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Tax Time: Can you really deduct that?
by Staff
Before you get too "creative" with your income tax deductions, take our quiz to see what's kosher and what will land you in the "audit" pile at the U.S. IRS.

If you are blind, deaf or otherwise disabled, you can deduct the expenses related to a service animal like a guide dog. But what about nontraditional service animals like monkeys or parrots?

  • All service animals are deductible with a doctor's authorization.
  • No, only dogs are deductible.
  • No, only dogs and miniature horses.

Speaking of dogs, which of the following dog "jobs" is considered a deductible business expense?

  • dogs that work as guard dogs or "junkyard" dogs
  • dogs that work on farms as sheep herders
  • competitive show dogs
  • all of the above

The IRS lets you deduct moving expenses when relocating for a new job, but how far do you have to move to qualify as a "relocation"?

  • Your new house needs to be 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more from your old one.
  • Your new job location needs to be 50 miles or more from your old house.
  • Your new job location needs to be 50 miles or farther from your old house than the job you previously held.

Can you deduct moving expenses related to a new job even if you get fired from that job after two weeks?

  • yes, as long as you get a new job in the same geographic area
  • yes, as long as you're employed with some type of job for at least 39 weeks out of the year
  • yes, as long as you satisfy both of the answers above

The IRS allows you to deduct the cost of gas while relocating for a job. What was the rate for 2013?

  • 3 cents per mile
  • 16 cents per mile
  • 24 cents per mile

Most of us know that donations to charitable organizations are tax deductible, but what about volunteer work? Can you deduct the cost of the flour and sugar you used to bake cookies for a church fundraiser?

  • yes
  • no
  • only if the expenses were greater than $100

Can you deduct the cost of hiring a babysitter to watch your kids while you volunteer with a charitable organization?

  • yes
  • no
  • only if your children are younger than 12 years old

Does your entire home count as a "home office" if you have a home-based business?

  • yes
  • no
  • only if you don’t have a designated room for an office

To make home office deductions less complicated, the IRS introduced a "simplified option" for tax year 2013. How much does the IRS allow taxpayers to deduct for home offices up to 300 square feet (28 square meters)?

  • $1 per square foot
  • $5 per square foot
  • $10 per square foot

Can you deduct the expenses related to a small side business like selling homemade soap at a farmer's market, even if you don't make a profit?

  • Yes, as long as you have a "reasonable expectation" of making a profit, it's a business.
  • No, the IRS defines any small business that doesn't make a profit as a "hobby."

Can you deduct the money you spend on gas getting to and from work on your daily commute?

  • yes, up to 15 cents per mile.
  • Nope, commutes don't count as business travel.
  • yes, if your commute is longer than 50 miles

The IRS allows you to deduct the cost of medical expenses in excess of 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Which of the following qualifies as a medical expense?

  • registration fees and lodging to attend a conference about your husband's medical condition
  • gas mileage for traveling to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
  • the cost of installing and maintaining a swimming pool to combat emphysema
  • all of the above

Can you deduct the cost of driving to interviews and printing out resumes to find a new job?

  • yes, but only if you were laid off and are looking for work in the same field
  • yes, but only if the job is 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more from your house
  • no

Can a college student deduct the interest paid on a student loan even if his parents are the ones paying back the loan?

  • yes, even though it seems patently unfair
  • no, that's crazy
  • depends on the amount of interest

The IRS allows you to deduct state and local taxes paid from your taxable income on federal tax returns. But what if you live in a state that doesn't collect state or local taxes? What else can you deduct?

  • sales taxes
  • transportation costs
  • insurance premiums

Which of the following is NOT on the IRS list of miscellaneous work-related expenses?

  • union dues and expenses
  • plastic surgery for exotic dancers
  • a physical required by an employer

True or false: Self-employed taxpayers can deduct the cost of health insurance premiums, even if they don't itemize their deductions.

  • True
  • False

If you are a teacher's aide in an elementary school, can you deduct the cost of buying extra colored pencils and construction paper for your students?

  • yes, but only up to $250
  • no, unless you spent more than 5 percent of your adjusted gross income

The IRS offers up to $4,000 in tuition deductions for folks who are paying for college. If you are paying your live-in boyfriend's college tuition, can you qualify for the deduction?

  • yes, as long as you can claim him as a dependent
  • no, he has to be your spouse or child

The IRS allows you to deduct certain expenses related to investments. Which of the following is NOT deductible?

  • software or online services to manage your investments
  • trading commissions charged by your broker
  • subscriptions to Forbes or other investment magazines