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but even on the right line (Adjusted Gross Income on page 1 of the 1040) Medicare premiums don't count.

Breaking news, Phil.

The instructions for form 1040 now say that Medicare part B premiums CAN be used as self employed health insurance. And I've seen an e-mail from an IRS employee that says Pub 535 will be updated in March (for the 2010 year - nothing quite like timely work) to reflect this change in position.

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