Making the most out of miscellaneous deductions
Miscellaneous deductions are tax breaks that generally don’t fit into a particular tax category. They can help reduce taxable income and the amount of taxes owed. For example, some employees can deduct certain work expenses like uniforms as miscellaneous deductions. To do that, they must itemize their deductions instead of taking the standard deduction on their tax return.
Here are several tips from the IRS about miscellaneous deductions:
The Two Percent Limit. Most miscellaneous costs are deductible only if the sum exceeds 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, before being able to deduct certain expenses, a taxpayer with $50,000 in AGI must come up with more than $1,000 in miscellaneous deductions. Expenses may include:
Unreimbursed employee expenses.
Job search costs for a new job in the same line of work.
Work-related travel and transportation.
The cost paid to prepare a tax return. These fees include the cost paid for tax preparation software. They also include any fee paid for e-filing a return.
Deductions Not Subject to the Limit. Some deductions are not subject to the 2% limit. They include:
Certain casualty and theft losses. In most cases, this rule is for damaged or stolen property held for investment. This may include property such as stocks, bonds and works of art.
Gambling losses up to the total of gambling winnings.
Losses from Ponzi-type investment schemes.
Taxpayers can’t deduct some expenses. For example, personal living or family expenses are not deductible. To claim allowable miscellaneous deductions, taxpayers must use Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. For more about this topic, see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions. Get them on IRS.gov/forms at any time.
Avoid scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using social media or text message. First contact generally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.
Remember that all of the web page addresses for the official IRS website, IRS.gov, begin with http://www.irs.gov. Don' t be confused or misled by Internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is http://www.irs.gov/.