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4 Tax-Saving Strategies You Can Implement This Year

If you’ve done your own taxes or hired an accountant, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the term itemized deductions.

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The strategy involves using specific expenses that can be subtracted from your adjusted gross income (AGI) that subsequently reduce your overall tax liability.

The deductions themselves are listed individually on your tax return and are in place of claiming what is known as the standard deduction, which is a fixed amount set by the IRS based on your filing status.

Here are 4 strategies that you should consider in 2024 as part of your tax-saving plan.

  1. Bunch Your Deductions

You can exceed the threshold for itemized deductions if you bunch them all into one single tax year.

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For example, making larger charitable contributions or bunching your medical and dental expenses that are not reimbursable through insurance or normally paid through a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account can result in a worthwhile write-off. They must, however, exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income.

  1. Contribute to an HSA (Health Savings Account)

The funds from your HSA can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. All contributions are free of taxation plus withdrawals are also tax-free. What’s even better, money left over in an HSA cannot be forfeited. Instead, it’s rolled over from year to year.

Contributing to an HSA is among the 4 tax-saving strategies you can implement this year. Photo: Utah778, Getty Images.

Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) are also a useful tax-savings strategy but are not as beneficial as HSAs.

  1. Open a Retirement Account

You can maximize your tax liability by first opening a retirement account and then maximizing your contributions to it.

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Opening a retirement account is among the 4 tax-saving strategies that you can use this year. Photo: AtlasComposer.

Traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, or other similar employer-sponsored plans are all suitable when implementing this strategy since contributions to them are often tax-deductible.

  1. Take Advantage of Education-Related Deductions and Credits

Whether you’re furthering your own education or your spouse’s, or you’re paying for your kids’ schooling, be sure to take advantage of the various education-related deductions and credits that are available.

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They include the lifetime learning credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit that will offset the educational expenses you’ll incur.

Common Write-Offs You Can Deduct from Your Federal Tax Return

Keep this list of additional write-offs handy when it comes to filing your taxes in the future. They include both deductions and tax credits. Download the PDF.

  • Property Taxes– capped at $10,000 as per the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Expected to expire in 2025, unless Congress extends it.
  • Mortgage Interest– limited to interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt incurred after Dec. 15, 2017. That number is reduced to $350,000 for those married-filing-separately.
  • State Taxes Paid– the write-off is capped at $10,000 for all deductible state and local taxes.
  • Contributions to a Charity– provided they total up to 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). The donation of property and/or items is considered a charitable contribution.
  • Medical and Dental Expenses– you can only deduct such costs if they exceed 7.5% of your AGI. Mileage for trips to the doctor’s office or hospital can also be included. The 2023 rate is 22 cents a mile. In 2024 it has been reduced to 21 cents per mile.
  • Lifetime Learning Education Credit– the maximum amount of credit you’ll get per tax return is $2,000. This tax credit covers tuition, fee payments, and books and/or supplies for yourself, spouse, or child. The credit is income-based.
  • American Opportunity Tax Education Credit– offers a tax break for the first four years of higher education. Covers tuition fee payments, as well as books and/or supplies for yourself, spouse, or child. The amount of tax credit you’ll get is also based on income.
  • Retirement Credits– applicable to traditional or Roth IRAs and 401(k)s. To qualify for this tax credit, the maximum you can contribute is $2,000/$4,000 if married-filing-jointly.
  • IRA Contributions– the maximum contribution for 2023 was $6,500, plus an additional $1,000 if 50 and older. In 2024, it has been increased to $7,000, with the same catch-up rule as last year.
  • Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit– if you are self-employed, you can deduct 100% of the health insurance premiums you pay per month. This applies to health insurance for you, your spouse and your dependents.
  • Student Loan Interest– the maximum amount of interest you can deduct is $2,500.
  • Adoption Tax Credit– the tax credit for 2023 was $15,950 per child. In 2024, it’s $16,810.
  • Home Office Deduction– there are two options. They include the simpler one, which means multiplying the square footage of your home office by $5. A maximum of $1,500 can be used as a tax credit (up to 300 square feet). The other alternative is to claim actual expenses, including rent, mortgage interest and repairs based on the amount of your home that is devoted to a home business.
  • Solar Tax Credit– claim up to 30% of home improvements like the addition of solar water heaters and solar electric panels that were installed from 2022 through 2032.