American Tax Service

Helping Americans File Their Taxes


How to Determine Which Medical Expenses are Tax Deductible

Even if you have the best insurance plan, you still might end up paying medical bills. However, all hope is not lost.

You can still get a tax break from your medical expenses, which can help reduce your overall medical costs.

In 2019, the IRS allowed you to deduct medical expenses that exceeded 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, all taxpayers may deduct only the amount of the total unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year that exceeds 10% of their adjusted gross income.

The “Medical” Expenses You Can Deduct

The term medical is used broadly, but it does include dental and vision expenses.

So whether you’ve gotten contact lenses, glasses, veneers, braces, or root canals this year, you can claim the medical expenses tax deduction.

It doesn’t just stop there, though.

Other medical deductions can include medical devices, psychiatric treatment, psychological treatment, preventative care, prescriptions medicines, and even surgeries, all fall under the scope of “medical deductions” for your taxes.

Even those travels to and from the doctor’s office and monthly insurance payments are considered deductibles.

Medical Expenses That You Can’t Deduct

Before you claim every procedure as a deductible on your taxes, you need to know what is not allowed as an IRS medical deduction this year.

If you’ve been reimbursed for the procedure by either an employer or insurance agent, you are unable to deduct the expense from your taxes.

This does not include medical pre-payment plans, though. So, you’re going to be covered if you had help from a credit provider for the procedure.

Cosmetic surgeries cannot be claimed either unless they were a “life-saving procedure” or contributed to a fix to a serious health issue you were facing.

For most cosmetic surgeries, you won’t be covered for medical deductions. You also cannot claim everyday health and hygiene products or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

Is Medical Insurance Tax Deductible?

Any out-of-pocket health insurance premiums you pay for plans that include medical care are tax deductible.

(Medical insurance coverage, with certain exceptions, cover treatment such as hospitalization, surgery, and X-rays; prescription medications, insulin, dental care, lost or broken contact lenses, and long-term care.)

You can write off these costs for you, your spouse, and your dependents when filing your taxes.

Is There a Tax Deduction for Medical Mileage?

Yes, If the transportation costs are primarily for and necessary to the medical care, you may be able to claim mileage reimbursement from the IRS.

You can choose between the following two approaches when subtracting mileage for medical care:

  • Standard personal car mileage is $0.16 per mile.
  • Actual costs you’ve incurred for using the car to transport patients

Itemization or Standardization?

While it would be a dream to claim both, you aren’t able to claim both an itemized tax deduction with your standard deduction.

Essentially, your medical deduction needs to be significant, along with other itemizations, to give you a great deduction.

If you’re not sure which is better, you don’t have to worry. Online tax calculators offer you a simple solution by processing all the data and picking the one that gives you the best tax refund.

Are Pet Medical Expenses Tax Deductible?

Unfortunately, you cannot claim medical expenses for dogs as a deduction on your tax return. Only if your pet is a recognized service animal, such as a guide dog, would there be an exception.

If your pets are recognized service animals, you may be able to deduct the costs of their medical care if you have a physical handicap, hearing loss, or vision impairment.

Purchase, training, and upkeep costs for the animal, including food, grooming, and medical care, may be paid.

The IRS does not classify therapy animals as trained service animals. Visit Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses for further details on the deduction of medical costs for pets (service animals).

If you do have a licensed service animal, you can list the expenses for keeping the animal in good health on Schedule A under medical expenses.

Make Sure to Pay Your Medical Expenses

Although paying your medical expenses isn’t fun, it’s the only way you can deduct them from your income.

When it comes down to it, Uncle Sam believes you are only owed a deduction if you’ve paid up on the current bill.

You cannot ask for deductions on future expenses, so you want to be current on the bill. Even if you pay it on a credit card, it is “paid” by you.

So, if you’ve been plagued by medical issues this year, consider an itemized deduction for this tax season.

How to Claim the Medical Expenses Deduction

To claim the medical expenses deduction, you have to itemize your deductions. Additionally, you should only claim this deduction if it is higher than the standard deduction.

If you decide to itemize your deductions, you have to file Form 1040 and attach Schedule A.


Tax Credits for New Home Construction

Are you building a new home?

There are tax breaks available for people in this situation. They come in the form of tax deductions and tax credits. A credit is used to reduce the amount you pay, and a deduction reduces your total taxable income.

