Let’s get one thing out of the way: Tax season is the worst, especially now that TurboTax may not work to file your state returns. Thankfully, there are some loopholes and tax breaks that can make the entire process a little less painful. Here are six common tax breaks you may be able to take advantage of when filling out all that endless paperwork this year (or that you can alert your accountant to if he didn’t wave them over to you already).
If you’re a college student (or have a dependent who is), the American Opportunity Tax Credit can save you up to $2,500 on things like tuition, books, etc. for your first for years of college. If you don’t owe any taxes at all, you can actually get a refund of up to $1,000 with this. Use it!
The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit can save you about $2,000 over your lifetime. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re a middle-income earner, it adds up (and the caps are high: $63,000 if you’re filing single, $127,000 for joint filings), and there are not age requirements. You just have to use it for an educational expense.
Retirement savings accounts save you huge amounts of money at tax time, so if you have the option to open a 401K or IRA—or both—for the love of Chris Hemsworth, use them.