Posts Tagged ‘Publication 17’

Filing A 2013 Federal Tax Return – Required or Recommended???

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice.

Insofar as filing a 2013 Federal income tax return is concerned, there are two situations which will probably apply to you:

1.  You are REQUIRED to file a 2013 Federal income tax return (you don’t have a choice in the matter), or

2.  While you are NOT REQUIRED to file a 2013 Federal income tax return, it is RECOMMENDED that you do (you do have a choice in the matter).  

If you are a resident of a state that does require the filing of tax returns, if situation #1 above applies to you, your state department of revenue would also like to have a tax return from you. 

2013 Federal Filing Requirements:  


The best reference document to use to obtain the specific requirements for your income tax situation is IRS Publication 17 ( ).   There are three factors which should be reviewed that relate to:

a.  Your gross income,

b.  Your filing status, and

c.  Your age

See pages 5-6,  and Table 1-1.  Additional information is provided for “Surviving Spouses, Executors, Administrators and Legal Representatives”, “U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Living Abroad’, “Residents of Puerto Rico”, “Certain Children Under Age 19 or Full-Time Students”, “Self Employed Persons”, and “Individuals With Income From U. S. Possessions”, and “Aliens”.

Table 1-2 on page 6 provides decision table criteria for both single and married dependents of taxpayers. 

Finally, Table 1-3 on page 7 may ultimately cause you to be required to file a Federal income tax return.  The table, entitled “Other Situations When You Must File A 2013 Return”  provides four conditions in which the tax return filing requirement must be met. 

While you may now be in the very small group of people who are NOT REQUIRED  to file a 2013 income tax return, there  may be cicrcumstances or situations in which the filing of a Federal (and possible a state) income tax return is RECOMMENDED(more…)

Tips For Preparing To File Your 2012 Individual Tax Return

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate information, and not to provide tax advice.

While the earliest time that you can file your 2012 individual tax return (Federal Form 1040) is not until January 30th, there is information that you may need IF you plan to be among the first to file your tax return this year.   If you do not already have sources for the 2012 rules that are applicable, you can use a search engine and the Internet.  Here is a notice from the IRS website at  

Forms & Publications

For taxpayers who can file their individual income tax returns beginning January 30, all forms and instructions needed have been posted to and are accessible by clicking on Current Forms & Pubs below. Some 2012 tax forms that cannot be filed beginning on January 30 are not yet available. We continue to work as quickly as possible on updates and will post them on as updates are completed.

As of today, the 2012 version of Publication 17 (Your Federal Income Tax [For Individuals]) is not yet available.  Many of the tax laws were changed or extended.  Several media sources are also recommending that you also consult with a tax preparer.  You can review pages 15-17 of my 2012 tax return questionnaire, which is available from this website ( )    

IRS Offers Tips to Help Taxpayers with the January 30  
Tax Season Opening

 The IRS will begin processing most individual income tax returns on Jan. 30 after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems. The IRS anticipated many of the tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), but the final law requires some changes before the IRS can begin accepting tax returns.

 The IRS will not process paper or electronic tax returns before the Jan. 30 opening date, so there is no advantage to filing on paper before then. Using e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return, and using e-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund.

 Many major software providers are accepting tax returns in advance of the Jan. 30 processing date. These software providers will hold onto the returns and then electronically submit them after the IRS systems open. If you use commercial software, check with your provider for specific instructions about when they will accept your return. Software companies and tax professionals send returns to the IRS, but the timing of the refunds is determined by IRS processing, which starts Jan. 30.

 After the IRS starts processing returns, it expects to process refunds within the usual timeframes. Last year, the IRS issued more than nine out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days, and it expects the same results in 2013. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, some tax returns will require additional review and take longer. To help protect against refund fraud, the IRS has put in place stronger security filters this filing season.

 After taxpayers file a return, they can track the status of the refund with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on the website. New this year, instead of an estimated date, Where’s My Refund? will give people an actual personalized refund date after the IRS processes the tax return and approves the refund.

 ”Where’s My Refund?” will be available for use after the IRS starts processing tax returns on Jan. 30. Here are some tips for using “Where’s My Refund?” after it’s available on Jan. 30:  

  • Initial information will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after mailing a paper return.
  • The system updates every 24 hours, usually overnight. There’s no need to check more than once a day.
  • “Where’s My Refund?” provides the most accurate and complete information that the IRS has about the refund, so there is no need to call the IRS unless the web tool says to do so.
  • To use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, taxpayers need to have a copy of their tax return for reference. Taxpayers will need their social security number, filing status and the exact dollar amount of the refund they are expecting.   

