According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 46.8 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2015 were women. Of the mothers who worked, 76 percent with children under 18 had full-time jobs. So in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, here are six tax deductions specifically for women and mothers:
1) Most of the Things You Buy for Work are Tax Deductible.
If you use your phone or computer for work calls and emails, you can deduct a percentage of the cost of that equipment. You can also deduct anything you’re required to buy for work. This includes the cost of having a home office and all your office supplies and equipment. Just remember, a home office deduction requires that the office is in its own separate room and is used solely for business. However, you can deduct your office supplies and equipment even if you don’t have a home office that qualifies for the home office deduction.
2) Give Your Old Clothes to Charity.
Cleaning out your closet? You can deduct donations you make to qualified charities. This includes purses, shoes, and clothes. And they don’t have to be just yours, either — your family’s things count, too. It’s not just limited to clothes — you can also donate furniture, household items, toys, and even cars. Just be sure you’re donating to a charity that is designated non-profit with 501(c) status.
3) Looking For a New Job? Deduct the Costs.
If you’re itemizing your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction, you can deduct job search costs, including resume reviews, photocopying, travel, phone calls, and more.
4) Travel For Work? Deduct Your Travel Costs.
Even if you work for someone else, you can deduct the costs of driving to and from the office for errands and meetings. If you’re a small business owner, keep track of your mileage anytime you leave your office for a business-related errand or to meet a client. You can deduct the cost of travel at the standard mileage rate (53.5 cents in 2017) or the actual costs of using your car for business travel, including gas, oil changes, and other regular maintenance.
In either of these cases, keep track of your beginning and ending mileage, the date traveled, and what you were doing. For the standard mileage deduction, multiply the total number of miles you traveled for business times the standard mileage rate. If you want to deduct actual costs, use the mileage to determine what percentage of the time you used your car for business. Then you can claim the same percentage of costs for travel-related expenses.
5) Filing Status For Single Moms.
For single women raising children, don’t forget to use the head-of-household filing status, which will result in lower taxes than if you file as single.
6) Earned Income Tax Credit.
If you’re a working mom and earn a low to medium income, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This tax credit can count for as much as $6,269 in 2016 if you have three or more qualifying dependent children. The income thresholds are different for single and married taxpayers; check out the IRS page about the EITC to learn more.
One thing to note on the EITC: starting in 2017, anyone who claims the EITC on their tax return will not receive their tax refund until the week of February 27. This new policy is meant to prevent fraud by giving the IRS the chance to verify income via employer-submitted W2s before issuing refunds.
As a working woman, it’s important to keep as much of your hard-earned money as you can. By using these deductions, you’ll be able to take home more of your income to use as you see fit, such as celebrating International Women’s Day!