Federal Form 1040A - U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Short Form Instructions

What's New

For information about any additional changes to the 2012 tax law or any other developments affecting Form 1040A or its instructions, go to www.irs.gov/form1040a.

Tax benefits extended. Several temporary tax benefits have been extended through 2013, including the following.

  • Deduction for educator expenses in figuring adjusted gross income (line 16).
  • Tuition and fees deduction (line 19).
  • Exclusion from income of qualified charitable distributions (see instructions for line 11a and 11b).

Standard mileage rates. The 2012 rate for business use of your vehicle remains 55½ cents a mile. The 2012 rate for use of your vehicle to get medical care or to move is decreased to 23 cents a mile.

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 should have reported half of it on your 2011 return. Report the rest on your 2012 return. Report the amount that is taxable on your 2012 return on line 11b (for conversions from IRAs) or 12b (for rollovers from qualified retirement plans). See the instructions for lines 11a and 11b and lines 12a and 12b.

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 should have reported half of it on your 2011 return. Report the rest on your 2012 return. See the instructions for lines 12a and 12b.

Schedule 8812. Use Schedule 8812 (Form 1040A or 1040) to figure your additional child tax credit for 2012. Schedule 8812 is new for 2012. Form 8812 is no longer in use. See the instructions for line 39.

Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN). If we sent you an IP PIN, see Identity Protection PIN after the instructions for line 46 to find out how to use it.

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 Do You File? at the end of these instructions.

Filing Requirements

These rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.

Have you tried IRS e-file? It's the fastest way to get your refund and it's free if you are eligible. Visit IRS.gov for details.

Do You Have To File?

Use Chart A, B, or C to see if you must file a return.

TIP: Even if you do not otherwise have to file a return, you should file one to get a refund of any federal income tax withheld. You should also file if you are eligible for any of the following credits.

  • Earned income credit.
  • Additional child tax credit.
  • American opportunity credit.
  • Credit for federal tax on fuels (must file Form 1040).
  • Refundable credit for prior year minimum tax (must file Form 1040).
  • Health coverage tax credit (must file Form 1040).

See Pub. 501 for details. Also see Pub. 501 if you do not have to file but received a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement).

Exception for certain children under age 19 or full-time students. If certain conditions apply, you can elect to include on your return the income of a child who was under age 19 at the end of 2012 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of 2012. To do so, use Form 1040 and Form 8814. If you make this election, your child does not have to file a return. For details, use TeleTax topic 553 or see Form 8814.

A child born on January 1, 1989, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2012. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.

Resident aliens. These rules also apply if you were a resident alien. Also, you may qualify for certain tax treaty benefits. See Pub. 519 for details.

Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens. These rules also apply if you were a nonresident alien or dual-status alien and both of the following apply.

  • You were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of 2012.
  • You elected to be taxed as a resident alien.

See Pub. 519 for details.

CAUTION! Specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident alien, nonresident alien, or dual-status alien. Most nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens have different filing requirements and may have to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ. Pub. 519 discusses these requirements and other information to help aliens comply with U.S. tax law, including tax treaty benefits and special rules for students and scholars.

When and Where Should You File?

File Form 1040A by April 15, 2013. If you file after this date, you may have to pay interest and penalties. See Interest and Penalties, later.

If you were serving in, or in support of, the U.S. Armed Forces in a designated combat zone or contingency operation, you may be able to file later. See Pub. 3 for details.

Filing instructions and addresses are at the end of these instructions.

What If You Cannot File on Time?

You can get an automatic 6-month extension if, no later than the date your return is due, you file Form 4868. For details, see Form 4868.

CAUTION! An automatic 6-month extension to file does not extend the time to pay your tax. If you do not pay your tax by the original due date of your return, you will owe interest on the unpaid tax and may owe penalties. See Form 4868.

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you may qualify for an automatic extension of time to file without filing Form 4868. You qualify if, on the due date of your return, you meet one of the following conditions.

  • You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • You are in military or naval service on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

This extension gives you an extra 2 months to file and pay the tax, but interest will be charged from the original due date of the return on any unpaid tax. You must include a statement showing that you meet the requirements. If you are still unable to file your return by the end of the 2-month period, you can get an additional 4 months if, no later than June 17, 2013, you file Form 4868. This 4-month extension of time to file does not extend the time to pay your tax. See Form 4868.

Private Delivery Services

You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following.

  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service.
  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.
  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

For the IRS mailing address to use if you are using a private delivery service, go to IRS.gov and enter “private delivery service” in the search box. The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

Chart A - For Most People

IF your filing status is . . .
AND at the end of 2012 you were* . . .
THEN file a return if your gross income** was at least . . .
Single under 65
65 or older
$9,750
10,200
Married filing jointly*** under 65 (both spouses)
65 or older (one spouse)
65 or older (both spouses)
$19,500
20,650
21,800
Married filing separately any age
$3,800
Head of household under 65
65 or older
$12,500
13,950
Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child under 65
65 or older
$15,700
16,850
*If you were born on January 1, 1947, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2012.
**Gross incomemeans all income you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not 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). Do not include any social security benefits unless (a) you are married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2012 or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the instructions for lines 14a and 14b to figure the taxable part of social security benefits you must include in gross income.
***If you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2012 (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $3,800, you must file a return regardless of your age.

Chart B - For Children and Other Dependents

See the instructions for line 6c to find out if someone can claim you as a dependent.

If your parent (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent, use this chart to see if you must file a return.

In this chart, 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, and taxable scholarship and fellowship grants. Gross income is the total of your unearned and earned 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 over $950.
  • Your earned income was over $5,950.
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of -
    • $950, or
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $300.

Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.

  • Your unearned income was over $2,400 ($3,850 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your earned income was over $7,400 ($8,850 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of -
    • $2,400 ($3,850 if 65 or older and blind), or
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $1,750 ($3,200 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 over $950.
  • Your earned income was over $5,950.
  • 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 -
    • $950, or
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $300.

Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.

  • Your unearned income was over $2,100 ($3,250 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your earned income was over $7,100 ($8,250 if 65 or older and blind).
  • 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 -
    • $2,100 ($3,250 if 65 or older and blind), or
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $1,450 ($2,600 if 65 or older and blind).

Chart C - Other Situations When You Must File

You must file a return for 2012 if you owe tax from the recapture of an education credit or the alternative minimum tax. See the instructions for line 28.

You must file a return using Form 1040 if any of the following apply for 2012.

  • You owe any special taxes, such as social security and Medicare tax on tips you did not report to your employer or on wages you received from an employer who did not withhold these taxes.
  • You owe write-in taxes, including uncollected social security and Medicare or RRTA tax on tips you reported to your employer or on your group-term life insurance, or additional tax on a health savings account.
  • You had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400.
  • You had wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security and Medicare taxes.
  • You owe additional tax on a qualified plan, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), or other tax-favored account. But if you are filing a return only because you owe this tax, you can file Form 5329 by itself.
  • You owe household employment taxes. But if you are filing a return only because you owe this tax, you can file Schedule H (Form 1040) by itself.
  • You owe any recapture taxes, including repayment of the first-time homebuyer credit.
  • You (or your spouse, if filing jointly) received HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA distributions.

Would It Help You To Itemize Deductions on Form 1040?

You may be able to reduce your tax by itemizing deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). Itemized deductions include amounts you paid for state and local income or sales taxes, real estate taxes, personal property taxes, mortgage interest, and disaster losses. You may also include gifts to charity and part of the amount you paid for medical and dental expenses. You would usually benefit by itemizing if -

Your filing status is: AND Your itemized deductions are more than:*
Single

Under 65 $5,950
65 or older or blind 7,400
65 or older and blind 8,850
Married filing jointly

Under 65 (both spouses)

$11,900
65 or older or blind (one spouse) 13,050

65 or older or blind (both spouses)

14,200

65 or older and blind (one spouse)

14,200
65 or older or blind (one spouse) and 65 or older and blind (other spouse)

15,350

65 or older and blind (both spouses) 16,500
Married filing separately**

Your spouse itemizes deductions

$0

Under 65

5,950

65 or older or blind

7,100

65 or older and blind

8,250

Head of household
Under 65

$8,700

65 or older or blind

10,150

65 or older and blind

11,600

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

Under 65

$11,900

65 or older or blind

13,050

65 or older and blind

14,200

* If you can take an exemption for your spouse, complete the Standard Deduction Worksheet for the amount that applies to you.

If someone can claim you as a dependent, it would benefit you to itemize if your itemized deductions total more than your standard deduction figured on the Standard Deduction Worksheet.

Where To Report Certain Items From 2012 Forms W-2, 1097, 1098, and 1099

IRS e-file takes the guesswork out of preparing your return. You may also be eligible to use Free File to file your federal income tax return. Visit www.irs.gov/efile for details.

If any federal income tax withheld is shown on these forms, include the tax withheld on Form 1040A, line 36.

Form Item and Box in Which It Should Appear Where To Report
W-2 Wages, tips, other compensation (box 1) Form 1040A, line 7
Allocated tips (box 8) See Wages, Salaries, Tips, etc.
Dependent care benefits (box 10) Form 2441, Part III
Adoption benefits (box 12, code T) Must file Form 1040
Employer contributions to an Archer MSA (box 12, code R) Must file Form 1040
Employer contributions to a health savings account (box 12, code W) Must file Form 1040 if required to file Form 8889 (see instructions for Form 8889)
Uncollected social security and Medicare or RRTA tax (box 12, Code A, B, M, or N) Must file Form 1040
W-2G Gambling winnings (box 1) Must file Form 1040
1097-BTC Bond tax credit Must file Form 1040 to take
1098 Mortgage interest (box 1) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
Points (box 2)
Refund of overpaid interest (box 3) See the instructions on Form 1098
Mortgage insurance premiums (box 4) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
1098-C Contributions of motor vehicles, boats, and airplanes Must file Form 1040 to deduct
1098-E Student loan interest (box 1) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 18
1098-MA Home mortgage payments (box 3) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
1098-T Qualified tuition and related expenses (box 1) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 19, or line 31, on page 33, but first see the instructions on Form 1098-T
1099-A Acquisition or abandonment of secured property See Pub. 4681
1099-B Broker and barter exchange transactions Must file Form 1040
1099-C Canceled debt (box 2) Generally must file Form 1040 (see Pub. 4681)
1099-DIV Total ordinary dividends (box 1a) Form 1040A, line 9a
Qualified dividends (box 1b) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 9b
Total capital gain distributions (box 2a) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 10
Amount reported in box 2b, 2c, or 2d Must file Form 1040
Nondividend distributions (box 3) Must file Form 1040 if required to report as capital gains (see the instructions on Form 1099-DIV)
Investment expenses (box 5) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
Foreign tax paid (box 6) Must file Form 1040 to deduct or take a credit for the tax
1099-G Unemployment compensation (box 1) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 13
State or local income tax refund (box 2) See the instructions under Refunds of State or Local Income Taxes, later
Amount reported in box 5, 6, 7, or 9 Must file Form 1040
1099-INT Interest income (box 1) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 8a
Early withdrawal penalty (box 2) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
Interest on U.S. savings bonds and Treasury obligations (box 3) See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 8a
Investment expenses (box 5) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
Foreign tax paid (box 6) Must file Form 1040 to deduct or take a credit for the tax
Tax-exempt interest (box 8) Form 1040A, line 8b
Specified private activity bond interest (box 9) Must file Form 1040
1099-K Payment card and third party network transactions Must file Form 1040
1099-LTC Long-term care and accelerated death benefits Must file Form 1040 if required to file Form 8853 (see the instructions for Form 8853)
1099-MISC Miscellaneous income Must file Form 1040
1099-OID Original issue discount (box 1) See the instructions on Form 1099-OID
Other periodic interest (box 2)
Early withdrawal penalty (box 3) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
Original issue discount on U.S. Treasury obligations (box 6) See the instructions on Form 1099-OID
Investment expenses (box 7) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
1099-PATR Patronage dividends and other distributions from a cooperative (boxes 1, 2, 3, and 5) Must file Form 1040 if taxable (see the instructions on Form 1099-PATR)
Domestic production activities deduction (box 6) Must file Form 1040 to deduct
Amount reported in box 7, 8, 9, or 10 Must file Form 1040
1099-Q Qualified education program payments Must file Form 1040
1099-R Distributions from IRAs* See the instructions for Form 1040A, lines 11a and 11b
Distributions from pensions, annuities, etc. See the instructions for Form 1040A, lines 12a and 12b
Capital gain (box 3) See the instructions on Form 1099-R
1099-S Gross proceeds from real estate transactions (box 2) Must file Form 1040 if required to report the sale (see Pub. 523)
Buyer's part of real estate tax (box 5) Must file Form 1040
1099-SA Distributions from HSAs and MSAs** Must file Form 1040

*This includes distributions from Roth, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs.

**This includes distributions from Archer and Medicare Advantage MSAs.

Who Can Use Form 1040A?

You can use Form 1040A if all six of the following apply.

  1. You only had income from the following sources:
    1. Wages, salaries, tips.
    2. Interest and ordinary dividends.
    3. Capital gain distributions.
    4. Taxable scholarship and fellowship grants.
    5. Pensions, annuities, and IRAs.
    6. Unemployment compensation.
    7. Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.
    8. Taxable social security and railroad retirement benefits.
  2. The only adjustments to income you can claim are:
    1. Educator expenses.
    2. IRA deduction.
    3. Student loan interest deduction.
    4. Tuition and fees deduction.
  3. You do not itemize deductions.
  4. Your taxable income (line 27) is less than $100,000.
  5. The only tax credits you can claim are:
    1. Credit for child and dependent care expenses.
    2. Credit for the elderly or the disabled.
    3. Education credits.
    4. Retirement savings contributions credit.
    5. Child tax credit.
    6. Earned income credit.
    7. Additional child tax credit.
  6. You did not have an alternative minimum tax adjustment on stock you acquired from the exercise of an incentive stock option (see Pub. 525).

You can also use Form 1040A if you received dependent care benefits or if you owe tax from the recapture of an education credit or the alternative minimum tax.

When Must You Use Form 1040?

Check Where To Report Certain Items From 2012 Forms W-2, 1097, 1098, and 1099 to see if you must use Form 1040. You must also use Form 1040 if any of the following apply.

  1. You received any of the following types of income:
    1. Income from self-employment (business or farm income).
    2. Certain tips you did not report to your employer. See the instructions for Form 1040A, line 7.
    3. Income received as a partner in a partnership, shareholder in an S corporation, or a beneficiary of an estate or trust.
    4. Dividends on insurance policies if they exceed the total of all net premiums you paid for the contract.
  2. You can exclude any of the following types of income:
    1. Foreign earned income you received as a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
    2. Certain income received from sources in Puerto Rico if you were a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico.
    3. Certain income received from sources in American Samoa if you were a bona fide resident of American Samoa for all of 2012.
  3. You have an alternative minimum tax adjustment on stock you acquired from the exercise of an incentive stock option (see Pub. 525).
  4. You received a distribution from a foreign trust.
  5. You owe the excise tax on insider stock compensation from an expatriated corporation.
  6. You owe household employment taxes. See Schedule H (Form 1040) and its instructions to find out if you owe these taxes.
  7. You are eligible for the health coverage tax credit. See Form 8885 for details.
  8. You are claiming the adoption credit or received employer-provided adoption benefits. See Form 8839 for details.
  9. You are an employee and your employer did not withhold social security and Medicare tax. See Form 8919 for details.
  10. You had a qualified health savings account funding distribution from your IRA.
  11. You are a debtor in a bankruptcy case filed after October 16, 2005.
  12. You must repay the first-time homebuyer credit. See Form 5405 for details.
  13. You had foreign financial assets in 2012 and you must file Form 8938. See Form 8938 and its instructions.

Line Instructions for Form 1040A

IRS e-file takes the guesswork out of preparing your return. You may also be eligible to use Free File to file your federal income tax return. Visit www.irs.gov/efile for details.

Name and Address

Print or type the information in the spaces provided. If you are married filing a separate return, enter your spouse’s name on line 3 instead of below your name.

TIP: If you filed a joint return for 2011 and you are filing a joint return for 2012 with the same spouse, be sure to enter your names and SSNs in the same order as on your 2011 return.

Name change. If you changed your name because of marriage, divorce, etc., be sure to report the change to your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office before filing your return. This prevents delays in processing your return and issuing refunds. It also safeguards your future social security benefits.

Address change. If you plan to move after filing your return, use Form 8822 to notify the IRS of your new address.

P.O. box. Enter your box number only if your post office does not deliver mail to your home.

