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Tax Breaks

Tax Breaks That Refuse to Die

Congress did taxpayers a favor by making several temporary credits and deductions permanent.

Congress has a habit of waiting until the last minute to change tax rules. But at the end of 2015, lawmakers did taxpayers a favor by making some temporary tax breaks permanent.

Take the American Opportunity tax credit, which offers families up to $2,500 a year per qualifying college student. The tax credit, good for up to four years, had been scheduled to shrink in value in 2018. Now, it stays.

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Also now permanent is the ability of teachers to deduct up to $250 a year for money they spend for classroom supplies. Even non-itemizers can claim this write-off.

For years, taxpayers had the choice of deducting either the state income tax or the state sales tax they pay. The sales-tax option, though, expired at the end of 2014. It’s now been revived retroactively for 2015 and made permanent. If you live in a state with little or no income tax, this one’s a no-brainer: deduct the sales tax.

Take a look at more valuable tax breaks made permanent by Congress.

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