Schedule A-Itemized Deductions: Doesn't Get the Respect it Deserves
1. Medical Expenses
4. Charitable Contributions
5. Job Expenses and Miscellaneous Deductions
Taxpayers and tax preparers think that this is basically a simple form. Just pop a few numbers onto this form and move on. I find mistakes for substantial dollars frequently.
I recently reviewed a return prepared by a CPA. He omitted $9,000 of medical expenses and $9,000 of non-cash charitable contributions!
Taxpayers who prepare their own returns, omit substantial deductions almost every time.
Most taxpayers and tax preparers do not know all of the varied items which are deductible as medical expenses, charitable and miscellaneous deductions. It is a lucrative area, worthy of study. I have made a careful and in depth study of the tax law and court cases relating to these deductions, over 15 years, and have had brainstorming sessions in my office with former IRS agents.
I have designed my own 2-page worksheets for medical, charitable and miscellaneous deductions, which I revise and update annually, as the tax law and court cases evolve. My worksheets have helped teach my clients how to document and increase their deductions. My worksheets have also helped me be very organized, focused, and systematic in collecting and organizing clients' information, resulting in larger tax deductions, and therefore, lower taxes.
A tax accountant who is very well educated and experienced can implement many strategies on this form, for the financial benefit of his clients. Some deductions can be timed. Some deductions can be reported in several ways or locations within the tax return. This form can affect the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) in several ways. It also has a relationship with the Home Office deduction, which applies to self-employed taxpayers, as well as some employees. This form can generate a carry forward tax deduction for the following year. Does this seem "simple"?
There are many court cases relating to this form, the results of which are not in the law, nor are they in the instructions. A simple review of the IRS-supplied instructions for completing this form does not include the law or the court cases. The skillful tax accountant must practically utilize knowledge of all three: the law itself, the court cases, and the IRS instructions.
There is much more to Schedule A than just putting "cut and dried" numbers on a form.