Monday, February 3, 2003

Check job-related deductions


Union dues, uniforms, auto expense might qualify

(Third in a series)

By Amy Higgins
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Your job isn't just the source of your income. It could also be the source of many tax deductions.

Taxpayers tend to overlook many work-related deductions.

ABOUT THE SERIES
Saturday: Getting your records organized
Sunday: What's new for 2002
Today: Often missed work-related deductions
Tuesday: Does it make sense to deduct a home office?
Wednesday: Education related credits and deductions
Thursday: Reducing taxes without itemizing
Friday: Which filing status is best?
Saturday: IRS Free File and online tax chat on Cincinnati.Com

Tax chat: Visit Cincinnati.Com from 11 a.m.-noon Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 8 for our third annual series of Tax Chats. Questions will be answered live by Tom Cooney and Crystal Faulkner, partners in the accounting firm of Cooney, Faulkner and Stevens.
Questions: E-mail questions throughout the week to tax@enquirer.com. Answers to commonly asked questions will be printed in Saturday editions of the Enquirer through April 12.
"They tend to be overlooked just because employees tend to think of their tax situation with their employers as being governed by the W-2," said Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst for tax information publisher CCH Inc.

Employees typically take the salary and withholding information off the W-2, "and end it there," Luscombe said. "They tend to forget about other things."

Those forgotten deductions come in the form of unreimbursed work-related expenses. Employees often don't realize that work-related expenses include:

• Professional society and union dues.

• Continuing education and training costs.

• Professional journals, magazines and books.

• Uniforms and some other clothing required but not provided.

Mileage, even if a portion is reimbursed, up to 36.5 cents a mile.

Some employees might overlook these deductions thinking they don't have enough to qualify.

Indeed, these combined with other miscellaneous expenses (such as tax preparation and investment fees) must be more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income to qualify. But if you add in some of these overlooked deductions, you might get that amount up to that threshold.

Ordinary commuting and parking expenses and work clothes that are also worn to non-work functions typically are not deductible.

E-mail ahiggins@enquirer.com




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