For the latest information about the Jan. 30 tax season opening, tax law changes and tax refunds, visit     

Additional IRS Resources:   

IRS YouTube Video:   

  • When Will I Get My Refund? – English


IRS Tax Law Changes for 2011

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The exclusive purpose for the information which is provided from this website is to disseminate  information, and not to provide tax advice.

In times past there was a certain degree of stability and predictability in our tax laws.  In the past eleven years, or longer, the U.S. Congress has opted to provide U.S. Taxpayers with a continuously changing environment.  While this has provided tax preparers with a significant boost in their job security, it has created an environment of heightened stress and frustration for the taxpayers themselves.  Regardless of who prepares a tax return, the taxpayer  is responsible for its accuracy.

Each year since the 1940s the IRS has published Publication 17 (“Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals”) which is an excellent reference document to provide you with a better understanding of the tax law requirements and with the information that is required to complete and file an accurate income tax return.   It is available to you throughout the year via the Internet at:

Listed below is a summary of the key tax law provisions which are either new or which have changed for 2011:

What’s New

 This section summarizes important tax changes that took effect in 2011.  Most of these changes are discussed in more detail throughout  Publication 17.

The IRS has created a page on for information about this publication at Information about any future developments affecting this publication (such as legislation) will be posted on that page.

Due date of return. File Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by April 17, 2012. The due date is April 17, instead of April 15, because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia.

Reporting capital gains and losses on new Form 8949. In most cases, you must report your capital gains and losses on new Form 8949. Then you report certain totals from that form on Schedule D (Form 1040). See chapter 16.

Standard mileage rates. The 2011 rate for business use of your car is 51 cents a mile for miles driven before July 1, 2011, and 55 ½ cents a mile for miles driven after June 30, 2011. See chapter 26.The 2011 rate for use of your car to get medical care is 19 cents a mile for miles driven before July 1, 2011, and 23 ½ cents a mile for miles driven after June 30, 2011. See chapter 21.The 2011 rate for use of your car to move is 19 cents a mile for miles driven before July 1, 2011, and 23 ½ cents a mile for miles driven after June 30, 2011. See Publication 521, Moving Expenses.

Standard deduction increased. The standard deduction for some taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) is higher for 2011 than it was for 2010. The amount depends on your filing status. See chapter 20.

Exemption amount. The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased. It was $3,650 for 2010. It is $3,700 for 2011. See chapter 3.

Self-employed health insurance deduction. This deduction is no longer allowed on Schedule SE (Form 1040). However, you can still take it on Form 1040, line 29. See chapter 21.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount increased. The AMT exemption amount has increased to $48,450 ($74,450 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er); $37,225 if married filing separately).

Health savings accounts (HSAs) and Archer MSAs. For distributions after 2010, the additional tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for qualified medical expenses has increased to 20%.Also beginning in 2011, amounts paid for medicine or a drug are qualified medical expenses only if the medicine or drug is a prescribed drug or is insulin.See the instructions for Form 8889 or Form 8853 for details.

Roth IRAs. If you converted or rolled over an amount to a Roth IRA in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. See Publication 575 for details.

Designated Roth accounts. If you rolled over an amount from a 401(k) or 403(b) plan to a designated Roth account in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. See Publication 575 for details.

Alternative motor vehicle credit. You cannot claim the alternative motor vehicle credit for a vehicle you bought in 2011, unless the vehicle is a new fuel cell motor vehicle. See chapter 36.

First-time homebuyer credit. To claim the first-time homebuyer credit for 2011, you (or your spouse if married) must have been a member of the uniformed services or Foreign Service or an employee of the intelligence community on qualified official extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010. See chapter 36.

Repayment of first-time homebuyer credit. If you have to repay the credit, you may be able to do so without attaching Form 5405. See chapter 36.

Nonbusiness energy property credit. This credit is figured differently for 2011 than it was for 2010. See chapter 36 for details.

Health coverage tax credit. This credit has been extended, and the amount has changed. See chapter 36 for details.

Foreign financial assets. If you had foreign financial assets in 2011, you may have to file new Form 8938 with your return. Check for details.

Schedule L. Schedule L is no longer in use. You do not need it to figure your 2011 standard deduction. Instead, see chapter 20 for information about your 2011 standard deduction.

Making work pay credit. The making work pay credit has expired. You cannot claim it on your 2011 return. Schedule M is no longer in use.

Mailing your return. If you are filing a paper return, you may be mailing it to a different address this year because the IRS has changed the filing location for several areas. See Where To File near the end of this publication for a list of IRS addresses.