Every year when tax time rolls around, we all look for the deductions and credits that let us legally reduce our tax burden. Buried in the morass of forms are some little-known tax deductions for those working in certain professions.
Line 23: Deduction for Teachers
Line 23 on the IRS tax form 1040 allows eligible educators to claim a credit against their income for qualified non-reimbursed business expenses. The most common use of this credit is for supplies purchased for use in the classroom. But, it can also cover computer equipment, software, and professional development costs.
A teacher who worked at least 900 hours in a school teaching kindergarten through grade 12 is eligible to use this tax deduction. The maximum benefit is $250 for an individual or $500 for couples that are both teachers and filing jointly. Homeschools cannot claim this tax deduction.
Line 24: Deductions for Reservists, Qualified Performing Artists, and Fee-Basis Government Officials
At first glance, these three categories don’t appear to have much in common. In the real world, they don’t, but in tax jargon, line 24 allows those in jobs, that may require a lot of travel expense for a relatively low pay, an extra tax deduction.
Unlike eligible educators, there is no hard and fast definition of a “qualified performing artist.” Working as any sort of performer will likely suffice as long as you worked for at least two different employers and have a minimum of $200 in earnings from each gig. However, that’s the only part that’s not complicated.
Performers trying to claim the Line 24 deduction must complete IRS Form 2106. On this form, you will be able to make many of the same deductions as any small business, primarily mileage, lodging, meals, and direct business expenses as long as those expenses were more than 10 percent of your gross income and that income does not exceed $16,000.
Military reserve members may also be able to claim this deduction for travel more than 100 miles from home. However, with the web of payments, per diem allowances, reimbursements, and other financial incentives offered to reservists, this credit is complicated to document.
The final category in this catch-all deduction is government officials who provide services on a fee basis. This does not include anyone who works in a salaried or hourly position.
The one requirement for claiming the line 23 or line 24 credit is that you must file your taxes on standard IRS long form 1040. There is no provision for claiming these benefits on form 1040A or 1040EZ. Determining how to file and which form to use can directly affect how much you owe in taxes. Contact us for a consultation on how the tax laws can benefit you.