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Fiscal cliff confusion on Form 1040

December 28, 2012: 1:52 PM ET

There are some new lines on the Form 1040 thanks to the fiscal cliff. The IRS has had to set aside space for provisions that Congress hasn't approved yet, leaving those lines as "reserved."

Are you a teacher who spent up to $250 on pencils, books or other classroom supplies? Well, you'll find Line 23 now says "reserved" instead of "educator expenses deduction."

Are you a student looking to deduct up to $4,000 in tuition and fees? You are out of luck until lawmakers act. All you'll find on Line 34 is "reserved."

Same goes for folks who bought fancy cars or who live in states with no income tax who want to deduct state and local sales taxes on their Schedule A. (Sorry Texans and Floridians.)

All told, there are more than a dozen tax benefits that expired at the end of 2011 that Congress has yet to renew, according to Ernst & Young. It's expected that lawmakers will extend these measures, prompting the IRS to take the unusual step of leaving the lines reserved.

"None of us can remember the IRS issuing final forms with "reserved" on it," said John W. Roth, senior federal tax analyst for CCH, a tax services company.

An IRS spokesman called the measure a "placeholder" and said the forms can be used. They will be updated if and when Congress takes action.


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