Just as Schedule I was a list of your current income, Schedule J is a list of your current expenses. Most of the expenses on Schedule J will be easy to calculate. For example, rent is fixed. Utilities are fairly stable. Electricity might be higher in the summer when air conditioners run, while heat is higher in the winter, but the two probably balance each other out so that you can make a simple estimate of the average. Food is likewise a regular expense. One thing to notice about food and Schedule J is that the schedule asks you to break down food and housekeeping supplies (soap, cleansers, paper towels, etc.) into one category and personal care products (bath soap, hair supplies, shaving supplies, etc.) into a separate category. Since many of these are purchased together at the supermarket, it might take a little digging to itemize them.
Other expenses are a bit trickier, especially medical, clothing and transportation. People don’t generally see a doctor every month, but when they do, it’s often fairly expensive. Similarly, clothing is often purchased primarily three times during the year if you have kids at home: birthdays, Christmas and back to school. For these two expenses, look back over the past year and see how much was spent in each category. Then divide the total by 12 to get a monthly average.
Insurance, line 15, only includes insurance for which you write a check. If the insurance premiums are deducted from your paycheck automatically, do not list that expense on line 15; it’s already been taken into account as one of the deductions from gross income on Schedule I.
Transportation (line 12) doesn’t mean car payments. Car payments are listed on line 17. Transportation means things like gas, routine maintenance, tires, bus or train fare or anything you pay to actually get from one place to another. As with medical and clothing, look back over the past year to see what you have spent for transportation and calculate an average per month.
Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. On line 24, explain if you expect an increase or decrease in expenses in the next 12 months. Some examples would be if you expect to sell a car — that might decrease your installment payment expenses. Or you might need to buy a new car, which would increase that expense. If there’s something you can foresee coming up in the next year, note it on line 24.