Thursday, March 11, 2010

Publication 17

Your Federal Income Tax, For use in preparing 2009 Returns
AKA: Publication 17

You should pick up the book sometime, you can usually find them @ your local public library
or Post Office--great reading fun!

Words I never expected to read in Publication 17:
bottled water
cosmetic surgery
maternity clothes

That's just for starters. Maternity clothes are not qualified medical expense deductions, in case you were wondering.

Here are a few other surprises I found while reading my Publication 17:

NEW this year, 'qualifying child' definitions have changed. In case you really don't know if your child really qualifies as YOUR child--the government decided to make it even simpler to understand.

For example, in case you're unsure, "Your qualifying child must be *younger* than you...." Whew! Glad that was cleared up because I was SO confused as to whether I should continue to call dad, dad or son and if my son should be called my brother and my brother could be claimed as my daughter. You know? What would I ever do w/o the government to explain it to me? I guess w/ all that new fancyschmancy scientific 'research' they are doing these days, we are simply one step away from having children OLDER than ourselves....imagine? You could owe child support before you are even born, for a child born before you. Scary.

This next part is extremely important for all you 'entertainers'. Now I know many of you work in the 'industry' and expect to have all these extra itemizeable deductions. Like for instance, clothing. You know how you get an audition or you score that above non-union rated background gig ($100 for 8) and they request you wear certain specific clothing items. So you run out to the thrift store to snag an 'upscale' looking sweater and promise to yourself that you will NOT lose that receipt because it's a 'tax deduction'.

Well, the government has cleared that up for us too. Entertainers and musicians can deduct *theatrical clothing*. Now, you can't deduct clothing that you can wear outside of work, it must be 'distinctive in character'.

This doesn't work well for 'painters'. According to Publication 17, "work clothing consisting of white cap, white shirt or white jacket, white bib overalls, and standard work shoes, which a *painter* is required by his union to wear on the job, is not distinctive in character or in the nature of a uniform." Bummer. I guess once a clothing item like white bib overalls hits the Top 10 Fashion trends of the Year list--it becomes non-deductible. I just hope I can still find some white bib overalls @ Target before they run out. I'm a big fashion addict, you know.

White clothing is not the only color of clothing the government has a bias against though, they also don't like blue clothing either. Page 203 of Publication 17 states: ...the costs of buying and maintaining blue work clothes worn by a welder at the request of a foreman are not deductible.

Oh and it looks like big brother has finally caught on to all those housewives trying to fudge on their taxes by filing "frivolous positions". The IRS has published a list of positions that are identified as frivolous. This list is not published in Publication 17. I will update when I can find it. I guess my *domestic engineer* filing status may not be considered legitimate anymore. I wonder if pediatric supervisor would still work? Educational manager? Personal Assistant?

Don[t worry if you feel confused as to what Publication 17 really is or how to use it. There is an introduction that states what Publication 17 is, why you may need it, what information it will give you and what info it will *not* give you. In case you are too busy to actually read Publication 17, to find out what is contained in it and not contained it, the introduction summarizes what is in it and what is not in it. The IRS is so helpful aren't they?

If you can't find what you are looking for, you can always flip to the index in the back.
You can look up topics, oh, like TORNADOES, that info can be found on page 175 and 172, in that order.

True Story.

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