No one likes to pay a huge amount in income taxes. But as it turns out, many taxpayers pay more taxes than they have to for a very simple reason: they're too scared to take the deductions and credits they're entitled to take.

In the following segment from their video introducing investors to several essential investment planning topics, Motley Fool director of investment planning Dan Caplinger talks with Fool markets/IP bureau chief Mike Klesta about this key mistake taxpayers make with their tax planning. Dan notes that people are scared of getting audited by the IRS, and so they'll choose not to take deductions and credits even though they're clearly eligible to receive them. Given the relatively low rates of audits, however, Dan concludes that it's almost always smarter to go ahead and claim all the tax benefits that apply to your situation rather than leaving money on the table that you could have put in your own pocket.

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