Tax Refund

Here's Tax Deductions And Credits You Can't Claim On Your Tax Return

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During tax time there is always information spreading about what type of deductions are available. Maybe you heard of someone who wrote off their brand-new pool, and you might be wondering how is that possible? Or can you deduct time you contributed to charity? 

As you rush to finish filing your tax return ahead of the April 18 deadline, let’s cover some things that you might think that you can deduct but likely you can’t. TurboTax is here to help you figure out all the deductions and credits available to you to make sure you’re getting your biggest refund possible.

Work Clothes

You’ve started a new office job and purchased a suit and it might seem like this is an obvious and valid tax deduction. But according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) it is not. If your work clothes can double as street or evening clothes then it is not deductible. Even if your office job requires you to wear a suit every day to work, you wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the suit because you could wear the suit to a wedding, out to dinner, or on other occasions that don’t relate to your job. 

You were able to deduct some clothes that are mandatory for work(think uniforms), as an unreimbursed employee deduction if you were able to itemize, however, under tax reform that deduction went away. However, If you are self-employed and pay for uniforms to wear to work then you can deduct your uniform expenses.

Plastic Surgery 

Plastic and cosmetic surgeries typically come with lots of out-of-pocket costs and are generally not covered by health insurance or tax deductible. Facelifts, Botox, hair removal (electrolysis), liposuction, and other procedures to improve your appearance are not considered deductible medical expenses on your tax return. However, if your doctor prescribes rhinoplasty (a nose job) to correct respiratory issues then it could be a deductible medical expense. The IRS will allow you to include cosmetic surgery in your medical expenses if it is necessary to improve a deformity from (or directly related to) a congenital abnormality, an injury from an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease. Keep in mind that you may only deduct unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).  

Time Spent as a Volunteer

The saying time is money doesn’t apply here. Even if you volunteer providing professional services for free you can not claim a tax deduction for the value of your time spent as a volunteer. Despite how valuable your time may be, the IRS will not allow it. It is possible to get a deduction miles driven directly related to your volunteering. You can take a charitable deduction for the miles you drive while volunteering with a qualified organization. The charitable mileage rate is 14 cents per mile for 2022. 

Child Support Payments 

Unfortunately for those who are paying child support payments, the IRS does not allow you to deduct those payments from your income on your tax return. The payments are not considered taxable income to the parents receiving the payments either. 

Family Pet 

Generally, the IRS does not offer a deduction for spending on your pet and considers the money spent the same as personal spending. Despite how much money you spend on your fur baby each year you also can not claim your pet as a dependent. If you do have a disability or are hearing or visually impaired and your pet is a certified service animal then you could deduct associated costs for owning and taking care of your certified service animal. Some of those deductible expenses could include buying, training, grooming, and veterinary care for that certified service animal but not if the animal was just your family pet. 

If your pet is making money as an influencer, the IRS could view your pet’s influencer work as your self-employed business if your pet is earning an income for you on a regular basis. In some cases, your pet expenses directly related to your pet making money would be considered business expenses and could be offset against your pet’s earnings.

Sleep Away Camp

You have heard that you can claim a tax credit for the expenses that you spent on summer camp for your kids while you worked. And while that is true, before you agree to pay for weeks away in the mountains this summer for a sleep away camp or overnight program for your child know that you won’t garner a tax deduction that way. Summer day camps (not overnight) will qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit as long as your child is under the age of 13 at the end of the tax year (no age limit if they are disabled) and you are sending your child to camp so you can work.


Adding a pool to your home is no small project and is likely a big financial undertaking. While it may add to the value of your home, it won’t amass into a tax deduction. However, if the addition of your pool was prescribed by a doctor as medically necessary then you may be able to claim a deduction as a medical home improvement. 

Donations to Non Qualified Organizations 

You must give donations to a registered non-profit organization (not individual) that operates as a true charity to take a tax deduction for the donation. While it is still rewarding to help someone in need, it’s important to note that donations made via crowdfunding sites to individuals who are not recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity are not eligible to receive a tax deduction. Though giving money to your candidate of choice is a great way to get involved in civic discourse, donations to political candidates are also not tax deductible. There are many reasons why you might contribute to an organization outside of the tax benefits but only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to receive a tax deduction.

Don’t worry about figuring out what you can deduct and what you cannot deduct. Not only will TurboTax will guide you through tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for, you can come to TurboTax and get your taxes prepared in one meeting while a TurboTax Live Full Service tax expert, available in English and Spanish, prepares your taxes.

Here's Tax Deductions And Credits You Can't Claim On Your Tax Return

File 100% FREE with expert help

Get live help from tax experts, plus a final review before you file – all free

Simple tax returns only. See if you qualify.
Must file by 3/31.

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Katharina Reekmans
Katharina Reekmans

Katharina Reekmans is an Enrolled Agent and a contributor to the TurboTax Blog team. Katharina has years of experience in tax preparation and representation before the IRS. Her passions surround financial literary and tax law interpretation. She has a strong commitment to using all resources and knowledge to best serve the interest of clients. Katharina has worked as a senior tax accountant, operations manager, and controller. Katharina prides herself on unraveling tax laws so that the average person can understand them. More from Katharina Reekmans

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