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On December 22, 2017, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. The information in this article predates the tax reform legislation and may not apply to tax returns starting in the 2018 tax year. You may wish to speak to your tax advisor about the latest tax law. This publication is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. This publication is protected by copyright.

Elusive Employee Business Expense Tax Deduction
Article Highlights:
  • Employee versus Self-Employed 
  • Itemized Deduction 
  • Two Percent of AGI Limitation 
  • Alternative Minimum Tax Limitation 
  • Ordinary and Necessary Requirement 
One major difference between being an employee and being self-employed is how you deduct the expenses you incur related to your work. A self-employed individual is able to deduct expenses on his or her business schedule, while an employee is generally limited to deducting them as itemized deductions.

That means self-employed individuals benefit by deducting their expenses directly on their business schedule, which can then result in a reportable business loss if the expenses exceed their business income.

On the other hand, an employee can only deduct employee business expenses on an IRS Form 2106, and the total from the 2106 is deducted as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. Thus, in order to claim employee business expenses, the employee is forced to itemize their deductions and cannot utilize the standard deduction. In addition, the employee’s business expenses fall into a category that is reduced by 2% of the employee’s adjusted gross income (AGI), which means that if the employee’s AGI for the year is $100,000, for example, only job-related expenses—combined with other miscellaneous expenses in that category—in excess of $2,000 (2% of $100,000) would be deductible. On top of that, miscellaneous itemized deductions are not deductible at all under the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Thus, if an individual is subject to the AMT, he or she may gain little or no tax benefit from employee business expenses.

Employee business expenses are unreimbursed expenses that are both ordinary (common and accepted in your industry) and necessary (appropriate and helpful in business) and do not include personal expenses. Although not all-inclusive, examples of allowed expenses include the costs of tools, job-related education, job-seeking expenses, business travel away from home, and business use of a car and home.

If you have questions related to employee business expenses and strategies to deduct them, such as bunching deductions, taking advantage of fast write-off provisions of the tax law, or working out a tax-favored reimbursement plan with your employer, please give this office a call.



