If you’ve given up itemizing deductions, you’re not alone. These days over half of all taxpayers find they’re better off using the standard deduction. But even if you take the standard deduction, you can also deduct some individual expenses on your 2011 tax return, including the following:
* IRA and HSA contributions
On your 2011 tax return you may qualify to deduct up to $5,000 in contributions to a traditional IRA. That increases to $6,000 if you’re age 50 or older. Income limitations may apply in some cases. You can’t deduct contributions to Roth IRAs.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are IRA-like accounts set up in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance policy. The annual contributions you make to your HSA are deductible. Contributions are invested and grow tax-free, and you’re allowed to withdraw money in the account tax-free to pay for your unreimbursed medical expenses. The HSA contribution limit for 2011 is $3,050 for singles and $6,150 for couples. An additional $1,000 may be contributed by those 55 and older.
* Student loan interest and tuition fees
Deduct up to $2,500 interest on student loans for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. For 2011, you can also deduct up to $4,000 of tuition and fees for qualified higher education courses. Income limitations apply, and you must coordinate these deductions with other education tax breaks.
* Self-employment deductions
If you’re self employed, you can generally deduct the cost of health insurance premiums, retirement plan contributions, and one-half of self-employment taxes.
* Other deductions
Don’t overlook deductions for alimony you pay, certain moving expenses, and early savings withdrawal penalties. Teachers can deduct up to $250 for classroom supplies that they purchased with their own money in 2011.