Limit on itemized deductions.(p1)
For 2008, if your adjusted gross income is more than $159,950 ($79,975 if you are married filing separately), you may have to reduce the amount of certain itemized deductions, including most miscellaneous deductions. For more information and a worksheet, see the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040), line 29, or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 17.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026902
Standard mileage rate.(p1)
The 2008 rate for business use of a vehicle is 501/2 cents per mile (58 1/2 cents per mile after June 30, 2008).taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026903
Meals when subject to "hours of service" limits.(p1)
You can deduct 80% (up from 75%) of your business-related meal expenses if you consume the meals during or incident to any period subject to the Department of Transportation's "hours of service" limits. SeeTravel, Transportation, Meals, Entertainment, Gifts, and Local Lodging underUnreimbursed Employee Expenses, later.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026905
Photographs of missing children.(p1)
The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.
This publication explains which expenses you can claim as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). You must reduce the total of most miscellaneous itemized deductions by 2% of your adjusted gross income. This publication covers the following topics.
- Deductions subject to the 2% limit.
- Deductions not subject to the 2% limit.
- Expenses you cannot deduct.
- How to report your deductions.
Some of the deductions previously discussed in this publication are adjustments to income rather than miscellaneous deductions. These include certain employee business expenses that must be listed on Form 2106 or 2106-EZ and some that are entered directly on Form 1040. Those deductions, which are discussed in Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses, include employee business expenses of officials paid on a fee basis and performing artists.
Generally, nonresident aliens are allowed miscellaneous itemized deductions to the extent they are directly related to effectively connected income.
You must keep records to verify your deductions. You should keep receipts, canceled checks, substitute checks, financial account statements, and other documentary evidence. For more information on recordkeeping, see Publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals.
We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:
Internal Revenue Service
Individual Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224
We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at *email@example.com
. (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.
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Internal Revenue Service
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If you have a tax question, check the information available on www.irs.gov
or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the addresses on this page.
You may want to see:
Publication 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses 525 Taxable and Nontaxable Income 535 Business Expenses 587 Business Use of Your Home (Including Use by Daycare Providers) 946 How To Depreciate Property Form (and Instructions) Schedule A (Form 1040): Itemized Deductions 2106: Employee Business Expenses 2106-EZ: Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses
See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting these publications and forms.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026911
You can deduct certain expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). You can claim the amount of expenses that is more than 2% of your adjusted gross income. You figure your deduction on Schedule A by subtracting 2% of your adjusted gross income from the total amount of these expenses. Your adjusted gross income is the amount on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040NR, line 36.
Generally, you apply the 2% limit after you apply any other deduction limit. For example, you apply the 50% (or 80%) limit on business-related meals and entertainment (discussed later under Travel, Transportation, Meals, Entertainment, Gifts, and Local Lodging) before you apply the 2% limit.
Deductions subject to the 2% limit are discussed in the following three categories.
- Unreimbursed employee expenses (Schedule A (Form 1040), line 21 or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 9).
- Tax preparation fees (Schedule A (Form 1040), line 22 or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 10).
- Other expenses (Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23 or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 11).
Generally, the following expenses are deducted on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 21, or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 9.
You can deduct only unreimbursed employee expenses that are:
- Paid or incurred during your tax year,
- For carrying on your trade or business of being an employee, and
- Ordinary and necessary.
An expense is ordinary if it is common and accepted in your trade, business, or profession. An expense is necessary if it is appropriate and helpful to your business. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.
You may be able to deduct the following items as unreimbursed employee expenses.
- Business bad debt of an employee.
- Business liability insurance premiums.
- Damages paid to a former employer for breach of an employment contract.
- Depreciation on a computer or cell phone your employer requires you to use in your work.
- Dues to a chamber of commerce if membership helps you do your job.
- Dues to professional societies.
- Educator expenses that are more than you can deduct as an adjustment to income.
- Home office or part of your home used regularly and exclusively in your work.
