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Deductions without itemizing

As I mentioned earlier this week, tax filing season is like a big scavenger hunt for tax deductions.

Above-the-line-1040-2006 (2) Most of the time, when people hear the word "deduction" they associate it with itemizing expenses on Schedule A.

But there are more than a dozen so-called above-the-line deductions available directly on Form 1040. Four of them are found on Form 1040A.

Technically, these are adjustments to income. You use them to whittle your gross income down to a smaller adjusted gross income level. Each step you take in reducing your overall income means your taxable income, and therefore your tax bill, will be lower.

These adjustments get their above-the-line nickname because they are subtracted like deductions and they appear above the last line on the first page of the 1040 and 1040A.

Among the popular write-offs are claims for tuition and fees, educator expenses, traditional IRS contributions, student loan interest, alimony payments, moving expenses and a collection of self-employment related expenses. These, and more, offer you ways to cut your taxes without itemizing.

No one is eligible to claim all of these diverse above-the-line deductions, but you might find a few that could help save you some tax dollars. So take the time to check them out.

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