Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to do more to provide Florida taxpayers with the printed materials needed to file their taxes correctly and on time.
Rubio’s request comes in response to constituents who have traditionally relied on printed copies of the IRS’ Publication 17, which provides instructions for most people filing taxes. The IRS recently ceased broad distribution of this printed manual unless requested and paid for by people preparing their taxes.
In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Rubio highlighted constituent concerns regarding the lack of availability of Publication 17, and called on the IRS to report back to his office by February 18 with its plan to ensure that taxpayers are able to pay their taxes without a threat of misfiling or missing a government imposed deadline.
“While filing taxes electronically is far more budget-friendly than printing long documents, the IRS is doing so at the cost of violating its self-proclaimed taxpayer rights. Publication 17 can still be accessed on the IRS’ website, but such access is of little use to taxpayers without internet access or, additionally, access to a printer,” wrote Rubio. “Taxpayers who are seeking access to Publication 17 are doing so with the intent of paying their taxes; this move simply complicates tax compliance for those law abiding citizens who do not have online access.
“I have heard from many Floridians largely affected by the lack of Publication 17 documents in print form this year. My office has received numerous calls and emails from constituents inquiring about access to the document, or needing help with their taxes now that Publication 17 is only accessible online,” added Rubio. “As such, I request that you report to my office immediately on your plans to assist taxpayers unfairly burdened by the lack of availability of Publication I would like a report by February 18th, as Americans have already started to examine their tax returns and should not be in threat of misfiling or missing a government imposed deadline due to the inability to access Publication ”
A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable John Koskinen
Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Dear Mr. Koskinen:
I am writing to you about the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) elimination of the widely available printed version of Publication It has come to my attention that this decision has seriously impacted my constituents’ ability to properly file their tax returns and must be addressed immediately.
The IRS’ “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” asserts that taxpayers have the right to be informed about how to comply with federal tax law. The IRS’ Publication 17 document ensures this right by annually providing taxpayers with instructions on filing their taxes. Until this year, Publication 17 was offered in printed versions at libraries, post offices, taxpayer service offices, or even by mail at taxpayers’ request at no cost. However, the IRS has abolished sending out the free printed version of this document to these places, as it transitions towards an electronic tax filing and instruction system. Additionally, the Government Printing Office does offer the option to order the document for a fee of $23, but it is currently on back order.
While filing taxes electronically is far more budget-friendly than printing long documents, the IRS is doing so at the cost of violating its self-proclaimed taxpayer rights. Publication 17 can still be accessed on the IRS’ website, but such access is of little use to taxpayers without internet access or, additionally, access to a printer. Taxpayers who are seeking access to Publication 17 are doing so with the intent of paying their taxes; this move simply complicates tax compliance for those law abiding citizens who do not have online access.
I have heard from many Floridians largely affected by the lack of Publication 17 documents in print form this year. My office has received numerous calls and emails from constituents inquiring about access to the document, or needing help with their taxes now that Publication 17 is only accessible online. As such, I request that you report to my office immediately on your plans to assist taxpayers unfairly burdened by the lack of availability of Publication I would like a report by February 18th, as Americans have already started to examine their tax returns and should not be in threat of misfiling or missing a government imposed deadline due to the inability to access Publication
I am aware that the IRS faces a reduction in its budgetary allocation due to sequestration. However, budget cuts require prioritization within your funding; ensuring that Americans can pay their taxes should be a higher priority. Making Publication 17 widely and easily accessible is of the utmost importance with the peak of the tax season upon us. Thank you and I look forward to your timely reply.
United States Senator
IRS Publication 17 — The IRS Instruction Manual
Are you facing a lot of different tax questions this year?
IRS experts have pulled together an overview of common tax issues in one convenient place — Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. This publication, available on the IRS.gov, contains helpful information for individual taxpayers.
This year for the first time, the IRS will issue a Spanish language version of this popular publication.
The on-line version of Publication 17 contains electronic links that make finding your answer simple. Both the downloadable PDF and on-line Publication 17 have over hyperlinks. These hyperlinks allow users to immediately go to other parts of the publication, reducing searches to just a few clicks.
From stock sales to student loans, this nearly page publication holds the answers to many of your questions:
And the best part about Publication 17? It's free. To get a copy, visit the IRS Web site at IRS.gov or call TAX-FORM (). Links:
Publication 17 (), Your Federal Income Tax
For use in preparing Returns
All material in this publication may be reprinted freely. A citation to Your Federal Income Tax () would be appropriate.