- Job search expenses in your present occupation.
- Laboratory breakage fees.
- Legal fees related to your job.
- Licenses and regulatory fees.
- Malpractice insurance premiums.
- Medical examinations required by an employer.
- Occupational taxes.
- Passport for a business trip.
- Repayment of an income aid payment received under an employer's plan.
- Research expenses of a college professor.
- Rural mail carriers' vehicle expenses.
- Subscriptions to professional journals and trade magazines related to your work.
- Tools and supplies used in your work.
- Travel, transportation, meals, entertainment, gifts, and local lodging related to your work.
- Union dues and expenses.
- Work clothes and uniforms if required and not suitable for everyday use.
- Work-related education.
A business bad debt is a loss from a debt created or acquired in your trade or business. Any other worthless debt is a business bad debt only if there is a very close relationship between the debt and your trade or business when the debt becomes worthless.
A debt has a very close relationship to your trade or business of being an employee if your main motive for incurring the debt is a business reason.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026915
You make a bona fide loan to the corporation you work for. It fails to pay you back. You had to make the loan in order to keep your job. You have a business bad debt as an employee.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026916
For more information on business bad debts, see chapter 10 in Publication 535. For information on nonbusiness bad debts, see chapter 4 in Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026917
You can deduct insurance premiums you paid for protection against personal liability for wrongful acts on the job.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026918
If you break an employment contract, you can deduct damages you pay your former employer if the damages are attributable to the pay you received from that employer.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026919
You can claim a depreciation deduction for a computer or cell phone that you use in your work as an employee if its use is:
- For the convenience of your employer, and
- Required as a condition of your employment.
This means that your use of the computer or cell phone is for a substantial business reason of your employer. You must consider all facts in making this determination. Use of your computer or cell phone during your regular working hours to carry on your employer's business is generally for the convenience of your employer.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026921
This means that you cannot properly perform your duties without the computer or cell phone. Whether you can properly perform your duties without it depends on all the facts and circumstances. It is not necessary that your employer explicitly requires you to use your computer or cell phone. But neither is it enough that your employer merely states that your use of the item is a condition of your employment.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026922
You are an engineer with an engineering firm. You occasionally take work home at night rather than work late at the office. You own and use a computer that is similar to the one you use at the office to complete your work at home. Since your use of the computer is not for the convenience of your employer and is not required as a condition of your employment, you cannot claim a depreciation deduction for it.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026923
The depreciation method you use depends on whether you meet the more-than-50%-use test.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026924
You meet this test if you use the computer or cell phone more than 50% in your work. If you meet this test, you can claim accelerated depreciation under the General Depreciation System (GDS). In addition, you may be able to take the section 179 deduction for the year you place the item in service.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026925
If you do not meet the more-than-50%-use test, you are limited to the straight line method of depreciation under the Alternative Depreciation System (ADS). You also cannot claim the section 179 deduction. (But if you use your computer in a home office, see the exception below.) taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026926
Your use of a computer or cell phone in connection with investments (described later under Other Expenses) does not count as use in your work. However, you can combine your investment use with your work use in figuring your depreciation deduction. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026927
The more-than-50%-use test does not apply to a computer used only in a part of your home that meets the requirements described later under Home Office. You can claim accelerated depreciation using GDS for a computer used in a qualifying home office, even if you do not use it more than 50% in your work. You also may be able to take a section 179 deduction for the year you place the computer in service. See Computer used in a home office under How To Report, later. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026928
For more information on depreciation and the section 179 deduction for computers and other items used in a home office, see Business Furniture and Equipment in Publication 587. Publication 946 has detailed information about the section 179 deduction and depreciation deductions using GDS and ADS.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026929
See How To Report, later, for information about reporting a deduction for depreciation.
You must keep records to prove your percentage of business and investment use.
