The IRS is strict about what you can and can’t deduct to trim your tax bill. It pays to know the limits.
Many taxpayers may think they can itemize expenses that aren’t really deductible, such as over-the-counter medicines. There are steps you can take to reduce your tax bill, but if you try to claim illegitimate write-offs, you could end up paying the government interest and penalties.
“This denial of deductions will also likely be reported to state income taxing authorities and could have state income tax implications,” says tax expert Francine J. Lipman, a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Unless you have enough deductible expenses to surpass your standard deduction, you cannot itemize. The standard deductions for 2019 are $12,200 for single filers; $18,350 for heads of household; and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly.
To help you avoid missteps, we’ve put together a list of expenses you might think you can claim but can’t. We also list related tax breaks that are legitimate.
Here are nine expenses you can’t deduct, along with nine related expenses that are deductible for the 2019 tax year.