Posted by The TaxAdvocate Group, LLC

Expenses You Cannot Deduct But With Related Costs You Can Write Off.

Expenses You Cannot Deduct But With Related Costs You Can Write Off.

With the new tax law raised in 2018, the standard deduction amount nearly doubled and with this, the number of taxpayers that itemize has reduced. This was a significant decrease from the 33% of taxpayers that have itemized before.

Many taxpayers falsely believe that they can itemize expenses that cannot be deducted, like over-the-counter medications. While the IRS has steps one can take to reduce tax bills legally, absurd write-offs and unqualified deductions might result in excessive penalties for the taxpayer. 

Itemizing is only advisable if you have enough deductible expenses to surpass your standard deduction. For 2021, the standard deduction value is $12,550 for single filers, $18,800 for the head of household, and $25,100 for married taxpayers. 

To avoid mistakes that could raise unnecessary eyebrows, here is a list of expenses that you should not claim, even if you think you can claim them alongside legal tax breaks.

  1. Over the Counter Medications (Except Doctor’s Prescription)

You cannot deduct the cost of over-the-counter pain and common cold medications, but those a doctor prescribes, you can.

However, you can deduct the cost for kits you got over the counter to test for pregnancy and blood sugar levels. Also, Uncle Sam allows a deduction for breastfeeding supplies like bottles and pumps. 

  1. Volunteer Work (Except it involves Mileage)

The hours it takes you to volunteer for a nonprofit cannot be converted to cash and claimed as a deduction. You also cannot deduct the value of any project you created for charity, like a campaign or Face-cap.

However, all the miles you drove for charity work can be deducted at the rate of 14 cents per mile, but you need to have good records of that. 

It is also possible to claim out-of-pocket expenses like poster boards you got for a charity project, as long as you have your receipts. 

  1. Cost of Commuting except for temporary Trips

You cannot deduct any expense associated with moving to and fro from work. Whatever expense you incurred to get to work, Uncle Sam classifies it as a personal expense, no matter the distance. 

There is, however, an exception for people who work in two places every day, whether it is for the same employer or not. Also, if you have a temporary job that will last for a year or less, you can deduct such transportation expenses. 

  1. Social Security Taxes Except for where You Overpay

From your pay, your employer directs some funds for Federal Insurance Contribution Acts (FICA) taxes which help fund your Medicare and Social Security benefits. 

If you, however, overpaid such tax, there will be a credit for excess payments.

All FICA taxes are on wages to the limit so for people with more than one job with a total earning that is over the wage base limit, there is a possibility that you overpaid FICA, which qualifies you for a refund.

  1. Plastic Surgery Except those Mandated Medically

You cannot deduct facelifts, electrolysis, fat removal, liposuction and other procedures that you did for the sole purpose of appearance enhancement. 

However, if your doctor recommends a fat removal operation to reduce the tendency of diabetes, you can deduct such a medical expense. 

Uncle Sam specifies that as long as plastic surgery is necessary to correct or improve a deformity that comes from a congenital abnormality, trauma, or an injury incurred from an accident, such can be deducted.

  1. Cost of Work-Related Clothes Except for Uniforms

Uncle Sam believes that it is your responsibility to look sharp at work. However, it is possible to deduct any cost associated with laundering or dry cleaning of business uniforms since you cannot wear such anywhere except at work. 

All expenses incurred for the cleaning of nonprofit uniforms like hospital outfits, for instance, can be deducted. For cases like this, the cost of the uniform will be classified as a charitable deduction.


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