You may be able to deduct dues paid to professional organizations (such as bar associations and medical associations) and to chambers of commerce and similar organizations, if membership helps you carry out the duties of your job. Similar organizations include:
- Boards of trade,
- Business leagues,
- Civic or public service organizations,
- Real estate boards, and
- Trade associations.
You may not be able to deduct that part of your dues that is for certain lobbying and political activities. See Lobbying Expenses under Nondeductible Expenses, later.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100072950
If you were an eligible educator in 2008, you can deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses you paid in 2008 as an adjustment to gross income on Form 1040, line 23, rather than as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. If you file Form 1040A, you can deduct these expenses on line 16. If you and your spouse are filing jointly and both of you were eligible educators, the maximum deduction is $500. However, neither spouse can deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100072951
An eligible educator is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100072952
Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid in connection with books, supplies, equipment, (including computer equipment, software, and services), and other materials used in the classroom. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your educational field. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.
Qualified expenses do not include expenses for home schooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education. You must reduce your qualified expenses by the following amounts.
- Excludable U.S. series EE and I savings bond interest from Form 8815.
- Nontaxable qualified state tuition program earnings.
- Nontaxable earnings from Coverdell education savings accounts.
- Any reimbursements you received for these expenses that were not reported to you on your Form W-2, box 1.
If you were an educator in 2008 and you had qualified expenses that you cannot take as an adjustment to gross income, you can deduct the rest as an itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026933
If you use a part of your home regularly and exclusively for business purposes, you may be able to deduct a part of the operating expenses and depreciation of your home.
You can claim this deduction for the business use of a part of your home only if you use that part of your home regularly and exclusively:
- As your principal place of business for any trade or business,
- As a place to meet or deal with your patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business, or
- In the case of a separate structure not attached to your home, in connection with your trade or business.
The regular and exclusive business use must be for the convenience of your employer and not just appropriate and helpful in your job. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026934
If you have more than one place of business, the business part of your home is your principal place of business if:
- You use it regularly and exclusively for administrative or management activities of your trade or business, and
- You have no other fixed location where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities of your trade or business.
Otherwise, the location of your principal place of business generally depends on the relative importance of the activities performed at each location and the time spent at each location.
You should keep records that will give the information needed to figure the deduction according to these rules. Also keep canceled checks, substitute checks, or account statements and receipts of the expenses paid to prove the deductions you claim.
See Publication 587 for more detailed information and a worksheet for figuring the deduction.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026937
You can deduct certain expenses you have in looking for a new job in your present occupation, even if you do not get a new job. You cannot deduct these expenses if:
- You are looking for a job in a new occupation,
- There was a substantial break between the ending of your last job and your looking for a new one, or
- You are looking for a job for the first time.
You can deduct employment and outplacement agency fees you pay in looking for a new job in your present occupation.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026939
If, in a later year, your employer pays you back for employment agency fees, you must include the amount you receive in your gross income up to the amount of your tax benefit in the earlier year. See Recoveries in Publication 525.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026940
If your employer pays the fees directly to the employment agency and you are not responsible for them, you do not include them in your gross income.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026941
You can deduct amounts you spend for preparing and mailing copies of a résumé to prospective employers if you are looking for a new job in your present occupation.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026942
If you travel to an area and, while there, you look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct travel expenses to and from the area. You can deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job. The amount of time you spend on personal activity compared to the amount of time you spend in looking for work is important in determining whether the trip is primarily personal or is primarily to look for a new job.
Even if you cannot deduct the travel expenses to and from an area, you can deduct the expenses of looking for a new job in your present occupation while in the area.
