If you look forward to your tax return every year, you know that it's like a pot of gold at the end of a 365-day long rainbow. For millions of Americans, tax season equates to a guaranteed windfall that can be used to pay bills, get ahead of finances, or take a trip. But are you getting the most out of your return? To get more GREEN out of your taxes, be on the lookout for these money-saving (and money-making) opportunities that you could be missing out on when filing:

Know Your Standard Deduction

A standard deduction is simply the amount of income that is not subject to taxes that can reduce the amount you may owe and will vary based on your filing status.

Maried Filed Jointly or Separately

Usually, filing your taxes jointly with your spouse will yield a more beneficial tax result from your return. However, filing separately can be beneficial in the case of medical expenses. The amount you can deduct from your tax return is based on your income level. The greater your income, the less you will be able to deduct from your tax for medical expenses. Filing two separate tax returns, one for each spouse, will result in two returns with less income, instead of one return, with a great income, allowing for a greater medical expense reduction.

Know What You Can Deduct from Your Taxes

Remember the student loan interest you’ve accumulated throughout the year? Did you know you can deduct up to $2,500 in interest payments?

 How about the charitable offerings you made to the local food bank? You may be able to deduct those donations on your taxes. The equipment you bought and the gas you used for your side freelance employment?

These could be used as a tax deduction if you have saved the proper documentation. For travelers, applications such as Mile IQ can help you track your saving, and Receipt Capture can help you track charity purchases and freelance expenses in our Digital Banking App.


Contribute to an HSA or Traditional IRA

You can contribute or open a Traditional IRA up until the filing deadline. That’s right, you can contribute money now towards your IRA and It will still count towards your current tax return being filed. The same is true for an HSA. Contributing to both will reduce your overall taxable income. Reminder: Contributing to a Roth IRA will not reduce your tax bill when you make a contribution, as it is funded using after-tax dollars. To learn more about an HRA and how to contribute, learn more at Healthcare.gov.


Claim your Dependents

Claiming a dependent could save you thousands of dollars on your taxes, but deciding WHO qualifies as a dependent can be difficult. In short, it’s usually a sure bet that you can claim a child under 19 with no income as a dependent (24 if they are in college.) As for relatives, that gets a bit tricky. If your relative lives with you, made under $4,300 and you financially support them, you may be able to claim them as a dependent.

But there are more niche cases and hundreds of variables that can determine what makes someone a dependent. If you believe that you fall into this category, it may be worth getting professional help if you believe you will save more on your taxes than you will spend speaking to a tax preparer.

File Your Own Federal Taxes

The best way to save money on your taxes is to file them on your own. This can seem intimidating at first, especially if you have never filed your own taxes before or have previously relied on an in-person tax preparer. Luckily, Turbotax and H&R Block make filing easy. Their simple and easy-to-navigate interface will directly spell out the documents you need, and the various documents that could help you save additional funds. Members of First Commonwealth can receive 15% off their Turbotax or $25 off H&R Block now



The above is information is for educational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified tax advisor for your unique tax situation.