ABOVE THE LINE Definition

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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.

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