You can choose to use the standard mileage rate to figure your car expenses. The 2008 rate for business use of a vehicle is 501/2 cents per mile (58 1/2 cents per mile after June 30, 2008). See Publication 463 for more information on travel and car expenses.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026943
You can deduct legal fees related to doing or keeping your job. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026944
You can deduct the amount you pay each year to state or local governments for licenses and regulatory fees for your trade, business, or profession. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026945
You can deduct an occupational tax charged at a flat rate by a locality for the privilege of working or conducting a business in the locality. If you are an employee, you can claim occupational taxes only as a miscellaneous deduction subject to the 2% limit; you cannot claim them as a deduction for taxes elsewhere on your return. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026946
An "income aid payment" is one that is received under an employer's plan to aid employees who lose their jobs because of lack of work. If you repay a lump-sum income aid payment that you received and included in income in an earlier year, you can deduct the repayment.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026947
If you are a college professor, you can deduct your research expenses, including travel expenses, for teaching, lecturing, or writing and publishing on subjects that relate directly to your teaching duties. You must have undertaken the research as a means of carrying out the duties expected of a professor and without expectation of profit apart from salary. However, you cannot deduct the cost of travel as a form of education. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026948
If your expenses to use a vehicle in performing services as a rural mail carrier are more than the amount of your reimbursements, you can deduct the unreimbursed expenses. See chapter 4 of Publication 463 for more information.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026949
Generally, you can deduct amounts you spend for tools used in your work if the tools wear out and are thrown away within 1 year from the date of purchase. You can depreciate the cost of tools that have a useful life substantially beyond the tax year. For more information about depreciation, see Publication 946. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026950
If you are an employee and have ordinary and necessary business-related expenses for travel away from home, local transportation, entertainment, and gifts, you may be able to deduct these expenses. Generally, you must file Form 2106 or 2106-EZ to claim these expenses.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026951
Travel expenses are those incurred while traveling away from home for your employer. You can deduct travel expenses paid or incurred in connection with a temporary work assignment. Generally, you cannot deduct travel expenses paid or incurred in connection with an indefinite work assignment.
Travel expenses may include:
- The cost of getting to and from your business destination (air, rail, bus, car, etc.),
- Meals and lodging while away from home,
- Taxi fares,
- Baggage charges, and
- Cleaning and laundry expenses.
Travel expenses are discussed more fully in chapter 1 of Publication 463.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026952
If your assignment or job away from home in a single location is realistically expected to last (and does in fact last) for 1 year or less, it is temporary, unless there are facts and circumstances that indicate it is not. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026953
If your assignment or job away from home in a single location is realistically expected to last for more than 1 year, it is indefinite, whether or not it actually lasts for more than 1 year.
If your assignment or job away from home in a single location is realistically expected to last for 1 year or less, but at some later date it is realistically expected to exceed 1 year, it will be treated as temporary (in the absence of facts and circumstances indicating otherwise) until the date that your realistic expectation changes, and it will be treated as indefinite after that date.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026954
If you are a federal employee participating in a federal crime investigation or prosecution, you are not subject to the 1-year rule for deducting temporary travel expenses. This means that you may be able to deduct travel expenses even if you are away from your tax home for more than one year.
To qualify, the Attorney General must certify that you are traveling:
- For the Federal Government,
- In a temporary duty status, and
- To investigate, prosecute, or provide support services for the investigation or prosecution of a federal crime.
If you are a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States and you travel more than 100 miles away from home in connection with your performance of services as a member of the reserves, you can deduct some of your travel expenses as an adjustment to gross income rather than as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. The amount of expenses you can deduct as an adjustment to gross income is limited to the regular federal per diem rate (for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses) and the standard mileage rate (for car expenses) plus any parking fees, ferry fees, and tolls. The balance, if any, is reported on Schedule A.
You are a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States if you are in the Army, Naval, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard Reserve, the Army National Guard of the United States, the Air National Guard of the United States, or the Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service.
For more information on travel expenses, see Publication 463.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026956
Local transportation expenses are the expenses of getting from one workplace to another when you are not traveling away from home. They include the cost of transportation by air, rail, bus, taxi, and the cost of using your car.
