ponzi-type investment schemes.

Qualified miscellaneous deductions are reported on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Keep records of your miscellaneous deductions to make it easier for you to prepare your tax return when the filing season arrives.


Don’t Fall for Charity Scams Following Disasters

The IRS warns consumers not to fall for bogus charity scams. They often occur in the wake of major disasters like the recent tornadoes in the Midwest or the typhoon in the Philippines. Thieves play on the goodwill of people who want to help disaster victims. They pose as a real charity in order to steal money or get private information to commit identity theft.

The scams use different tactics. Offering charity relief, criminals often:

  • Claim to be with real charities to gain public trust.
  • Use names similar to legitimate charities.
  • Use email to steer people to bogus websites that often look like real charity sites.
  • Contact people by phone or email to get them to ‘donate’ money or give their financial information.

The IRS offers the following tips to help taxpayers who wish to donate to victims:

  • Donate to qualified charities.  Use the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool at to find qualified charities. Only donations to qualified organizations are tax-deductible. You can also find legitimate charities at the Federal Emergency Management Agency website, For more information about the kinds of charities that can receive deductible contributions, see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.
  • Don’t give out information.  Don’t give your Social Security number, credit card and bank account numbers or passwords to anyone. Scam artists use this information to steal your identity and money.
  • Don’t give or send cash.  For security and tax record purposes, don’t give or send cash. Contribute by check, credit card or another way that provides documentation of the donation.

Report suspected fraud.  If you suspect tax or charity-related fraud, visit and click on ‘Reporting Phishing’ at the bottom of the home page