Tax deductions Tampa Bay area residents can take now

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The deadline to file taxes is April 18. If you haven’t filed yet, there are some deduction opportunities you may want to take advantage of.

Between now and then, you may want to consider contributing to your traditional IRA. A contribution of up to $5,500, or $6,500 if you’re over age 50, could result in a sizable deduction. This does not apply to contributions to Roth IRAs.

One of the most overlooked deductions is the expense you incur caring for a family member or friend, provided they did not make more than $4,050 in the tax year, and you provide more than half of their support. Also, you can deduct paid moving expenses that you made for a job.

In Florida, though the state does not collect any property taxes, local governments receive much of their funding through these taxes. These rates are assessed at the local level, can vary by county and are based on the value of the property. There are several exemptions to try to lighten the load on some Floridians provided by the State of Florida, including these:

  • Homestead Exemptions are available on primary residences in Florida. These exemptions can be available up to $50,000. However, only the first $25,000 of this exemption applies to all taxes. The remaining $25,000 only applies to non-school taxes.
  • Widow(er) Exemptions of $500 are available to widows and widowers who have not remarried. If you were divorced at the time of your ex-spouse’s death, you do not qualify for this exemption.
  • Senior Citizen Exemptions are available in certain counties and cities only. They are valued up to $50,000 for residents 65 years old and older who have gross income below $20,000 in 2001 dollars, adjusted for inflation. This exemption is in addition to the Homestead Exemption.
  • Blind Person Exemptions of $500 are available to Floridians who are legally blind.
  • Total and Permanent Disability Exemptions are available for homeowners who have a total and permanent disability. Quadriplegics who use their property as a homestead are exempt from all property taxes. Others who must use a wheelchair for mobility or are legally blind and have a gross income below $14,500 in 1991 dollars, adjusted for inflation, can be exempt from all property taxes as well.
  • Veterans Exemptions exist in a number of different forms. A veteran documented as disabled by 10 percent or more in war or service-connected events can earn an additional exemption of $5,000 on any owned property. An honorably discharged veteran who is totally and permanently disabled or requires a wheelchair for mobility due to their service can be exempt from all property taxes. In some circumstances, this benefit can be transferred to a surviving spouse. An honorably discharged and disabled veteran who is 65 or older who was a Florida resident when they entered military service may be eligible for an additional exemption. The disability must be permanent and must have been acquired as a result of the military service. The property tax will be discounted based on the percent of the disability. Members of the military deployed during the last calendar year can receive exemptions based on the percent of time during the year they were deployed.

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