What Is Schedule A of Form 1040?

Schedule A Explained

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Schedule A is a tax form that must accompany your Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR tax return if you choose to itemize your deductions. It provides details and numerical amounts for each of the deductions you’re claiming to reduce your taxable income.

Key Takeaways

  • Schedule A is the form you will use if you choose to itemize deductions for your tax return.
  • You can itemize deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and more.
  • You must complete it and attach it to Form 1040 if you are itemizing deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.
  • Fill out Schedule A, and then transfer the total from the last line to your Form 1040 tax return.
  • Itemizing isn’t worth the time and effort if your total itemized deductions amount to less than the standard deduction you’re entitled to for your filing status.

How Does Schedule A Work?

Schedule A is a tax form that must accompany your Form 1040 tax return if you choose to itemize your deductions. It provides details and numerical amounts for each of the deductions you’re claiming to reduce your taxable income. You can claim a deduction for your total when you complete the form.

The schedule can seem challenging at first glance, but each line is clearly labeled and defined. In this guide, you’ll learn to better understand the rules behind each line and your deductible expenses.

Certain expenses that many taxpayers pay are tax-deductible, and if you claim them, your income will be reduced and you will pay taxes on less money. If you choose to itemize your deductions, you will need to use the tax form Schedule A.

IRS Schedule A

Example of Schedule A

Let’s look at an example. You might have earned a $60,000 salary last calendar year, but when you add up all possible deductions you are eligible for, you can claim $15,000 in tax deductions—which is more than the standard deduction. Because of this, you decide to itemize your deductions and only pay taxes on $45,000.

For the IRS to trust the tax return that you submitted with a $45,000 taxable income, you’d need to show how you arrived at that number. This is where Schedule A comes in.


Itemized deductions include amounts you paid for specific things, like mortgage interest, property taxes, charitable contributions, and more.

Schedule A includes multiple sections, each with multiple lines citing the itemized deductions available to you under the tax code. Enter how much you spent on a particular line if you did pay that expense. Simply enter “0” if you didn’t happen to pay one of them, such as mortgage interest.

Add up all of your deductions, enter the total on line 17 of Schedule A, and then transfer the number to line 12 of your Form 1040 tax return. You can then subtract that figure from your adjusted gross income (AGI) on your tax return, and the balance is the income you must pay tax on.

Who Uses Schedule A?

Anyone who wants to itemize their deductions must file Schedule A with their 1040 tax return, but itemizing might not be to your advantage. Taxpayers can either itemize or claim the standard deduction for their filing status—you can’t do both. If you choose to claim the standard deduction, you will not need to use Schedule A.

To find out if you should use Schedule A (and effectively itemize), total up all of your allowed deductions. If the total of your itemized deductions is greater than the standard deduction, it would probably be wise to itemize.

Where To Get Schedule A

Schedule A is available on the IRS website. It’s an interactive form, so you can complete it online then print out the finished copy and save it to your hard drive. Or you can simply print it out and complete it by hand.

If you choose to itemize your deductions, the tax software you use or your tax professional will have Schedule A available to fill out.

How To Fill Out and Read Schedule A

The various categories of deductions on Schedule A relate to your medical and dental expenses, other taxes you’ve paid, interest you’ve paid, gifts you’ve made to charities, casualty and theft losses you suffered, and other miscellaneous deductions that don't neatly fit into any of the sections. Each section comes with its own specific rules.

Enter the amount of each deduction on each line. Write $0 if you can't claim any deduction.

Total the deductions on line 17. If you are itemizing even though your deductions are less than the standard deduction, you must check off the box on line 18.

Medical and Dental Expenses

Lines 1 through 4 in the first section are dedicated to medical and dental expenses. Total everything you spent on medical or dental expenses during the tax year that wasn’t reimbursed by insurance. Enter this amount on line 1. Next, look at line 11 of your Form 1040 (or 1040-SR) to find your AGI. Enter this on line 2, then multiply this number by 7.5% (0.075) and enter the result on line 3.