Foreign address. If you have a foreign address, enter the city name on the appropriate line. Do not enter any other information on that line, but also complete the spaces below that line. Do not abbreviate the country name. Follow the country's practice for entering the postal code and the name of the province, county, or state.

Death of a taxpayer. See Death of a taxpayer under General Information, later.

Social Security Number (SSN)

An incorrect or missing SSN can increase your tax, reduce your refund, or delay your refund. To apply for an SSN, fill in Form SS-5 and return it, along with the appropriate evidence documents, to the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can get Form SS-5 online at www.socialsecurity.gov, from your local SSA office, or by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get an SSN once the SSA has all the evidence and information it needs.

Check that both the name and SSN on your Forms 1040A, W-2, and 1099 agree with your social security card. If they do not, certain deductions and credits on your Form 1040A may be reduced or disallowed and you may not receive credit for your social security earnings. If your Form W-2 shows an incorrect SSN or name, notify your employer or the form-issuing agent as soon as possible to make sure your earnings are credited to your social security record. If the name or SSN on your social security card is incorrect, call the SSA.

IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) for aliens. If you are a nonresident or resident alien and you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an ITIN. For details on how to do so, see Form W-7 and its instructions. It takes 6 to 10 weeks to get an ITIN.

If you already have an ITIN, enter it wherever your SSN is requested on your tax return.

Note. An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immi-gration status under U.S. law.

Nonresident alien spouse. If your spouse is a nonresident ali-en, he or she must have either an SSN or an ITIN if:

  • You file a joint return,
  • You file a separate return and claim an exemption for your spouse, or
  • Your spouse is filing a separate return.

Presidential Election Campaign Fund

This fund helps pay for Presidential election campaigns. The fund reduces candidates' dependence on large contributions from individuals and groups and places candidates on an equal financial footing in the general election. If you want $3 to go to this fund, check the box. If you are filing a joint return, your spouse can also have $3 go to the fund. If you check a box, your tax or refund will not change.

Filing Status

Check only the filing status that applies to you. The ones that will usually give you the lowest tax are listed last.

  • Married filing separately.
  • Single.
  • Head of household.
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.

TIP: More than one filing status can apply to you. You can choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.

Line 1 - Single

You can check the box on line 1 if any of the following was true on December 31, 2012.

  • You were never married.
  • You were legally separated according to your state law under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. But if, at the end of 2012, your divorce was not final (an interlocutory decree), you are considered married and cannot check the box on line 1.
  • You were widowed before January 1, 2012, and did not remarry before the end of 2012. But, if you have a dependent child, you may be able to use the qualifying widow(er) filing status. See the instructions for line 5.

Line 2 - Married Filing Jointly

You can check the box on line 2 if any of the following apply.

  • You were married at the end of 2012, even if you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2012.
  • Your spouse died in 2012 and you did not remarry in 2012.
  • You were married at the end of 2012, and your spouse died in 2013 before filing a 2012 return.

For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife, and “spouse” means a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. A husband and wife filing jointly report their combined income and deduct their combined allowable expenses on one return. They can file a joint return even if only one had income or if they did not live together all year. However, both persons must sign the return. Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.

Joint and several tax liability. If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse are generally responsible for the tax and any interest or penalties due on the return. This means that if one spouse does not pay the tax due, the other may have to. Or, if one spouse does not report the correct tax, both spouses may be responsible for any additional taxes assessed by the IRS. You may want to file separately if:

  • You believe your spouse is not reporting all of his or her income, or
  • You do not want to be responsible for any taxes due if your spouse does not have enough tax withheld or does not pay enough estimated tax.

See the instructions for line 3. Also see Innocent spouse relief under General Information, later.

Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens. Generally, a husband and wife cannot file a joint return if either spouse is a nonresident alien at any time during the year. However, if you were a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien and were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of 2012, you can elect to be treated as a resident alien and file a joint return. See Pub. 519 for details.

Line 3 - Married Filing Separately

If you are married and file a separate return, you generally report only your own income, exemptions, deductions, and credits. Generally, you are responsible only for the tax on your own income. Different rules apply to people in community property states; see Pub. 555.

However, you will usually pay more tax than if you use another filing status for which you qualify. Also, if you file a separate return, you cannot take the student loan interest deduction, the tuition and fees deduction, the education credits, or the earned income credit. You also cannot take the standard deduction if your spouse itemizes deductions.

Be sure to enter your spouse's SSN or ITIN on Form 1040A. If your spouse does not have and is not required to have an SSN or ITIN, enter "NRA.

TIP: You may be able to file as head of household if you had a child living with you and you lived apart from your spouse during the last 6 months of 2012. See Married persons who live apart, later.

Line 4 - Head of Household

This filing status is for unmarried individuals who provide a home for certain other persons. You are considered unmarried for this purpose if any of the following applies.

  • You were legally separated according to your state law under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance at the end of 2012. But, if at the end of 2012, your divorce was not final (an interlocutory decree), you are considered married.
  • You are married but lived apart from your spouse for the last 6 months of 2012 and you meet the other rules under Married persons who live apart, later.
  • You are married to a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you do not choose to treat him or her as a resident alien.

Check the box on line 4 only if you are unmarried (or considered unmarried) and either Test 1 or Test 2 applies.

Test 1. You paid over half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for all of 2012 of your parent whom you can claim as a dependent, except under a multiple support agreement (see the line 6c instructions). Your parent did not have to live with you.

Test 2. You paid over half the cost of keeping up a home in which you lived and in which one of the following also lived for more than half of the year (if half or less, see Exception to time lived with you).

  1. Any person whom you can claim as a dependent. But do not include:
    1. Your child whom you claim as your dependent because of the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents in the line 6c instructions,
    2. Any person who is your dependent only because he or she lived with you for all of 2012, or
    3. Any person you claimed as a dependent under a multiple support agreement. See the line 6c instructions.
  2. Your unmarried qualifying child who is not your dependent.
  3. Your married qualifying child who is not your dependent only because you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2012 return.
  4. Your qualifying child who, even though you are the custodial parent, is not your dependent because of the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents in the line 6c instructions.

If the child is not your dependent, enter the child's name on line 4. If you do not enter the name, it will take us longer to process your return. Qualifying child. To find out if someone is your qualifying child, see Step 1 of the line 6c instructions.

Dependent. To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c.

Exception to time lived with you. Temporary absences by you or the other person for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time lived in the home. Also see Kidnapped child in the line 6c instructions, if applicable.

If the person for whom you kept up a home was born or died in 2012, you can still file as head of household as long as the home was that person's main home for more than half of the part of the year he or she was alive.

Keeping up a home. To find out what is included in the cost of keeping up a home, see Pub. 501.

If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of keeping up your home, you cannot count them as money you paid. However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you paid over half the cost.

Married persons who live apart. Even if you were not divorced or legally separated at the end of 2012, you are considered unmarried if all of the following apply.

  • You lived apart from your spouse for the last 6 months of 2012. Temporary absences for special circumstances, such as for business, medical care, school, or military service, count as time lived in the home.
  • You file a separate return from your spouse.
  • You paid over half the cost of keeping up your home for 2012.
  • Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half of 2012 (if half or less, see Exception to time lived with you, earlier).
  • You can claim this child as your dependent or could claim the child except that the child's other parent can claim him or her under the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents in the line 6c instructions.

Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Foster child. A foster child is any child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Line 5 - Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child

You can check the box on line 5 and use joint return tax rates for 2012 if all of the following apply.

  • Your spouse died in 2010 or 2011 and you did not remarry before the end of 2012.
  • You have a child or stepchild whom you claim as a dependent. This does not include a foster child.
  • This child lived in your home for all of 2012. If the child did not live with you for the required time, see Exception to time lived with you, later.
  • You paid over half the cost of keeping up your home.
  • You could have filed a joint return with your spouse the year he or she died, even if you did not actually do so.

If your spouse died in 2012, you cannot file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Instead, see the instructions for line 2.

Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Dependent. To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c.

Exception to time lived with you. Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time lived in the home. Also see Kidnapped child in the line 6c instructions, if applicable.

A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2012 if the child was born or died in 2012 and your home was the child's home for the entire time he or she was alive.

Keeping up a home. To find out what is included in the cost of keeping up a home, see Pub. 501.

If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of keeping up your home, you cannot count them as money you paid. However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you paid over half the cost.

Exemptions

You can deduct $3,800 on line 26 for each exemption you can take.

Line 6b - Spouse

Check the box on line 6b if either of the following applies.

  1. Your filing status is married filing jointly and your spouse cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's return.
  2. You were married at the end of 2012, your filing status is married filing separately or head of household, and both of the following apply.
    1. Your spouse had no income and is not filing a return.
    2. Your spouse cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's return.

If your filing status is head of household and you check the box on line 6b, enter the name of your spouse on the line next to line 6b. Also, enter your spouse's social security number in the space provided at the top of your return. If you became divorced or legally separated during 2012, you cannot take an exemption for your former spouse.

Death of your spouse. If your spouse died in 2012 and you did not remarry by the end of 2012, check the box on line 6b if you could have taken an exemption for your spouse on the date of death. For other filing instructions, see Death of a taxpayer under General Instructions, later.

Line 6c - Dependents

Dependents and Qualifying Child for Child Tax Credit

Follow the steps below to find out if a person qualifies as your dependent, qualifies you to take the child tax credit, or both. If you have more than six dependents, include a statement showing the information required in columns (1) through (4).

Step 1. Do You Have a Qualifying Child?

A qualifying child is a child who is your...

Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),

AND

was ...

Under age 19 at the end of 2012 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly)

or

Under age 24 at the end of 2012, a student (defined later), and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly)

or

Any age and permanently and totally disabled (defined later)

AND

Who did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2012 (see Pub. 501)

AND

Who is not filing a joint return for 2012 or is filing a joint return for 2012 only as a claim for refund (defined later)

AND

Who lived with you for more than half of 2012. If the child did not live with you for the required time, see Exception to time lived with you, later.

CAUTION! If the child meets the conditions to be a qualifying child of any other person (other than your spouse if filing jointly) for 2012, see Qualifying child of more than one person, later.

1. Do you have a child who meets the conditions to be your qualifying child?

Yes. Go to Step 2.

No. Go to Step 4.

Step 2. Is Your Qualifying Child Your Dependent?

1. Was the child a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico? (See Pub. 519 for the definition of a U.S. national or U.S. resident alien. If the child was adopted, see Exception to citizen test, later.)

Yes. Continue.

No. You cannot claim this child as a dependent. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

2. Was the child married?

Yes. See Married person, later.

No. Continue.

3. Could you, or your spouse if filing jointly, be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2012 tax return? See Steps 1, 2, and 4.

Yes. You cannot claim any dependents. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

No. You can claim this child as a dependent. Complete Form 1040A, line 6c, columns (1) through (3) for this child. Then, go to Step 3.

Step 3. Does Your Qualifying ChildQualify You for the Child Tax Credit?

1. Was the child under age 17 at the end of 2012?

Yes. Continue.

No. This child is not a qualifying child for the child tax credit. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

2. Was the child a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien? (See Pub. 519 for the definition of a U.S. national or U.S. resident alien. If the child was adopted, see Exception to citizen test, later.)

Yes. This child is a qualifying child for the child tax credit. Check the box on Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4).

No. This child is not a qualifying child for the child tax credit. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

Step 4. Is Your Qualifying Relative Your Dependent?

A qualifying relative is a person who is your...

Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild)

or

Brother, sister, half brother, half sister, or a son or daughter of any of them (for example, your niece or nephew)

or

Father, mother, or an ancestor or sibling of either of them (for example, your grandmother, grandfather, aunt, or uncle)

or

Stepbrother, stepsister, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law

or

Any other person (other than your spouse) who lived with you all year as a member of your household if your relationship did not violate local law. If the person did not live with you for the required time, see Exception to time lived with you, later.

AND

who was not...

A qualifying child (see Step 1) of any taxpayer for 2012. For this purpose, a person is not a taxpayer if he or she is not required to file a U.S. income tax return and either does not file such a return or files only to get a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid.

AND

who...

Had gross income of less than $3,800 in 2012. If the person was permanently and totally disabled, see Exception to gross income test, later.

AND

For whom you provided...

Over half of his or her support in 2012. But see Children of divorced or separated parents, Multiple support agreements, and Kidnapped child, later.

1. Does any person meet the conditions to be your qualifying relative?

Yes. Continue.

No. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

2. Was your qualifying relative a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico? (See Pub. 519 for the definition of a U.S. national or U.S. resident alien. If your qualifying relative was adopted, see Exception to citizen test, later.)

Yes. Continue.

No. You cannot claim this person as a dependent. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

3. Was your qualifying relative married?

Yes. See Married person, later.

No. Continue.

4. Could you, or your spouse if filing jointly, be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2012 tax return? See Steps 1, 2, and 4.

Yes. You cannot claim any dependents. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

No. You can claim this person as a dependent. Complete Form 1040A, line 6c, columns (1) through (3). Do not check the box on Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4).

Definitions and Special Rules

Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Adoption taxpayer identification numbers (ATINs). If you have a dependent who was placed with you for legal adoption and you do not know his or her SSN, you must get an ATIN for the dependent from the IRS. See Form W-7A for details. If the dependant is not a U.S. citizen or resident alien, apply for an ITIN instead, using Form W-7.

Children of divorced or separated parents. A child will be treated as the qualifying child or qualifying relative of his or her noncustodial parent (defined later) if all of the following conditions apply.

  1. The parents are divorced, legally separated, separated under a written separation agreement, or lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of 2012 (whether or not they are or were married).
  2. The child received over half of his or her support for 2012 from the parents (and the rules on Multiple support agreements, later, do not apply). Support of a child received from a parent's spouse is treated as provided by the parent.
  3. The child is in custody of one or both of the parents for more than half of 2012.
  4. Either of the following applies.
    1. The custodial parent signs Form 8332 or a substantially similar statement that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent for 2012, and the noncustodial parent includes a copy of the form or statement with his or her return. If the divorce decree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. See Post-1984 and pre-2009 decree or agreement and Post-2008 decree or agreement, later.
    2. A pre-1985 decree of divorce or separate maintenance or written separation agreement between the parents provides that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, and the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for support of the child during 2012.

If conditions (1) through (4) apply, only the noncustodial parent can claim the child for purposes of the dependency exemption (line 6c) and the child tax credits (lines 33 and 39). However, this special rule does not apply to head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, or the earned income credit. See Pub. 501 for details.

Custodial and noncustodial parents. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights in 2012. The noncustodial parent is the other parent. If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income. See Pub. 501 for an exception for a parent who works at night, rules for a child who is emancipated under state law, and other details.

Post-1984 and pre-2009 decree or agreement. The decree or agreement must state all three of the following.

  • The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support.
  • The other parent will not claim the child as a dependent.
  • The years for which the claim is released.

The noncustodial parent must include all of the following pages from the decree or agreement.

  • Cover page (include the other parent's SSN on that page).
  • The pages that include all the information identified in (1) through (3) above.
  • Signature page with the other parent's signature and date of agreement.

CAUTION! You must include the required information even if you filed it with your return in an earlier year.

Post-2008 decree or agreement. If the divorce decree or separation agreement went into effect after 2008, the noncustodial parent cannot include pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. The custodial parent must sign either Form 8332 or a substantially similar statement the only purpose of which is to release the custodial parent's claim to an exemption for a child, and the noncustodial parent must include a copy with his or her return. The form or statement must release the custodial parent's claim to the child without any conditions. For example, the release must not depend on the noncustodial parent paying support.

Release of exemption revoked. A custodial parent who has revoked his or her previous release of a claim to exemption for a child must include a copy of the revocation with his or her return. For details, see Form 8332.

Exception to citizen test. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you all year as a member of your household, that child meets the requirement to be a U.S. citizen in Step 2, question 1; Step 3, question 2; and Step 4, question 2.

Exception to gross income test. If your relative (including a person who lived with you all year as a member of your household) is permanently and totally disabled (defined later), certain income for services performed at a sheltered workshop may be excluded for this test. For details, see Pub. 501.

Exception to time lived with you. Temporary absences by you or the other person for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time the person lived with you. Also see Children of divorced or separated parents, earlier, or Kidnapped child, below.

A person is considered to have lived with you for all of 2012 if the person was born or died in 2012 and your home was this person's home for the entire time he or she was alive in 2012.

If the person meets all other requirements to be your qualifying child but was born or died in 2012, the person is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2012 if your home was this person's home for more than half the time he or she was alive in 2012.

