Still haven’t filed your tax return?

Filing taxes in April can be business as usual for some millennials. But in the rush to file at the last minute, some 20-somethings and 30-somethings may make some costly mistakes.

They should do a close review of their returns to make sure they’re not leaving money on the table. Although many millennials have fairly simple tax situations, they may overlook key tax breaks that would lower their tax bill or boost their tax refunds, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, an accountant and tax expert for TurboTax.

Make sure to look into these tax moves:

Write off student loan interest. Your student-loan payments may be nearly as large as your rent check, but at least that debt can lead to a tax break. Some millennials may forget that they can deduct up to $2,500 in student-loan interest, says Deb Repya, vice president of advanced markets for Allianz Life Insurance. You can claim this tax break even if you’re taking the standard deduction – as many 20-somethings probably do. To qualify, taxpayers need to have a modified adjusted-gross income below $80,000 (single) or below $160,000 (married).

Claim other education-related tax breaks. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which maxes out at $2,500, can save money for students during their first four years of college. But some millennials who already have a bachelor’s degree and are working may also be able to claim education-related tax breaks. For instance, the Lifetime Learning Credit can be claimed by people who took one course at an eligible education institution last year, even if they are not working toward a specific degree. This can help cover the costs of a one-time college or vocational course.

Check out the earned-income tax credit. Many people incorrectly assume that they need to have children to file for the earned-income tax credit, a tax break for low- to moderate-income workers, Greene-Lewis says. But single people can still receive credits up to $503 if they earn less than $14,820, meaning the break could benefit some young people with low-paying jobs. And the credit is refundable, which means it is added to a person’s refund if they don’t owe taxes.

Breaks for retirement savings. Moving money into a retirement account can be a way to put the money to work while also lowering your tax bill. You have until the tax-filing deadline, which is April 18 this year, to open an individual retirement account (IRA) and deduct that contribution on your 2015 tax return. Savers can contribute up to $5,500 a year into an IRA (or $6,500 a year if they’re at least 50 years old) and can deduct the full amount if they are not covered by a retirement plan at work.

Job-related credits. If you moved a certain distance for a new job you may be able to deduct those moving expenses, including the cost of movers and travel. In certain cases you can also deduct job-hunting expenses, such as fees from a job-placement agency, the cost of preparing and printing your résumé, and travel expenses.


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