Now subtract line 3 from line 1. You’re only entitled to claim an itemized deduction for expenses you paid that exceed 7.5% of your AGI in the tax year, so you can’t claim this deduction if the total on line 3 is more than line 1. If line 3 is more than line 1, enter 0. Otherwise, you can enter the result of line 3 minus line 1 on line 4 as your itemized deduction.


You can include health and dental insurance premiums you paid, too, but not life insurance premiums.

You might be able to increase your qualifying expenses a bit by including a mileage rate for each mile you drove for medical purposes. The rate is 18 cents per mile for tax year 2022.

Taxes You Paid

You can include certain taxes you paid during the year as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. These include state and local income taxes. You can also claim either income and property taxes or sales taxes, but not both. You must check Box 5a in this section (the second section) of the schedule if you’re opting to deduct sales taxes.

State and local tax deductions are limited to no more than $10,000, or $5,000 if you’re married and filing a separate return from your spouse. This section takes up lines 5a through 5e, line 6, and line 7. Each line comes with clear instructions.

Interest You Paid

You can claim an itemized deduction for mortgage interest you paid on loans of up to $750,000 unless you took the mortgage out before Dec. 16, 2017 (then it's up to $1 million). You can include points you paid as well as interest. Enter these expenses on lines 8a through 8c of Schedule A.

Line line 8d is for future use, subject to certain rules, and investment interest you might have paid can be added on line 9.

Add lines 8e and 9 on line 10.

Gifts to Charity

Lines 11 through 14 are dedicated to charitable giving. You’ll have to complete another tax form, Form 8283 if you made any gift of $500 or more other than by cash or check. Be aware that only certain charities qualify. You can find a list and explanation in the instructions for Schedule A.

Casualty and Theft Losses

You can only claim losses resulting from a federally declared disaster, and you must also file Form 4684 with your return if you claim this deduction. Your gifts and the calculation for arriving at your deduction take up line 15 on Schedule A.

The amount of each separate loss must be more than $100, and the total amount of all losses you’re claiming must be more than 10% of your AGI to receive the deduction.

Other Itemized Deductions

The second-to-last section of Schedule A has only one line—16—and it’s a catchall category for some other allowable expenses that aren’t delineated above. The instructions for Schedule A walk you through what might qualify, such as gambling losses if you reported any winnings as income on Schedule 1. Remember, you can’t deduct the same expense twice.

Finally, line 17 shows the total of your itemized deductions. The IRS wants you to check the box next to line 18 if your itemized deductions amount to less than the standard deduction you’re entitled to but you’ve decided to itemize anyway.

Can Schedule A Be E-Filed?

Schedule A is an attachment to Form 1040, so you can include it if you e-file your tax return. The IRS provides a list of e-filing options on its website, too.

Where To Mail Schedule A

Where you should snail-mail a paper copy of your Form 1040 and Schedule A depends on two factors: whether you’re also including a tax payment and the state in which you live. The IRS provides links with addresses for every state on its website.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you calculate itemized deductions?

To calculate your itemized deductions, use Schedule A, the form that helps you document and total up all of your itemized deductions, like some taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and more.

When do you need to fill out Schedule A for itemized deductions?

Schedule A needs to be filled out when you file your Form 1040 tax return, usually in the spring following the end of a tax year. Annual tax returns and any additional forms like Schedule A are typically due by April 15, unless Tax Day falls on a holiday or a weekend.

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  1. IRS. "About Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions."

  2. IRS. “Topic No. 501 Should I Itemize?

  3. IRS. "Form 1040."

  4. IRS. “Topic No. 502 Medical and Dental Expenses.”

  5. IRS. “IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2022.”

  6. IRS. "Schedule A."

  7. IRS. "Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction."

  8. IRS. “Topic No. 515 Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Losses.”

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