By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Big events hosted in Minnesota may give some homeowners a tax break this year and next.

Many Minnesotans are busy getting their information together to file your taxes. Tax professionals say the goal is to pay the right amount, not too much.

Lurie CPA David Brauer told us about four tax breaks that are easy to overlook.

1) Renting Out Your Home

When big events come to the Twin Cities, like the Republican National Convention — Minnesotans rent out their homes to visitors. Last year it was for the Ryder Cup. People cashed in on the international golf tournament with people looking to stay in a home rather than hotel.

Next year it will be the Super Bowl and Final Four. If the renter stays two weeks or less — you don’t have to claim what you made as income.

“It’s tax-free income,” Brauer said. “Or if you just rent it out because you’re going to be gone for a week and you have somebody that’s going to come in and rent your house for the week, you don’t have to pay tax on that, even though it is income that you earned.”

2) Charitable Donations, And Then Some

It’s common knowledge if you donate clothes or money to charity that is tax deductible. What’s lesser known is you can also write off supplies and mileage.

“If you provide meals at a homeless shelter or a food shelf, if you’re preparing those meals you get to deduct the cost of the preparation, the food that you buy,” Brauer said. “And also if you’re going somewhere to perform a charitable service, you get to deduct the mileage driving to and from at a 14-cents-per-mile rate.”

3) Meetings For Your Business

Brauer says to keep track of your mileage if you have your own business or a side business, filing a schedule C. That’s deducted at 54 cents a mile — and you can deduct half the bill of a business meeting.

“If you take somebody out for lunch or dinner and it’s a business meeting, make sure you write down who you met with and when and why,”

4) Last Year’s Refund

Lastly if you received a refund last year you may receive a 1099 from the state in the mail, but that doesn’t mean the refund will be considered income and taxable.

“If you didn’t itemize, you don’t have to worry about it at all,” Brauer said. “You don’t have to report it as income, but if you did itemize ,then you have to look a little deeper to see if you were subject to alternative minimum tax or not.”

The deadline to file is on a Tuesday this year, April 18.


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