Here are some of the tax write-offs available to you now.

Did You Pay Interest on a Construction Loan?

If you took out a construction loan to build your home, then chances are you paid interest on that loan.

You can claim the interest paid on the initial 24 months of that loan when you file your taxes.

Keep in mind that this home had to have been either your primary or secondary residence. The deduction only applies to loan limits of $1 million.

Also, if you’re married but filing separately, the deduction only applies to the first $500,000 of the loan.

Did You Pay State Sales Tax?

When you purchased building materials, you may have paid state sales tax.

If the amount you paid was larger than the amount of your local or state income tax, you can deduct the state sales tax you paid from the amount you pay to the Federal government.

Again, this is an itemized deduction. You also can’t take the local and state deduction for income tax if you take the state sales tax deduction.

You need to choose one of them.

Green Tax Credits

There are several home energy tax credits available. These apply to geothermal pumps, solar energy upgrades, and wind turbines.

They were worth 30% of the installation cost with no maximum limit.

The other main green tax credit is for 30% of the installation cost for installing fuel cells. It is worth $500 for every half-kilowatt of total power capacity.

The difference here is that it can’t be used in conjunction with your secondary residence.

Does Your State Offer Green Credits and Deductions?

Depending on where you live, your state may have credits and deductions available for various energy and green upgrades.

For example, many states offer tax breaks for installing solar panels and wall insulation.

Make sure you look into this to make sure you’re not inadvertently missing out on a tax break.

How to Claim These Tax Breaks

To claim new home tax credits, you need to claim them through Form 1040. None of these deductions can be claimed via the standard deduction. They need to be itemized.

Are you claiming an IECC credit? The rules are slightly different. You need to file Form 8908.

Finally, remember online tax preparation will check the requirements of any state tax breaks to ensure you qualify and that you claim them correctly.


Dependents – The Tax Deductions They Bring

Kids can be stressful at times, but the good news is they can save your butt during tax time.

Today we are sharing some of the tax benefits that kids and other dependents bring to you.

Dependent Tax Deductions

You may be able to claim more dependent tax deductions and credits as a family than single taxpayers.

However, if you’re not aware of these deductions and credits, you might be losing out on significant tax breaks.

Child Tax Credit

The child tax credit is better than the deductions because your taxes are reduced dollar for dollar. In addition, claiming this credit gives up to $3,600 for children under 17.

Married couples qualify if they don’t make more than $110,000, and single parents qualify if they don’t make more than $75,000.

Child and Dependent Care Credit

Uncle Sam understands that childcare is expensive. Therefore, working parents or parents actively pursuing employment for dependents under 13 can claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

This credit is another dollar-for-dollar reduction of your taxes for up to 35% of your expenses. This equals $3000 for one child or $6000 for two or more children.

Depending on your income, 20% – 35% of your childcare expenses (based on your income) can be reduced. Nursing school, private kindergarten, daycare, and after-school programs all qualify.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to W-2 employees and self-employed people who make less than a certain amount.

How much you get depends on the number of children you have. Below are the phase-out limits.

  • 3 or more children – $51,464 ($57,414 for married joint filers)
  • 2 children – $47,915 ($53,865 for married joint filers)
  • 1 child – $42,158 ($48,108 for married joint filers)

The credit ranges from $1,502 (no children) to $6,728 (three children). The best part is this is a refundable tax credit so it can result in a tax refund.

How to Claim Dependent Tax Credits

The next time your kids are working your nerves, remember that they save your butt big time during tax season.

If you file your taxes online, they will make sure that you claim all the tax credits you deserve, and all you have to do is answer a few simple questions.


New Tax Credits and Deductions

Do you want to reduce your tax bill this year? You can maximize your tax savings by checking to see if you’re eligible to claim any of the new expanded tax credits.

The difference between a tax credit and a deduction is a deduction reduces your taxable income, whereas credits reduce the amount of tax you pay directly.

Refundable credits are even better because they can reduce your tax bill even if the credit is worth more than you owe. Non-refundable credits are only valid up to the amount you owe.

We’re going to look at how much seven of the big tax credits are worth.

How Much is The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

For the tax year, the credit can range from $538 for no qualifying children to $6,660 for three or more children that qualify.

