Creative Tax Breaks for Renters

Young woman at her kitchen table with computer, shuffling through papers and doing taxesTax day is Tuesday, April 18th. Whether you’re bravely doing your taxes yourself, paying someone to do them for you, or bribing a friend with pizza to help you, one thing is a no-brainer – you want all the tax breaks you can get! And while you may think that homeowners get to take home all the tax deductions, that’s not necessarily true. There are a few creative tax breaks that could be perfect for apartment renters too!

1. Non-cash charitable contributions

If you’re a generous person, it just might pay off at tax time. If you’ve kept track of your non-cash charitable contributions (such as clothing, household items, electronics, and even vehicles), you might be eligible for certain tax deductions. Depending on the value of the item(s) you donated, you may need a receipt from the charity, written acknowledgment from the charity, the fair market value of the item, and possibly a formal appraisal of the item.

2. Health insurance

If you’re self-employed, you might be able to deduct the amount you paid for medical and dental insurance over the year. This includes money spent on coverage for your spouse and dependents as well. If you were self-employed in 2016 and had a net profit for the year, you definitely want to research this potential tax break.

3. Teacher expenses

If you’re a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide at a K-12 school, look into the Educator Expense Deduction. This allows you to deduct up to $250 for unreimbursed expenses. Qualified expenses are things that you needed for necessary professional development courses, as well as any supplementary materials you used in class. As any teacher knows, it’s common to reach into your own wallet for things you need in your classroom. This tax break can help out!

4. Higher education expenses

It can pay to be a student during tax time – really! You may be eligible for a tax deduction if you are currently enrolled in higher education or paying off loans. If you are currently paying tuition and fees, you can deduct up to $4,000 as an adjustment to your total income. If you’re paying off student loans and your modified adjusted gross income is less than $80,000, you can use a student loan interest deduction to reduce your income amount by up to $2,500.

5. Buying an electric car

If you bought an electric car to help the environment, you’ll be happy to know it could help you during tax time too. If your car or truck “draws energy from a battery with at least 4-kilowatt hours” and can “be recharged from an external source,” you might be eligible for this tax credit. Depending on the capacity of the car’s battery, you could receive a credit anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500.

Renting an apartment is a smart financial move for many people, and so is taking advantage of these creative tax breaks for renters. You know what else is a smart financial move? Using to find your next apartment! Tell your landlord where you found them and you could earn up to $200 in rewards. That’s like an extra bump in your tax return! Make sure to follow ApartmentSearch on Facebook and Twitter for more hot tips just for renters!

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