In the federal budget bill passed Feb. 9, Congress revived dozens of expired tax breaks retroactively for 2017. Here are the ones you may be able to use:
- The tuition and fees deduction. If you paid qualified tuition and related higher education expenses, you may be able to deduct as much as $4,000 of those costs. This can be done on a regular return (without itemizing). The deduction is capped at $4,000 for single filers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $65,000 or less ($130,000 joint) and at $2,000 for single filers with AGI of $80,000 or less ($160,000 joint). This tuition and fees deduction can be a nice alternative to using the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.
- Mortgage insurance deduction. If you pay mortgage insurance premiums, you can now deduct them as an itemized deduction. This deduction phases out for taxpayers with AGI of $100,000 or more.
- Mortgage debt forgiveness exclusion. If qualifying mortgage debt on your primary residence was discharged or forgiven, you can exclude that amount from your income taxes.
- Energy-efficient home improvement credit. If you purchased energy-efficient home improvements (such as upgrades to windows, or heating and cooling systems), you may be able to take a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the amount paid, up to $500.
Bonus Tip: If you’re eligible for any of these but you’ve already filed, you may still be able to claim these by filing an amended tax return.
If you think you qualify for any of these, remember to bring all related documentation to your next tax filing appointment. The IRS is now scrambling to figure out how to apply these late changes to the already published 1040 tax form for 2017.