No Fooling Us: These 5 Tax Benefits Really Can Boost Your Tax Refund

Tax Deductions and Credits Stocksy_txp9b5b9376voM000_Small_348246

Happy April Fools’ Day!

315 years ago today, English pranksters began popularizing April Fools’ Day (or All Fools’ Day) by playing practical jokes on each other. In today’s culture, tricksters use April 1st to scheme their best pranks on unknowing friends or family.

To give you a sigh of relief, TurboTax has listed out five completely legitimate tax deductions and credits that will boost your tax refund. So breathe easy this wacky Wednesday, the only outlandish thing here will be your huge tax refund!

1. Couch Potato
This is no April Fools’ joke. If you provided over half the support for your couch potato friend who lived with you the entire year you may be able to claim them as a dependent and get a tax deduction of $3,950 for 2014 if they didn’t make over that amount.

2. Go green!
Along with being environmentally conscious, going green can actually save you green. Since solar energy is so efficient, the government offers a 30% tax credit for solar energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, as well as small wind turbines with no limit on the credit you can claim. Think we’re fooling you? Here’s more about the Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credit. We have the numbers to prove it!

3. Beer and other job expenses
True or false: you can deduct beer for work? True for at least one a gas station owner who gave his customers free beer in lieu of trading stamps. The IRS allowed the tax write-off as a business expense, proving there are multiple ways to deduct work expenses.

In more mainstream uses, K-12 educators can deduct up to $250 for classroom materials. That gets subtracted from your income, so you can take advantage of it even if you don’t itemize. Office supplies, gasoline (if you use your car for business purposes), and work-related travel expenses may also be tax deductible. Find more work related benefits here.

4. Feel the burn
If your doctor has told you that your health is in jeopardy due to your physical condition, you can deduct the costs of getting into shape. This includes activities that will lower your weight or cholesterol, improve your heart rate, and anything in between.

Feel like a swim would help? If a pool regiment can improve a medical condition, building a home swimming pool may count as a tax deduction. Floaties up!

5. Hire a babysitter
Have you always wanted to volunteer but don’t want to hire a sitter? The Federal Tax Court has ruled that you can list the cost of a babysitter as a charitable contribution on your tax return, if you can document that while you were working, you were volunteering.

Still need to file your taxes?  TurboTax will help you easily file your taxes and give you these tax benefits and more.

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