The explanations and examples in this publication reflect the interpretation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of:
Tax laws enacted by Congress,
Treasury regulations, and
However, the information given does not cover every situation and is not intended to replace the law or change its meaning.
This publication covers some subjects on which a court may have made a decision more favorable to taxpayers than the interpretation by the IRS. Until these differing interpretations are resolved by higher court decisions or in some other way, this publication will continue to present the interpretations by the IRS.
All taxpayers have important rights when working with the IRS. These rights are described in Your Rights as a Taxpayer in the back of this publication.
This section summarizes important tax changes that took effect in Most of these changes are discussed in more detail throughout this publication.
Future developments. For the latest information about the tax law topics covered in this publication, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to IRS.gov/Pub
Publication 17 changes. We have removed the following chapters from this publication: 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, and You can find most of the information previously found in those chapters in the primary publication. Please see Publication 17 changes, later.
Due date of return. File your tax return by April 15, See chapter 1.
Economic impact payments—EIP 1 and EIP 2. Any economic impact payments you received are not taxable for federal income tax purposes, but they reduce your recovery rebate credit.
Recovery rebate credit. This credit is figured like last year's economic impact payment, except eligibility and the amount of the credit are based on your tax year information. For more information, see the instructions for Forms and SR, line 30, and the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet to figure your credit amount.
Other taxpayer relief. Recent legislation provided certain tax-related benefits, including the following.
Election to use your earned income to figure your earned income credit. For more information, see the instructions for Forms and SR, line 27, for more information on this election.
Election to use your earned income to figure your additional child tax credit. For more information, see the instructions for Forms and SR, line 28, and the Instructions for Schedule for more information on this election.
Educator expenses include amounts paid or incurred after March 12, , for personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of coronavirus. For more information, see the instructions for Schedule 1 (Form ), line 10, and Educator Expenses in Pub. , Miscellaneous Deductions.
If you were impacted by certain federally declared disasters, special rules may apply to distributions from your IRA, profit-sharing plan, or retirement plan. See Pubs. B and for details.
Form NR revision. Form NR has been revised to more closely follow the format of Forms and SR. Beginning in , Form NR will use Schedules 1, 2, and 3.
Charitable contributions. If you don't itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form ), you may qualify to take a deduction for charitable contributions of up to $ For more information, see the instructions for Forms and SR, line 10b.
Temporary suspension of limits for cash contributions. For tax year , certain cash contributions you made are not subject to the 60% limit for cash contributions. For more information, see Pub.
Standard deduction amount increased. For , the standard deduction amount has been increased for all filers. The amounts are:
Single or Married filing separately—$12,;
Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er)—$24,; and
Head of household—$18,
Virtual currency. If, in , you engaged in a transaction involving virtual currency, you will need to answer the question on page 1 of Form or SR. See Virtual Currency in the Instructions for Forms and SR. In , this question was on Schedule 1.
Deductible IRA contributions. You no longer need to be younger than age 70½ to take a deduction for your contributions to an IRA. See the instructions for Schedule 1 (Form ), line
Coronavirus tax relief for certain individuals. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act permits certain individuals who file Schedule SE (Form ) or Schedule H (Form ) to defer the payment of 50% of the social security tax imposed for the period beginning on March 27, , and ending December 31, For more information, see the instructions for Schedule SE (Form ) or Schedule H (Form ). For information on reporting the deferral, see the instructions for Schedule 3 (Form ), line 12e.
Coronavirus distributions. Recent legislation contains new rules that provide for tax-favored withdrawals, income inclusion, and repayments for individuals who were diagnosed with or suffered economic losses as a result of the coronavirus. See Coronavirus Distributions in Pub. B for more information.
Qualified birth or adoption distribution. Beginning in tax years after December 31, , you can take a distribution from your IRA without it being subject to the 10% additional tax for early distributions. For more information, see Pub. B.
Qualified disaster distributions. Special rules provide for tax-favored distributions from and repayments to certain retirement plans for taxpayers who suffered economic losses as a result of certain disasters in tax years , , and However, these disasters do not include major disasters declared only by reason of COVIDFor your return, these qualified disaster distributions are those qualified disaster distributions reported on the Form C, Qualified Disaster Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments, and described in its instructions; the Form D, Qualified Disaster Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments, and described in its instructions; the Form E, Qualified Disaster Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments (Use for Coronavirus-Related Distributions), and described in its instructions. For more information, see chapter 9.
