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Category: Finding Deductions

How do I calculate my deduction for state and local sales taxes?

The IRS allows for a deduction of sales and use tax paid as an option for those who itemize their deductions, letting them choose between deductions for state and local income taxes or state and local sales and use taxes. Taxpayers will indicate by using a checkbox on line 5 of Schedule A which type of tax they’re claiming.

While this deduction will mainly benefit taxpayers without a state income tax as in: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming – it also gives a larger deduction to any taxpayer who paid more in sales tax than income tax. It can also impact any return if the Taxpayer had a large purchase with general sales tax.

Using Taxslayer you can enter in your information into the program by accessing the Federal > Deductions > Enter Myself > Itemized Deductions > Taxes you Paid > Sales Tax Worksheet. You will pull down the drop box and input the state that you reside in, then enter the amount of sales taxes you paid for qualifying large purchases * up to the % of sales tax at your regular rate, then input your state tax rate and local tax rates. This will return a value into your Federal return. If you have already entered in your State Income Tax, the system will automatically take the higher value of either your state income tax or state & local sales tax.

*Taxpayers also may add to their estimated tax or the table amount any sales taxes paid on these qualifying purchases:

  • A motor vehicle (including a car, motorcycle, motor home, RV, sport utility vehicle, truck, van or off road vehicle) but include only the amount you would have paid up to the general sales tax rate; and
  • An aircraft or boat, but include the tax only up to the amount of tax for the general sales tax rate.
  • A home (including a mobile home or prefabricated home ) or a substantial addition to or major renovation of a home up to the amount of the general sales tax rate.
  • Also include any state and local general sales tax paid for a leased motor vehicle. Do not include sales taxes paid on items used in your trade of business.

The Taxpayer has the option to save all of their receipts for the year and add up the amounts to gather their sales and use tax deduction. However, the IRS has created tables to give taxpayers a sales tax deduction amount as an alternative to saving their receipts throughout the year and tabulating the amount actually paid. Taxpayers can utilize two tables to calculate their alternative sales tax deduction. Using your income and the number of exemptions you are claiming on your Federal return you obtain the first part of the deduction from the 2013 Optional State & Certain Local Sales Tax Table. Then if your state qualifies add to that amount the amount found on the 2013 Optional Local Sales Tax Tables for Certain Local Jurisdictions. The table instructions explain how to add an amount for local sales taxes if appropriate from the second table. Here is a link to the IRS tables: click here

The other option is to use the IRS Sales Tax Calculator. This calculates the amount of your deduction for you. Sales Tax Calculator The Taxpayer will need to enter in the tax year, your income range, the number of exemptions being claimed on your return, the tax on any qualifying large purchases and the zip code for your resident address.

To report State and Local Sales Tax Paid within our program go to Federal section > Deductions > Enter Myself > Itemized Deductions > Taxes You Paid. Click on the link to access the Sales Tax Worksheet.

For more information on this topic please see the Schedule A Instructions.