You can choose to use the standard mileage rate to figure your car expenses. The 2008 rate for business use of a vehicle is 501/2 cents per mile (58 1/2 cents per mile after June 30, 2008). taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026957
If you work at two places in a day, whether or not for the same employer, you can generally deduct the expenses of getting from one workplace to the other.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026958
You can deduct expenses incurred in going between your home and a temporary work location if at least one of the following applies.
- The work location is outside the metropolitan area where you live and normally work.
- You have at least one regular work location (other than your home) for the same trade or business. (If this applies, the distance between your home and the temporary work location does not matter.)
For this purpose, a work location is generally considered temporary if your work there is realistically expected to last (and does in fact last) for 1 year or less. It is not temporary if your work there is realistically expected to last for more than 1 year, even if it actually lasts for 1 year or less. If your work there initially is realistically expected to last for 1 year or less, but later is realistically expected to last for more than 1 year, the work location is generally considered temporary until the date your realistic expectation changes and not temporary after that date. For more information, see chapter 1 of Publication 463.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026959
You can deduct expenses incurred in going between your home and a workplace if your home is your principal place of business for the same trade or business. (In this situation, whether the other workplace is temporary or regular and its distance from your home do not matter.) See Home Office, earlier, for a discussion on the use of your home as your principal place of business. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026960
Generally, you can deduct entertainment expenses (including entertainment-related meals) only if they are directly related to the active conduct of your trade or business. However, the expense only needs to be associated with the active conduct of your trade or business if it directly precedes or follows a substantial and bona fide business-related discussion.
You can deduct only 50% of your business-related meal and entertainment expenses unless the expenses meet certain exceptions. You apply this 50% limit before you apply the 2%-of-adjusted-gross-income limit.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026961
You can deduct 80% of your business-related meal expenses if you consume the meals during or incident to any period subject to the Department of Transportation's "hours of service" limits. You apply this 80% limit before you apply the 2%-of-adjusted-gross-income limit.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026962
You can generally deduct up to $25 of business gifts you give to any one individual during the year. The following items do not count toward the $25 limit.
- Identical, widely distributed items costing $4 or less that have your name clearly and permanently imprinted.
- Signs, racks, and promotional materials to be displayed on the business premises of the recipient.
If your employer provides or requires you to obtain lodging while you are not traveling away from home, you can deduct the cost of the lodging if it is on a temporary basis, it is necessary for you to participate in or be available for a business meeting or employer function, and the costs are ordinary and necessary, but not lavish or extravagant.
If your employer provides the lodging or reimburses you for the cost of the lodging, you can deduct the cost only if the value or the reimbursement is included in your gross income because it is reported as wages on your Form W-2.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026964
See Publication 463 for more information on travel, transportation, meal, entertainment, and gift expenses, and reimbursements for these expenses.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026965
You can deduct dues and initiation fees you pay for union membership.
You can also deduct assessments for benefit payments to unemployed union members. However, you cannot deduct the part of the assessments or contributions that provides funds for the payment of sick, accident, or death benefits. Also, you cannot deduct contributions to a pension fund even if the union requires you to make the contributions.
You may not be able to deduct amounts you pay to the union that are related to certain lobbying and political activities. See Lobbying Expenses under Nondeductible Expenses, later.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026966
You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met.
- You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
- The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.
It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing.
Examples of workers who may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes are: delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, letter carriers, professional athletes, and transportation workers (air, rail, bus, etc.).
Musicians and entertainers can deduct the cost of theatrical clothing and accessories that are not suitable for everyday wear.
However, work clothing consisting of white cap, white shirt or white jacket, white bib overalls, and standard work shoes, which a painter is required by his union to wear on the job, is not distinctive in character or in the nature of a uniform. Similarly, the costs of buying and maintaining blue work clothes worn by a welder at the request of a foreman are not deductible. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026968
You can deduct the cost of protective clothing required in your work, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves.
