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You Could Be A Big Loser If You Don’t Itemize All Your Expenses

The government affords all taxpayers a standard deduction from their incomes. This deduction naturally decreases your taxable income, and the amount you are entitled to, is based on your filing status. However, if your total eligible deductible expenses exceed the standard deduction amount, you may be allowed to itemize your deductions. Also, you must itemize if you do not qualify for the standard deduction. Itemized deductions are comprised of certain eligible expenses that individual taxpayers in the United States can report on their federal income tax returns in order to decrease their taxable income. Most taxpayers are allowed a choice between the itemized deductions and the standard deduction.

To claim your itemized deductions, you must complete Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You enter all your eligible expenses in the appropriate sections on Schedule A.

The eligible expenses that you are allowed to claim on Schedule A, fall into the following broad categories:

Medical and dental expenses.

You can claim a deduction for medical and dental expenses you incurred, but only to the extent that they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Taxes you paid.

The following taxes you paid during the year are deductible on Schedule A: State and local income taxes, real estate taxes, personal property taxes, and foreign income taxes paid.

Interest you paid.

The types of interest you can deduct on Schedule A are home mortgage interest, points in some cases, and investment interest.

Gifts to charity.

You may claim any charitable contributions of money or property you made to qualified charitable organizations. Generally, you may deduct charitable contributions of up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.

Casualty and theft losses.

Generally, you may claim any casualty and theft losses you suffered, relating to your home, household items, and vehicles, subject of course, to certain provisions.

Job expenses and certain miscellaneous deductions.

If you are an employee with unreimbursed work-related expenses, you may be able to deduct them as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. These expenses, however, are deductible only to the extent that they exceed the 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Other miscellaneous deductions.

Deductible miscellaneous expenses are grouped into two separate categories. Some expenses are subject to the 2% of AGI limitation, meaning that they are deductible only in so much as they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. There are others, however, that are not subject to the 2% limitation, and these are deductible in full.

For a comprehensive guide on all the expenses your can claim on your Schedule A, grab yourself a copy of “Doing Your Own Taxes is as Easy as 1, 2, 3” ($6.98) on


Milton G Boothe is an IRS Enrolled Agent with over twenty years of tax and financial accounting experience, including several years at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is also a British certified Chartered Accountant. He is currently employed in private tax practices where he helps people resolve their tax problems, minimize their taxes, and routinely represents the interests of taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. As an Enrolled Agent (EA) Boothe is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the IRS for audits, collections, and appeals.
Milton G Boothe is also the author of several tax publications, wherein he encourages people to empower themselves by learning to do their own taxes.