How can I determine from the tax form 1040 what number I’m supposed to look at to calculate maaser?

  • Do you have some reason to think that information is derivable from a US tax document?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 20:24
  • @DoubleAA i don’t know. I need guidance
    – Ackstay
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 20:25
  • Box 9 is TOTAL INCOME, box 15 is TAXABLE INCOME, a reduced amount based on the US tax laws. My guess would be box 9.
    – Dennis
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 20:49
  • @Dennis thank you
    – Ackstay
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 0:52
  • Related and possible duplicate: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/12863/…
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


The best way to handle this is to put aside 10% of each check that one receives as it is received. The money that is withheld for tax purposes is not counted for ma'aser. As a matter of fact, any money that one receives, even if it is tax free is subject to ma'aaser. That is why the form 1040 is not really valid to use in calculating ma'aser.

Maaser and Unemployment Insurance

Thursday, 11 May 2006 Rabbi Dovid Bendory

There is no such thing as "maaser-free income" — we owe maaser on ordinary income, interest, and gifts — even on tax-free interest. Even a poor person who survives on donated tzedaka — in other words, all of whose income comes from money that itself has been given as maaser — is required to give maaser on the tzedaka he receives.

Thus you can see that even money that does not show as income is still subject to ma'aser. I treat any tax refunds as subject to ma'aser when I receive it even though it does not appear on the following year's form 1040.

As an example see Does someoene have to give ma'aser from scholarship grants or unemployment insurance?

  • That only works for people who have tax pre-deducted, it is worth noting. Also that many poskim hold that there are other expenses that can be deducted before calculating Maaser. Finally, it is often assumed that Maaser today (Maaser Ksafim) is the biblical commandment. It is not - others can answer better but it is either a strong Minhag or (minor opinion) a Rabbinic law.
    – Elie
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 0:22
  • I understand your point. It may not be the only thing to rely on but certainly it should be helpful in figuring a lot out. Assuming i know how to read it.
    – Ackstay
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 0:53
  • @Elie That is why I do not use the tax forms to calculate ma'aser. If one does not have tax prededucted, then take the ma'aser off the top and subtract the tax expense at the appropriate time. Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 2:29

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