As your tax mentor, I can teach you how to get the most tax benefits for items on your tax return. Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, allow you to deduct a number of essentially personal expenses.
Schedule A includes miscellaneous deductions (employment or investment- related expenses) but these can be deducted only to the extent they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. Furthermore, if you are subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), miscellaneous deductions and state and local taxes cease to work.
For an employee, miscellaneous deductions include union dues, professional publications, tools, supplies, uniforms, overnight travel, business auto use and more. I represent quite a few Fedex pilots, and their miscellaneous expenses include uniforms, cleaning & alterations, needed medical or other exams, reg books, AA rating, check ride exam, special eyeglasses and much more.
Key: Find enough deductions to take you past the 2% of AGI. I use experience, checklists, whatever, to find enough miscellaneous deductions.
My most powerful tool to reduce taxes is my Tax Mastery(c) software, which I personally created. With TC I can give you a written tax plan that tells you how much you can save with each tax strategy.
Key: Once you become subject to the alternative minimum tax, additional state and local taxes and miscellaneous expenses have no effect, so shift the emphasis to charitable deductions.
My Advice: Taxpayers who also have a business (Schedule C) will generally find that allocating miscellaneous expenses to the business will better lower their taxes because the business income is subject to the self-employment tax. This is particularly true if you are subject to the AMT.