Examples of workers who may be required to wear safety items are: carpenters, cement workers, chemical workers, electricians, fishing boat crew members, machinists, oil field workers, pipe fitters, steamfitters, and truck drivers. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026969
You generally cannot deduct the cost of your uniforms if you are on full-time active duty in the armed forces. However, if you are an armed forces reservist, you can deduct the unreimbursed cost of your uniform if military regulations restrict you from wearing it except while on duty as a reservist. In figuring the deduction, you must reduce the cost by any nontaxable allowance you receive for these expenses.
If local military rules do not allow you to wear fatigue uniforms when you are off duty, you can deduct the amount by which the cost of buying and keeping up these uniforms is more than the uniform allowance you receive.
If you are a student at an armed forces academy, you cannot deduct the cost of your uniforms if they replace regular clothing. However, you can deduct the cost of insignia, shoulder boards, and related items.
You can deduct the cost of your uniforms if you are a civilian faculty or staff member of a military school.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026970
You can deduct expenses you have for education, even if the education may lead to a degree, if the education meets at least one of the following two tests.
- It maintains or improves skills required in your present work.
- It is required by your employer or the law to keep your salary, status, or job, and the requirement serves a business purpose of your employer.
You cannot deduct expenses you have for education, even though one or both of the preceding tests are met, if the education:
- Is needed to meet the minimum educational requirements to qualify you in your trade or business, or
- Is part of a program of study that will lead to qualifying you in a new trade or business.
If your education qualifies, you can deduct expenses for tuition, books, supplies, laboratory fees, and similar items, and certain transportation costs.
If the education qualifies you for a new trade or business, you cannot deduct the educational expenses even if you do not intend to enter that trade or business.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026971
You cannot deduct the cost of travel that in itself constitutes a form of education. For example, a French teacher who travels to France to maintain general familiarity with the French language and culture cannot deduct the cost of the trip as an educational expense.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026972
See chapter 12 of Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, for a complete discussion of the deduction for work-related education expenses.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026973
You can usually deduct tax preparation fees in the year you pay them. Thus, on your 2008 return, you can deduct fees paid in 2008 for preparing your 2007 return. These fees include the cost of tax preparation software programs and tax publications. They also include any fee you paid for electronic filing of your return. However, if you paid your tax by credit card, you cannot deduct the convenience fee you were charged. See Tax preparation fees under How To Report, later.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026974
You can deduct certain other expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2%-of-adjusted-gross-
income limit. On Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23, or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 11, you can deduct expenses you pay:
- To produce or collect income that must be included in your gross income,
- To manage, conserve, or maintain property held for producing such income, or
- To determine, contest, pay, or claim a refund of any tax.
You can deduct expenses you pay for the purposes in (1) and (2) above only if they are reasonable and closely related to these purposes.
These other expenses include the following items.
- Appraisal fees for a casualty loss or charitable contribution.
- Casualty and theft losses from property used in performing services as an employee.
- Clerical help and office rent in caring for investments.
- Depreciation on home computers used for investments.
- Excess deductions (including administrative expenses) allowed a beneficiary on termination of an estate or trust.
- Fees to collect interest and dividends.
- Hobby expenses, but generally not more than hobby income.
- Indirect miscellaneous deductions of pass-through entities.
- Investment fees and expenses.
- Legal fees related to producing or collecting taxable income or getting tax advice.
- Loss on deposits in an insolvent or bankrupt financial institution.
- Loss on traditional IRAs or Roth IRAs, when all amounts have been distributed to you.
- Repayments of income.
- Repayments of social security benefits.
- Safe deposit box rental.
- Service charges on dividend reinvestment plans.
- Tax advice fees.
- Trustee's fees for your IRA, if separately billed and paid.
If the expenses you pay produce income that is only partially taxable, see Tax-Exempt Income Expenses,
later, under Nondeductible Expenses.
