Money Matters: Dangerous Deductions

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Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

If you file long form on your taxes, you know you're always looking for deductions.

Maybe you've heard from a friend about some deductions you've never thought of.
But be careful because the IRS has rules on deductions. Angie Mohr of says there are 5 expenses you want to be deductible but aren't.

1. Work clothes

The rule here is if you are required to buy say a mechanics jumpsuit with the company logo on it, that is deductible. But just wearing a suit or dress to work every day doesn't count. A waiter or waitress who has to wear a white shirt and black slacks doesn't count either because you could wear that for everyday dress.

2. Pets

A cat or dog can be expensive, but unless you need a service dog for a medical condition or guard dog for a business, chances are you can't deduct the pet or its expenses.

3. Driving to work

Gas and other car expenses related to driving to and from work are not deductible. The exception would be if you're required to make bank deposits on the way home from work you can claim the mileage for that trip.

4. Home improvements

You can't deduct those from your taxes that year, but save all permanent home improvement receipts. When you sell your home you can deduct that from the price of the home when it comes to capital gains.

5. Bank fees
Basic fees related to checking or savings accounts are not deductible.
Those related to non-tax advantaged investment accounts may be deductible as an investment expense.

Now for the disclaimer: I am not a CPA. For questions regarding your specific situation always consult a trusted professional tax adviser.

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