ABOVE THE LINE, a. in accounting, denotes revenue and expense items that enter fully and directly into the calculation of periodic net income, in contrast to below the line items that affect capital accounts directly and net income only indirectly; and, b. for the individual, is a term derived from a solid bold line on Form 1040 and 1040A above the line for adjusted gross income. Items above the line prior to coming to adjusted gross income, for example, can include: IRA contributions, half of the self-employment tax, self-employed health insurance deduction, Keogh retirement plan and self-employed SEP deduction, penalty on early withdrawal of savings, and alimony paid. A taxpayer can take deductions above the line and still claim the standard deduction.
DEPRECIATION is the amount of expense charged against earnings by a company to write off the cost of a plant or machine over its useful live, giving consideration to wear and tear, obsolescence, and salvage value. If the expense is assumed to be incurred in equal amounts in each business period over the life of the asset, the depreciation method used is straight line (SL). If the expense is assumed to be incurred in decreasing amounts in each business period over the life of the asset, the method used is said to be accelerated. Two commonly used variations of the accelerated method of depreciating an asset are the sum-of-years digits (SYD) and the double-declining balance (DDB) methods. Frequently, accelerated depreciation is chosen for a business tax expense but straight line is chosen for its financial reporting purposes.
EXTRATERRITORIAL INCOME EXCLUSION is the amount excluded from a taxpayers gross income for certain transactions that generate foreign trading gross receipts. In general, foreign trading gross receipts include gross receipts from the sale, exchange, lease, rental, or other disposition of qualifying foreign trade property. Foreign trading gross receipts also include receipts from certain services provided in connection with such property, as well as engineering and architectural services for construction projects outside the United States. Qualifying foreign trade property generally includes property that is held primarily for sale or lease for direct use or consumption outside the United States. Form 8873 is attached to the taxpayers income tax return. Both corporate and non-corporate taxpayers who have qualifying transactions may now be required to file Form 8873. The exclusion reported on Form 8873 was created by the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act of 2000. The new exclusion applies to certain transactions entered into after September 30, 2000, but is subject to transition rules for foreign corporations with a valid FSC election in effect on September 30, 2000.
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