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What are above-the-line deductions?

Above-the-line deductions are deductions that you subtract from your gross income to arrive at your adjusted gross income (AGI) and are distinct from other deductions, which are subtracted from AGI.

Above-the-line deductions can be taken by anyone, regardless of whether you choose to take the standard deduction or itemize deductions. Plus they don’t phaseout or cutoff beyond certain income levels.

Above-the-line deductions are generally considered more beneficial than other deductions because lowering your AGI could allow you to qualify for more credits and deductions.

Above-the-line deductions include deductions for

  • alimony
  • Archer MSAs and health savings accounts (HSAs)
  • certain business expenses
  • clean-fuel vehicles and certain refueling property
  • jury duty pay
  • losses from property sales
  • moving expenses
  • rents and royalties
  • retirement savings
  • self-employed individuals’ pensions, profit-sharing, and annuity plans
  • student loan interest
  • tuition and related expenses

  • Internal Revenue Code Section 62 can provide more specific information on what’s allowed as an above-the-line deduction.


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