Credits for sick and family leave for certain self-employed individuals. The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) helps self-employed individuals affected by coronavirus by providing paid sick leave and paid family leave credits equivalent to those that employers are required to provide their employees for qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid during the period beginning April 1, , and ending December 31, For more information, see the instructions for Form and Schedule 3 (Form ), line 12b.
Form X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Starting last summer, taxpayers were able to file their Form X electronically using available tax software products. The electronic Form X will be implemented in phases. During the first phase, only tax year Forms and SR returns can be amended electronically. Taxpayers will still have the option to submit a paper version of the Form X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form.
Schedule LEP (Form ), Request for Change in Language Preference. Schedule LEP is a new form that allows taxpayers to state a preference to receive written communications from the IRS in a language other than English. For more information, including what languages are available and how to file, see Schedule LEP.
Standard mileage rates. The rate for business use of your vehicle is cents a mile. The rate for use of your vehicle to get medical care or to move is 17 cents a mile. See Moving Expenses in Pub. 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide.
Alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount increased. The AMT exemption amount is increased to $72, ($, if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er); $56, if married filing separately). The income levels at which the AMT exemption begins to phase out have increased to $, ($1,, if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)).
Qualified business income deduction. The simplified worksheet for figuring your qualified business income deduction is now Form , Qualified Business Income Deduction Simplified Computation. If you don't meet the requirements to file Form , use Form A, Qualified Business Income Deduction. For more information, see each form's instructions.
Adoption credit. The adoption credit and the exclusion for employer-provided adoption benefits have both increased to $14, per eligible child in The amount begins to phase out if you have modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) in excess of $, and is completely phased out if your MAGI is $, or more.
Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers (IP PINs). New IP PINs are generated every year. This year, they will generally be sent out by mid-January Use this IP PIN on your return as well as any prior-year returns you file in
Tuition and fees. The tuition and fees deduction is extended for qualified tuition and fees paid in calendar years , , and Don’t claim the deduction for expenses paid after unless the credit is extended again.
Extended due dates for estimated tax payments. The due date for filing estimated tax forms and paying estimated taxes has been postponed to July 15,
Change in tax rates. Recent legislation modified the tax rates and brackets used to figure the tax on unearned income for certain children. See the Instructions for Form or Pub. for more information.
Contribution deadline extension. The traditional and Roth IRA contribution deadline was extended to July 15,
Modified AGI limit for traditional IRA contributions. For , if you are covered by a retirement plan at work, your deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is reduced. For more information, see chapter 9.
Modified AGI limit for Roth IRA contributions. For , your Roth IRA contribution limit is reduced. For more information, see chapter 9.
Estimated tax payments now reported on line In , estimated tax payments and any amount applied from your previous year’s return were reported on Schedule 3 (Form ), line 8. In , these payments will be reported on Form or SR, line
Publication 17 Changes
|Note. This publication does not cover the topics listed in the following table. Please see the primary publication.|
|Chapter Removed||Title of Chapter||Primary Publication|
|6||Tip Income||Pub. , Reporting Tip Income|
|8||Dividends and Other Distributions||Pub. , Investment Income and Expenses|
|9||Rental Income and Expenses||Pub. , Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes)|
|10||Retirement Plans, Pensions, and Annuities||Pub. , Pension and Annuity Income|
|13||Basis of Property||Pub. , Basis of Assets|
|14||Sale of Property||Pub.|
|15||Selling Your Home||Pub. , Selling Your Home|
|16||Reporting Gains and Losses||Pub.|
|18||Alimony||Pub. , Divorced or Separated Individuals|
|19||Education-Related Adjustments||Pub. , Tax Benefits for Education|
|20||Other Adjustments to Income||Pub. , Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses|
|22||Medical and Dental Expenses||Pub. , Medical and Dental Expenses|
|24||Interest Expense||Pub. |
Pub. , Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
|25||Charitable Contributions||Pub. , Determining the Value of Donated Property|
Pub. , Charitable Contributions
|26||Nonbusiness Casualty and Theft Losses||Pub. , Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts|
|29||Tax on Unearned Income of Certain Minor Children||Pub. , Tax Rules for Children and Dependents|
|30||Child and Dependent Care Credit||Pub. , Child and Dependent Care Expenses|
|31||Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled||Pub. , Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled|
|33||Education Credits||Pub. , Tax Benefits for Education|
|34||Earned Income Credit (EIC)||Pub. , Earned Income Credit (EIC)|
|35||Premium Tax Credit||Pub. , Premium Tax Credit (PTC)|
Listed below are important reminders and other items that may help you file your tax return. Many of these items are explained in more detail later in this publication.
