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5 Ways to Lower Your Taxes You Might Not Know About

Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images

The next six weeks are known as tax season, and we’ve come up with a few ways to lower your bill that you might not know about.

There are many work and living expenses that you can and should claim in order to get your taxable income down, like charitable contributions, job-hunting expenditures and child-care credits. While these potential deductions may or may not be on your personal radar now, there are also some lesser-known deductions that just might save you some money. Of course, you should always check with a certified tax professional first; don’t just go ahead and claim them. Here are a few of the oddest deductions we’ve run across so far:

1. Stop Smoking

Are you a smoker who needs to stop for health or lifestyle reasons? If so, and your doctor has told you to cut back or quit—which any doctor worth his or her salt should advise—then you can most likely ask the IRS for a break on many of the out-of-pocket costs you’ve incurred on quit-smoking aides, nicotine gum and various programs that you’ve used to give up your tobacco habit.

2. Cosmetic Surgery

This tax deduction isn’t for everyone and it can be hard to sell to the IRS, but if you’ve undergone cosmetic surgery and it relates to your profession and income level, then you might be able to deduct the expense of your surgeries and treatments. Actors, models, professionals in the porn industry (breast enlargement, for example) and presenters (on stage or television) might be able to write off procedures that have, arguably, improved their appearance (and income), at least as far as their intended audience is concerned, or corrected damage that detracted from their appearance and hurt them professionally.

3. Dog Maintenance Costs

If your dog is more than just your best friend and it actually guards something of value, like your business or home, you may be able to declare some of the costs of taking care of the animal as a legitimate business expense. Dog chow and visits to the vet can take their toll on your pocketbook, so why not claim some of these expenditures on your tax form?

Guang Niu, Getty Images

4. Working Out

Just like with smoking, if you’re overweight or have another physical condition that puts your well-being at risk, you might be able to deduct the fees you shell out for gyms, diet plans and special foods used to get your body and heart into working order, or to reduce your bad LDL cholesterol levels. It seems your wallet—along with your physique—can profit from heading to the gym.

5. Pregnancy Tests

We don’t know how often you plan on taking a pregnancy test or buying one for your potentially pregnant partner, but if you do opt for a pregnancy test, rest assured that the costs of such an item can be deducted from your taxes. This is true if you get a doctor to perform the test, or you buy one (or several dozen) home pregnancy tests at your local pharmacy and administer them yourself.

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