EXAMPLE: You and your spouse make a combined $150,000. You would have to immediately reduce your miscellaneous deductions by $3,000 (i.e., $150,000 times 2%). If your miscellaneous deductions totaled $3,500, only $500 would be deductible. And yes, it is intentional. It is a way for Congress to pry a few more tax dollars from everyone who incurs employee expenses.
COMMENT: My daughter is working before returning to graduate school. She is required to use her car for work. Although reimbursed something for mileage, it is not the full rate permitted by the IRS. Her employer explained to her that she could deduct the difference come tax time. As her dad and tax advisor, I explained that this was not true. She would not have enough to itemize, and her unreimbursed mileage would be deductible only if she itemized.
COMMENT: If Mr Tanzi won this argument, I would immediately try to expand the Tanzi doctrine to include tax CPAs with Masters degrees who also maintain a tax blog. Our burdened ranks must constantly expand our general knowledge to be effective at our jobs. I for example sometimes work with and write about international tax matters. Seems to me that a trip overseas to visit my wife's family should be deductible, as it expands my knowledge of being overseas, or some reasoning along those lines.
Section 262 - Personal, living, and family expenses
(a) General rule
Except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, no deduction shall be allowed for personal, living, or family expenses.
Here is the Court:
While we find credible the Tanzi's testimony that they spent significant time and resources educating themselves, we do not believe the expenses are ordinary and necessary for the trades of being a professor or a campus librarian but rather are personal, living or family expenses nondeductible under section 262(a)."