Foster child. A foster child is any child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Kidnapped child. If your child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a family member, you may be able to take the child into account in determining your eligibility for head of household or qualifying widow(er) filing status, the dependency exemption, the child tax credit, and the earned income credit (EIC). For details, see Pub. 501 (Pub. 596 for the EIC).

Married person. If the person is married and files a joint return, you cannot claim that person as your dependent. Go to Form 1040A, line 7. However, if the person is married but does not file a joint return or files a joint return only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid, you may be able to claim him or her as a dependent. (See Pub. 501 for details and examples.) Go to Step 2, question 3 (for a qualifying child) or Step 4, question 4 (for a qualifying relative).

Multiple support agreements. If no one person contributed over half of the support of your relative (or a person who lived with you all year as a member of your household) but you and another person(s) provided more than half of your relative's support, special rules may apply that would treat you as having provided over half of the support. For details, see Pub. 501.

Permanently and totally disabled. A person is permanently and totally disabled if, at any time in 2012, the person cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition and a doctor has determined that this condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can be expected to lead to death.

Qualifying child of more than one person. Even if a child meets the conditions to be the qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can claim the child as a qualifying child for all of the following tax benefits, unless the special rule for Children of divorced or separated parents, described earlier, applies.

  • Dependency exemption (line 6c).
  • Child tax credits (lines 33 and 39).
  • Head of household filing status (line 4).
  • Credit for child and dependent care expenses (line 29).
  • Exclusion for dependent care benefits (Form 2441, Part III).
  • Earned income credit (lines 38a and 38b).

No other person can take any of the six tax benefits listed above unless he or she has a different qualifying child. If you and any other person can claim the child as a qualifying child, the following rules apply.

  • If only one of the persons is the child's parent, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parent.
  • If the parents do not file a joint return together but both parents claim the child as a qualifying child, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time in 2012. If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who had the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2012.
  • If no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for 2012.
  • If a parent can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent does so claim the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for 2012, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the highest AGI of any parent of the child who can claim the child.

Example. Your daughter meets the conditions to be a qualifying child for both you and your mother. Your daughter does not meet the conditions to be a qualifying child of any other person, including her other parent. Under the rules just described, you can claim your daughter as a qualifying child for all of the six tax benefits listed earlier for which you otherwise qualify. Your mother cannot claim any of those six tax benefits unless she has a different qualifying child. However, if your mother's AGI is higher than yours and you do not claim your daughter as a qualifying child, your daughter is the qualifying child of your mother.

For more details and examples, see Pub. 501.

If you will be claiming the child as a qualifying child, go to Step 2. Otherwise, stop; you cannot claim any benefits based on this child. Go to Form 1040A, line 7.

Social security number. You must enter each dependent's social security number (SSN). Be sure the name and SSN entered agree with the dependent's social security card. Otherwise, at the time we process your return, we may disallow the exemption claimed for the dependent and reduce or disallow any other tax benefits (such as the child tax credit) based on that dependent. If the name or SSN on the dependent's social security card is not correct, or you need to get an SSN for your dependent, contact the Social Security Administration. See Social Security Number (SSN), earlier. If your dependent will not have a number by the date your return is due, see What If You Cannot File on Time? earlier.

If your dependent child was born and died in 2012 and you do not have an SSN for the child, enter “Died” in column (2) and include a copy of the child's birth certificate, death certificate, or hospital records. The document must show the child was born alive.

Student. A student is a child who during any part of 5 calendar months of 2012 was enrolled as a full-time student at a school, or took a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school or a state, county, or local government agency. A school includes a technical, trade, or mechanical school. It does not include an on-the-job training course, correspondence school, or school offering courses only through the Internet.

Income

Generally, you must report all income except income that is exempt from tax by law. For details, see the following instructions, especially the instructions for lines 7 through 14b. Also see Pub. 525.

Foreign-Source Income

You must report unearned income, such as interest, dividends, and pensions, from sources outside the United States unless exempt by law or a tax treaty. You must also report earned income, such as wages and tips, from sources outside the United States.

If you worked abroad, you may be able to exclude part or all of your foreign earned income if you file Form 1040. For details, see Pub. 54 and Form 2555 or 2555-EZ.

Foreign retirement plans. If you were a beneficiary of a foreign retirement plan, you may have to report the undistributed income earned in your plan. However, if you were the beneficiary of a Canadian registered retirement plan, see Form 8891 to find out if you can elect to defer tax on the undistributed income. If you elect to defer tax, you must file Form 1040.

Report distributions from foreign pension plans on lines 12a and 12b.

Foreign accounts and trusts. You must complete Part III of Schedule B if you:

  • Had a foreign account, or
  • Received a distribution from, or were a grantor of, or a transferor to, a foreign trust.

Note. If you had foreign financial assets in 2012, you may have to file Form 8938. If you must file Form 8938, you cannot file Form 1040A. You must file Form 1040. See Form 8938 and its instructions.

Rounding Off to Whole Dollars

You can round off cents to whole dollars on your return and schedules. If you do round to whole dollars, you must round all amounts. To round, drop amounts under 50 cents and increase amounts from 50 to 99 cents to the next dollar. For example, $1.39 becomes $1 and $2.50 becomes $3.

If you have to add two or more amounts to figure the amount to enter on a line, include cents when adding the amounts and round off only the total.

Example. You received two Forms W-2, one showing wages of $5,009.55 and one showing wages of $8,760.73. On Form 1040A, line 7, you would enter $13,770 ($5,009.55 + $8,760.73 = $13,770.28).

Refunds of State or Local Income Taxes

If you received a refund, credit, or offset of state or local income taxes in 2012, you may receive a Form 1099-G.

For the year the tax was paid to the state or other taxing authority, did you itemize deductions?

No. None of your refund is taxable.

Yes. You may have to report part or all of the refund as income on Form 1040 for 2012. See Pub. 525 for details.

Community Property States

Community property states are 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 income and what is separate income. For details, see Form 8958 and Pub. 555.

Nevada, Washington, and California domestic partners. A registered domestic partner in Nevada, Washington, or California (or a person in California who is married to a person of the same sex) generally must report half the combined community income of the individual and his or her domestic partner (or California same-sex spouse). See Form 8958 and see Pub 555.

Line 7 - Wages, Salaries, Tips, etc.

Enter the total of your wages, salaries, tips, etc. If a joint return, also include your spouse's income. For most people, the amount to enter on this line should be shown in box 1 of their Form(s) W-2. But the following types of income must also be included in the total on line 7.

  • All wages received as a household employee for which you did not receive a Form W-2 because your employer paid you less than $1,800 in 2012. Also, enter “HSH” and the amount not reported on a Form W-2 in the space to the left of line 7.
  • Tip income you did not report to your employer. But you must use Form 1040 and Form 4137 if you received tips of $20 or more in any month and did not report the full amount to your employer, or your Form(s) W-2 shows allocated tips that you must report as income. You must report the allocated tips shown on your Form(s) W-2 unless you can prove that you received less. Allocated tips should be shown in box 8 of your Form(s) W-2. They are not included as income in box 1. See Pub. 531 for more details.
  • Dependent care benefits, which should be shown in box 10 of your Form(s) W-2. But first complete Form 2441 to see if you can exclude part or all of the benefits.
  • Scholarship and fellowship grants not reported on Form W-2. Also, enter “SCH” and the amount in the space to the left of line 7. However, if you were a degree candidate, include on line 7 only the amounts you used for expenses other than tuition and course-related expenses. For example, amounts used for room, board, and travel must be reported on line 7.
  • Disability pensions shown on Form 1099-R if you have not reached the minimum retirement age set by your employer. But see Insurance premiums for retired public safety officers, in the instructions for lines 12a and 12b. Disability pensions received after you reach minimum retirement age and other payments shown on Form 1099-R (other than payments from an IRA*) are reported on lines 12a and 12b of Form 1040A. Payments from an IRA are reported on lines 11a and 11b.

* This includes a Roth, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA.

Missing or Incorrect Form W-2? Your employer is required to provide or send Form W-2 to you no later than January 31, 2013. If you do not receive it by early February, use TeleTax topic 154 to find out what to do. Even if you do not get a Form W-2, you must still report your earnings on line 7. If you lose your Form W-2 or it is incorrect, ask your employer for a new one.

Line 8a - Taxable Interest

Each payer should send you a Form 1099-INT or Form 1099-OID. Enter your total taxable interest income on line 8a. But you must fill in and attach Schedule B if the total is over $1,500 or any of the other conditions listed at the beginning of the Schedule B instructions apply to you.

Interest credited in 2012 on deposits that you could not withdraw because of the bankruptcy or insolvency of the financial institution may not have to be included in your 2012 income. For details, see Pub. 550.

TIP: If you get a 2012 Form 1099-INT for U.S. savings bond interest that includes amounts you reported before 2012, see Pub. 550.

Line 8b - Tax-Exempt Interest

If you received any tax-exempt interest, such as from municipal bonds, each payer should send you a Form 1099-INT. Your tax-exempt interest should be shown in box 8 of Form 1099-INT. Enter the total on line 8b. Also include on line 8b any exempt-interest dividends from a mutual fund or other regulated investment company. This amount should be shown in box 10 of Form 1099-DIV.

Do not include interest earned on your IRA, health savings account, Archer or Medicare Advantage MSA, or Coverdell education savings account.

If you received tax-exempt interest from private activity bonds issued after August 7, 1986, you must use Form 1040.

Line 9a - Ordinary Dividends

Each payer should send you a Form 1099-DIV. Enter your total ordinary dividends on line 9a. This amount should be shown in box 1a of Form(s) 1099-DIV.

You must fill in and attach Schedule B if the total is over $1,500 or you received, as a nominee, ordinary dividends that actually belong to someone else.

You must use Form 1040 if you received nondividend distributions (box 3 of Form 1099-DIV) required to be reported as capital gains.

For details, see Pub. 550.

Line 9b - Qualified Dividends

Enter your total qualified dividends on line 9b. Qualified dividends are also included in the ordinary dividend total required to be shown on line 9a. Qualified dividends are eligible for a lower tax rate than other ordinary income. Generally, these dividends are shown in box 1b of Form(s) 1099-DIV. See Pub. 550 for the definition of qualified dividends if you received dividends not reported on Form 1099-DIV.

Exception. Some dividends may be reported as qualified dividends in box 1b of Form 1099-DIV but are not qualified dividends. These include:

  • Dividends you received as a nominee. See the Schedule B instructions.
  • Dividends you received on any share of stock that you held for less than 61 days during the 121-day period that began 60 days before the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is the first date following the declaration of a dividend on which the purchaser of a stock is not entitled to receive the next dividend payment. When counting the number of days you held the stock, include the day you disposed of the stock but not the day you acquired it. See the examples that follow. Also, when counting the number of days you held the stock, you cannot count certain days during which your risk of loss was diminished. See Pub. 550 for more details.
  • Dividends attributable to periods totaling more than 366 days that you received on any share of preferred stock held for less than 91 days during the 181-day period that began 90 days before the ex-dividend date. When counting the number of days you held the stock, you cannot count certain days during which your risk of loss was diminished. See Pub. 550 for more details. Preferred dividends attributable to periods totaling less than 367 days are subject to the 61-day holding period rule just described.
  • Dividends on any share of stock to the extent that you are under an obligation (including a short sale) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property.
  • Payments in lieu of dividends, but only if you know or have reason to know that the payments are not qualified dividends.

Example 1. You bought 5,000 shares of XYZ Corp. common stock on July 8, 2012. XYZ Corp. paid a cash dividend of 10 cents per share. The ex-dividend date was July 16, 2012. Your Form 1099-DIV from XYZ Corp. shows $500 in box 1a (ordinary dividends) and in box 1b (qualified dividends). However, you sold the 5,000 shares on August 11, 2012. You held your shares of XYZ Corp. for only 34 days of the 121-day period (from July 9, 2012, through August 11, 2012). The 121-day period began on May 17, 2012, (60 days before the ex-dividend date) and ended on September 14, 2012. You have no qualified dividends from XYZ Corp. because you held the XYZ stock for less than 61 days.

Example 2. Assume the same facts as in Example 1 except that you bought the stock on July 15, 2012 (the day before the ex-dividend date), and you sold the stock on September 16, 2012. You held the stock for 63 days (from July 15, 2012, through September 16, 2012). The $500 of qualified dividends shown in box 1b of your Form 1099-DIV are all qualified dividends because you held the stock for 61 days of the 121-day period (from July 16, 2012, through September 14, 2012).

Example 3. You bought 10,000 shares of ABC Mutual Fund common stock on July 8, 2012. ABC Mutual Fund paid a cash dividend of 10 cents a share. The ex-dividend date was July 16, 2012. The ABC Mutual Fund advises you that the portion of the dividend eligible to be treated as qualified dividends equals 2 cents per share. Your Form 1099-DIV from ABC Mutual Fund shows total ordinary dividends of $1,000, and qualified dividends of $200. However, you sold the 10,000 shares on August 11, 2012. You have no qualified dividends from ABC Mutual Fund because you held the ABC Mutual Fund stock for less than 61 days.

TIP: Be sure you use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet to figure your tax.

Line 10 - Capital Gain Distributions

Each payer should send you a Form 1099-DIV. Do any of the Forms 1099-DIV or substitute statements you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, received have an amount in box 2b (unrecaptured section 1250 gain), box 2c (section 1202 gain), or box 2d (collectibles (28%) gain)?

Yes. You must use Form 1040.

No. You can use Form 1040A. Enter your total capital gain distributions (from box 2a of Form(s) 1099-DIV) on line 10. Also, be sure you use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet to figure your tax.

If you received capital gain distributions as a nominee (that is, they were paid to you but actually belong to someone else), report on line 10 only the amount that belongs to you. Include a statement showing the full amount you received and the amount you received as a nominee. See the Schedule B instructions for filing requirements for Forms 1099-DIV and 1096.

Lines 11a and 11b - IRA Distributions

You should receive a Form 1099-R showing the total amount of any distribution from your IRA before income tax and other deductions were withheld. This amount should be shown in box 1 of Form 1099-R. Unless otherwise noted in the line 11a and 11b instructions, an IRA includes a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA, and a savings incentive match plan for employees (SIMPLE) IRA. Except as provided below, leave line 11a blank and enter the total distribution (from Form 1099-R, box 1) on line 11b.

If you converted part or all of an IRA to a Roth IRA in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally should have reported half of it on your 2011 return. Report the rest on your 2012 return. See 2010 Roth IRA conversions, later.

Exception 1. Enter the total distribution on line 11a if you rolled over part or all of the distribution from one:

  • IRA to another IRA of the same type (for example, from one traditional IRA to another traditional IRA),
  • SEP or SIMPLE IRA to a traditional IRA, or
  • IRA to a qualified plan other than an IRA.

Also, enter “Rollover” next to line 11b. If the total distribution was rolled over in a qualified rollover, enter -0- on line 11b. If the total distribution was not rolled over in a qualified rollover, enter the part not rolled over on line 11b unless Exception 2 applies to the part not rolled over. Generally, a qualified rollover must be made within 60 days after the day you received the distribution. For more details on rollovers, see Pub. 590.

If you rolled over the distribution into a qualified plan other than an IRA or you made the rollover in 2013, include a statement explaining what you did.

Exception 2. If any of the following apply, enter the total distribution on line 11a and see Form 8606 and its instructions to figure the amount to enter on line 11b.

  1. You received a distribution from an IRA (other than a Roth IRA) and you made nondeductible contributions to any of your traditional or SEP IRAs for 2012 or an earlier year. If you made nondeductible contributions to these IRAs for 2012, also seePub. 590.
  2. You received a distribution from a Roth IRA. But if either (a) or (b) below applies, enter -0- on line 11b; you do not have to see Form 8606 or its instructions.
    1. Distribution code T is shown in box 7 of Form 1099-R and you made a contribution (including a conversion) to a Roth IRA for 2007 or an earlier year.
    2. Distribution code Q is shown in box 7 of Form 1099-R.
  3. You converted part or all of a traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA to a Roth IRA in 2012.
  4. You had a 2011 or 2012 IRA contribution returned to you, with the related earnings or less any loss, by the due date (including extensions) of your tax return for that year.
  5. You made excess contributions to your IRA for an earlier year and had them returned to you in 2012.
  6. You recharacterized part or all of a contribution to a Roth IRA as a traditional IRA contribution, or vice versa.

Exception 3. If the distribution is a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), enter the total distribution on line 11a. If the total amount distributed is a QCD, enter -0- on line 11b. If only part of the distribution is a QCD, enter the part that is not a QCD on line 11b unless Exception 2 applies to that part. Enter “QCD” next to line 11b.

