Wide array of tax breaks expired at end of 2013

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If you didn’t take advantage of a wide array of tax credits and deductions last year, it looks like you’ll be out of luck in 2014.

If you didn't take advantage of a wide array of tax credits and deductions last year, it looks like you'll be out of luck in 2014. Tax credits for certain electric cars though continue into 2014.   ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
If you didn't take advantage of a wide array of tax credits and deductions last year, it looks like you'll be out of luck in 2014. Tax credits for certain electric cars though continue into 2014.

Among the tax credits and deductions that expired last Dec. 31 affecting individuals:

EDUCATION

Students or their parents will no longer be able to take a maximum $4,000 deduction for tuition and required fees to attend an institution of higher education. In some cases, related expenses had included activity fees, books, supplies and equipment — but not room and board, transportation or sports, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Although the tuition and fees deduction expired, there will still be other education-related tax breaks available for students and their parents during the 2014 tax year, including a deduction for interest paid on student loans and the American Opportunity and lifetime learning credits.

Unless Congress acts, elementary, middle school and high school teachers will no longer be able to take a $250 deduction for school supplies paid out of pocket. According to CRS, this deduction has been on the books since 2002.

STATE AND LOCAL SALES TAX

Taxpayers had temporarily been given the choice of deducting state and local sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes. This had been particularly beneficial for taxpayers who lived in states like Florida, Nevada and Texas without an income tax, and for those who made a purchase significant in value.

HOUSING

In an attempt to help people who lost their homes during the housing crisis or who owed more on the home than its value, Congress had passed legislation that allowed homeowners to exclude up to $2 million in mortgage forgiveness from taxable income. That tax break was not extended beyond 2013.

In another change affecting housing, Congress let the deduction for the cost of premiums for home mortgage insurance expire.

CHARITABLE GIVING

Taxpayers older than 70 ½ no longer have the option of contributing to charities directly from their individual retirement accounts. This direct contribution allowed seniors to avoid having to declare the amount withdrawn from the IRA as income — and pay taxes on it.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

For the past several years, taxpayers have been able to get a tax credit for making their homes more energy efficient. But list that among the tax breaks that weren’t renewed for the 2014 tax year.

In its most recent incarnation, the credit was a lifetime maximum of $500 for such things as insulation, more efficient heating, cooling and hot water systems, doors and windows.

Tax credits for certain electric cars continue into 2014.

COMMUTING TO WORK

Many workers take advantage of employer programs that allow them to pay for certain commuting costs pretax — the cost is deducted straight from income before any taxes are withheld. For the 2013 tax year, the amounts for parking and public transportation were equal — $245 per month. But beginning this year, the public transportation pretax benefit drops to $130 per month.

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