You can deduct appraisal fees if you pay them to figure a casualty loss or the fair market value of donated property. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026976
You can deduct a casualty or theft loss as a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit if you used the damaged or stolen property in performing services as an employee. First report the loss in Section B of Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts. You may also have to include the loss on Form 4797, Sales of Business Property, if you are otherwise required to file that form. To figure your deduction, add all casualty or theft losses from this type of property included on Form 4684, lines 38 and 44b, or Form 4797, line 18a. For more information on casualty and theft losses, see Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026977
You can deduct office expenses, such as rent and clerical help, that you have in connection with your investments and collecting the taxable income on them. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026978
You can deduct depreciation on your home computer if you use it to produce income (for example, to manage your investments that produce taxable income). You generally must depreciate the computer using the straight line method over the Alternative Depreciation System (ADS) recovery period. But if you work as an employee and also use the computer in that work, see Depreciation on Computers or Cell Phones under Unreimbursed Employee Expenses, earlier. For more information on depreciation, see Publication 946. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026979
If an estate's total deductions in its last tax year are more than its gross income for that year, the beneficiaries succeeding to the estate's property can deduct the excess. Do not include deductions for the estate's personal exemption and charitable contributions when figuring the estate's total deductions. The beneficiaries can claim the deduction only for the tax year in which, or with which, the estate terminates, whether the year of termination is a normal year or a short tax year. For more information, see Termination of Estate in Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026980
You can deduct fees you pay to a broker, bank, trustee, or similar agent to collect your taxable bond interest or dividends on shares of stock. But you cannot deduct a fee you pay to a broker to buy investment property, such as stocks or bonds. You must add the fee to the cost of the property.
You cannot deduct the fee you pay to a broker to sell securities. You can use the fee only to figure gain or loss from the sale. See the instructions for columns (d) and (e) of Schedule D (Form 1040) for information on how to report the fee. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026981
You can generally deduct hobby expenses, but only up to the amount of hobby income. A hobby is not a business because it is not carried on to make a profit. See Not-for-Profit Activities in chapter 1 of Publication 535.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026982
Pass-through entities include partnerships, S corporations, and mutual funds that are not publicly offered. Deductions of pass-through entities are passed through to the partners or shareholders. The partners or shareholders can deduct their share of passed-through deductions for investment expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% limit.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026983
You are a member of an investment club that is formed solely to invest in securities. The club is treated as a partnership. The partnership's income is solely from taxable dividends, interest, and gains from sales of securities. In this case, you can deduct your share of the partnership's operating expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% limit. However, if the investment club partnership has investments that also produce nontaxable income, you cannot deduct your share of the partnership's expenses that produce the nontaxable income. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026984
Publicly offered mutual funds do not pass deductions for investment expenses through to shareholders. A mutual fund is "publicly offered" if it is:
- Continuously offered pursuant to a public offering,
- Regularly traded on an established securities market, or
- Held by or for at least 500 persons at all times during the tax year.
A publicly offered mutual fund will send you a Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions, or a substitute form, showing the net amount of dividend income (gross dividends minus investment expenses). This net figure is the amount you report on your return as income. You cannot deduct investment expenses. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026985
You should receive information returns from pass-through entities. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026986
These entities issue Schedule K-1, which lists the items and amounts you must report, and identifies the tax return schedules and lines to use.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026987
These funds will send you a Form 1099-DIV, or a substitute form, showing your share of gross income and investment expenses. You can claim the expenses only as a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026988
You can deduct investment fees, custodial fees, trust administration fees, and other expenses you paid for managing your investments that produce taxable income. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026989
You can usually deduct legal expenses that you incur in attempting to produce or collect taxable income or that you pay in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax.
You can also deduct legal expenses that are:
- Related to either doing or keeping your job, such as those you paid to defend yourself against criminal charges arising out of your trade or business,
- For tax advice related to a divorce if the bill specifies how much is for tax advice and it is determined in a reasonable way, or
- To collect taxable alimony.