The EITC is the number one credit you should aim for if you’re a low-income family. It’s a refundable tax credit you can claim if you qualify.

The requirements are you need to be a US citizen or resident alien with an earned income, a valid social security number, and an investment income of under $3,650 for the current tax year.

It can’t be claimed if you’re married and filing separately.

When you file, the EITC income limit for taxpayers with no qualifying children is $15,820 for single taxpayers and $21,710 for married couples filing jointly.

If you have qualifying children, the EITC scales up to a maximum of $50,594 and $56,844 for singles and couples with three qualifying children, respectively.

How Much is the Child Tax Credit?

The child tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit providing up to $2,000 per child this tax season.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) increased the credit up to $2,000 until 2025 to offset the removal of many personal exemptions.

These changes will become apparent in the taxes you file your tax return.

how much do i get back in taxes for a child?

Income phaseouts have also been increased until 2025.

Your modified adjusted gross income where the phaseout begins is $200,000 for single taxpayers and $400,000 for married couples filing jointly.

It represents an increase of $75,000 and $110,000, respectively.

There are seven different criteria a child must meet, including age, amount of support, relationship, claimed dependency, citizenship, how much time the child spends in your home, and your overall family income.

What if your tax bill isn’t high enough to claim the full credit?

You could qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit, which is a refundable tax credit. This enables taxpayers to claim the difference of $1,000 this year and $1,400 from April 2019.

Form 8812 will enable you to see if you qualify.

How Much is The Non-Child Dependent Credit?

This is a new non-refundable tax credit worth $500 to cover any dependents who don’t qualify under the child tax credit.

For example, this could be a child who’s 17 or older or any dependents like elderly parents. This credit can’t be claimed for yourself or your spouse when filing jointly.

This credit can be claimed when you file your taxes until the 2025 tax year.

How Much is The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit?

You can claim a maximum of $3,000 in care expenses for a single qualifying dependent or $6,000 for two or more.

It covers from 20% to 35% of any allowable care expenses. It’s based on income with no phaseout.

This tax credit is relevant if you pay care costs relating to any dependents in your household, including children and the elderly.

It’s designed to offset any costs incurred because you must work or to help you find work.

How Much Are Education Tax Credits?

The Lifetime Learning Credit can be used to cover $2,000 per year if your modified adjusted gross income is below $65,000 as a single taxpayer or $130,000 if you’re a married couple filing jointly.

Another education credit is the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), where you can claim a maximum of $2,900 for each eligible student every year for four years.

Your modified adjusted gross income must be below $90,000 as a single taxpayer or $180,000 for married couples filing jointly.

40% of the AOTC is classified as refundable.

However, you can only claim one of two tax credits per student.

The deduction for education tuition and fees was removed as part of the TCJA. However, tax credits can offer you an alternative way to make savings from your education.

How Much is The Savers Credit – Retirement Savings Contribution Credits?

This may also be known as the Saver’s Credit. This tax credit offers a tax reduction of up to 50% of your contributions to an IRA or any other retirement plan provided by your employer, such as your 401(k).

The credit is available if you have an adjusted gross income of $18,500 or less for a single taxpayer or $37,000 for a married couple filing jointly for the coming tax year.

It does phaseout. It can fall to 20% and 10% of your overall contributions before it phases out completely if you earn $31,000 as a single taxpayer or $62,000 as a married couple filing jointly.

How Much is The Healthcare Premium Tax Credit (PTC)?

The PTC tax credit is available if your household income is below 400% of the Federal poverty line, based on the size of your family.

For the taxes filed in April 2018, this limit is $11,880 for individuals and $4,140 per additional family member in your household.

Obamacare hasn’t been completely killed off by the current administration. The penalty for not having health insurance won’t be removed until 2019.

The PTC continues to exist for people who want to purchase health insurance through the general marketplace.

Although some of the new tax law changes may seem to be insignificant, you could save a substantial amount on your next tax return by applying these updated rules and regulations accordingly.

Keep in mind that these types of changes tend to happen on an annual basis, so make sure you stay on top of amendments to maximize your benefits.

How to Claim Tax Deductions and Credits

Don’t worry about knowing these new tax credits and deductions and how to claim them.