Special rules for eligible gains invested in Qualified Opportunity Funds. If you have an eligible gain, you can invest that gain into a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) and elect to defer part or all of the gain that is otherwise includible in income. The gain is deferred until the date you sell or exchange the investment or December 31, , whichever is earlier. You may also be able to permanently exclude gain from the sale or exchange of an investment in a QOF if the investment is held for at least 10 years. For information about what types of gains entitle you to elect these special rules, see the Instructions for Schedule D (Form ). For information on how to elect to use these special rules, see the Instructions for Form
Enter your social security number (SSN). Enter your SSN in the space provided on your tax form. If you filed a joint return for and are filing a joint return for with the same spouse, enter your names and SSNs in the same order as on your return. See chapter 1.
Secure your tax records from identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, SSN, or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. An identity thief may use your SSN to get a job or may file a tax return using your SSN to receive a refund. For more information about identity theft and how to reduce your risk from it, see chapter 1.
Taxpayer identification numbers. You must provide the taxpayer identification number for each person for whom you claim certain tax benefits. This applies even if the person was born in Generally, this number is the person's SSN. See chapter 1.
Foreign-source income. If you are a U.S. citizen with income from sources outside the United States (foreign income), you must report all such income on your tax return unless it is exempt by law or a tax treaty. This is true whether you live inside or outside the United States and whether or not you receive a Form W-2 or Form from the foreign payer. This applies to earned income (such as wages and tips) as well as unearned income (such as interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rents, and royalties). If you live outside the United States, you may be able to exclude part or all of your foreign earned income. For details, see Pub. 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.
Foreign financial assets. If you had foreign financial assets in , you may have to file Form with your return. See Form and its instructions or visit IRS.gov/Form for details.
Automatic 6-month extension to file tax return. You can get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your tax return. See chapter 1.
Payment of taxes. You can pay your taxes by making electronic payments online; from a mobile device using the IRS2Go app; or in cash, or by check or money order. Paying electronically is quick, easy, and faster than mailing in a check or money order. See chapter 1.
Faster ways to file your return. The IRS offers fast, accurate ways to file your tax return information without filing a paper tax return. You can use IRS e-file (electronic filing). See chapter 1.
Free electronic filing. You may be able to file your taxes online for free. See chapter 1.
Change of address. If you change your address, notify the IRS. See chapter 1.
Refund on a late-filed return. If you were due a refund but you did not file a return, you must generally file your return within 3 years from the date the return was due (including extensions) to get that refund. See chapter 1.
Frivolous tax returns. The IRS has published a list of positions that are identified as frivolous. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5, See chapter 1.
Filing erroneous claim for refund or credit. You may have to pay a penalty if you file an erroneous claim for refund or credit. See chapter 1.
Access your online account. You must authenticate your identity. To securely log into your federal tax account, go to IRS.gov/Account. View the amount you owe, review 24 months of payment history, access online payment options, and create or modify an online payment agreement. You can also access your tax records online.
Health care coverage. If you need health care coverage, go to HealthCare.gov to learn about health insurance options for you and your family, how to buy health insurance, and how you might qualify to get financial assistance to buy health insurance.
Disclosure, Privacy Act, and paperwork reduction information. The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of , the Privacy Act of , and the Paperwork Reduction Act of require that when we ask you for information, we must first tell you what our legal right is to ask for the information, why we are asking for it, how it will be used, what could happen if we do not receive it, and whether your response is voluntary, required to obtain a benefit, or mandatory under the law. A complete statement on this subject can be found in your tax form instructions.
Preparer e-file mandate. Most paid preparers must e-file returns they prepare and file. Your preparer may make you aware of this requirement and the options available to you.
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. If you want to confidentially report misconduct, waste, fraud, or abuse by an IRS employee, you can call (call if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, and are using TTY/TDD equipment). You can remain anonymous.
Photographs of missing children. The IRS is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling THE-LOST () if you recognize a child.
