If you are thinking about itemizing tax deductions for expenses that do not fall within the general categories of allowable tax deductions, familiarize yourself with miscellaneous tax deductions, before claiming them.
The one basic rule of itemizing tax deductions for miscellaneous expenses is that any expenses must be necessary for the production of income.
Using an online filing program is the easiest and fastest way to claim all credits and deductions, and it dramatically cuts down on filing mistakes. You can easily e-file with H&R Block . Their efile tax return online service is quick and simple, and you can have a tax professional review your return, if you choose.
Expenses that are not allowable tax deductions
Many people often think that expenses incurred in conjunction with financial transactions, home repair, etc. are allowable tax deductions. These people think "I'll just write it off!" far too many times while they are itemizing tax deductions.
It's not that simple. The IRS strictly enforces it's rules for what are and are not allowable tax deductions, and if you try itemizing tax deductions for expenses cannot be legally claimed, you can find yourself in deep trouble.
Here are some common expenses that are often thought of as being allowable tax deductions, but are not:
• Adoption expenses
• Broker's commissions that you paid in connection with your IRA or other investment property
• Burial or funeral expenses, including the cost of a cemetery lot
• Capital expenses
• Fees and licenses, such as car licenses, marriage licenses, and dog tags
• Hobby losses - (though you can deduct expenses, see earlier.)
• Home repairs, insurance, and rent
• Losses from the sale of your home, furniture, personal car, etc.
• Personal disability insurance premiums
• Personal, living, or family expenses
• The value of wages never received or lost vacation time
Ok, some of these are no-brainers, (do people really think that the IRS would pay their rent?) and yet many taxpayers imagine that somehow everything is can count when they are itemizing tax deductions.
If you bend the rules, and you're caught in a tax audit, you could face seriously stiff penalties. Federal penalties.
How to claim miscellaneous tax deductions, by the book
Claiming miscellaneous tax deductions can be a daunting task, complete with numerous forms to fill out, and calculations to perform.
Here are the basics for the most commonly taken allowable tax deductions; keep in mind that these instructions are for those who plan on filing a paper return. Using an efile tax return online service is much simpler, and there are no extra forms to fill out :
If you are claiming tax deductions for expenses subject to the 2% reduction (see a list here) you can do so right on Schedule A, and include it with your 1040 paper tax return.
If some of the reduced expenses you are claiming as tax deductions are unreimbursed employee business expenses, meaning, money you shelled out for job related expenses you were never compensated for, you'll also need to file Form 2106-EZ. If you were reimbursed for a portion of your business expenses, you need to complete Form 2106.
Expenses not subject to the 2% reduction limitation can be even more complicated.
Depending on the nature of the tax deductions, you'll need to fill out either Forms 2106 and 2106-EZ as with the reduced tax deductions, or you'll have to take matter into your own hands and calculate your tax deductions on your own. (Click here for a partial list of allowable tax deductions not subject to the 2% reduction.)
The IRS also provides worksheets and additional information (see the bottom of this page) to assist you in figuring out your tax deductions. But...
Sidebar ...but the easiest way to claim your all income tax deductions is to file online. Normally, claiming deduction can be confusing, but you can make it simple and avoid costly mistakes, by using the H&R Block e-filing interview.
Related IRS publications
You can get more information about itemizing tax deductions for miscellaneous expenses directly from the IRS, in the form of IRS Publication 529
As mentioned above, there are ancillary publications and worksheets which may help you with your tax deductions. They are:
If you file a paper tax return, you will also need to fill-in the appropriate lines in Schedule A. And you will most likely also need Forms 2106 and 2106-EZ to claim employee business expenses. (If you e-file, all of this will be done for you electronically.)
Note: you will need an Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these publications, which you can get here. (But you probably already have it.)
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