Online tax filing asks simple questions about you and helps you easily claim every tax credit and deduction possible.

The online program finds all the new tax deductions and credits you are entitled to for the largest possible refund. It’s the most complete free tax filing solution for everyone.


How To Find My W2 Form Online With H&R Block

See below how the H&R Block w2 form Early Access finder allows you to get your W-2 online.

So What is the H&R Block W2 Finder?

H&R Block’s W-2 Finder s is one of the tools you can use to get your W2 form online and file your taxes fast.

And that ultimately means receiving your refund faster as well.

You don’t need to wait for your W-2 to come by mail when using the H&R Block W-2 Finder.

Once you pull your W-2 in electronically, it is safely stored and ready to start filing with H&R Block. Best of all, you will receive it for free.

How Do I Get My W2 Form Online?

Using H&R Block’s W-2 Finder is fast and straightforward. It’s a three-step process.

  1. Go to the W-2 Finder Search Page
  2. Enter your employer’s name or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) to verify they participate in the program.
  3. If they do, follow the onscreen instructions so your W-2 can be sent electronically to H&R Block. If it’s not currently available, you will receive an email notifying you when it is.

After you have found your W2, you can get a discount when using H&R Block online to file your taxes.

Why Your W-2 Tax Form is Important

You will need some essential documents to file your taxes accurately and get the maximum refund you deserve.

Your W-2’s are one of those necessary documents to have before filing. Here are three important boxes it contains:

Box 1: Your Total Pay

This is the most important part of your W-2 that will always be used. It is the total compensation you’ve received for the year.

It is higher than your net pay because it includes other deducted amounts, such as taxes, insurance, and defined contributions.

Box 2: Federal Income Tax Withheld

This box holds the key, to whether you will receive a refund or owe money back to the IRS. It should be reasonably close to what your tax liability is.

If it’s off too much, you need to update your W-4 form which determines how much taxes should be held from your paycheck in the future.

Box 12: Special Benefits

Box 12 is a special box that helps offset your taxable income.

It lists the tax breaks you’re entitled to from contributing to plans such as a flexible spending account, 401(k) retirement plan, and adoption benefits, for instance.

The more items listed here, the better your chances to lower your tax liability.

Tax Filing with H&R Block is beneficial for you because they will diligently go through all the necessary steps to find you the most money during tax season.

What if I Need a W2 From a Previous Year?

Don’t worry if you can’t find your W-2 online from a previous year. Getting a copy of a W-2 is relatively easy. There are two options you have for you to get a W-2 from an earlier year.

Option #1: Contact your Employer

Contacting the employer who issued the lost W-2 is the easiest way to obtain a copy.

Your employer or former employer’s payroll department is sure to be saving important tax data like W-2s. Ask them to send you a copy. It is very simple and won’t take much time.

Option #2: Contact the IRS

If it isn’t feasible to contact the employer who issued the W-2, your next option would be to contact the IRS and ask for a 4506 form.

There will be a cost to this option, and it will take some time. It is always better to get the W-2 form to file your tax return from a previous year instead of not filing it at all.

Here is what you should be aware of when requesting a W-2 form for a previous year from the IRS:

  • The IRS holds onto a record of your previous W-2s (also every income tax file with your Social Security Number) from the previous 7-10 years.
  • The W-2s are only available from the IRS one year after they have been filed.
  • A  Form 4506 will need to be filled out. Make sure your writing is legible, and don’t forget to sign it.
  • Every W-2 requested will have a service fee of $57. Make checks payable to “The United States Treasury.”
  • The mailing address to send Form 4506 and the check are located on the second page of the form. Make sure both Form 4506 along with the check is sent to that address.
  • It will take as long as 2 months, longer in some cases, for the IRS to process your request and mail you a copy of the W-2 form.

How to get a lost w-2 video

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Proceed With Preparing And Submitting Your Previous Year Tax Return

It should be evident that getting your W-2 online from your employer or previous employer is better.

However, there might be situations where you don’t want to contact your previous employer, or there is no way of actually contacting them.

In either case, the IRS, for a fee, will send you copies of the W-2 from prior years.

Once you have that W-2, you can now use it to proceed with filing your tax return from that previous year.

H&R Block’s free W-2 Early Access service lets get your W2 online so you can get started on your taxes.