TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Tax Deductions and Credits / How to Write Off Sales Taxes

How to Write Off Sales Taxes

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits you to write off either your state and local income tax or sales taxes when itemizing your deductions. People who live in a state that does not impose income taxes often benefit most from this deduction. However, you might also be better off deducting sales taxes instead of income taxes if you make large purchases during the year and your total sales tax payments exceed those for state income tax. You can use either the actual sales taxes you paid or the IRS optional sales tax tables.


Step 1: See if you are eligible to itemize deductions

Determine your eligibility to itemize deductions on Schedule A. The deduction for your sales tax payments is only available if you are eligible to itemize. To make this determination, add up all of your expenses that are eligible to be itemized, including your sales taxes. If the total amount is greater than the standard deduction amount for your filing status, then you can itemize on Schedule A and claim the sales tax deduction. If not, then you can still itemize but are probably better off claiming the standard deduction where you cannot deduct the sales tax.

Step 2: Gather your receipts

Gather all receipts for your purchases this year. If you decide to calculate the actual sales taxes you paid during the year, then you must have a receipt for each purchase. Add the sales tax payments from each receipt.

Step 3: Calculating the deduction

Calculate your deduction using the optional sales tax tables. At the end of the instructions to the Schedule A attachment you will find sales tax tables for each state. Find your state and determine the allowable sales tax deduction for your range of income. Compare this amount to the actual total you calculate in Step 2. Since you can calculate your deduction using either method, choose the one that gives you the larger deduction.

Step 4: Where to report the deduction

Report your sales tax deduction on Schedule A. In the section entitled "Taxes You Paid" be sure to check the box indicating your choice to deduct state sales tax instead of state income tax and enter the amount of your deduction.

TurboTax can help you with determining your eligibility, calculating the deduction and reporting it on all the correct forms.

Things You'll Need

  • Schedule A
  • Form 1040

Tips

  • If you receive any sales tax refunds during the year, be sure to reduce your deductible sales tax payments if not using the optional sales tax tables to calculate your deduction.
  • The IRS allows you to deduct the sales tax you pay when you lease a car even though it's not ordinarily considered a purchase.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Filing Deadline: IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 18, 2016 (except for residents of Massachusetts or Maine, where the IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 19, 2016).
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except the TurboTax Home & Business/QuickBooks Self-Employed bundle offers.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available via phone for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2014 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.