I get this question all the time from my tax clients; “Can I itemize my tax deductions?” Well, it depends. If your total itemized deductions exceed your standard deduction, then yes you can and should itemize. For 2012 the standard deduction is $5,950 for single or married taxpayers filing separately, $11,900 for married couples and qualifying widows, and $8,700 for taxpayers fling as head of household.
The most common itemized deductions are real estate taxes and mortgage interest paid on your home, charitable contributions, the higher of state income or sales taxes, medical and dental expenses and miscellaneous deductions. Note that only the amounts spent above 7.5% of AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) can be deductible for medical and dental. Miscellaneous deductions include a few different items: job hunting expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees, uniforms and union dues, among others. This deduction is allowed for amounts that exceed 2% of AGI.
Hopefully this helps answer your question, but itemizing your deductions on Schedule A of your tax return can be a complicated thing. If you are not totally sure if an item is deductible, give us a call to discuss.