For as long as I can remember (and no, I'm not going into specifics on that amount of time), Schedules A and B were inseparable.
Back before software, when you ordered the document from the IRS, the two schedules arrived on one page.
Heck, even with today's new technology, the downloaded document from the IRS still combines the two. The URL still acknowledges they're together with the "f1040sab" designation.
The front (above) of the 8½ x 11 sheet displays Schedule A, where an itemizing taxpayer elaborates on all eligible expenses before transferring the final amount to Form 1040.
Flip the page over and on the designated page 2 (below) is Schedule B, where folks who earn investment income provide the IRS with those interest and ordinary dividends details.
But with 2009 filings, that's no more
Tax form wrecker: Schedule L has broken up the happy tax union of Schedule A and B.
As I discussed a few weeks ago, Schedule L is the new filing for taxpayers who claim the standard deduction, but then add some new amounts to that preset figure.
Using Schedule L nonitemizers report property taxes (up to $500 per single filer, $1,000 per couple); the allowable sales tax on the purchase of a new vehicle; and, for some taxpayers, expenses incurred in connection with certain federally declared disasters in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Car filing complications: Specifically, it's the auto sales tax write-off that's prompted the separation of A and B.
This new vehicular deduction also can be claimed by taxpayers who itemize and deduct on their new Schedule A income rather than sales taxes. To then add only the auto sales tax deduction, itemizers next filing season will have to fill out a new worksheet.
And that worksheet is now on the back of the 2009 version of Schedule A.
And that, in turn, means that Schedule B now has to go its own tax way.
Yeah, I know the real issue here is that come next filing season, many taxpayers will have to deal with even more paperwork and calculations; don't forget that the new Schedule M for the Making Work Pay Credit is also in the 2009 filing mix.
So much for that simple tax (pipe) dream.
But as a taxpayer who still likes to use printed forms, at least in my preliminary filing stages, I can't help but be a bit saddened that the tax man has put asunder the long marriage of Schedule A and Schedule B.