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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Check Your Taxes for Deductions When Filing Last-Minute, and Don’t Forget the Benefit of Monitoring Your Finances

With the April 15 tax deadline looming ever closer, you may be so strapped for time that you're not thoroughly looking over your filing to help guarantee you're not misreporting your financial activity from the past year. However, if you overlook even what seems like a small portion of your tax filing or put the wrong information down in a certain box, you could either miss out on a big chunk of your tax return or actually end up having to pay a penalty as a result.

This is why even in the days winding down to the tax deadline you should be careful not to simply skim over your filing, but actually give it a thorough read-through to make sure nothing was overlooked. There are numerous deductions that many individuals neglect to file for because they were simply too hasty with their tax preparation.

Take stock of your charitable giving over the year
One of the easiest ways to qualify for a tax deduction is to donate to a charity and hold on to your receipt. You don't have to give a large sum of money to a good cause to qualify for a charitable tax deduction — even donating used clothes, electronics or even vehicles can result in some form of credit on your taxes that may help contribute to a hefty return.

Paying student loans? You may be able to claim a credit
Education credits are another opportunity for you not only to get money back after filing but also to offset the high costs of a college education. The American Opportunity (Hope Credit extended) and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two such deductions that you could make if you are currently paying student loans, whether you are in school or not.

Just because you were unemployed doesn't mean you can't apply for deductions
If you are unemployed, you may be able to claim expenses related to your job search and redeem them through a deduction on your taxes. The IRS is often very picky about which expenses it will credit, so be sure to contact a professional to help you map out these opportunities if you have been unemployed in the past year.

Once you have successfully filed your taxes, taking advantage of all available credits and deductions, help keep an eye on your finances with the help of an identity monitoring program that can alert you to certain activity taking place in your name that may be damaging to your credit score.

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