Look for 'hidden' deductions ahead of tax deadline day

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April 15 is creeping up on us. Tax season is in full swing, and preparation is the key to maximizing your return.

In fact, millions of taxpayers overpay each year because they overlook money-saving write-offs.

FOX5 on Thursday spoke with a tax professional who said that in most cases people are missing out on between $500 and $2,000, because they skip big deductions.

It starts with having receipts available.

"Professionals are making money on time, so if you want to save money on the preparation of your taxes, being organized really helps," said John Wightman with the Rich and Wightman Company.

Wightman said the No. 1 thing people miss on their taxes is write-offs related to their jobs. For instance, if you purchase items specific to your industry that aren't reimbursed, you may write those off.

"This can include use of their personal automobile that didn't get reimbursed. It could be safety equipment that they're required to have like safety glasses or safety boots, or other things that are necessary for them to maintain their job," Wightman said.

For those who are seeking employment, Wightman said the items used to find a job can also be used to save money.

"Preparation for your resume, temporary travel and moving expenses that are job-related to where you're moving from one city to another, looking for new work, that can include the cost of airfare as well as if you're driving yourself to go to that city for an interview," he said.

Once you land a job, you might need someone to watch your children. Wightman said childcare is another big write-off people often forget about.

"When you pay for qualified childcare for your kids, you can take a deduction on your tax return for that, and it's actually a credit which is more beneficial than a deduction," Wightman said.

Also, you might consider upgrading your home with energy-saving appliances. Wightman said those are considered residential energy credits, which boost your return.

"[They] are available in the amount of between a $50 credit and $300 credit that you can take towards new solar-efficient doors and windows and other things like an energy-efficient water heater," he said.

You should also look for things such as charitable donations, paid sales tax, medical insurance premiums and medically-related spending.

Wightman stressed that every situation is different and you won't be able to write everything off. He said it's best to consult with a tax professional in order to determine which write-offs you qualify for.

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