John M. Hoffman CPA

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Deduction for Sales Taxes Paid

What is the deduction for sales tax? I thought that this deduction went away 20 years ago.

You are correct, this deduction went away long ago. However, for select taxpayers it is back.

The concept is that people living (for example) in Florida pay more in sales taxes as that is how the state collects revenue as they do not have a state income tax. Other states opt to collect revenue through an income tax. To remedy the obvious inequity of one form of state revenue collection being deductible while another is not, the deduction for sales tax is back.

However, the deduction is a “one or the other” deduction. Accordingly, taxpayers can deduct either their sales tax or their state income tax, whichever is higher.

Taxpayers benefiting from this deduction:

How do I determine my deduction? Do I need to keep every receipt for the year?

The IRS provides a formula to estimate an acceptable amount based on your state and your income (our software does it automatically). You can keep all of your receipts, particularly if you have one of those big item years (renovation of your kitchen and bathrooms). The deduction is the formula amount plus what is paid for specific large items such as cars, boats, and motor homes.