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'); mywindow.document.write(data); mywindow.document.write(' '); mywindow.document.close(); // necessary for IE >= 10 mywindow.focus(); // necessary for IE >= 10 mywindow.print(); mywindow.close(); return true; } function quote_standard() { var miscellaneous=0; var formName = document.ioq; $('#print').show(); /* START GLOBAL VARIABLES ***************************************************************************/ // Federal var form1040 = Math.round(120*1.3); var form1040A = Math.round(100*1.3); var form1040EZ = Math.round(60*1.3); var form1040X = Math.round(200*1.3); // State var form140AZ = Math.round(70*1.3); var form140AZPY = Math.round(90*1.3); var form140X = Math.round(90*1.3); var otherStateIncomeTax = Math.round(80*1.3); // Income var w2 = Math.round(10*1.5); var form1099R = Math.round(10*1.3); var k1 = Math.round(40*1.3); // Schedules var scheduleA = Math.round(110*1.3); var scheduleB = Math.round(20*1.3); var scheduleC = Math.round(120*1.3); var scheduleD = Math.round(40*1.3); var scheduleE = Math.round(200); var scheduleF = Math.round(100*1.3); var scheduleH = Math.round(100*1.3); var scheduleL = Math.round(20*1.3); var scheduleM = Math.round(20*1.3); // Forms var form982 = Math.round(80*1.3); var form2106 = Math.round(50*1.3); var form2441 = Math.round(40*1.3); var form4137 = Math.round(40*1.3); var form4562 = Math.round(30*1.3); var form4684 = Math.round(50*1.3); var form4797 = Math.round(140*1.3); var form5405 = Math.round(80*1.3); var form5695 = Math.round(80); var form6252 = Math.round(80*1.3); var form8283 = Math.round(40); var form8379 = Math.round(40*1.3); var form8396 = Math.round(30*1.3); var form8606 = Math.round(30*1.3); var form8824 = Math.round(150*1.3); var form8829 = Math.round(130); var form8863 = Math.round(50*1.3); // Income documents var incomeDocuments = Math.round(60); var incomeDocumentsAnswer = "Yes"; /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 2 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.DoYouHaveAMortgage_0.checked == true) { var doYouHaveAMortgage = 230; var doYouHaveAMortgageAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var doYouHaveAMortgage = 130; var doYouHaveAMortgageAnswer = "No" } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 3 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.W2_0.checked == true) { var w2 = parseInt(w2) * parseInt(formName.W2_0_yes.value); var w2Answer = "Yes"; } else { var w2 = 0; var w2Answer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 4 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.SelfEmployed_0.checked == true) { var selfEmployed = 170 * parseInt(formName.SelfEmployed_0_yes.value); var selfEmployedAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var selfEmployed = 0; var selfEmployedAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 5 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.DidYouLiveOutsideOfArizona_0.checked == true) { var didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona = parseInt(formName.DidYouLiveOutsideOfArizona_0_yes.value * 190); //didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona=Math.round(didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona*1.3); var didYouLiveOutsideOfArizonaAnswer = formName.DidYouLiveOutsideOfArizona_0_yes.value; } else { var didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona = 100; didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona=Math.round(didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona*1.3); var didYouLiveOutsideOfArizonaAnswer = 1; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 6 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.DidYouSellInvestments_0.checked == true) { // alert("Your fees could vary significantly depending upon the number and type of transactions. We can give you a firm quote when we meet. This quote is an estimate."); // Captures the quantity value of the drop down and multiplies it times the price. var didYouSellInvestments = (parseInt(formName.ScheduleD.value) * 5) + 50; if (parseInt(formName.ScheduleD.value) > 40) { didYouSellInvestments=didYouSellInvestments+((parseInt(scheduleD)-40)*3); } didYouSellInvestments=Math.round(didYouSellInvestments*1.3); var didYouSellInvestmentsAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var didYouSellInvestments = 0; var didYouSellInvestmentsAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 7 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.DidYouOwnRentalProperty_0.checked == true) { // Captures the quantity value of the drop down and multiplies it times the price. var didYouOwnRentalProperty = parseInt(scheduleE) * parseInt(formName.ScheduleEOwn.value); var didYouOwnRentalPropertyAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var didYouOwnRentalProperty = 0; var didYouOwnRentalPropertyAnswer = "No"; } if (formName.DidYouSellRentalProperty_0.checked == true) { // Captures the quantity value of the drop down and multiplies it times the price. var didYouSellRentalProperty = 250 * parseInt(formName.ScheduleESell.value); var didYouSellRentalPropertyAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var didYouSellRentalProperty = 0; var didYouSellRentalPropertyAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 9 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.ChildCare_0.checked == true) { var childCare = parseInt(form2441); var childCareAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var childCare = 0; var childCareAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 11 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.EnergyCredit_0.checked == true) { var energyCredit = parseInt(form5695) * parseInt(formName.EnergyCredit.value); var energyCreditAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var energyCredit = 0; var energyCreditAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 12 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.DonateNonCash_0.checked == true) { var donateNonCash = parseInt(form8283); var donateNonCashAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var donateNonCash = 0; var donateNonCashAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 13 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.BusinessUseOfHome_0.checked == true) { var businessUseOfHome = parseInt(form8829) + ((parseInt(formName.BusinessUseOfHome_0_yes.value) * 80) - 80); var businessUseOfHomeAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var businessUseOfHome = 0; var businessUseOfHomeAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 14 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.BusinessUseOfHome_0.checked == true) { var businessUseOfHome = parseInt(form8829) * parseInt(formName.BusinessUseOfHome_0_yes.value); var businessUseOfHomeAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var businessUseOfHome = 0; var businessUseOfHomeAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 15 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.CollegeTuition_0.checked == true) { var collegeTuition = parseInt(form8863) * parseInt(formName.Tuition_0_yes.value); var collegeTuitionAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var collegeTuition = 0; var collegeTuitionAnswer = "No"; } /* CALCULATES QUESTIONS NUMBER 16 ********************************************************************/ if (formName.IncomeDocuments_0.checked == true) { var incomeDocuments = parseInt(incomeDocuments); var incomeDocumentsAnswer = "Yes"; } else { var incomeDocuments = 0; var incomeDocumentsAnswer = "No"; } // Calculate the subtotal var subtotal = parseInt(doYouHaveAMortgage + w2 + selfEmployed + didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona + didYouSellInvestments + didYouOwnRentalProperty + didYouSellRentalProperty + childCare + energyCredit + donateNonCash + businessUseOfHome + collegeTuition + incomeDocuments); // create answer text var doYouHaveAMortgageAnswer = "2. Mortgage? " + doYouHaveAMortgageAnswer + " $" + doYouHaveAMortgage; var w2Answer = "3. W-2, 1099-R, SSA-1099, K-1 forms? " + w2Answer + " $" + w2; var selfEmployedAnswer = "4. Self-Employed? " + selfEmployedAnswer + " $" + selfEmployed; var didYouLiveOutsideOfArizonaAnswer = "5. State Returns: " + didYouLiveOutsideOfArizonaAnswer + " $" + didYouLiveOutsideOfArizona; var didYouSellInvestmentsAnswer = "6. Sold Investments? " + didYouSellInvestmentsAnswer + " $" + didYouSellInvestments; var didYouOwnRentalPropertyAnswer = "7a. Owned Rental Property? " + didYouOwnRentalPropertyAnswer + " $" + didYouOwnRentalProperty; var didYouSellRentalPropertyAnswer = "7b. Sold Rental Property? " + didYouSellRentalPropertyAnswer + " $" + didYouSellRentalProperty; var childCareAnswer = "8. Child Care? " + childCareAnswer + " $" + childCare; var energyCreditAnswer = "9. Energy Credit? " + energyCreditAnswer + " $" + energyCredit; var donateNonCashAnswer = "10. Donated more than $500? " + donateNonCashAnswer + " $" + donateNonCash; var businessUseOfHomeAnswer = "11. Business-use-of-home? " + businessUseOfHomeAnswer + " $" + businessUseOfHome; var collegeTuitionAnswer = "12. College Tuition? " + collegeTuitionAnswer + " $" + collegeTuition; var incomeDocumentsAnswer = "13. Earned Income Credit " + incomeDocumentsAnswer + " $" + incomeDocuments; // Check if existing client box is checked if (formName.ExistingClient_0.checked == true) { var existingClientAnswer = "1. Existing client? Yes"; var discount = parseInt(subtotal * .10); } else { var existingClientAnswer = "1. Existing client? No"; var discount = parseInt(subtotal * .20); } // Dependent discount check if (formName.DependentDiscount_0.checked == true) { var dependentDiscount = parseInt(subtotal * .5); var dependentDiscountText = "
Dependent Discount: -$"+ dependentDiscount; } else { var dependentDiscount = 0; var dependentDiscountText = ""; } var breakdown = existingClientAnswer + "
" + doYouHaveAMortgageAnswer + "
" + w2Answer + "
" + selfEmployedAnswer + "
" + didYouLiveOutsideOfArizonaAnswer + "
" + didYouSellInvestmentsAnswer + "
" + didYouOwnRentalPropertyAnswer + "
" + didYouSellRentalPropertyAnswer + "
" + childCareAnswer + "
" + energyCreditAnswer + "
" + donateNonCashAnswer + "
" + businessUseOfHomeAnswer + "
" + collegeTuitionAnswer + "
" + incomeDocumentsAnswer; var quote = breakdown + "
--------------------
Subtotal: $" + parseInt(subtotal) + "
Discount: -$" + parseInt(discount) + dependentDiscountText + "
--------------------
Total Only $" + parseInt(subtotal - discount - dependentDiscount + miscellaneous) + "! "; document.getElementById('quotearea').innerHTML=quote+'

If you have other transactions not mentioned above, your fees will be higher. This quote is an estimate. Please print this quote and bring it with you to your appointment. You must have a completed tax organizer to get the discount.'; return false; }