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If youâ€™ve given up itemizing deductions, youâ€™re not alone. These days over half of all taxpayers find theyâ€™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 youâ€™re age 50 or older. Income limitations may apply in some cases. You canâ€™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 youâ€™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 youâ€™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
Donâ€™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.
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