TAX TIP No. 34
No need to itemize above-the-line deductions
We're out of designated adjustment lines as we
reach the bottom of Page 1, so that's the end of the nonitemizing tax breaks,
Some specialty adjustments
Although line 36 simply instructs you to total
your entries on all the various adjustment lines, curious taxpayers who take a
closer look at the form's instructions will find even more possible ways to whittle
away some of their taxable incomes.
of these adjustments, such
as reforestation amortization
or repayment of specific supplemental
unemployment benefits or court
costs for certain unlawful
discrimination cases are for
relatively limited tax situations.
But a couple affect quite
a few taxpayers.
Line 36 is where you enter any pay you got for serving on a jury, but then turned it over to your boss because you got your regular pay while at the courthouse.
Contributions to Archer medical savings accounts also are accounted for here. This is a health care program provided by some small businesses and also used by some self-employed workers. You can deduct a portion of these medical care contributions (fill out Form 8853 to determine the amount) on this catch-all line.
So take a moment to check all
out all these other possible above-the-line deductions. Details are in the Form
1040 instruction book. If you're one of the select group of taxpayers to whom these apply, claim the amount and add the special notation spelled out in the instructions to line 36. The extra adjustments could really pay off.
it's time to add all these specially annotated line 36 amounts to the deductions
claimed on the preceding 13 income adjustment lines. This final number goes on
line 37. Once entered there, it's subtracted from the
total income amount you entered on line 22. The result: your adjusted
A few also on 1040A
What if you don't want to
or need to use the long Form
1040? You still get a chance
to reduce your income if you
file Form 1040A instead.
of these above-the-line adjustments -- educator expenses, IRA
contributions, student loan interest and tuition and fees -- also can be claimed on lines
16 through 19 of that slightly shorter tax return.
whether you file the long
1040 or the slightly shorter
1040A, make sure you don't
overlook these tax breaks
at the bottom of page one
on each form. If you do, you
could be giving the IRS more
money than you should.
Updated: Feb. 23, 2009