A QCD is a distribution made directly by the trustee of your IRA (other than an ongoing SEP or SIMPLE IRA) to an organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions (with certain exceptions). You must have been at least age 70½ when the distribution was made. Your total QCDs for the year cannot be more than $100,000. (On a joint return, your spouse can also have a QCD of up to $100,000.) The amount of the QCD is limited to the amount that would otherwise be included in your income. If your IRA includes nondeductible contributions, the distribution is first considered to be paid out of otherwise taxable income. See Pub. 590 for details.

CAUTION! You cannot claim a charitable contribution deduction for any QCD not included in your income.

TIP: If a QCD is made in January 2013, you can elect to treat it as made in 2012. Also, a distribution made to you in December 2012 can be treated as a QCD if you transferred it to a charity in January 2013. See Pub. 590.

Exception 4. If the distribution is a health savings account (HSA) funding distribution (HFD), you must file Form 1040. See Exception 4 in the instructions for Form 1040, lines 15a and 15b. An HFD is a distribution made directly by the trustee of your IRA (other than an ongoing SEP or SIMPLE IRA) to your HSA.

More than one exception applies. If more than one exception applies, include a statement showing the amount of each exception, instead of making an entry next to line 11b. For example: “Line 11b--$1,000 Rollover and $500 QCD.” But you do not need to attach a statement if only Exception 2 and one other exception apply.

2010 Roth IRA conversions. If you converted part or all of an IRA to a Roth IRA in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, include on line 11b the amount from your 2010 Form 8606, line 20b. However, you may have to include a different amount on line 11b if either of the following applies.

  • You received a distribution from a Roth IRA in 2010 but not in 2011. See Pub. 590 to figure the amount to include on line 11b.
  • You received a distribution from a Roth IRA in 2011. Include on line 11b the amount from your 2011 Form 8606, line 38.

More than one distribution. If you (or your spouse if filing jointly) received more than one distribution, figure the taxable amount of each distribution and enter the total of the taxable amounts on line 11b. Enter the total amount of those distributions on line 11a.

CAUTION! You may have to pay an additional tax if (a) you received an early distribution from your IRA and the total was not rolled over or (b) you were born before July 1, 1941, and received less than the minimum required distribution from your traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs. If you do owe this tax, you must use Form 1040.

More information. For more information about IRAs, see Pub. 590.

Lines 12a and 12b - Pensions and Annuities

You should receive a Form 1099-R showing the total amount of your pension and annuity payments before income tax or other deductions were withheld. This amount should be shown in box 1 of Form 1099-R. Pension and annuity payments include distributions from 401(k), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) plans. Rollovers and lump-sum distributions are explained later. Do not include the following payments on lines 12a and 12b. Instead, report them on line 7.

  • Disability pensions received before you reach the minimum retirement age set by your employer.
  • Corrective distributions (including any earnings) of excess salary deferrals or excess contributions to retirement plans. The plan must advise you of the year(s) the distributions are includible in income.

TIP: Attach Form(s) 1099-R to Form 1040A if any federal income tax was withheld.

If you rolled over part or all of a distribution from a qualified retirement plan (other than a designated Roth account) to a Roth IRA in 2010 (or you rolled over part or all of a distribution 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 should have reported half of it on your 2011 return. Report the rest on your 2012 return. See 2010 Roth IRA rollovers or 2010 in-plan Roth rollovers, whichever applies.

Fully taxable pensions and annuities. Your payments are fully taxable if (a) you did not contribute to the cost (see Cost, later) of your pension or annuity, or (b) you got back your entire cost tax free before 2012. But see Insurance premiums for retired public safety officers, later. If your pension or annuity is fully taxable, enter the total pension or annuity payments (from Form(s) 1099-R, box 1) on line 12b; do not make an entry on line 12a.

Fully taxable pensions and annuities also include military retirement pay shown on Form 1099-R. For details on military disability pensions, see Pub. 525. If you received a Form RRB-1099-R, see Pub. 575 to find out how to report your benefits.

Partially taxable pensions and annuities. Enter the total pension or annuity payments (from Form 1099-R, box 1) on line 12a. If your Form 1099-R does not show the taxable amount, you must use the General Rule explained in Pub. 939 to figure the taxable part to enter on line 12b. But if your annuity starting date (defined later) was after July 1, 1986, see Simplified Method, later, to find out if you must use that method to figure the taxable part.

You can ask the IRS to figure the taxable part for you for a $1,000 fee. For details, see Pub. 939.

If your Form 1099-R shows a taxable amount, you can report that amount on line 12b. But you may be able to report a lower taxable amount by using the General Rule or the Simplified Method or if the exclusion for retired public safety officers, discussed next, applies.

Insurance premiums for retired public safety officers. If you are an eligible retired public safety officer (law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew), you can elect to exclude from income distributions made from your eligible retirement plan that are used to pay the premiums for coverage by an accident or health plan or a long-term care insurance contract. You can do this only if you retired because of disability or because you reached normal retirement age. The premiums can be for coverage for you, your spouse, or dependents. The distribution must be from a plan maintained by the employer from which you retired as a public safety officer. Also, the distribution must be made directly from the plan to the provider of the accident or health plan or long-term care insurance contract. You can exclude from income the smaller of the amount of the premiums or $3,000. You can only make this election for amounts that would otherwise be included in your income.

An eligible retirement plan is a governmental plan that is:

  • a qualified trust,
  • a section 403(a) plan,
  • a section 403(b) plan, or
  • a section 457(b) plan.

If you make this election, reduce the otherwise taxable amount of your pension or annuity by the amount excluded. The amount shown in box 2a of Form 1099-R does not reflect the exclusion. Report your total distributions on line 12a and the taxable amount on line 12b. Enter “PSO” next to line 12b.

If you are retired on disability and reporting your disability pension on line 7, include only the taxable amount on that line and enter “PSO” and the amount excluded in the space to the left of line 7.

Simplified Method. You must use the Simplified Method if either of the following applies.

  1. Your annuity starting date was after July 1, 1986, and you used this method last year to figure the taxable part.
  2. Your annuity starting date was after November 18, 1996, and both of the following apply.
    1. The payments are from a qualified employee plan, a qualified employee annuity, or a tax-sheltered annuity.
    2. On your annuity starting date, either you were under age 75 or the number of years of guaranteed payments was fewer than 5. See Pub. 575 for the definition of guaranteed payments.

If you must use the Simplified Method, complete the Simplified Method Worksheet in these instructions to figure the taxable part of your pension or annuity. For more details on the Simplified Method, see Pub. 575 or Pub. 721 for U.S. Civil Service retirement benefits.

If you received U.S. Civil Service retirement benefits and you chose the alternative annuity option, see Pub. 721 to figure the taxable part of your annuity. Do not use the Simplified Method Worksheet in these instructions.

Annuity starting date. Your annuity starting date is the later of the first day of the first period for which you received a payment or the date the plan's obligations became fixed.

Age (or combined ages) at annuity starting date. If you are the retiree, use your age on the annuity starting date. If you are the survivor of a retiree, use the retiree's age on his or her annuity starting date. But if your annuity starting date was after 1997 and the payments are for your life and that of your beneficiary, use your combined ages on the annuity starting date.

If you are the beneficiary of an employee who died, see Pub. 575. If there is more than one beneficiary, see Pub. 575 or Pub. 721 to figure each beneficiary's taxable amount.

Cost. Your cost is generally your net investment in the plan as of the annuity starting date. It does not include pre-tax contributions. Your net investment should be shown in box 9b of Form 1099-R for the first year you received payments from the plan.

Rollovers. Generally, a qualified rollover is a tax-free distribution of cash or other assets from one retirement plan that is contributed to another plan within 60 days of receiving the distribution. However, a qualified rollover to a Roth IRA or a designated Roth account is generally not a tax-free distribution. Use lines 12a and 12b to report a qualified rollover, including a direct rollover, from one qualified employer's plan to another or to an IRA or SEP.

Enter on line 12a the distribution from Form 1099-R, box 1. From this amount, subtract any contributions (usually shown in box 5) that were taxable to you when made. From that result, subtract the amount of the qualified rollover. Enter the remaining amount on line 12b. If the remaining amount is zero and you have no other distribution to report on line 12b, enter zero on line 12b. Also, enter “Rollover” next to line 12b.

See Pub. 575 for more details on rollovers, including special rules that apply to rollovers from designated Roth accounts, partial rollovers of property, and distributions under qualified domestic relations orders.

2010 Roth IRA rollovers. If you rolled over part or all of a qualified retirement plan (other than a designated Roth account) to a Roth IRA in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, include on line 12b the amount from your 2010 Form 8606, line 25b. However, you may have to include a different amount on line 12b if either of the following applies.

  • You received a distribution from a Roth IRA in 2010 but not in 2011. See Pub. 575 to figure the amount to enter on line 12b.
  • You received a distribution from a Roth IRA in 2011. Include on line 12b the amount from your 2011 Form 8606, line 38.

2010 in-plan Roth rollovers. If you rolled over part or all of a qualified retirement plan to a designated Roth account in 2010 and did not report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, include on line 12b the amount from your 2010 Form 8606, line 25b. However, you may have to include a different amount on line 12b if either of the following applies.

  • You received a distribution from your designated Roth account allocable to an in-plan Roth rollover in 2010 but not in 2011. See Pub. 575 to figure the amount to include on line 12b.
  • You received a distribution from your designated Roth account allocable to an in-plan Roth rollover in 2011. Include on line 12b the amount from your 2011 Form 8606, line 48.

Lump-sum distributions. If you received a lump-sum distribution from a profit-sharing or retirement plan, your Form 1099-R should have the “Total distribution” box in box 2b checked. You must use Form 1040 if you owe additional tax because you received an early distribution from a qualified retirement plan and the total amount was not rolled over in a qualified rollover. See Pub. 575 to find out if you owe this tax.

Enter the total distribution on line 12a and the taxable part on line 12b. For details, see Pub. 575.

TIP: You may be able to pay less tax on the distribution if you were born before January 2, 1936, or you are the beneficiary of a deceased employee who was born before January 2, 1936. But you must use Form 1040 to do so. For details, see Form 4972.

Simplified Method Worksheet - Lines 12a and 12b

Before you begin:

If you are the beneficiary of a deceased employee or former employee who died before August 21, 1996, include any death benefit exclusion that you are entitled to (up to $5,000) in the amount entered on line 2 below.

Note. If you had more than one partially taxable pension or annuity, figure the taxable part of each separately. Enter the total of the taxable parts on Form 1040A, line 12b. Enter the total pension or annuity payments received in 2012 on Form 1040A, line 12a.

1. Enter the total pension or annuity payments from Form 1099-R, box 1. Also, enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 12a
______

2. Enter your cost in the plan at the annuity starting date

Note. If you completed this worksheet last year, skip line 3 and enter the amount from line 4 of last year's worksheet on line 4 below (even if the amount of your pension or annuity has changed). Otherwise, go to line 3

______
3. Enter the appropriate number from Table 1 below. But if your annuity starting date was after 1997 and the payments are for your life and that of your beneficiary, enter the appropriate number from Table 2 below
______
4. Divide line 2 by the number on line 3
______
5. Multiply line 4 by the number of months for which this year's payments were made. If your annuity starting date was before 1987, skip lines 6 and 7 and enter this amount on line 8. Otherwise, go to line 6
______
6. Enter the amount, if any, recovered tax free in years after 1986. If you completed this worksheet last year, enter the amount from line 10 of last year's worksheet
______
7. Subtract line 6 from line 2
______
8. Enter the smaller of line 5 or line 7
______
9. Taxable amount. Subtract line 8 from line 1. Enter the result, but not less than zero. Also, enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 12b. If your Form 1099-R shows a larger amount, use the amount on this line instead of the amount from Form 1099-R. If you are a retired public safety officer, see Insurance premiums for retired public safety officers before entering an amount on line 12b
______

10. Was your annuity starting date before 1987?

Yes. STOP. Leave line 10 blank.

No. Add lines 6 and 8. This is the amount you have recovered tax free through 2012. You will need this number when you fill out this worksheet next year.

______

Table 1 for Line 3 Above

AND your annuity starting date was—
IF the age at annuity starting date was . . . before November 19, 1996, enter on line 3 . . . after November 18, 1996, enter on line 3 . . .
55 or under
300
360
56–60
260
310
61–65
240
260
66–70
170
210
71 or older
120
160

Table 2 for Line 3 Above

IF the combined ages at annuity
starting date were . . .
THEN enter on line 3 . . .
110 or under 410
111–120 360
121–130 310
131–140 260
141 or older 210

Line 13 - Unemployment Compensation and Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends

Unemployment compensation. You should receive a Form 1099-G showing in box 1 the total unemployment compensation paid to you in 2012. Report this amount on line 13. However, if you made contributions to a governmental unemployment compensation program or to a governmental paid family leave program, reduce the amount you report on line 13 by those contributions.

If you received an overpayment of unemployment compensation in 2012 and you repaid any of it in 2012, subtract the amount you repaid from the total amount you received. Enter the result on line 13. Also, enter “Repaid” and the amount you repaid in the space to the left of line 13. If, in 2012, you repaid unemployment compensation that you included in gross income in an earlier year, you can deduct the amount repaid. But you must use Form 1040 to do so. See Pub. 525 for details.

Alaska Permanent Fund dividends. Include the dividends in the total on line 13.

Lines 14a and 14b - Social Security Benefits

You should receive a Form SSA-1099 showing in box 3 the total social security benefits paid to you. Box 4 will show the amount of any benefits you repaid in 2012. If you received railroad retirement benefits treated as social security, you should receive a Form RRB-1099.

Use the Social Security Benefits Worksheet in these instructions to see if any of your benefits are taxable.

  • Exception. Do not use the Social Security Benefits Worksheet if any of the following applies. You made contributions to a traditional IRA for 2012 and you or your spouse were covered by a retirement plan at work. Instead, use the worksheets in Pub. 590 to see if any of your social security benefits are taxable and to figure your IRA deduction.
  • You repaid any benefits in 2012 and your total repayments (box 4) were more than your total benefits for 2012 (box 3). None of your benefits are taxable for 2012. Also, you may be able to take an itemized deduction or a credit for part of the excess repayments if they were for benefits you included in gross income in an earlier year. But you must use Form 1040 to do so. For more details, see Pub. 915.
  • You file Form 8815. Instead, use the worksheet in Pub. 915.

Social Security Benefits Worksheet - Lines 14a and 14b

Before you begin:

  • Complete Form 1040A, lines 16 and 17, if they apply to you.
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2012, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on line 14a. If you do not, you may get a math error notice from the IRS.
  • Be sure you have read the Exception in the line 14a and 14b instructions to see if you can use this worksheet instead of a publication to find out if any of your benefits are taxable.
1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of all your Forms SSA-1099 and Forms RRB-1099. Also, enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 14a
______

2. Enter one-half of line 1

______
3. Enter the total of the amounts from Form 1040A, lines 7, 8a, 9a, 10, 11b, 12b, and 13
______
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040A, line 8b
______
5. Add lines 2, 3, and 4
______
6. Enter the total of the amounts from Form 1040A, lines 16 and 17
______

7. Is the amount on line 6 less than the amount on line 5?

No. STOP. None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040A, line 14b.

Yes. Subtract line 6 from line 5

______

8. If you are:

  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000.
  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2012, enter $25,000.
  • Married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2012, skip lines 8 through 15; multiply line 7 by 85% (.85) and enter the result on line 16. Then go to line 17.
______

9. Is the amount on line 8 less than the amount on line 7?

No. STOP. None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040A, line 14b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2011, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on line 14a.

Yes. Subtract line 8 from line 7

______

10. Enter: $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2012

______
11. Subtract line 10 from line 9. If zero or less, enter -0-
______
12. Enter the smaller of line 9 or line 10
______
13. Enter one-half of line 12
______
14. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 13
______
15. Multiply line 11 by 85% (.85). If line 11 is zero, enter -0-
______
16. Add lines 14 and 15
______
17. Multiply line 1 by 85% (.85)
______
18. Taxable social security benefits. Enter the smaller of line 16 or line 17. Also enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 14b
______

TIP: If any of your benefits are taxable for 2012 and they include a lump-sum benefit payment that was for an earlier year, you may be able to reduce the taxable amount. See Pub. 915 for details.

Adjusted Gross Income

Line 16 - Educator Expenses

If you were an eligible educator in 2012, you can deduct on line 16 up to $250 of qualified expenses you paid in 2012. If you and your spouse are filing jointly and both of you were eligible educators, the maximum deduction is $500. However, neither spouse can deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses on line 16. You may be able to deduct expenses that are more than the $250 (or $500) limit on Schedule A, line 21, but you must use Form 1040. An eligible educator is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide who worked in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.

Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid in connection with books, supplies, equipment (including computer equipment, software, and services), and other materials used in the classroom. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your educational field. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.

Qualified expenses do not include expenses for home schooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education.

You must reduce your qualified expenses by the following amounts.

  • Excludable U.S. series EE and I savings bond interest from Form 8815.
  • Nontaxable qualified tuition program earnings or distributions.
  • Any nontaxable distribution of Coverdell education savings account earnings.
  • Any reimbursements you received for these expenses that were not reported to you in box 1 of your Form W-2.

For more details, use Teletax topic 458 or see Pub. 529.

Line 17 - IRA Deduction

TIP: If you made any nondeductible contributions to a traditional individual retirement arrangement (IRA) for 2012, you must report them on Form 8606.

  1. If you made contributions to a traditional IRA for 2012, you may be able to take an IRA deduction. But you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, must have had earned income to do so. If you were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, earned income includes any nontaxable combat pay you received. A statement should be sent to you by May 31, 2013, that shows all contributions to your traditional IRA for 2012.
  2. Use the IRA Deduction Worksheet in these instructions to figure the amount, if any, of your IRA deduction. But read the following 10-item list before you fill in the worksheet.

    CAUTION! If you were age 70½ or older at the end of 2012, you cannot deduct any contributions made to your traditional IRA for 2012 or treat them as nondeductible contributions.

  3. You cannot deduct contributions to a Roth IRA. But you may be able to take the retirement savings contributions credit (saver's credit). See the instructions for line 32.
  4. If you are filing a joint return and you or your spouse made contributions to both a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA for 2012, do not use the IRA Deduction Worksheet in these instructions. Instead, see Pub. 590 to figure the amount, if any, of your IRA deduction. You cannot deduct elective deferrals to a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, section 457 plan, SIMPLE plan, or the federal Thrift Savings Plan. These amounts are not included as income in box 1 of your Form W-2. But you may be able to take the retirement savings contributions credit. See the instructions for line 32.
  5. If you made contributions to your IRA in 2012 that you deducted for 2011, do not include them in the worksheet.
  6. If you received income from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan or nongovernmental section 457 plan that is included in box 1 of your Form W-2, do not include that income on line 8 of the worksheet. The income should be shown in (a) box 11 of your Form W-2 or (b) box 12 of your Form W-2 with code Z. If it is not, contact your employer for the amount of the income.
  7. You must file a joint return to deduct contributions to your spouse's IRA. Enter the total IRA deduction for you and your spouse on line 17.
  8. Do not include qualified rollover contributions in figuring your deduction. Instead, see the instructions for lines 11a and 11b.
  9. Do not include trustees' fees that were billed separately and paid by you for your IRA. You may be able to deduct those fees as an itemized deduction. But you must use Form 1040 to do so.
  10. Do not include any repayments of qualified reservist distributions. You cannot deduct them. For information on how to report these repayments, see Qualified reservist repayments in Pub. 590.
  11. If the total of your IRA deduction on line 17 plus any nondeductible contribution to your traditional IRAs shown on Form 8606 is less than your total traditional IRA contributions for 2012, see Pub. 590 for special rules.

TIP: By April 1 of the year after the year in which you reach age 70½, you must start taking minimum required distributions from your traditional IRA. If you do not, you may have to pay a 50% additional tax on the amount that should have been distributed. For details, including how to figure the minimum required distribution, see Pub. 590.

IRA Deduction Worksheet - Line 17

If you were age 70½ or older at the end of 2012, you cannot deduct any contributions made to your traditional IRA or treat them as nondeductible contributions. Do not complete this worksheet for anyone age 70½ or older at the end of 2012. If you are married filing jointly and only one spouse was under age 70½ at the end of 2012, complete this worksheet only for that spouse.

Before you begin:

  • Be sure you have read the 10-item list in the instructions for this line. You may not be able to use this worksheet.

  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2012, enter “D” in the space to the left of line 17. If you do not, you may get a math error notice from the IRS.

Your IRA
Spouse's IRA
1a. Were you covered by a retirement plan (see Were you covered by a retirement plan?, later)? Yes No

1b. If married filing jointly, was your spouse covered by a retirement plan?

Next. If you checked "No" on line 1a (and "No" on line 1b if married filing jointly), skip lines 2 through 6, enter the applicable amount below on line 7a (and line 7b if applicable), and go to line 8.

  • $5,000, if under age 50 at the end of 2012.
  • $6,000, if age 50 or older but under age 70½ at the end of 2012.

Otherwise, go to line 2.

Yes No

2. Enter the amount shown below that applies to you.

  • Single, head of household, or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2012, enter $68,000
  • Qualifying widow(er), enter $112,000
  • Married filing jointly, enter $112,000 in both columns. But if you checked "No" on either line 1a or 1b, enter $183,000 for the person who was not covered by a plan
  • Married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2012, enter $10,000
______ ______
3. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 15 ______
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040A, line 16 ______
5. Subtract line 4 from line 3. If married filing jointly, enter the result in both columns ______ ______

6. Is the amount on line 5 less than the amount on line 2?

No. STOP. None of your IRA contributions are deductible. For details on nondeductible IRA contributions, see Form 8606.

Yes. Subtract line 5 from line 2 in each column. Follow the instruction below that applies to you.

  1. If single, head of household, or married filing separately, and the result is $10,000 or more, enter the applicable amount below on line 7 for that column and go to line 8.
    1. $5,000, if under age 50 at the end of 2012.
    2. $6,000, if age 50 or older but under age 70½ at the end of 2012.

    If the result is less than $10,000, go to line 7.

  2. If married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er), and the result is $20,000 or more ($10,000 or more in the column for the IRA of a person who was not covered by a retirement plan), enter the applicable amount below on line 7 for that column and go to line 8.
    1. $5,000, if under age 50 at the end of 2012.
    2. $6,000, if age 50 or older but under age 70½ at the end of 2012.

Otherwise, go to line 7.

______ ______

7. Multiply lines 6a and 6b by the percentage below that applies to you. If the result is not a multiple of $10, increase it to the next multiple of $10 (for example, increase $490.30 to $500). If the result is $200 or more, enter the result. But if it is less than $200, enter $200.

  • Single, head of household, or married filing separately, multiply by 50% (.50) (or by 60% (.60) in the column for the IRA of a person who is age 50 or older at the end of 2012)
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er), multiply by 25% (.25) (or by 30% (.30) in the column for the IRA of a person who is age 50 or older at the end of 2012). But if you checked "No" on either line 1a or 1b, then in the column for the IRA of the person who was not covered by a retirement plan, multiply by 50% (.50) (or by 60% (.60) if age 50 or older at the end of 2012)
______ ______

8. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 7. Include any nontaxable combat pay. This amount should be reported in box 12 of Form W-2 with code Q

CAUTION! If married filing jointly and line 8 is less than $10,000 ($11,000 if one spouse is age 50 or older at the end of 2011; $12,000 if both spouses are age 50 or older at the end of 2011), stop here and see Pub. 590 to figure your IRA deduction.

______
9. Enter traditional IRA contributions made, or that will be made by April 15, 2013, for 2012 to your IRA on line 9a and to your spouse's IRA on line 9b ______ ______
10. On line 10a, enter the smallest of line 7a, 8, or 9a. On line 10b, enter the smallest of line 7b, 8, or 9b. This is the most you can deduct. Add the amounts on lines 10a and 10b and enter the total on Form 1040A, line 17. Or, if you want, you can deduct a smaller amount and treat the rest as a nondeductible contribution (see Form 8606) ______ ______

You must use Form 1040 if you owe tax on any excess contributions made to an IRA or any excess accumulations in an IRA. For details, see Pub. 590.

Were you covered by a retirement plan? If you were covered by a retirement plan (401(k), SIMPLE, etc.) at work, your IRA deduction may be reduced or eliminated. But you can still make contributions to an IRA even if you cannot deduct them. In any case, the income earned on your IRA contributions is not taxed until it is paid to you. The “Retirement plan” box in box 13 of your Form W-2 should be checked if you were covered by a plan at work even if you were not vested in the plan.

If you were covered by a retirement plan and you file Form 8815, see Pub. 590 to figure the amount, if any, of your IRA deduction.

Married persons filing separately. If you were not covered by a retirement plan but your spouse was, you are considered covered by a plan unless you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2012.

You may be able to take the retirement savings contributions credit. See the line 32 instructions.

Line 18 - Student Loan Interest Deduction

You can take this deduction only if all of the following apply.

  • You paid interest in 2012 on a qualified student loan (defined later).
  • Your filing status is any status except married filing separately.
  • Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than: $75,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er); $155,000 if married filing jointly. Use lines 2 through 4 of the Student Loan Interest Deduction Worksheet to figure your modified AGI.
  • You, or your spouse if filing jointly, are not claimed as a dependent on someone's (such as your parent's) 2012 tax return.

Use the Student Loan Interest Deduction Worksheet to figure your student loan interest deduction.

Qualified student loan. A qualified student loan is any loan you took out to pay the qualified higher education expenses for any of the following individuals who was an eligible student.

  1. Yourself or your spouse.
  2. Any person who was your dependent when the loan was taken out.
  3. Any person you could have claimed as a dependent for the year the loan was taken out except that:
    1. The person filed a joint return,
    2. The person had gross income that was equal to or more than the exemption amount for that year ($3,800 for 2012), or
    3. You, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.

However, a loan is not a qualified student loan if (a) any of the proceeds were used for other purposes, or (b) the loan was from either a related person or a person who borrowed the proceeds under a qualified employer plan or a contract purchased under such a plan. For details, see Pub. 970.

Qualified higher education expenses. Qualified higher education expenses generally include tuition, fees, room and board, and related expenses such as books and supplies. The expenses must be for education in a degree, certificate, or similar program at an eligible educational institution. An eligible educational institution includes most colleges, universities, and certain vocational schools. For details, see Pub 970.

Student Loan Interest Deduction Worksheet - Line 18

Before you begin: See the instructions for line 18.

1. Enter the total interest you paid in 2012 on qualified student loans (see below). Do not enter more than $2,500

______
2. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 15
______
3. Enter the total of the amounts from Form 1040A, lines 16 and 17
______
4. Subtract line 3 from line 2
______

5. Enter the amount shown below for your filing status.

  • Single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) - $60,000
  • Married filing jointly - $125,000
______

6. Is the amount on line 4 more than the amount on line 5?

No. Skip lines 6 and 7, enter -0- on line 8, and go to line 9.

Yes. Subtract line 5 from line 4

______

7. Divide line 6 by $15,000 ($30,000 if married filing jointly). Enter the result as a decimal (rounded to at least three places). If the result is 1.000 or more, enter 1.000

______
8. Multiply line 1 by line 7
______
9. Student loan interest deduction. Subtract line 8 from line 1. Enter the result here and on Form 1040A, line 18
______

Line 19 - Tuition and Fees

If you paid qualified tuition and fees for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent(s), you may be able to take this deduction. See Form 8917.

TIP: You may be able to take a credit for your educational expenses instead of a deduction. See the instructions for lines 31 and 40 for details.

Tax, Credits, and Payments

Line 23a

If you were born before January 2, 1948, or were blind at the end of 2012, check the appropriate boxes on line 23a. If you were married and checked the box on Form 1040A, line 6b, and your spouse was born before January 2, 1948, or was blind at the end of 2012, also check the appropriate boxes for your spouse. Be sure to enter the total number of boxes checked. Do not check any box(es) for your spouse if your filing status is head of household.

Blindness. If you were not totally blind as of December 31, 2012, you must get a statement certified by your eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) that:

  • You cannot see better than 20/200 in your better eye with glasses or contact lenses, or
  • Your field of vision is 20 degrees or less.

If your eye condition is not likely to improve beyond the conditions listed above, you can get a statement certified by your eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) to this effect instead. You must keep the statement for your records.

Line 23b

If your filing status is married filing separately (box 3 is checked) and your spouse itemizes deductions on Form 1040, check the box on line 23b. You cannot take the standard deduction even if you were born before January 2, 1948, or were blind. Enter -0- on line 24 and go to line 25.

TIP: In most cases, your federal income tax will be less if you take the larger of any itemized deductions you may have or the standard deduction. To itemize deductions, you must file Form 1040.

Line 24 - Standard Deduction

Most people can find their standard deduction by looking at the amounts listed under “All others” to the left of line 24.

Exception 1–dependent. If you, or your spouse if filing jointly, can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2012 return, use the Standard Deduction Worksheet for Dependents to figure your standard deduction.

Exception 2–box on line 23a checked. If you checked any box on line 23a, use the Standard Deduction Chart for People Who Were Born Before January 2, 1948, or Were Blind to figure your standard deduction.

Exception 3–box on line 23b checked. If you checked the box on line 23b, your standard deduction is zero, even if your were born before January 2, 1948, or were blind.

Standard Deduction Worksheet for Dependents - Line 24

Use this worksheet only if someone can claim you, or your spouse if filing jointly, as a dependent.

1. Is your earned income* more than $650?

Yes. Add $300 to your earned income. Enter the total .

No. Enter $950

______

2. Enter the amount shown below for your filing status.

  • Single or married filing separately - $5,950
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) - $11,900
  • Head of household - $8,700
______
3. Standard deduction.
a. Enter the smaller of line 1 or line 2. If born after January 1, 1948, and not blind, stop here and enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 24. Otherwise, go to line 3b
______
b. If born before January 2, 1948, or blind, multiply the number on Form 1040A, line 23a, by $1,150 ($1,450 if single or head of household)
______
c. Add lines 3a and 3b. Enter the total here and on Form 1040A, line 24
______

* Earned income includes wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, and other compensation received for personal services you performed. It also includes any amount received as a scholarship that you must include in your income. Generally, your earned income is the total of the amount you reported on Form 1040A, line 7.

Standard Deduction Chart for People Who Were Born Before January 2, 1948, or Were Blind - Line 24

Do not use this chart if someone can claim you, or your spouse if filing jointly, as a dependent. Instead, use the Standard Deduction Worksheet for Dependents.

Enter the number from the box on Form 1040A, line 23a ....______

CAUTION! Do not use the number of exemptions from line 6d.

IF your filing status is . . .
AND the number in the box above is . .
THEN your standard deduction is . . .
Single
1
$7,400
2
8,850
Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er)
1
$13,050
2
14,200
3
15,350
4
16,500
Married filing separately
1
$7,100
2
8,250
3
9,400
4
10,550
Head of household
1
$10,150
2
11,600

Line 28 - Tax

Do you want the IRS to figure your tax for you?

Yes. See chapter 29 of Pub. 17 for details, including who is eligible and what to do. If you have paid too much, we will send you a refund. If you did not pay enough, we will send you a bill.

No. Use the Tax Table to figure your tax unless you are required to use Form 8615 (see Form 8615, later) or the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet in these instructions. Also include in the total on line 28 any of the following taxes.

Tax from recapture of education credits. You may owe this tax if (a) you claimed an education credit in an earlier year, and (b) either tax-free educational assistance or a refund of qualified expenses was received in 2012 for the student. See the Instructions for Form 8863 for more details. If you owe this tax, enter the amount and “ECR” to the left of the entry space for line 28.

  1. Alternative minimum tax. If both 1 and 2 next apply to you, use the Alternative Minimum Tax Worksheet in these instructions to see if you owe this tax and, if you do, the amount to include on line 28. The amount on Form 1040A, line 26, is: $26,600 or more if single or married filing jointly; $30,400 if a qualifying widow(er); or $15,200 or more if head of household or married filing separately.
  2. The amount on Form 1040A, line 22, is more than: $50,600 if single or head of household; $78,750 if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er); $39,375 if married filing separately.

CAUTION! If filing for a child who must use Form 8615 to figure the tax (see below), and the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, is more than the total of $6,950 plus the amount on Form 1040A, line 7, do not file this form. Instead, file Form 1040 for the child. Use Form 6251 to see if the child owes this tax.

Alternative Minimum Tax Worksheet - Line 28

Before you begin:

Figure the tax you would enter on Form 1040A, line 28, if you do not owe this tax.

1. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 22

______

2. Enter the amount shown below for your filing status

  • Single or head of household - $50,600
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) - $78,750
  • Married filing separately - $39,375
______
3.Subtract line 2 from line 1. If zero or less, stop here; you do not owe this tax
______

4. Enter the amount shown below for your filing status.

  • Single or head of household - $112,500
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) - $150,000
  • Married filing separately - $75,000
______

5. Subtract line 4 from line 1. If zero or less, enter -0- here and on line 6, and go to line 7

______
6. Multiply line 5 by 25% (.25)
______
7. Add lines 3 and 6
______
8. If line 7 is $175,000 or less ($87,500 or less if married filing separately), multiply line 7 by 26% (.26). Otherwise, multiply line 7 by 28% (.28) and subtract $3,500 ($1,750 if married filing separately) from the result
______
9. Did you use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet to figure the tax on the amount on Form 1040A, line 27?

No. Skip lines 9 through 19; enter the amount from line 8 on line 20 and go to line 21.

Yes. Enter the amount from line 4 of that worksheet
______
10. Enter the smaller of line 7 or line 9
______
11. Subtract line 10 from line 7
______
12. If line 11 is $175,000 or less ($87,500 or less if married filing separately), multiply line 11 by 26% (.26). Otherwise, multiply line 11 by 28% (.28) and subtract $3,500 ($1,750 if married filing separately) from the result
______

13. Enter the amount shown below for your filing status:

  • Single or married filing separately - $34,350
  • Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er) - $70,700
  • Head of household - $47,350
______
14. Enter the amount from line 5 of the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet
______
15. Subtract line 14 from line 13. If zero or less, enter -0-
______
16. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 15
______
17. Subtract line 16 from line 10
______
18. Multiply line 17 by 15% (.15)
______
19. Add lines 12 and 18
______
20. Enter the smaller of line 8 or line 19
______
23. Enter the amount you would enter on Form 1040A, line 28, if you do not owe this tax
______

24. Alternative minimum tax. Is the amount on line 20 more than the amount on line 21?

No. You do not owe this tax.

Yes. Subtract line 21 from line 20. Also include this amount in the total on Form 1040A, line 28. Enter "AMT" and show the amount in the space to the left of line 28

______

Form 8615

Form 8615 generally must be used to figure the tax for any child who had more than $1,900 of investment income, such as taxable interest, ordinary dividends, or capital gain distributions, and who either:

  1. Was under age 18 at the end of 2012,
  2. Was age 18 at the end of 2012 and did not have earned income that was more than half of the child's support, or
  3. Was a full-time student over age 18 and under age 24 at the end of 2012 and did not have earned income that was more than half of the child's support.

But if the child files a joint return for 2012 or if neither of the child's parents was alive at the end of 2012, do not use Form 8615 to figure the child's tax.

A child born on January 1, 1995, is considered to be age 18 at the end of 2012; a child born on January 1, 1994, is considered to be age 19 at the end of 2012; a child born on January 1, 1989, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2012.

Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet

If you received qualified dividends or capital gain distributions, use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet to figure your tax.

Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet - Line 28

Before you begin:

Be sure you do not have to file Form 1040 (see the Instructions for Form 1040A, line 10).

1. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 27

______
2. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 9b
______
3. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 10
______
4. Add lines 2 and 3
______
5. Subtract line 4 from line 1. If zero or less, enter -0-
______

6. Enter the smaller of:

  • The amount on line 1, or
  • $35,350 if single or married filing separately,
    $70,700 if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er), or
    $47,350 if head of household.
______

7. Enter the smaller of line 5 or line 6.

______
8. Subtract line 7 from line 6. This amount is taxed at 0%
______
9. Enter the smaller of line 1 or line 4.
______
10. Enter the amount from line 8
______
11. Subtract line 10 from line 9
______
12. Multiply line 11 by 15% (.15)
______
13.Use the Tax Table to figure the tax on the amount on line 5. Enter the tax here
______
14. Add lines 12 and 13
______
15. Use the Tax Table to figure the tax on the amount on line 1. Enter the tax here
______
16. Tax on all taxable income. Enter the smaller of line 14 or line 15 here and on Form 1040A, line 28
______

Line 29 - Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses

You may be able to take this credit if you paid someone to care for any of the following persons.

  1. Your qualifying child under age 13 whom you claim as your dependent.
  2. Your disabled spouse or any other disabled person who could not care for himself or herself.
  3. Your child whom you could not claim as a dependent because of the rules for Children of divorced or separated parents in the instructions for line 6c.

For details, use TeleTax topic 602 or see Form 2441.

Line 30 - Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled

You may be able to take this credit if by the end of 2012 (a) you were age 65 or older, or (b) you retired on permanent and total disability and you had taxable disability income. But you cannot take the credit if:

  1. The amount on Form 1040A, line 22, is $17,500 or more ($20,000 or more if married filing jointly and only one spouse is eligible for the credit; $25,000 or more if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible; $12,500 or more if married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse all year), or
  2. You received one or more of the following benefits totaling $5,000 or more ($7,500 or more if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible for the credit; $3,750 or more if married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse all year).
    1. Nontaxable part of social security benefits.
    2. Nontaxable part of tier 1 railroad retirement benefits treated as social security.
    3. Nontaxable veterans' pensions (excluding military disability pensions).
    4. Any other nontaxable pensions, annuities, or disability income excluded from income under any provision of law other than the Internal Revenue Code.

For this purpose, do not include amounts treated as a return of your cost of a pension or annuity. Also, do not include a disability annuity payable under section 808 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 or any pension, annuity, or similar allowance for personal injuries or sickness resulting from active service in the armed forces of any country, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the Public Health Service.

You must include Schedule R with your return to claim this credit.

See Schedule R and its instructions for details.

Credit figured by the IRS. If you can take this credit and you want us to figure it for you, see the Instructions for Schedule R.

Line 31 - Education Credits

If you (or your dependent) paid qualified expenses in 2012 for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent to enroll in or attend an eligible educational institution, you may be able to take an education credit. See Form 8863 for details. However, you cannot take an education credit if any of the following applies.

  • You, or your spouse if filing jointly, are claimed as a dependent on someone else's (such as your parent's) 2012 tax return.
  • Your filing status is married filing separately.
  • The amount on Form 1040A, line 22, is $90,000 or more ($180,000 or more if married filing jointly).
  • You are taking a deduction for tuition and fees on Form 1040A, line 19, for the same student.
  • You, or your spouse, were a nonresident alien for any part of 2012 unless your filing status is married filing jointly.

You must include Form 8863 with your return to claim this credit.

See Form 8863 and its instructions for details.

Line 32 - Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver's Credit)

You may be able to take this credit if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, made (a) contributions, other than rollover contributions, to a traditional or Roth IRA; (b) elective deferrals to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan (including designated Roth contributions), or to a governmental 457, SEP, or SIMPLE plan; (c) voluntary employee contributions to a qualified retirement plan (including the federal Thrift Savings Plan); or (d) contributions to a 501(c)(18)(D) plan.

However, you cannot take the credit if either of the following applies.

  1. The amount on Form 1040A, line 22, is more than $28,750 ($43,125 if head of household; $57,500 if married filing jointly).
  2. The person(s) who made the qualified contribution or elective deferral (a) was born after January 1, 1995, (b) is claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2012 tax return, or (c) was a student (defined next).

You were a student if during any part of 5 calendar months of 2012 you:

  • Were enrolled as a full-time student at a school, or
  • Took a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school or a state, county, or local government agency.

A school includes a technical, trade, or mechanical school. It does not include an on-the-job training course, correspondence school, or school offering courses only through the Internet.

You must include Form 8880 with your return to claim this credit.

For more details, use TeleTax topic 610 or see Form 8880.

Line 36 - Federal Income Tax Withheld

Add the amounts shown as federal income tax withheld on your Forms W-2 and 1099-R. Enter the total on line 36. The amount withheld should be shown in box 2 of Form W-2, and in box 4 of Form 1099-R. Attach Form(s) 1099-R to the front of your return if federal income tax was withheld.

If you received a 2012 Form 1099 showing federal income tax withheld on dividends, taxable or tax-exempt interest income, unemployment compensation, or social security benefits, include the amount withheld in the total on line 36. This should be shown in box 4 of Form 1099, or box 6 of Form SSA-1099. If federal income tax was withheld from your Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, include the tax withheld in the total on line 36.

Line 37 - 2012 Estimated Tax Payments

Enter any estimated federal income tax payments you made for 2012. Include any overpayment that you applied to your 2012 estimated tax from:

  • Your 2011 return, or
  • An amended return (Form 1040X).

If you and your spouse paid joint estimated tax but are now filing separate income tax returns, you can divide the amount paid in any way you choose as long as you both agree. If you cannot agree, you must divide the payments in proportion to each spouse's individual tax as shown on your separate returns for 2012. For an example of how to do this, see Pub. 505. You may want to attach an explanation of how you and your spouse divided the payments. Be sure to show both social security numbers (SSNs) in the space provided on the separate returns. If you or your spouse paid separate estimated tax but you are now filing a joint return, add the amounts you each paid. Follow these instructions even if your spouse died in 2012 or in 2013 before filing a 2012 return.

Divorced Taxpayers. If you got divorced in 2012 and you made joint estimated tax payments with your former spouse, enter your former spouse's SSN in the space provided on the front of Form 1040A. If you were divorced and remarried in 2012, enter your present spouse's SSN in the space provided on the front of Form 1040A. Also, in the blank space to the left of line 37, enter your former spouse's SSN, followed by “DIV.”

Name Change. If you changed your name because of marriage, divorce, etc., and you made estimated tax payments using your former name, attach a statement to the front of Form 1040A. On the statement, explain all the payments you and your spouse made in 2012 and the name(s) and SSN(s) under which you made them.

Lines 38a and 38b - Earned Income Credit (EIC)

What is the EIC?

The EIC is a credit for certain people who work. The credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.

To Take the EIC:

  • Follow the steps below.
  • Complete the Earned Income Credit (EIC) Worksheet in these instructions or let the IRS figure the credit for you.
  • If you have a qualifying child, complete and attach Schedule EIC.

For help in determining if you are eligible for the EIC, go to www.irs.gov/eitc and click on "EITC Assistant." This service is available in English and Spanish.

CAUTION! If you take the EIC even though you are not eligible and it is determined that your error is due to reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules, you will not be allowed to take the credit for 2 years even if you are otherwise eligible to do so. If you fraudulently take the EIC, you will not be allowed to take the credit for 10 years. See Form 8862, who must file, later. You may also have to pay penalties.

Step 1. All Filers

1. If, in 2012:

  • 3 or more children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $45,060 ($50,270 if married filing jointly)?
  • 2 children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $41,952 ($47,162 if married filing jointly)?
  • 1 child lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $36,920 ($42,130 if married filing jointly)?
  • No children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $13,980 ($19,190 if married filing jointly)?

Yes. Continue.

No. STOP. You cannot take the credit.

2. Do you, and your spouse if filing a joint return, have a social security number that allows you to work or is valid for EIC purposes (explained later under Definitions and Special Rules)?

Yes. Continue.

No. STOP. You cannot take the credit. Enter "No" to the left of the entry space for line 38a.

3. Is your filing status married filing separately?

Yes. STOP. You cannot take the credit.

No. Continue.

4. Were you or your spouse a nonresident alien for any part of 2012?

Yes. See Nonresident aliens. later, under Definitions and Special Rules.

No. Go to Step 2.

Step 2. Investment Income

Line 8a _________
Line 8b + ________
Line 9a + ________
Line 10 + ________
Investment Income = ________

2. Is your investment income more than $3,200?

Yes. STOP. You cannot take the credit. .

No.Go to step 3.

Step 3. Qualifying Child

A qualifying child for the EIC is a child who is your...

Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),

AND

was ...

Under age 19 at the end of 2012 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly)

or

Under age 24 at the end of 2012, a student (defined later), and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly)

or

Any age and permanently and totally disabled (defined later)

AND

Who is not filing a joint return for 2012 or is filing a joint return for 2012 only as a claim for refund (see Claim for Refund, later)

AND

Who lived with you in the United States for more than half of 2012.

If the child did not live with you for the required time, see Exception to time lived with you, later.

CAUTION! If the child meets the conditions to be a qualifying child of any other person (other than your spouse if filing a joint return) for 2012, see Qualifying child of more than one person, later. If the child was married, see Married child, later.

1. Do you have at least one child who meets the conditions to be your qualifying child?

Yes. The child must have a valid social security number (SSN) as defined later, unless the child was born and died in 2012. If at least one qualifying child has a valid SSN (or was born or died in 2012), go to question 2. Otherwise, you cannot take the credit.

No. Skip questions 2 and 3; go to Step 4.

2. Are you filing a joint return for 2012?

Yes. Skip question 3 and Step 4; go to Step 5.

No. Continue.

3. Could you be a qualifying child of another person for 2012? (Check “No” if the other person is not required to file, and is not filing, a 2012 tax return or is filing a 2012 return only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid (see Pub. 596 for examples).)

Yes. STOP. You cannot take the credit. Enter "No" to the left of the entry space for line 38a.

No. Skip Step 4; go to Step 5.

Step 4. Filers Without a Qualifying Child

1. Is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $13,980 ($19,190 if married filing jointly)?

Yes. Continue.

No. STOP. You cannot take the credit.

2. Were you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2012? (Check “Yes” if you or your spouse if filing a joint return, were born after December 31, 1947, and before January 2, 1988.) If your spouse died in 2012, see Pub. 596 before you answer.

Yes. Continue.

No. STOP. You cannot take the credit.

3. Was your main home, and your spouse's if filing a joint return, in the United States for more than half of 2012? Members of the military stationed outside the United States, see Members of the military, later, before you answer.

Yes. Continue.

No. STOP. You cannot take the credit. Enter "No" to the left of the entry space for line 38a.

4. Are you filing a joint return for 2012?

Yes. Skip questions 5 and 6; go to Step 5.

No. Continue.

5. Could you be a qualifying child of another person for 2012? (Check “No” if the other person is not required to file, and is not filing, a 2012 tax return or is filing a 2012 return only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid (see Pub. 596 for examples).)

Yes. STOP. Yes. You cannot take the credit. Enter "No" to the left of the entry space for line 38a.

No. Continue.

6. Can you be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2012 tax return?

Yes. STOP. You cannot take the credit.

No. Go to Step 5.

Step 5. Earned Income

1. Figure earned income:

Form 1040A, line 7
______
Subtract, if included on line 7, any:
  • Taxable scholarship or fellowship grant not reported on a Form W-2.
  • Amount received for work performed while an inmate in a penal institution (enter "PRI" and the amount subtracted on the dotted line next to Form 1040A,
    line 7).
  • Amount received as a pension or annuity from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan or a nongovernmental section 457 plan (enter "DFC" and the amount subtracted on the dotted line next to Form 1040A, line 7). This amount may be shown in box 11 of Form W-2. If you received such an amount but box 11 is blank, contact your employer for the amount received as a pension or annuity.
- ______
Add all of your nontaxable combat pay if you elect to include it in earned income. Also enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 38b. See Combat pay, nontaxable. +_______

CAUTION! Electing to include nontaxable combat pay may increase or decrease your EIC. Figure the credit with and without your nontaxable combat pay before making the election.

Earned Income
= _________

2. If you have:

  • 3 or more qualifying children, is your earned income less than $45,060 ($50,270 if married filing jointly)?
  • 2 qualifying children, is your earned income less than $41,952 ($47,162 if married filing jointly)?
  • 1 qualifying child, is your earned income less than $36,920 ($42,130 if married filing jointly)?
  • No qualifying children, is your earned income less than $13,980 ($19,190 if married filing jointly)?

Yes. Go to Step 6.

No. STOP. You cannot take the credit.

Step 6. How To Figure the Credit

1. Do you want the IRS to figure the credit for you?

Yes. See Credit figured by the IRS later.

No. Go to the Earned Income Credit Worksheet.

Definitions and Special Rules

Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Combat pay, nontaxable. If you were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in a combat zone, certain pay is excluded from your income. See Combat Zone Exclusion in Pub. 3. You can elect to include this pay in your earned income when figuring the EIC. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown in box 12 of Form(s) W-2 with code Q. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election.

Credit figured by the IRS. To have the IRS figure your EIC:

  1. Enter “EIC” to the left of the entry space for Form 1040A, line 38a.
  2. Be sure you enter the nontaxable combat pay you elect to include in earned income on Form 1040A, line 38b. See Combat Pay, nontaxable, above.
  3. If you have a qualifying child, complete and attach Schedule EIC. If your EIC for a year after 1996 was reduced or disallowed, see Form 8862, who must file later.

Exception to time lived with you. Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time the child lived with you. Also see Kidnapped child in the instructions for line 6c or Members of the military, later. A child is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2012 if the child was born or died in 2012 and your home was this child's home for more than half the time he or she was alive in 2012.

