Previous: 7 Adulthood Myths You (Probably) Believe!
Next: Making Money, Emergency Funds, & How to Stay Motivated: Q&A #6!



View count:185,190
Last sync:2023-09-18 19:30
With Tax Day approaching, there are many ways you can reduce the money you owe on federal income taxes, state income taxes, and local income taxes. Here are 11 deductions you can use to lessen Uncle Sam's punch!

(PS - This only applies to US viewers, obvy. We'll be back to more internationally-relevant vids next time! :D )

Support How to Adult on Patreon at

HOW TO ADULT Posters Now Available from DFTBA Records!

Merchandise from Mike (including "Reading Changes Us" and "Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost" posters!):

"How to Adult" is a "life skills" edutainment channel brought to you by Executive Producers Hank Green and John Green. Subscribe for new videos every week!


Created by:
Emma Mills & T. Michael (Mike) Martin
Emma and Mike are also Young Adult novelists!
Check out Mike's debut novel, THE END GAMES, at all online booksellers, including
Amazon: (
Check out Emma's debut novel, FIRST & THEN, at all booksellers, including Amazon:

Written by:
Alan Lastufka (
& T. Michael Martin

Hosted and Directed by:
T. Michael Martin

Edited by:
Nathan Talbott

Executive Producers:
Hank & John Green

Hey, so here in the good old US of A, it's the most wonderful time of the year, said the government. It's tax season everybody. Now, no one loves to pay taxes, but there are ways to lessen the pain, so here are eleven surprising tax deductions that you're probably not using.

First off, a quick overview. Most tax deductions are available only when you itemize. The IRS gives you a standard deduction of $6300, but if you have qualifying deductions over and above that amount, it's definitely worth itemizing to save yourself some money come tax season.

Number one: health insurance premiums. This one is mostly for the self-employed. If you're self-employed and responsible for your own health care costs, then you can deduct 100% of your monthly premium. Ditto to the cost of prescriptions, co-pays, etc.

Two: self-employed Social Security taxes. Alas, if you're self-employed, you do have to pay 15.3% of your income to Social Security. This includes the 7.65% that your employer would usually pay and the 7.65 that you would have to pay if you were employed with a traditional employer. However, you can write off the 7.65% that your employer would usually pay, so every cloud...

Number three: charity beyond cash donations. Now as you may already know, you can deduct the cash that you donate to charities, but did you know that you can also deduct charitable work? For instance, let's say you do some baking for a charity fundraising dinner. You can deduct the cost of the ingredients. And what about the traveling you did for that fundraiser? You can deduct the cost of the gas and the oil. Same thing goes if you had to hire a babysitter to go to that dinner: tax deductible!

Number four: teachers' classroom supplies. With school budgets strapped, it's not uncommon for teachers to have to buy some of their own supplies out of pocket. Those expenses are deductible up to $250, and nice piece of news, you don't have to itemize these. This is because, like health insurance premiums, these are going to come out of your adjusted gross income, so thumbs up! I know these are words that don't make a lot of sense to most people, but they make sense to the tax man, and the tax man is the one doing the reading, ok? So speak his language, which is what I'm teaching you. This is the Rosetta Stone of boring talk [laughs].

Number five: student loan interest. Hey, maybe you're out of the classroom, but you're still paying off those student loans. Well, you can deduct up to $2500 per year off of the payments towards the interest on your student loans, and again, this deduction is available even if you do not itemize.

Number six: job search expenses. Are you out of work and looking for a job? Well, if you itemize, you can deduct a lot of those costs, so here are some examples, boom-ba-boom, boom, boom, boom.

Number seven: moving expenses. Let's say all your hard work in that job search paid off, but for your new job you're to have to move. Well, you can deduct the costs associated with that move if it is job-related, so go, you! Go... go west, young person. Lay out for the territories and make sure you deduct -- Mark Twain. These costs include things like your moving van, the cost of hotels, etc.

Number eight: tax preparation fees. If you itemize, you can deduct any fees that you paid last year to have your taxes done, whether that's $50 for Turbo Tax or $1000 for a fancy CPA.

Number nine: home office expenses. You can take a tax deduction if you work from home. Usually this means writing off a portion of your mortgage or rent based on how much square footage you use just for your business, but did you know that you can also deduct all other costs associated with that space? Let's say your home office is 10% of your home. That means that you can deduct 10% of your utilities, electricity, etc., and this can add up. As someone in a home office, I can say, yes, it definitely does.

Number ten: gambling losses. Hey, guys, let's be honest. Sometimes you don't know when to hold them and when to fold them. So the IRS can help you recoup some of your gambling losses, as long as you're also reporting income from gambling. This is great if you hit it big one weekend and then the next weekend your horse decides, "I'm not running today and you can't make me." Which, why are horses rude, is what I want to know. So basically, you just subtract your losses from your big win.

And number eleven: union dues and uniforms. If you've joined a union at work, you can write off the initiation fee and the monthly dues. Also, if your employer requires that you buy some kind of equipment or outfit that wouldn't be used outside of work, you can deduct that. For instance, [pop].

And that is all we've got for you today. If you have any tips on tax deductions, please let us know in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you. In the meantime, I had the catchphrase "guys," but I said, "Emma, we're going to write it off this year," and she was like, "Awesome!" and she took the eraser and erased it. That's not the same thing! That's not the same thing.