Tax Guide

Get answers to all your questions about taxes, personal finance, insurance and more.

What are 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.All of the above-the-line deductions can be found on Form 1040 in the section “Adjusted Gross Income.” Some of the deductions require additional forms and some don’t.

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, fill out our Form 2106 screen.

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 moved during the year for a new job or business, 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 enter your self-employment income on your 1040.com return, and we'll take care of the math for your deduction. You'll probably need either the Schedule C or Schedule SE screen – but don't double enter the income.

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, use the SEHI Self-Employed Health Insurance screen on your 1040.com return. 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.

Tuition and Fees: If you attend a qualified college or university, you may be eligible to deduct any tuition and fees. You can't claim this deduction and an education credit for the same expenses. Enter your expenses on our Form 1098-T and Education Expenses screen on your 1040.com return.