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Three tax loopholes for the merely middle class

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(Reuters) - Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's legendary tax deduction for his horse may sound like the ultimate boondoggle of the super rich.
 
Ditto for writing off the private jet, stashing money in offshore accounts and paying the nanny as a corporate employee.
 
Here are some other tax loopholes that might be within your reach:

1. Maximize your 529
 
The tax benefits of a 529 college savings plan are baked right into the plan - you put in after-tax money and the proceeds grow tax-free, like a Roth individual retirement account. In some 34 states and the District of Columbia, you also get a tax benefit on your state taxes. But there's more to it than that.

2. After-tax Roth conversions
 
Want to fill up your Roth but either make too much to qualify or find the $5,500 per year limit too low? You can contribute after-tax money to your 401(k) and convert it to a Roth, thanks to a new Internal Revenue Service notice.
 
Jim McGowan, a certified financial planner with the Marshall Financial Group in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, altered his tax-planning strategies for many of his clients because of this change.
3. "Business" income
 
You don't have to buy a farm, like one of Patrick Beagle's clients did, just to get some additional expenses to off-set income. Any small business will do.
 
Beagle has clients who sell products at home-based parties through companies like Thirty-One and Silpada. This opens up a lot of other deductions because they are using part of their home as an office or to store merchandise. There are also phone costs, office supplies and advertising costs to consider.
 

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