This publication covers the general rules for filing a federal income tax return. It supplements the information contained in your tax form instructions. It explains the tax law to make sure you pay only the tax you owe and no more.
How this publication is arranged.
Pub. 17 closely follows Form , U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and Form SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors, and their three Schedules 1 through 3. Pub. 17 is divided into four parts. Each part is further divided into chapters, most of which generally discuss one line of the form or one line of one of the three schedules. The introduction at the beginning of each part lists the schedule(s) discussed in that part.
The table of contents inside the front cover, the introduction to each part, and the index in the back of the publication are useful tools to help you find the information you need.
What is in this publication.
This publication begins with the rules for filing a tax return. It explains:
Who must file a return,
When the return is due,
How to e-file your return, and
Other general information.
Throughout this publication are examples showing how the tax law applies in typical situations. Also throughout this publication are flowcharts and tables that present tax information in an easy-to-understand manner.
Many of the subjects discussed in this publication are discussed in greater detail in other IRS publications. References to those other publications are provided for your information.
Small graphic symbols, or icons, are used to draw your attention to special information. See Table 1 for an explanation of each icon used in this publication.
What is not covered in this publication.
Some material that you may find helpful is not included in this publication but can be found in your tax form instructions booklet. This includes lists of:
Where to report certain items shown on information documents, and
Tax Topics you can read at IRS.gov/TaxTopics.
If you operate your own business or have other self-employment income, such as from babysitting or selling crafts, see the following publications for more information.
Pub. , Tax Guide for Small Business.
Pub. , Business Expenses.
Pub. , Business Use of Your Home.
Help from the IRS.
There are many ways you can get help from the IRS. These are explained under How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication.
Comments and suggestions.
We welcome your comments about this publication and suggestions for future editions.
You can send us comments through IRS.gov/FormComments. Or, you can write to the Internal Revenue Service, Tax Forms and Publications, Constitution Ave. NW, IR, Washington, DC
Although we can’t respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments and suggestions as we revise our tax forms, instructions, and publications. Do not send tax questions, tax returns, or payments to the above address.
Getting answers to your tax questions.
If you have a tax question not answered by this publication or the How To Get Tax Help section at the end of this publication, go to the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant page at IRS.gov/Help/ITA where you can find topics by using the search feature or viewing the categories listed.
Getting tax forms, instructions, and publications.
Visit IRS.gov/Forms to download current and prior-year forms, instructions, and publications.
Ordering tax forms, instructions, and publications.
Go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to order current forms, instructions, and publications; call to order prior-year forms and instructions. The IRS will process your order for forms and publications as soon as possible. Do not resubmit requests you’ve already sent us. You can get forms and publications faster online.
Provide America's taxpayers top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.
Table 1. Legend of Icons
|Items that may cause you particular problems, or an alert about pending legislation that may be enacted after this publication goes to print.|
Access by computer
|An Internet site or an email address.|
Address you may need
|An address you may need.|
Records you should keep
|Items you should keep in your personal records.|
Worksheet you may need to fill in
|Items you may need to figure or a worksheet you may need to complete and keep for your records.|
|An important phone number.|
|Helpful information you may need.|
The four chapters in this part provide basic information on the tax system. They take you through the first steps of filling out a tax return. They also provide information about dependents, and discuss recordkeeping requirements, IRS e-file (electronic filing), certain penalties, and the two methods used to pay tax during the year: withholding and estimated tax.
The Form and SR schedules that are discussed in these chapters are:
Schedule 1, Additional Income and Adjustments to Income; and
Schedule 3 (Part II), Other Payments and Refundable Credits.
Form NR revision. Form NR has been revised to more closely follow the format of Forms and SR. Beginning in , Form NR will use Schedules 1, 2, and 3.
Who must file. Generally, the amount of income you can receive before you must file a return has been increased. See Table , Table , and Table for the specific amounts.
File online. Rather than filing a return on paper, you may be able to file electronically using IRS e-file. For more information, see Why Should I File Electronically, later.
Access your online account (individual taxpayers only). Go to IRS.gov/Account to securely access information about your federal tax account.
View the amount you owe, pay online, or set up an online payment agreement.
Access your tax records online.
Review the past 24 months of your payment history.
Go to IRS.gov/SecureAccess to view the required identity authentication process.
Change of address. If you change your address, you should notify the IRS. You can use Form to notify the IRS of the change. See Change of Address, later, under What Happens After I File.
