Below is an A to Z list of definitions for a number of common terms and phrases related to income tax.

Adjusted gross income:

Gross income minus allowable reductions

Adjusted gross income:

Gross income minus allowable reductions.

Adjustment to income:

An expense that can be deducted even if the taxpayer does not itemize deductions.

Adoption credit:

A nonrefundable credit for qualified adoption expenses.

Advance earned income credit:

Prepayments of the earned income credit by an employer to an employee.

Audit:

When the IRS examines and verifies your return or any other transaction with tax consequences.

Casualty loss:

A loss caused by the complete or partial destruction of property that results from an unexpected event, i.e., floods, storms, fires, etc..

Charitable contribution:

Money or property donated to a qualified charity.

Child and dependent care credit:

A tax credit in the amount of a percentage of the amount expended on child or dependent care by an employed individual.

Child tax credit:

A tax credit available to people with children under the age of seventeen.

Compensation. Wages:

commissions, tips, fees, or self-employment income from services rendered.

Credits:

Reductions of tax liability allowed by Congress for various purposes.

Deduction:

A subtraction from taxable income.

Dependent:

A person who meets the five tests of dependency and thereby qualifies to be claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.

Depreciation:

Deduction for the wear and tear of an item used for business.

Earned income:

Income derived from personal services – wages, tips, bonuses, and any other type of compensation.

Earned income credit:

A tax credit allowed to employed individuals whose income and modified gross income is less than a certain amount.

Employment expenses:

Ordinary and necessary expenses necessary to perform the duties for which an employee was hired.

Entertainment expenses:

Employment expenses that have an element of entertainment that is directly related to conducting business.

Estimated tax:

What the taxpayer expects to owe in taxes over the course of the year, generally paid quarterly with vouchers.

Exemption:

A reduction of income that would otherwise be taxed.

Foster child:

A child other than a natural or adopted child who lived with the taxpayer for the entire year and whom the taxpayer treated as his or her own child.

Head of the household:

A filing status used by an unmarried taxpayer who pays over half of the cost of maintaining the home of a qualified individual.

Hobby loss:

A nondeductible loss from a hobby.

Home office expense:

Expenses arising from operating a business in a qualified manner in your home.

Internal Revenue Service:

The Treasury Department division responsible for collecting taxes.

Itemized deductions:

Expenditures that the tax code deems appropriate for reducing adjusted gross income.

Married filing jointly:

A filing status used by a couple that is married at the end of the tax year and uses one tax return.

Married filing separately:

The filing status used by a couple that is married at the end of the year and chooses to file separate tax returns.

Modified adjusted gross income:

There are different definitions for different purposes. It is usually the adjusted gross income with various items added back in.

Nontaxable income:

Income that is not taxed.

Permanent and total disability:

A disability that is expected to last at least a year and keeps an individual from any gainful activity.

Proprietorship:

A business that is owned and controlled by one person.

Qualifying widow(er):

The filing status used by a qualified person for the two years following a spouse’s death.

Schedules:

IRS forms that are used to report various kinds of income, deductions, and credits.

Self-employed:

A person who individually decides when and where to work and pays his or her own expenses. Self-employed individuals must pay self-employment taxes.

Standard deduction:

A predetermined amount of income that is not subject to taxes and is claimed when an individual does not itemize deductions.

Taxable income:

Adjusted gross income minus deductions and exemptions.

Unearned income:

Income that is not derived from services performed, such as interest, dividends, and royalties.

Worksheet:

An IRS document that is provided to the taxpayer to compile information and is not usually filed with the return