In just a few short months, the day you've dreaded all year will be here: Tax Day. To prepare for the ominous April deadline, start organizing your finances and look for every single tax deduction, write off and credit you qualify for.
Whether you're a rookie or veteran tax filer, there's a chance you're missing out on some deductions you've never heard of. Click through to see 10 little-known tax deductions and credits you've probably overlooked, including the ones that make sense — as well as some of the strangest.
1. Job Hunting Expenses
Were you recently on the job hunt? If so, you probably forked over a considerable amount of cash to cover outplacement agency fees or mailing copies of your resume. Little did you know, you can possibly deduct some of those expenses.
According to the IRS, you can deduct certain job search-related expenses. However, there are some rules. For example, you can't deduct these expenses if you're looking for a job for the first time.
2. Pet Moving Costs
Believe it or not, if Fido is also moving for your new job, those moving costs could also be tax deductible. For example, if your employment-related move meets IRS requirements, you might be able to deduct your pet’s shipping costs. Who knew there were tax breaks for pet owners?
3. Self-Employment Tax Deduction
If you’re self-employed and earn $400 or more, you must pay self-employment taxes. But, you're allowed to deduct the "employer-equivalent portion of your self-employment tax in figuring your adjusted gross income," according to the IRS.
4. The Child and Dependent Care Credit
If you paid for the care of a qualifying child or other dependent so that you and your spouse could work, you might qualify for the child and dependent care credit.
Tax credits are typically better than tax deductions. Whereas deductions reduce your taxable income, credits directly reduce your taxes. So if you didn't know about the child and dependent care credit, find out if you qualify.
5. The Cost to Stop Smoking
Are you trying to kick your nicotine habit? Your participation in a smoking cessation program can be considered a medical tax deduction. This deduction can also apply to prescription drugs used to ease nicotine withdrawal.
6. Weight Loss Expenses
No, this doesn't mean you can deduct the cost of any and every diet fad or trend you recently tried. Instead, this benefit is for people who have participated in a weight-loss program to combat a specific disease that their physician diagnosed.
7. Charitable Travel Costs
If you're considering taking a volunteering "vacation," you might be able to claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses you had to incur while helping out the organization.
But be careful: The IRS makes it clear that there must be "no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation in the travel." That doesn't mean you can't have fun — but you should be "on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip."
8. Breast Surgery Expenses
Although you can't typically include unnecessary cosmetic surgery in medical expenses, some cases of breast surgery can be eligible. For example, the IRS states that if you needed breast reconstruction surgery as part of cancer treatment, you can include the cost in your medical expenses.
9. Pregnancy Test Expenses
Yes, when filing your taxes you can also include the amount you paid for a pregnancy test in your medical expenses. It might seem like a small expense, but some people will shell out more cash on higher-priced tests.
And what about after you have the baby? You can also include breast pumps and supplies in medical expenses.
10. The Cost of a Wig
A wig can also be tax-deductible as a medical expense. If the physician recommends the wig after you experienced hair loss due to a medical condition, the wig could be categorized as a medical tax deduction.
Sydney Champion contributed to the reporting for this article. All the information in this article is based on the latest available data on IRS.gov. Visit the IRS website for the latest updates and changes regarding the upcoming tax season.