Enter your social security number. You must enter your social security number (SSN) in the spaces provided on your tax return. If you file a joint return, enter the SSNs in the same order as the names.
Direct deposit of refund. Instead of getting a paper check, you may be able to have your refund deposited directly into your account at a bank or other financial institution. See Direct Deposit under Refunds, later. If you choose direct deposit of your refund, you may be able to split the refund among two or three accounts.
Pay online or by phone. If you owe additional tax, you may be able to pay online or by phone. See How To Pay, later.
Installment agreement. If you can’t pay the full amount due with your return, you may ask to make monthly installment payments. See Installment Agreement, later, under Amount You Owe. You may be able to apply online for a payment agreement if you owe federal tax, interest, and penalties.
Automatic 6-month extension. You can get an automatic 6-month extension to file your tax return if, no later than the date your return is due, you file Form See Automatic Extension, later.
Service in combat zone. You are allowed extra time to take care of your tax matters if you are a member of the Armed Forces who served in a combat zone, or if you served in a combat zone in support of the Armed Forces. See Individuals Serving in Combat Zone, later, under When Do I Have To File.
Adoption taxpayer identification number. If a child has been placed in your home for purposes of legal adoption and you won't be able to get a social security number for the child in time to file your return, you may be able to get an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN). For more information, see Social Security Number (SSN), later.
Taxpayer identification number for aliens. If you or your dependent is a nonresident or resident alien who doesn't have and isn't eligible to get a social security number, file Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the IRS. For more information, see Social Security Number (SSN), later.
Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) renewal. Some ITINs must be renewed. If you haven't used your ITIN on a U.S. tax return at least once in the last 3 years, or if your ITIN has the middle digits 88, (9NNNNNN) or if your ITIN has the middle digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, or 99 and was assigned before , it expired at the end of and must be renewed if you need to file a U.S. federal tax return in You don't need to renew your ITIN if you don't need to file a federal tax return. You can find more information at IRS.gov/ITIN. .ITINs with middle digits 70 through 87 have expired and must also be renewed if you need to file a tax return in and haven’t already renewed the ITIN..
Frivolous tax submissions. The IRS has published a list of positions that are identified as frivolous. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5, Also, the $5, penalty will apply to other specified frivolous submissions. For more information, see Civil Penalties, later.
This chapter discusses the following topics.
Whether you have to file a return.
How to file electronically.
How to file for free.
When, how, and where to file your return.
What happens if you pay too little or too much tax.
What records you should keep and how long you should keep them.
How you can change a return you have already filed.
Do I Have To File a Return?
You must file a federal income tax return if you are a citizen or resident of the United States or a resident of Puerto Rico and you meet the filing requirements for any of the following categories that apply to you.
Individuals in general. (There are special rules for surviving spouses, executors, administrators, legal representatives, U.S. citizens and residents living outside the United States, residents of Puerto Rico, and individuals with income from U.S. possessions.)
Certain children under age 19 or full-time students.
The filing requirements apply even if you don't owe tax.
.Even if you don't have to file a return, it may be to your advantage to do so. See Who Should File, later..
.File only one federal income tax return for the year regardless of how many jobs you had, how many Forms W-2 you received, or how many states you lived in during the year. Don't file more than one original return for the same year, even if you haven’t received your refund or haven’t heard from the IRS since you filed..
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, whether you must file a return depends on three factors.
Your gross income.
Your filing status.
To find out whether you must file, see Table , Table , and Table Even if no table shows that you must file, you may need to file to get money back. See Who Should File, later.
This includes all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that isn't exempt from tax. It also includes income from sources outside the United States or from the sale of your main home (even if you can exclude all or part of it). Include part of your social security benefits if:
You were married, filing a separate return, and you lived with your spouse at any time during ; or
Half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25, ($32, if married filing jointly).
Common types of income are discussed in Part Two of this publication.
Community property states.
Community property states include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you and your spouse lived in a community property state, you must usually follow state law to determine what is community property and what is separate income. For details, see Form and Pub.
Nevada, Washington, and California domestic partners.
A registered domestic partner in Nevada, Washington, or California must generally report half the combined community income of the individual and his or her domestic partner. See Pub.
If you are self-employed, your gross income includes the amount on line 7 of Schedule C (Form ), Profit or Loss From Business; and line 9 of Schedule F (Form ), Profit or Loss From Farming. See Self-Employed Persons, later, for more information about your filing requirements.
