Tax season is near: How can you maximize your deductions and save money?

Not having your tax return in order is a major worry when tax season arrives every year. Getting started early is a sure way to make it all a less stressful experience and having your records organized can help you discover potentially overlooked deductions or credits.  

Tax season is just around the corner, and even though paying tax is inevitable, there are some totally legal ways to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket. Here are ways to save money on taxes by maximizing your deductions.

1. Deduct mortgage or student loan interest. All of your mortgage interest payments can count as tax deductions. You can maximize these savings by making an extra mortgage payment before the end of the tax year. 

You can also deduct the interest paid on student loans.

2. Take advantage of home office benefits. If you are self-employed and work from home on a regular basis, then you can deduct certain qualifying home-office expenses. This can even include a fraction of your home utility bills and home maintenance costs.

You can either itemize or claim a general dollar amount deduction per square foot of space used

3. Consider medical expenses. Make sure to hold on to all receipts related to your medical care and the rest of your family.

You can deduct the mileage driven to and from medical appointments, the costs of lodging when seeking out medical care, the expenses of making medically necessary modifications to your home, and even certain medicines.

4. Deduct child-care expenses. Children can provide a great tax break in multiple ways. So, if your employer offers a child-care reimbursement account, especially with matching, make sure to take advantage of it.

You can also count your children as additional dependents and can claim a child tax credit if they are under 17.

Certain energy-efficient changes to your home will result in tax savings

5. Improve your home with energy-efficient products. Check out the yearly Energy Policy Act for details to find out how you can enroll in certain energy-efficient programs and make particular changes to your home that will result in tax savings.

6. Consider alimony payments. If you've been paying alimony, then you'll want to include those payments in your deductions, for you will not pay taxes on that income.

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