You can deduct expenses of resolving tax issues relating to profit or loss from business (Schedule C or C-EZ), rentals or royalties (Schedule E), or farm income and expenses (Schedule F) on the appropriate schedule. You deduct expenses of resolving nonbusiness tax issues on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). See Tax Preparation Fees, earlier. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026990
You may be able to deduct, as an adjustment to income on Form 1040, line 36, or Form 1040NR, line 34, rather than as a miscellaneous itemized deduction, attorney fees and court costs for actions settled or decided after October 22, 2004, involving a claim of unlawful discrimination, a claim against the U.S. Government, or a claim made under section 1862(b)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act. However, the amount you can deduct on Form 1040, line 36, or Form 1040NR, line 34, is limited to the amount you included in gross income in 2007 for that claim. See Publication 525 for more information.taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026991
If you can reasonably estimate the amount of your loss on money you have on deposit in a financial institution that becomes insolvent or bankrupt, you can generally choose to deduct it in the current year even though its exact amount has not been finally determined. Once you make this choice, you cannot change it without IRS approval.
If none of the deposit is federally insured, you can deduct the loss in either of the following ways.
- As a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit. Write the name of the financial institution and "Insolvent Financial Institution" beside the amount on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23, or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 11. This deduction is limited to $20,000 ($10,000 if you are married filing separately) for each financial institution, reduced by any expected state insurance proceeds.
- As a casualty loss. See Publication 547 for details.
If any part of the deposit is federally insured, you can deduct the loss only as a casualty loss. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026992
You cannot make this choice if you are a 1%-or-more-owner or an officer of the financial institution, or are related to such owner or officer. For a definition of "related," see Deposit in Insolvent or Bankrupt Financial Institution in chapter 4 of Publication 550. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026993
If you make this choice and your actual loss is less than your estimated loss, you must include the excess in income. See Recoveries in Publication 525. If your actual loss is more than your estimated loss, treat the excess loss as explained under Choice not made, next. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026994
If you do not make this choice (or if you have an excess actual loss after choosing to deduct your estimated loss), treat your loss (or excess loss) as a nonbusiness bad debt (deductible as a short-term capital loss) in the year its amount is finally determined. See Nonbusiness Bad Debts in chapter 4 of Publication 550. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026995
If you have a loss on your traditional IRA (or Roth IRA) investment, you can deduct the loss as a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit, but only when all the amounts in all your traditional IRA (or Roth IRA) accounts have been distributed to you and the total distributions are less than your unrecovered basis. For more information, see Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026996
If you had to repay an amount that you included in income in an earlier year, you may be able to deduct the amount you repaid. If the amount you had to repay was ordinary income of $3,000 or less, the deduction is subject to the 2% limit. If it was more than $3,000, see Repayments Under Claim of Right under Deductions Not Subject to the 2% Limit, later. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100026997
If the total of the amounts in box 5 (net benefits for 2008) of all your Forms SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, and Forms RRB-1099, Payments By the Railroad Retirement Board, is a negative figure (a figure in parentheses), you may be able to take a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit. The amount you can deduct is the part of the negative figure that represents an amount you included in gross income in an earlier year.
The amount in box 5 of Form SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 is the net amount of your benefits for the year. It will be a negative figure if the amount of benefits you repaid in 2008 (box 4) is more than the gross amount of benefits paid to you in 2008 (box 3).
If the deduction is more than $3,000, you will have to use a special computation to figure your tax. See Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits, for additional information.
You can deduct safe deposit box rent if you use the box to store taxable income-producing stocks, bonds, or investment-related papers and documents. You cannot deduct the rent if you use the box only for jewelry, other personal items, or tax-exempt securities. taxmap/pubs/p529-000.htm#en_us_publink100027000
You can deduct service charges you pay as a subscriber in a dividend reinvestment plan. These service charges include payments for:
- Holding shares acquired through a plan,
- Collecting and reinvesting cash dividends, and
- Keeping individual records and providing detailed statements of accounts.
Trustee's administrative fees that are billed separately and paid by you in connection with your IRA are deductible (if they are ordinary and necessary) as a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit.