(WJW/STACKER) — Tax day is only weeks away, so it’s time to gather your documents and start the filing process.
If inflation is breaking the bank, consider some surprising things you might be able to write off this tax season to help your chances of getting a larger return or reducing what you owe.
Tax write-offs are expenses that you can deduct from your taxable income, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Here’s a list of unusual deductions to make note of before you file:
1.) Pregnancy medical expenses
Any year you incur significant medical expenses that relate to your pregnancy, the IRS allows you to deduct a portion of the cost on your income taxes, but only if you are eligible to itemize deductions, according to TurboTax. Total all of these items and subtract an amount equal to 7.5% of your adjusted gross income from it.
2.) Swimming pools
You can deduct the construction and maintenance of a swimming pool — but only if you have a medical condition and your doctor prescribes it. You can also deduct the pool care supplies, said Abby Eisenkraft, CEO of New York-based Choice Tax Solutions Inc., an IRS Enrolled Agent.
3.) Alcohol and drug addiction treatment
If you itemize your deductions, the IRS says you may be able to deduct expenses you paid for acupuncture treatments or inpatient treatment at a center for alcohol or drug addiction; or for participation in a smoking-cessation program and for drugs to alleviate nicotine withdrawal that require a prescription.
4.) Online classes
Entrepreneurs and their employees who take an online class or one to be certified for a certain skill can deduct the cost of the classes, said Stephen Sheinbaum, founder of Bizfi, the New York-based small business lender.
5.) Non-business bad debts
Does a friend or family member owe you money? Non-business bad debts must be totally worthless to be deductible, according to the IRS. To show that a debt is worthless, you must establish that you’ve taken reasonable steps to collect the debt.
6.) Mowing your lawn
Small business owners who meet clients or customers at their home on a regular basis can also include a portion of their lawn care expenses, said Rebecca Pavese, a CPA and financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group, the Scarsdale, N.Y.-based financial planning firm.
7.) Shoveling snow
Small business owners who have a home office and had to cope with the hassle of purchasing de-icing salt or hiring a company to shovel around their offices can deduct the expenses based on the percentage of the home that is used for the business, Pavese said.
8.) Toilet paper
You can deduct toilet paper if you are a landlord and need to show your property, said Sarnen Steinbarth, CEO of TurboTenant. Since you need to have toilet paper in the bathrooms, the cost can be deducted.
9.) Lottery tickets
No need to throw away disappointing lottery tickets. Keep them so you can deduct losses as an itemized deduction, up to the amount of your winnings, said Eisenkraft.
If your job requires you to wear a uniform, you can deduct the cost of them. This applies to firefighters, healthcare workers, delivery workers, transportation workers and letter carriers, said Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.
11.) Clarinet lessons
Since a clarinet can yield financial and dental benefits to those who practice the instrument, the lessons and the instrument are considered tax deductible when a doctor recommends playing the instrument in an effort to correct an overbite, said Steber.
Stacker contributed to this article.