Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public...

Tax questions

March 07, 1997

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15.

Q: My wife, a public school teacher, was required to get a master's degree to continue employment. The county reimbursed her for a portion of her graduate school tuition and she paid the balance. Can she deduct the the amount she had to pay as this was required?

A. Since your wife was required to pursue the master's degree as a condition of continued employment for her present position, all costs associated with graduate level courses beginning before July 1, 1996, are deductible to the extent she is not being reimbursed by the county. For her graduate level courses beginning after June 30, 1996, all her costs would be deductible because the reimbursement by the county would be included in her gross income. Included in your wife's deductible costs would be tuition, fees, books and auto expenses at the standard mileage rate. These expenses would be deducted on Schedule A subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income threshold.

Q: I live in Carroll County and work in Baltimore City. Can I deduct the difference between what my employer pays me in mileage and what the federal government allows for mileage?

A: Since your primary work location is in Baltimore City, the cost of commuting from your home in Carroll County to Baltimore City is not deductible. Commuting costs are never deductible. If your mileage is for employer business purposes, you can deduct the difference between what your employer reimburses and the standard mileage rate on Form 2106.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

To ask a tax question, call Sundial at (410) 783-1800. Call 268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County and 848-0338 in Carroll County. Using a Touch-Tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6225 after you hear the greeting.

Readers also can e-mail questions through The Sun's Web site -- www.sunspot.net.

Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered by phone.

Pub Date: 3/07/97

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