taxes

Some taxes can lower your IRS bill

Property taxes must be itemized

For the 2008 and 2009 tax years, Congress allowed homeowners who claimed the standard deduction to add at least some of their real estate tax payments to their standard deduction amount. That's no longer an option.

So to deduct property taxes, you must itemize.

Deducting vehicle sales taxes

If you bought a motor vehicle in 2013, sales tax paid on that purchase can be added to the rest of the sales tax amount you deduct on Schedule A.

And what, in the IRS' estimation, is a motor vehicle? The definition includes cars, motorcycles, motor homes, recreational vehicles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans and off-road vehicles. You also can deduct the sales tax paid on a plane or boat if the tax rate was the same as your state's general sales tax rate.

Just add the vehicle's (or boat's or plane's) sales tax amount to the state and local sales tax amount you enter on line 5b of Schedule A. For most filers, the amount of general sales tax is found in the tables provided for each state in the Schedule A instructions.

And your total deductible sales tax amount -- your state taxes, any local sales taxes and motor vehicle sales tax additions -- is calculated using the general sales tax deduction worksheet that's also found in the Schedule A instructions.

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