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John D NORTHCUT, Financial Advisor
Category: Tax
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Experience:  SEC Registration
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How do I claim a portion of my cell phone bill ...

Resolved Question:

How do I claim a portion of my cell phone bill on my income taxes?Optional Information: cumberland, Maryland
How would I claim my computer internet also. It is strictly used for business.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  John D NORTHCUT replied 10 years ago.
You will need to apportion your cell phone costs between personal and business and be prepared to defend it should the IRS question it, provided you have more than a trivial amount of personal usage.

However, if you do NOT place personal calls but only pick up the phone when it rings (not knowing if it is personal or business), then it is a business expense. Particularly if you have a separate phones for personal calls.

If you use the Internet 100% for business, then it is all claimed as a business expense. I normally specify my ISP provider costs (for example, AOL) that I use 100% for business as a telecommunication expense (not software expense).

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
where do you write this off on a tax form and what is the percentage you can write off. Say 20% is used for both computer internet services for business and cell phone for business?
Expert:  John D NORTHCUT replied 10 years ago.
Are you an employee with a cell phone? Or is this on a business tax return?
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
employee with a cell phone. I am a techer and the school phone is always busy so I call and get calls from parents all of the time on my cell.
Expert:  John D NORTHCUT replied 10 years ago.
Since you are a teacher, you can deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses as an adjustment to gross income on line 23 of Form 1040 (rather than as a miscellaneous itemized deduction that is reported on line 27 of Schedule A). If you are using Form 1040a, then the line number is XXXXX

Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. This covers your cell phone (among other items also that you purchased for use in teaching in the classroom), particularly if you are using it in lieu of the school phone and it is obviously equipment and services used in connection with your role as a teacher. Be careful, however, if the parents are phoning you at home a lot -- then the IRS may question whether you are using the cell in the classroom setting.

If you get a detailed statement from your cell phone provider (showing a listing of the numbers called and/or received and the time/date), keep these in your own records in case the IRS questions it. Then you are able to show what was during work hours and from parents.

You will need to have worked at least 900 hours as an educator during a school year (not a calendar year) to qualify for this.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
I do claim that $250. but where else can I claim this. This cell bill would be in an addition.
Expert:  John D NORTHCUT replied 10 years ago.
If you itemize deductions on Schedule A instead of taking the standard deduction, then there is a place for miscellaneous itemized deductions but if you deduct it there it is subject to the 2% adjusted gross income limit. But filing Schedule A may not be to your advantage if the standard deduction gives you more tax savings.

If you do NOT take itemized deductions on Schedule A, then there is no where else you can deduct this.

(The $250 claim is not subject to the 2% rule.)

I hope this clarifies the matter for you.
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