1040 Tax Preparation Tips

A few months ago I hitched up the ol’ wagon and started a case study that outlined some tips and tricks for filing a business tax return for a sole proprietorship. I finished all I had planned last week. An outline of the study can be found back on my original posting. If you have any additional questions related to the business filings, please let me know (or, if you think it’d be more fun, feel free to pull out your digital bullhorn and criticize all my posts).

I always planned to move on from there into the individual return. Rather than continue down on that same page, though, I’ve started this new one for the 1040 tax preparation tips. Here is the current list of topics I’m planning to cover over the coming months. Unless the robots come first.


  1. Taxable vs. Tax-exempt interest
  2. Ordinary vs. Qualified Dividends
  3. Taxable Refunds
  4. Alimony & Child Support
  5. Business Income or Loss is covered over in this area
  6. Capital Gain/Loss
  7. Home Sale Gain/Loss
  8. IRA distributions
  9. Rental Real Estate
  10. Rental Vacation Home
  11. Unemployment compensation
  12. Social Security
  13. Other Income (SE vs. Non-SE)

Adjusted Gross Income (a.k.a. Above-the-line Deductions)

  1. Educator Expenses
  2. Performing Artists Expenses
  3. Health Savings Account
  4. Moving expenses
  5. Deductible portion of SE tax
  6. Penalty on early withdrawal of savings
  7. IRA deduction
  8. Student loan interest deduction
  9. Tuition and Fees
  10. DPAD

Exemptions and Credits

  1. Exemptions
  2. Foreign tax credit
  3. Child Care Tax Credit
  4. Various Credits

Itemized Deductions

  1. Claiming Itemized Deductions – upper and lower limitation
  2. Medical and Dental Expenses
  3. Real Estate Taxes
  4. Personal Property Taxes
  5. State & Local Income Taxes
  6. Sales Taxes
  7. Deductible interest:
    1. Home Mortgage Interest
    2. Mortgage Insurance Premiums
    3. Points
    4. Investment Interest
  8. Charitable Contributions
    1. Court Case about Non-Cash Contributions
  9. Casualty or theft losses
    1. Bank Deposit Loss, Ponzi Schemes, and Federal Disaster Areas
  10. Unreimbursed employee expenses
  11. Tax Prep Fees
  12. Other Expenses Allowed
  13. Other Miscellaneous Deductions
    1. Gambling Losses

Other Items

  1. Net Operating Losses

Obviously this this list is kind of insanely long, so it will take a while to get it all filled out. Some items may even come off. If, on the other hand, you see something I’m missing that you really wanted to know about, let me know and I’ll probably not completely ignore your request.


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Feature Image by John Morgan