Form 8862, who must file. You must file Form 8862 if your EIC for a year after 1996 was reduced or disallowed for any reason other than a math or clerical error. But do not file Form 8862 if either of the following applies.

  • You filed Form 8862 for another year, the EIC was allowed for that year, and your EIC has not been reduced or disallowed again for any reason other than a math or clerical error.
  • You are taking the EIC without a qualifying child and the only reason your EIC was reduced or disallowed in the other year was because it was determined that a child listed on Schedule EIC was not your qualifying child.

Also, do not file Form 8862 or take the credit for the:

  • 2 years after the most recent tax year for which there was a final determination that your EIC claim was due to reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules, or
  • 10 years after the most recent tax year for which there was a final determination that your EIC claim was due to fraud.

Foster child. A foster child is any child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. For more details on authorized placement agencies, see Pub. 596.

Married child. A child who was married at the end of 2012 is a qualifying child only if (a) you can claim him or her as your dependent on Form 1040A, line 6c, or (b) you could have claimed him or her as your dependent except for the special rule under Children of divorced or separated parents in the instructions for line 6c.

Members of the military. If you were on extended active duty outside the United States, your main home is considered to be in the United States during that duty period. Extended active duty is military duty ordered for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Once you begin serving extended active duty, you are considered to be on extended active duty even if you do not serve more than 90 days.

Nonresident aliens. If your filing status is married filing jointly, go to Step 2. Otherwise, stop; you cannot take the EIC. Enter “No” to the left of the entry space for line 38a.

Permanently and totally disabled. A person is permanently and totally disabled if, at any time in 2012, the person could not engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition and a doctor has determined that this condition (a) has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year, or (b) can be expected to lead to death.

Qualifying child of more than one person. Even if a child meets the conditions to be the qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can claim the child as a qualifying child for all of the following tax benefits, unless the special rule for Children of divorced or separated parents in the instructions for line 6c applies.

  1. Dependency exemption (line 6c).
  2. Child tax credits (lines 33 and 39).
  3. Head of household filing status (line 4).
  4. Credit for child and dependent care expenses (line 29).
  5. Exclusion for dependent care benefits (Form 2441, Part III).
  6. Earned income credit (lines 38a and 38b).

No other person can take any of the six tax benefits just listed unless he or she has a different qualifying child. If you and any other person can claim the child as a qualifying child, the following rules apply. If only one of the persons is the child's parent, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parent.

If the parents do not file a joint return together but both parents claim the child as a qualifying child, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time in 2012. If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who had the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2012.

If no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for 2012.

If a parent can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent does so claim the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for 2012, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the highest AGI of any parent of the child who can claim the child.

Example. Your daughter meets the conditions to be a qualifying child for both you and your mother. Your daughter does not meet the conditions to be the qualifying child of any other person, including her other parent. Under the rules above, you can claim your daughter as a qualifying child for all of the six tax benefits previously listed for which you otherwise qualify. Your mother cannot claim any of those six tax benefits unless she has a different qualifying child. However, if your mother's AGI is higher than yours and you do not claim your daughter as a qualifying child, your daughter is the qualifying child of your mother.

For more details and examples, see Pub. 596.

If you will not be taking the EIC with a qualifying child, enter “No” to the left of the entry space for line 38a. Otherwise, go to Step 3, question 1.

Social security number (SSN). For the EIC, a valid SSN is a number issued by the Social Security Administration unless “Not Valid for Employment” is printed on the social security card and the number was issued solely to allow the recipient of the SSN to apply for or receive a federally funded benefit. However, if “Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization” is printed on your social security card, your SSN is valid for EIC purposes only as long as the DHS authorization is still valid.

To find out how to get an SSN, see Social Security Number (SSN), near the beginning of these instructions. If you will not have an SSN by the date your return is due, see What If You Cannot File on Time.

Student. A student is a child who during any part of 5 calendar months of 2012 was enrolled as a full-time student at a school, or took a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school or a state, county, or local government agency. A school includes a technical, trade, or mechanical school. It does not include an on-the-job training course, correspondence school, or school offering courses only through the Internet.

Welfare benefits, effect of credit on. Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC cannot be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund cannot be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits.

Line 39 - Additional Child Tax Credit

What Is the Additional Child Tax Credit?

This credit is for certain people who have at least one qualifying child as defined in the instructions for line 6c. The additional child tax credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.

Two Steps To Take the Additional Child Tax Credit!

Step 1. Be sure you figured the amount, if any, of your child tax credit. See the instructions for line 33.

Step 2. Read the TIP at the end of your Child Tax Credit Worksheet. Use Schedule 8812 to see if you can take the additional child tax credit, but only if you meet the condition given in that TIP.

Line 40 - American Opportunity Credit

If you meet the requirements to claim an education credit (see the instructions for line 31), enter on this line the amount, if any, from Form 8863, line 8.

Line 41

If you got an automatic extension of time to file Form 1040A by filing Form 4868 or by making a payment, enter the amount you paid with Form 4868. If you paid by credit or debit card, do not include on line 41 the convenience fee you were charged. To the left of the entry space for line 41, enter “Form 4868” and show the amount paid.

Excess social security and tier 1 railroad retirement (RRTA) tax withheld. If you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, had more than one employer for 2012 and total wages of more than $110,100, too much social security or tier 1 RRTA tax may have been withheld. For more details, including how to figure the amount to include on line 41, see Pub. 505. Include the excess in the total on line 41. Write “Excess SST” and show the excess amount to the left of the line.

Refund

Line 42 - Amount Overpaid

If line 42 is under $1, we will send a refund only on written request.

TIP: If the amount you overpaid is large, you may want to decrease the amount of income tax withheld from your pay by filing a new Form W-4. See Income tax withholding and estimated tax payments for 2013 under General Information, later.

Refund offset. If you owe past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or certain federal nontax debts, such as student loans, all or part of the overpayment on line 42 may be used (offset) to pay the past-due amount. Offsets for federal taxes are made by the IRS. All other offsets are made by the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service (FMS). For federal tax offsets, you will receive a notice from the IRS. For all other offsets, you will receive a notice from FMS. To find out if you may have an offset or if you have any questions about it, contact the agency to which you owe the debt.

Injured spouse. If you file a joint return and your spouse has not paid past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or a federal nontax debt, such as a student loan, part or all of the overpayment on line 42 may be used (offset) to pay the past-due amount. But your part of the overpayment may be refunded to you if certain conditions apply and you complete Form 8379. For details, use TeleTax topic 203 or see Form 8379.

Lines 43a Through 43d - Amount Refunded to You

If you want to check the status of your refund, see Refund Information, later. Just use the IRS2Go phone app or go to IRS.gov and click on Where's My Refund? Information about your return will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return, or 4 weeks after you mail your paper return. If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Have your 2012 tax return handy so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund.

Where's My Refund? has a new look this year! The tool will include a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) return received, (2) refund approved, and (3) refund sent. Where's My Refund? will provide an actual personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. So in a change from previous filing seasons, you won't get an estimated refund date right away.

Effect of refund on benefits. Any refund you receive cannot be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund cannot be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits. Fast Refunds! Choose direct deposit - a fast, simple, safe, secure way to have your refund deposited automatically to your checking or savings account, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA). See the information about IRAs, later.

If you want us to directly deposit the amount shown on line 43a to your checking or savings account, including an IRA, at a bank or other financial institution (such as a mutual fund, brokerage firm, or credit union) in the United States:

  • Complete lines 43b through 43d if you want your refund deposited to only one account, or
  • Check the box on line 43a and attach Form 8888 if you want to split the direct deposit of your refund into more than one account or use all or part of your refund to buy paper series I savings bonds.

If you do not want your refund directly deposited to your account, do not check the box on line 43a. Draw a line through the boxes on lines 43b and 43d. We will send you a check instead.

Do not request a deposit of any part of your refund to an account that is not in your name, such as your tax preparer's account.

Why Use Direct Deposit?

  • You get your refund faster by direct deposit than you do by check.
  • Payment is more secure. There is no check that can get lost or stolen.
  • It is more convenient. You do not have to make a trip to the bank to deposit your check.
  • It saves tax dollars. It costs the government less to refund by direct deposit.

CAUTION! If you file a joint return and check the box on line 43a and attach Form 8888 or fill in lines 43b through 43d, your spouse may get at least part of the refund.

IRA. You can have your refund directly deposited to a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP-IRA, but not a SIMPLE IRA. You must establish the IRA at a bank or other financial institution before you request direct deposit. Make sure your direct deposit will be accepted. You must also notify the trustee or custodian of your account of the year to which the deposit is to be applied (unless the trustee or custodian will not accept a deposit for 2012). If you do not, the trustee or custodian can assume the deposit is for the year during which you are filing the return. For example, if you file your 2012 return during 2013 and do not notify the trustee or custodian in advance, the trustee or custodian can assume the deposit to your IRA is for 2013. If you designate your deposit to be for 2012, you must verify that the deposit was actually made to the account by the due date of the return (without regard to extensions). If the deposit is not made by that date, the deposit is not an IRA contribution for 2012. In that case, you must file an amended 2012 return and reduce any IRA deduction and any retirement savings contributions credit you claimed.

CAUTION! You and your spouse, if filing jointly, each may be able to contribute up to $5,000 ($6,000 if age 50 or older at the end of 2012) to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA for 2012. The limit for 2013 is $5,500 ($6,500 if age 50 or older at the end of 2013). You may owe a penalty if your contributions exceed these limits.

TIP: For more information on IRAs, see Pub. 590.

TreasuryDirect. You can request a deposit of your refund (or part of it) to a TreasuryDirect® online account to buy U.S. Treasury marketable securities and savings bonds. For more information, go to www.treasurydirect.gov.

Form 8888. You can have your refund directly deposited into more than one account or use it to buy up to $5,000 in paper series I savings bonds. You do not need a TreasuryDirect® account to do this. For more information, see the Form 8888 instructions.

Line 43a. You cannot file Form 8888 to split your refund into more than one account or buy paper series I savings bonds if Form 8379 is filed with your return.

Line 43b. The routing number must be nine digits. The first two digits must be 01 through 12 or 21 through 32. On the sample check below, the routing number is 250250025. Henry and Naomi Brown would use that routing number unless their financial institution instructed them to use a different routing number for direct deposits.

Ask your financial institution for the correct routing number to enter on line 43b if:

  • The routing number on a deposit slip is different from the routing number on your checks,
  • Your deposit is to a savings account that does not allow you to write checks, or
  • Your checks state they are payable through a financial institution different from the one at which you have your checking account.

Line 43c. Check the appropriate box for the type of account. Do not check more than one box. If the deposit is to an account such as an IRA, health savings account, brokerage account, or other similar account, ask your financial institution whether you should check the “Checking” or “Savings” box. You must check the correct box to ensure your deposit is accepted. For a TreasuryDirect® online account, check the “Savings” box.

Line 43d. The account number can be up to 17 characters (both numbers and letters). Include hyphens but omit spaces and special symbols. Enter the number from left to right and leave any unused boxes blank. On the sample check below, the account number is 20202086. Do not include the check number.

If the direct deposit to your account(s) is different from the amount you expected, you will receive an explanation in the mail about 2 weeks after your refund is deposited.

Reasons Your Direct Deposit Request May Be Rejected

If any of the following apply, your direct deposit request will be rejected and a check will be sent instead.

Any numbers or letters on lines 43b through 43d are crossed out or whited out.

Your financial institution(s) will not allow a joint refund to be deposited to an individual account. The IRS is not responsible if a financial institution rejects a direct deposit.

You file your 2012 return after December 31, 2013.

CAUTION! The IRS is not responsible for a lost refund if you enter the wrong account information. Check with your financial institution to get the correct routing and account numbers and to make sure your direct deposit will be accepted.

Line 44 - Amount Applied to Your 2013 Estimated Tax

Enter on line 44 the amount, if any, of the overpayment on line 42 you want applied to your 2013 estimated tax. We will apply this amount to your account unless you include a statement requesting us to apply it to your spouse's account. Include your spouse's social security number in the statement.

CAUTION! This election to apply part or all of the amount overpaid to your 2013 estimated tax cannot be changed later.

Amount You Owe

IRS e-file offers two electronic payment options. With Electronic Funds Withdrawal, you can pay your current year balance due and also make up to four estimated tax payments. If you file early, you can schedule your payment for withdrawal from your account on a future date, up to and including the due date of the return. Or you can pay using a credit or debit card. Visit www.irs.gov/e-pay for details on both options.

Line 45 - Amount You Owe

TIP: To save interest and penalties, pay your taxes in full by April 15, 2013. You do not have to pay if line 45 is under $1.

Include any estimated tax penalty from line 46 in the amount you enter on line 45.

You can pay online, by phone, or by check or money order. Do not include any estimated tax payment for 2013 in this payment. Instead, make the estimated tax payment separately.

Bad check or payment. The penalty for writing a bad check to the IRS is $25 or 2% of the check, whichever is more. However, if the amount of the check is less than $25, the penalty equals the amount of the check. This penalty also applies to other forms of payment if the IRS does not receive the funds. Use TeleTax topic 206.

Pay online. Paying online is convenient and secure and helps make sure we get your payments on time. You can pay using either of the following electronic payment methods.

  • Direct transfer from your bank account.
  • Credit or debit card.

To pay your taxes online or for more information, go to www.irs.gov/e-pay. Also see Amount You Owe, earlier, for information about the Electronic Funds Withdrawal payment option offered when e-filing your return.

Pay by phone. Paying by phone is another safe and secure method of paying electronically. Use one of the following methods.

  • Direct transfer from your bank account.
  • Credit or debit card.

To pay by direct transfer from your bank account, call 1-800-555-4477 (English) or 1-800-244-4829 (Espanol). People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-733-4829.

To pay using a credit or debit card, you can call one of the following service providers. There is a convenience fee charged by these providers that varies by provider, card type, and payment amount.

Official Payments Corporation
1-888-UPAY-TAXTM (1-888-872-9829)
www.officialpayments.com

Link2Gov Corporation
1-888-PAY-1040TM (1-888-729-1040)
www.PAY1040.com

WorldPay
1-888-9-PAY-TAXTM (1-888-972-9829)
www.payUSAtax.com

For the latest details on how to pay by phone, go to www.irs.gov/e-pay.

Pay by check or money order. Make your check or money order payable to “United States Treasury” for the full amount due. Do not send cash. Do not attach the payment to your return. Write “2012 Form 1040A” and your name, address, daytime phone number, and social security number (SSN) on your payment. If you are filing a joint return, enter the SSN shown first on your tax return.

To help us process your payment, enter the amount on the right side of the check like this: $ XXX.XX. Do not use dashes or lines (for example, do not enter “$ XXX–” or “$ XXXxx/100 ”). Then, complete Form 1040-V following the instructions on that form and enclose it in the envelope with your tax return and payment.

TIP: You may need to (a) increase the amount of income tax withheld from your pay by filing a new Form W-4, (b) increase the tax withheld from other income by filing Form W-4P or W-4V, or (c) make estimated tax payments for 2013. See Income tax withholding and estimated tax payments for 2013 under General Information, later.

What If You Cannot Pay?

If you cannot pay the full amount shown on line 45 when you file, you can ask for:

  • An installment agreement, or
  • An extension of time to pay.

Installment agreement. Under an installment agreement, you can pay all or part of the tax you owe in monthly installments. However, even if your request to pay in installments is granted, you will be charged interest and may be charged a late payment penalty on the tax not paid by April 15, 2013. You must also pay a fee. To limit the interest and penalty charges, pay as much of the tax as possible when you file. But before requesting an installment agreement, you should consider other less costly alternatives, such as a bank loan or credit card payment.

To ask for an installment agreement, you can apply online or use Form 9465. To apply online, go to IRS.gov and click on “Tools” and then “Online Payment Agreement.”

Extension of time to pay. If paying the tax when it is due would cause you an undue hardship, you can ask for an extension of time to pay by filing Form 1127 by April 15, 2013. An extension generally will not be granted for more than 6 months. If you pay after April 15, 2013, you will be charged interest on the tax not paid by April 15, 2013. You must pay the tax before the extension runs out. If you do not, penalties may be imposed.

Line 46 - Estimated Tax Penalty

You may owe this penalty if:

  • Line 45 is at least $1,000 and it is more than 10% of the tax shown on your return, or
  • You did not pay enough estimated tax by any of the due dates. This is true even if you are due a refund.

For most people, the “tax shown on your return” is the amount on your 2012 Form 1040A, line 35, minus the total of any amounts shown on lines 38a, 39, and 40.

