Above-the-Line Deductions

The requirements for itemized deductions can be hard to meet for many people. But some deductions are available without itemizing: above-the-line deductions.

Educator Expenses: This deduction allows teachers – both public and private – a deduction of up to $250 ($500 for married couples who are both teachers) for necessary educational supplies and expenses. Kindergarten through grade 12 teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, or aides who work at least 900 hours during the school year are eligible for the deduction. For more details about this deduction, see IRS Pub 529.

Certain Business Expenses: Members of the National Guard and Reserves can deduct expenses for traveling 100 miles or more from home for performing their service. Fee-based state or local government officials can deduct certain business expenses. Lastly, qualified performing artists may also deduct business expenses. To claim this deduction, use Form 2106.

Health Savings Account Contributions: Contributing to your HSA through the year is a wise move, because you’re contributing pre-tax dollars. That cuts your taxable income, so it lowers your taxes, plus you get the financial benefit of the dollars without paying taxes on them. Also, any contributions you make are deductible at the end of the year. Contributions from your employer, rollovers, and distributions from IRAs don’t qualify.

Moving Expenses: If you're in the military and moved because of a change of station, you may be eligible to deduct moving expenses. Expenses such as moving vans, storage, and transportation can be deducted.

Self Employed Deductions: There are several above-the-line deductions for the self-employed. The first is a deduction for self-employment tax you paid throughout the year. Just provide your self-employment income Tax Office & Associates and we'll take care of the math for your deduction.

Next, if you’re self-employed you can deduct contributions you made to a SEP IRA or other retirement account. Check IRS Pub 560 for more information about this deduction and how much you can deduct.

The last above-the-line deduction for self-employed taxpayers is for insurance premiums. You can deduct any premiums for insurance for you, your spouse, and dependent children. The premium must be established under your business in order to claim the deduction. For this deduction, provide the Self-Employed Health Insurance expenses to Tax Office & Associates. For more information about this deduction or any other self-employment deductions, see IRS Pub 535.

Student Loan Interest: If you’re paying back any student loans, you may be able to deduct any interest you paid throughout the year, up to $2,500.