.If you don't report all of your self-employment income, your social security benefits may be lower when you retire..
Your filing status depends on whether you are single or married and on your family situation. Your filing status is determined on the last day of your tax year, which is December 31 for most taxpayers. See chapter 2 for an explanation of each filing status.
If you are 65 or older at the end of the year, you can generally have a higher amount of gross income than other taxpayers before you must file. See Table You are considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. For example, if your 65th birthday is on January 1, , you are considered 65 for
Table Filing Requirements for Most Taxpayers
|IF your filing status is||AND at the end of you|
|THEN file a return if|
your gross income
was at least**
|65 or older||$14,|
|Married filing jointly***||under 65 (both spouses)||$24,|
|65 or older (one spouse)||$26,|
|65 or older (both spouses)||$27,|
|Married filing separately||any age||$5|
|Head of household||under 65||$18,|
|65 or older||$20,|
|Qualifying widow(er)||under 65||$24,|
|65 or older||$26,|
|*||If you were born on January 1, , you are considered to be age 65 at the end of (If your spouse died in or if you are preparing a return for someone who died in , see Pub. )|
|**||Gross income means all income you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that isn't exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States or from the sale of your main home (even if you can exclude part or all of it). Don't include any social security benefits unless (a) you are married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time during , or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25, ($32, if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the Instructions for Forms and SR or Pub. to figure the taxable part of social security benefits you must include in gross income. Gross income includes gains, but not losses, reported on Form or Schedule D. Gross income from a business means, for example, the amount on Schedule C, line 7, or Schedule F, line 9. But, in figuring gross income, don't reduce your income by any losses, including any loss on Schedule C, line 7, or Schedule F, line 9.|
|***||If you didn't live with your spouse at the end of (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $5, you must file a return regardless of your age.|
Surviving Spouses, Executors, Administrators, and Legal Representatives
You must file a final return for a decedent (a person who died) if both of the following are true.
You are the surviving spouse, executor, administrator, or legal representative.
The decedent met the filing requirements at the date of death.
For more information on rules for filing a decedent's final return, see Pub.
U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Living Abroad
To determine whether you must file a return, include in your gross income any income you received abroad, including any income you can exclude under the foreign earned income exclusion. For information on special tax rules that may apply to you, see Pub. It is available online and at most U.S. embassies and consulates. See How To Get Tax Help in the back of this publication.
If you are a U.S. citizen and also a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico, you must generally file a U.S. income tax return for any year in which you meet the income requirements. This is in addition to any legal requirement you may have to file an income tax return with Puerto Rico.
If you are a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico for the entire year, your U.S. gross income doesn't include income from sources within
Puerto Rico. It does, however, include any income you received for your services as an employee of the United States or a U.S. agency. If you receive income from Puerto Rican sources that isn't subject to U.S. tax, you must reduce your standard deduction. As a result, the amount of income you must have before you are required to file a U.S. income tax return is lower than the applicable amount in Table or Table For more information, see Pub.
Individuals With Income From U.S. Possessions
If you had income from Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, special rules may apply when determining whether you must file a U.S. federal income tax return. In addition, you may have to file a return with the individual island government. See Pub. for more information.
If you are a dependent (one who meets the dependency tests in chapter 3), see Table to find out whether you must file a return. You must also file if your situation is described in Table
Responsibility of parent.
Generally, a child is responsible for filing his or her own tax return and for paying any tax on the return. If a dependent child must file an income tax return but can’t file due to age or any other reason, then a parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person must file it for the child. If the child can’t sign the return, the parent or guardian must sign the child's name followed by the words "By (your signature), parent for minor child."
Amounts a child earns by performing services are included in his or her gross income and not the gross income of the parent. This is true even if under local law the child's parent has the right to the earnings and may actually have received them. But if the child doesn't pay the tax due on this income, the parent is liable for the tax.
Certain Children Under Age 19 or Full-Time Students
If a child's only income is interest and dividends (including capital gain distributions and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends), the child was under age 19 at the end of or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of , and certain other conditions are met, a parent can elect to include the child's income on the parent's return. If this election is made, the child doesn't have to file a return. See Parent's Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends in Pub. , Tax Rules for Children and Dependents.
You are self-employed if you:
Carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor,
Are an independent contractor,
Are a member of a partnership, or
Are in business for yourself in any other way.
