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Top tax breaks for individuals

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The Associated Press | January 10, 2013 02:52 AM EST | AP


U.S. tax law is filled with so many credits, deductions and exemptions that Americans will be able to reduce their tax bills by about $1.1 trillion this year, according to congressional estimates.

The biggest tax breaks, and the amount they will save taxpayers this year:

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_Employer contributions toward workers' medical insurance premiums and medical care are not taxed: $181 billion.

_Retirement plan contributions and earnings are not taxed: $165 billion.

_Mortgage interest deduction: $101 billion.

_Lower tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends: $84 billion.

_Deduction for state and local taxes: $69 billion.

_Deduction for charitable contributions: $46 billion.

_Most Social Security and veterans' benefits are not taxed: $45 billion.

_Interest on tax-exempt state and local government bonds is not taxed: $26 billion.

_When someone dies, the capital gains on his investments is not taxed: $24 billion.

_Income from some life insurance products is not taxed: $23 billion.

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Sources: National Taxpayer Advocate; Joint Committee on Taxation.