Remember real estate taxes, even if you don’t itemize

Taxpayers who don’t itemize will benefit from an enhanced standard deduction if they have real estate taxes paid or sales tax paid on the purchase of a new vehicle.  However, this enhancement does require a new piece of paperwork, Schedule L, to figure your standard deduction.

It walks you through a series of questions to determine if you qualify to add your real estate taxes paid onto your standard deduction ($500 maximum for single filers and $1,000 maximum for married filers).  It then proceeds to ask you about sales tax paid on the purchase of a new car.  You can add sales taxes paid on the first $49,500 of a new car purchase to your standard deduction for 2009.

If you’re using a tax professional to prepare your taxes and have not itemized in the past, be sure to provide real estate tax information to them as they may not be aware that you own your home and may miss the deduction for real estate taxes paid.