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WSO,

I think it's a good idea to have a thread that outlines the most effective ways to reduce 2012 taxable income for recent grads.

I only have the general and most common ideas here, but I was hoping maybe people could chime in with their "not-so-well-known" deductions.

Here are some of the most common deductions:
- Student loan interest deduction: you should receive form 1098-E from your student loan servicing firm

- Moving expenses deduction for when you move to a new place for your first gig out of school. For more info on what you can claim: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p521/ar02.html

- Charitable donations (I doubt many recent grads have to worry about this)

- Business travel deductions: for when your employer doesn't pay you back

- Lifetime Learning Credit: you can claim the credit for any post-secondary classes you take; you don't have to be working towards a degree. Some limitations do exist though. If you earn too much income during the year, you may not be eligible to claim the credit. At the end of the year, your educational institution should send you a Form 1098-T that reports your eligible costs. To claim the credit, enter those figures on Form 8863

Hope this list helps you maximize your tax returns this year.

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Comments (12)

  • yeahright's picture

    Yes for all those people that have gone through this, please help the newly employed out!

    What tax program should I use to even do it? Best/worst?

    Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

  • idragmazda's picture

    I'm going to use turbo-tax. That's what I have always used. If I run into any snags, I may call my parent's tax accountant, but the process seems relatively painless.

    Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis - when I was dead broke man I couldn't picture this

  • mappleby's picture

    I'll second TurboTax. Used it for a number of years now and it's great.

  • ky0ung's picture
  • calikid3820's picture

    The learning credit is HUGE! especially considering you will be working only a partial year you will have a refund coming and the credit is money straight to the pocket....

    Also I would be careful how you deduct job hunting expenses there is some underlying IRS language that says undergrads don't count.. You have to be looking for a new job in your industry... not your first job

  • mongoose's picture

    Current college students as well please!

  • MonkeyWrench's picture

    Pretty sure you can deduct stuff like dry cleaning on 'business expense' grounds if you are really trying to pinch pennies/don't get reimbursed for it. I vaguely remember that from last year but maybe I'm wrong. If you're like me and have to wear a suit a lot then those expenses add up.

    "Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

  • In reply to MonkeyWrench
    accountingbyday's picture

    MonkeyWrench:
    Pretty sure you can deduct stuff like dry cleaning on 'business expense' grounds if you are really trying to pinch pennies/don't get reimbursed for it. I vaguely remember that from last year but maybe I'm wrong. If you're like me and have to wear a suit a lot then those expenses add up.

    That's not true. Dry cleaning is only deductible if your business uniform "is not suitable for everyday use". This has been applied pretty broadly, so any normal shirt, pants, ties, etc... are not deductible. I doubt there's really anyone on this board that can deduct dry cleaning.

    I use taxact, it's cheaper than turbotax and just as easy to use.

  • BlackHat's picture

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  • snakeplissken's picture

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  • In reply to BlackHat
    idragmazda's picture

    Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis - when I was dead broke man I couldn't picture this