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For people who have them, the two biggest items under the "miscellaneous deduction" umbrella are employee business expenses, and deductions related to investment income. These are discussed elsewhere in this Guide.
Line 21 of Schedule A is used to report employee business expenses transferred from Form 2106 or 2106-EZ, and Line 23 is used to report investment expenses. Hobby expenses are deductible on Line 23 as well.
However, there are a number of other things that count as miscellaneous itemized deductions.
Job search expenses. Expenses that you pay in looking for another job in your present occupation can be deducted, even if you don't find a new job. However, you can't deduct the expenses of looking for your first job or a job after you've been out of the workforce for an extended period of time. You also can't deduct expenses of seeking the first job in a new occupation.
If your job search qualifies, you can deduct costs for things like writing, printing, and distributing a resume; using an employment agency, outplacement agency or career counselor; and for traveling to interviews or to a different city to look for work. If you use the standard mileage rate to deduct car expenses, use the business rate. The standard mileage rate for 2011 depends upon when the miles were driven. From January 1, 2011, through June 30, 2011, the standard mileage rate for the business use of a car was 51 cents per mile. From July 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011, the standard mileage rate for business use of a car was 55.5 cents per mile.
Tax preparation expenses. You can deduct, as a miscellaneous expense, amounts that you pay to determine the amount of any tax due, to pay the tax, or to claim a refund or contest the amount of tax due. This applies to federal income tax, as well as any other type of tax that you pay.
So, you can deduct the cost of purchasing tax books or software, of copying your tax returns, and even postage costs for obtaining a return receipt when you mail your tax forms. If you pay a fee to file your tax return electronically, you can deduct that cost. If you get professional help in preparing your return or in obtaining appraisals needed to determine the amount of tax due, you can deduct those fees.
Other expenses. There are a few types of miscellaneous expenses that are not subject to the 2 percent of AGI limit.