Self-employment can include work in addition to your regular full-time business activities, such as certain part-time work you do at home or in addition to your regular job.
You must file a return if your gross income is at least as much as the filing requirement amount for your filing status and age (shown in Table ). Also, you must file Form or SR and Schedule SE (Form ), Self-Employment Tax, if:
Your net earnings from self-employment (excluding church employee income) were $ or more, or
You had church employee income of $ or more. (See Table )
Use Schedule SE (Form ) to figure your self-employment tax. Self-employment tax is comparable to the social security and Medicare tax withheld from an employee's wages. For more information about this tax, see Pub. , Tax Guide for Small Business.
Employees of foreign governments or international organizations.
If you are a U.S. citizen who works in the United States for an international organization, a foreign government, or a wholly owned instrumentality of a foreign government, and your employer isn't required to withhold social security and Medicare taxes from your wages, you must include your earnings from services performed in the United States when figuring your net earnings from self-employment.
You must include income from services you performed as a minister when figuring your net earnings from self-employment, unless you have an exemption from self-employment tax. This also applies to Christian Science practitioners and members of a religious order who have not taken a vow of poverty. For more information, see Pub.
Table Filing Requirements for Dependents
See chapter 3 to find out if someone can claim you as a dependent.
|If your parents (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent, use this table to see if you must file a return. (See Table for other situations when you must file.)|
|In this table, unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. It also includes unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarship and fellowship grants. (See Scholarships and fellowships in chapter 8.) Gross income is the total of your earned and unearned income.|
|Single dependents—Were you either age 65 or older or blind?|
|□||No.||You must file a return if any of the following apply.|
|•||Your unearned income was more than $1,|
|•||Your earned income was more than $12,|
|•||Your gross income was more than the larger of:|
|•||Your earned income (up to $12,) plus $|
|□||Yes.||You must file a return if any of the following apply.|
|•||Your unearned income was more than $2, ($4, if 65 or older and blind).|
|•||Your earned income was more than $14, ($15, if 65 or older and blind).|
|•||Your gross income was more than the larger of:|
|•||$2, ($4, if 65 or older and blind), or|
|•||Your earned income (up to $12,) plus $2, ($3, if 65 or older and blind).|
|Married dependents—Were you either age 65 or older or blind?|
|□||No.||You must file a return if any of the following apply.|
|•||Your unearned income was more than $1,|
|•||Your earned income was more than $12,|
|•||Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.|
|•||Your gross income was more than the larger of:|
|•||Your earned income (up to $12,) plus $|
|□||Yes.||You must file a return if any of the following apply.|
|•||Your unearned income was more than $2, ($3, if 65 or older and blind).|
|•||Your earned income was more than $13, ($15, if 65 or older and blind).|
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Publication pdf irs 17
IRS modernizes Publication 17, the complete guide for individual tax filing information
Taxpayers who are looking for a comprehensive guide to tax benefits and useful tips to help them with their taxes can view IRS Publication 17 PDF, Your Federal Income Tax. Pub. 17 explains tax law and how those rules apply for filing a federal income tax return for individuals. It's designed to help taxpayers understand how much tax they owe so they pay no more than they should.
The IRS updated the format of Pub. 17 to make it easier to navigate and faster to download than previous editions. Plus, the edition is now accessible on most personal electronic devices.
Pub. 17 is packed with pages of basic tax-filing information and tips on what income to report and how to report it. The publication supplements tax form instructions and coincides with Form , U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors, Form NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, and Schedules 1, 2 and 3. Its information is organized into four parts offering key information most taxpayers need to file their taxes. Each part has an introduction listing the specifics covered in that section.
The "What's New" section features a rundown on tax changes for the current tax year and references to complementary information for many topics. Other sections in the publication include information and links to additional resources to help taxpayers, for example:
- claim dependents
- determine whether to itemize deductions
- understand Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) rules
Pub. 17 is currently available in English and Spanish PDF. The Service expects to offer translations in Russian, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) later this year.
The publication has been available free on IRS.gov since It has thousands of interactive links to help taxpayers quickly find answers to their tax questions. It's also available as a free eBook EPUB.
Besides Pub. 17, IRS.gov offers many other helpful resources, and the website is the fastest way to get many services. Taxpayers don't need an appointment or make a phone call if they visit IRS.gov for answers and instructions. From the website, they can access easy-to-use tools to request transcripts and tax forms and make payments, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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