Exception. You will not owe the penalty if your 2011 tax return was for a tax year of 12 full months and either of the following applies.

  1. You had no tax shown on your 2011 return and you were a U.S. citizen or resident for all of 2011.
  2. The total of lines 36, 37, and any excess social security and tier 1 RRTA tax included on line 41 on your 2012 return is at least 100% of the tax shown on your 2011 return (110% of that amount if you are not a farmer or fisherman and your adjusted gross income (AGI) shown on your 2011 return was more than $150,000 (more than $75,000 if married filing separately for 2012)). Your estimated tax payments for 2012 must have been made on time and for the required amount.

For most people, the “tax shown on your 2011 return” is the amount on your 2011 Form 1040A, line 35, minus the total of any amounts shown on lines 38a, 39, and 40.

Figuring the penalty. If the Exception just described does not apply and you choose to figure the penalty yourself, use Form 2210.

Enter any penalty on line 46. Add the penalty to any tax due and enter the total on line 45. However, if you have an overpayment on line 42, subtract the penalty from the amount you would otherwise enter on line 43a or 44. Lines 43a, 44, and 46 must equal line 42.

If the penalty is more than the overpayment on line 42, enter -0- on lines 43a and 44. Then subtract line 42 from line 46 and enter the result on line 45.

Do not file Form 2210 with your return unless Form 2210 indicates that you must do so. Instead, keep it for your records.

TIP: Because Form 2210 is complicated, you can leave line 46 blank and the IRS will figure the penalty and send you a bill. We will not charge you interest on the penalty if you pay by the date specified on the bill. If your income varied during the year, the annualized income installment method may reduce the amount of your penalty. But you must file Form 2210 because the IRS cannot figure your penalty under this method. See the Instructions for Form 2210 for other situations in which you may be able to lower your penalty by filing Form 2210.

Third Party Designee

If you want to allow your preparer, a friend, family member, or any other person you choose to discuss your 2012 tax return with the IRS, check the “Yes” box in the “Third party designee” area of your return. Also, enter the designee's name, phone number, and any five digits the designee chooses as his or her personal identification number (PIN).

If you check the “Yes” box, you, and your spouse if filing a joint return, are authorizing the IRS to call the designee to answer any questions that may arise during the processing of your return. You are also authorizing the designee to:

  • Give the IRS any information that is missing from your return,
  • Call the IRS for information about the processing of your return or the status of your refund or payment(s),
  • Receive copies of notices or transcripts related to your return, upon request, and
  • Respond to certain IRS notices about math errors, offsets, and return preparation.

You are not authorizing the designee to receive any refund check, bind you to anything (including any additional tax liability), or otherwise represent you before the IRS. If you want to expand the designee's authorization, see Pub. 947.

The authorization will automatically end no later than the due date (without regard to extensions) for filing your 2013 tax return. This is April 15, 2014, for most people.

Sign Your Return

Form 1040A is not considered a valid return unless you sign it. If you are filing a joint return, your spouse must also sign. If your spouse cannot sign the return, see Pub. 501. Be sure to date your return and enter your occupation(s). If you have someone prepare your return, you are still responsible for the correctness of the return. If your return is signed by a representative for you, you must have a power of attorney attached that specifically authorizes the representative to sign your return. To do this, you can use Form 2848. If you are filing a joint return as a surviving spouse, see Death of a taxpayer, later.

Court-appointed conservator, guardian, or other fiduciary. If you are a court-appointed conservator, guardian, or other fiduciary for a mentally or physically incompetent individual who has to file Form 1040A, sign your name for the individual and file Form 56.

Child's return. If your child cannot sign the return, either parent can sign the child's name in the space provided. Then, enter “By (your signature), parent for minor child.”

Daytime phone number. Providing your daytime phone number may help speed the processing of your return. We may have questions about items on your return, such as the earned income credit, credit for child and dependent care expenses, etc. If you answer our questions over the phone, we may be able to continue processing your return without mailing you a letter. If you are filing a joint return, you can enter either your or your spouse's daytime phone number.

Electronic Return Signatures! To file your return electronically, you must sign the return electronically using a personal identification number (PIN). If you are filing online using software, you must use a Self-Select PIN. If you are filing electronically using a tax practitioner, you can use a Self-Select PIN or a Practitioner PIN.

Self-Select PIN. The Self-Select PIN method allows you to create your own PIN. If you are married filing jointly, you and your spouse will each need to create a PIN and enter these PINs as your electronic signatures.

A PIN is any combination of five digits you choose except five zeros. If you use a PIN, there is nothing to sign and nothing to mail - not even your Forms W-2.

To verify your identity, you will be prompted to enter your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your originally filed 2011 federal income tax return, if applicable. Do not use your AGI from an amended return (Form 1040X) or a math error correction made by IRS. AGI is the amount shown on your 2011 Form 1040, line 38; Form 1040A, line 22; or Form 1040EZ, line 4. If you do not have your 2011 income tax return, call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to get a free transcript of your return or visit IRS.gov and click on “Order a Return or Account Transcript.” (If you filed electronically last year, you may use your prior year PIN to verify your identity instead of your prior year AGI. The prior year PIN is the five digit PIN you used to electronically sign your 2011 return.) You will also be prompted to enter your date of birth (DOB).

CAUTION! You cannot use the Self-Select PIN method if you are a first-time filer under age 16 at the end of 2012.

TIP: If you cannot locate your prior year AGI or prior year PIN use the Electronic Filing PIN Request. This can be found at IRS.gov. Click on “Request an Electronic Filing PIN.” Or you can call 1-866-704-7388.

Practitioner PIN. The Practitioner PIN method allows you to authorize your tax practitioner to enter or generate your PIN. The practitioner can provide you with details.

Form 8453. You must send in a paper Form 8453 if you have to attach certain forms or other documents that cannot be electronically filed. For details, see Form 8453.

Identity Protection PIN. For 2012, if you received an IRS notice providing you with an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN), enter it in the IP PIN spaces provided below your daytime phone number. You must enter your IP PIN exactly as it is shown on the Notice CP01A you received. If you did not receive a notice containing an IP PIN, leave these spaces blank.

CAUTION! New IP PINs are issued every year. An IP PIN should be used only for the tax year it was issued. IP PINs for 2012 tax returns generally were sent in December 2012.

If you are filing a joint return and both taxpayers receive an IP PIN, only the taxpayer whose social security number (SSN) appears first on the tax return should enter his or her IP PIN.

If you received an IP PIN but misplaced it, call 1-800-908-4490, extension 245. If you need more information or answers to frequently asked questions on how to use the IP PIN, go to www.irs.gov/Individuals/Understanding-Your-CP01A-Notice.

Paid preparer must sign your return. Generally, anyone you pay to prepare your return must sign it and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) in the space provided. The preparer must give you a copy of the return for your records. Someone who prepares your return but does not charge you should not sign your return.

Assemble Your Return

Assemble any schedules and forms behind Form 1040A in order of the “Attachment Sequence No.” shown in the upper right corner of the schedule or form. If you have supporting statements, arrange them in the same order as the schedules or forms they support and attach them last. Do not attach correspondence or other items unless required to do so. Attach a copy of your Form(s) W-2 to the front of Form 1040A. If you received a Form W-2c (a corrected Form W-2), attach a copy of your original Form(s) W-2 and any Form(s) W-2c.

TIP: If you received a 2012 Form 1099-R showing federal income tax withheld, also attach the form to the front of Form 1040A.

General Information

How to avoid common mistakes. Mistakes can delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you.

  • Make sure you entered the correct name and social security number (SSN) for each dependent you claim on line 6c. Check that each dependent's name and SSN agrees with his or her social security card. For each child under age 17 who is a qualifying child for the child tax credit, make sure you checked the box in line 6c, column (4).
  • Check your math, especially for the earned income credit (EIC), child tax credit, taxable social security benefits, deduction for exemptions, taxable income, federal income tax withheld, total tax, and refund or amount you owe.
  • Be sure you used the correct method to figure your tax. See the instructions for line 28.
  • Be sure to enter your SSN in the space provided on page 1 of Form 1040A. If you are married filing a joint or separate return, also enter your spouse's SSN. Be sure to enter your SSN in the space next to your name. Check that your name and SSN agree with your social security card.
  • Make sure your name and address are correct. Enter your (and your spouse's) name in the same order as shown on your last return.
  • If you live in an apartment, be sure to include your apartment number in your address.
  • If you are taking the standard deduction, see the instructions for line 24 to be sure you entered the correct amount.
  • If you are taking the EIC, be sure you used the correct column of the EIC Table for your filing status and the number of children you have.
  • Remember to sign and date Form 1040A and enter your occupation(s).
  • Attach your Form(s) W-2 and any other required forms and schedules. Put all forms and schedules in the proper order. See Assemble Your Return, earlier.
  • If you owe tax and are paying by check or money order, be sure to include all the required information on your payment. See the instructions for line 45 for details.
  • Do not file more than one original return for the same year, even if you have not gotten your refund or have not heard from the IRS since you filed. Filing more than one original return for the same year, or sending in more than one copy of the same return (unless we ask you to do so), could delay your refund.

What are your rights as a taxpayer? You have the right to be treated fairly, professionally, promptly, and courteously by IRS employees. Our goal at the IRS is to protect your rights so that you will have the highest confidence in the integrity, efficiency, and fairness of our tax system. To ensure that you always receive such treatment, you should know about the many rights you have at each step of the tax process. For details, see Pub. 1.

Innocent spouse relief. Generally, both you and your spouse are each responsible for paying the full amount of tax, interest, and penalties on your joint return. However, you may qualify for relief from liability for tax on a joint return if (a) there is an understatement of tax because your spouse omitted income or claimed false deductions or credits, (b) you are divorced, separated, or no longer living with your spouse, or (c) given all the facts and circumstances, it would not be fair to hold you liable for the tax. You may also qualify for relief if you were a married resident of a community property state, but did not file a joint return and are now liable for an underpaid or understated tax. File Form 8857 to request relief. In some cases, Form 8857 may need to be filed within 2 years of the date on which the IRS first attempted to collect the tax from you. Do not file Form 8857 with your Form 1040A. For more information, see Pub. 971 and Form 8857 or you can call the Innocent Spouse office toll-free at 1-866-897-4270.

How long should records be kept? Keep a copy of your tax return, worksheets you used, and records of all items appearing on it (such as Forms W-2 and 1099) until the statute of limitations runs out for that return. Usually, this is 3 years from the date the return was due or filed or 2 years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. You should keep some records longer. For example, keep property records as long as they are needed to figure the basis of the original or replacement property. For more details, see chapter 1 of Pub. 17.

Income tax withholding and estimated tax payments for 2013. If the amount you owe or the amount you overpaid is large, you may want to file a new Form W-4 with your employer to change the amount of income tax withheld from your 2013 pay. For details on how to complete Form W-4, see Pub. 505. If you have pension or annuity income, use Form W-4P. If you receive certain government payments (such as unemployment compensation or social security benefits) you can have tax withheld from those payments by giving the payer Form W-4V.

TIP: You can use the IRS Withholding Calculator at www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator, instead of Pub. 505 or the worksheets included with Form W-4 or W-4P, to determine whether you need to have your withholding increased or decreased.

In general, you do not have to make estimated tax payments if you expect that your 2013 tax return will show a tax refund, or a tax balance due of less than $1,000. If your total estimated tax for 2013 is $1,000 or more, see Form 1040-ES and Pub. 505 for a worksheet you can use to see if you have to make estimated tax payments. See Pub. 505 for more details.

How do you amend your tax return? File Form 1040X to change a return you already filed. Generally, Form 1040X must be filed within 3 years after the date the original return was filed or within 2 years after the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. But you may have more time to file Form 1040X if you live in a federally declared disaster area or you are physically or mentally unable to manage your financial affairs. See Pub. 556 for details.

How do you make a gift to reduce debt held by the public? If you wish to do so, make a check payable to “Bureau of the Public Debt.” You can send it to: Bureau of the Public Debt, Department G, P.O. Box 2188, Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188. Or you can enclose the check with your income tax return when you file. Do not add your gift to any tax you may owe. See the instructions for line 45 for details on how to pay any tax you owe. Go to www.publicdebt.treas.gov/ for information on how to make this type of gift online.

TIP: If you itemize your deductions for 2013, you may be able to deduct this gift.

Secure your tax records from identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, social security number (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.

To reduce your risk:

  • Protect your SSN,
  • Ensure your employer is protecting your SSN, and
  • Be careful when choosing a tax preparer.

If your tax records are affected by identity theft and you receive a notice from the IRS, respond right away to the name and phone number printed on the IRS notice or letter.

If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft but you think you are at risk due to a lost or stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, etc., contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 or submit Form 14039.

For more information, see Pub. 4535.

Victims of identity theft who are experiencing economic harm or a systemic problem, or are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, may be eligible for Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) assistance. You can reach TAS by calling the National Taxpayer Advocate helpline at 1-877-777-4778. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

Protect yourself from suspicious emails or phishing schemes. Phishing is the creation and use of email and websites designed to mimic legitimate business emails and websites. The most common form is the act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.

The IRS does not initiate contacts with taxpayers via emails. Also, the IRS does not request detailed personal information through email or ask taxpayers for the PIN numbers, passwords, or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank, or other financial accounts.

If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, forward this message to phishing@irs.gov. You may also report misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms, or other IRS property to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration toll-free at 1-800-366-4484. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-877-8339. You can forward suspicious emails to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov or contact them at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-866-653-4261.

Visit IRS.gov and enter “identity theft” in the search box to learn more about identity theft and how to reduce your risk.

Need a copy of your tax return? If you do, use Form 4506. There is a $57 fee (subject to change) for each return requested. If your main home, principal place of business, or tax records are located in a federally declared disaster area, this fee will be waived. If you want a free transcript of your tax return or account, use Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ, visit IRS.gov and click on “Order a Return or Account Transcript,” or call us at 1-800-908-9946.

Death of a taxpayer. If a taxpayer died before filing a return for 2012, the taxpayer's spouse or personal representative may have to file and sign a return for that taxpayer. A personal representative can be an executor, administrator, or anyone who is in charge of the deceased taxpayer's property. If the deceased taxpayer did not have to file a return but had tax withheld, a return must be filed to get a refund. The person who files the return must enter “Deceased,” the deceased taxpayer's name, and the date of death across the top of the return. If this information is not provided, it may delay the processing of the return.

If your spouse died in 2012 and you did not remarry in 2012, or if your spouse died in 2013 before filing a return for 2012, you can file a joint return. A joint return should show your spouse's 2012 income before death and your income for all of 2012. Enter “Filing as surviving spouse” in the area where you sign the return. If someone else is the personal representative, he or she must also sign.

The surviving spouse or personal representative should promptly notify all payers of income, including financial institutions, of the taxpayer's death. This will ensure the proper reporting of income earned by the taxpayer's estate or heirs. A deceased taxpayer's social security number should not be used for tax years after the year of death, except for estate tax return purposes.

Claiming a refund for a deceased taxpayer. If you are filing a joint return as a surviving spouse, you only need to file the tax return to claim the refund. If you are a court-appointed representative, file the return and include a copy of the certificate that shows your appointment. All other filers requesting the deceased taxpayer's refund must file the return and attach Form 1310.

For more details, use TeleTax topic 356 or see Pub. 559.

Past due returns. If you or someone you know needs to file past due tax returns, use TeleTax topic 153 or go to www.irs.gov/individuals for help in filing those returns. Send the return to the address that applies to you in the latest Form 1040A instructions. For example, if you are filing a 2009 return in 2013, use the address at the end of these instructions. However, if you got an IRS notice, mail the return to the address in the notice.

Other Ways To Get Help

Send your written tax questions to the IRS. You should get an answer in about 30 days. For the mailing address, call us at 1-800-829-1040. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay. Do not send questions with your return.

Research your tax questions online. You can find answers to many of your tax questions online. Go to www.irs.gov/individuals. Here are some of the methods you may want to try.

  • Frequently asked questions. This section contains an extensive list of questions and answers. You can select your question by category or keyword.
  • Tax trails. This is an interactive section which asks questions you can answer by selecting “Yes” or “No.”
  • Main index of tax topics. This is an online version of the TeleTax topics.
  • Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA). The ITA provides answers to a limited number of tax law questions using a probe and response process.

Free Tax Return Assistance

Free help with your return. If you need assistance preparing your return, visit the nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) site in your community. There are thousands of sites nationwide and each site is staffed by volunteers who are trained and certified to prepare federal income tax returns. VITA sites are also available at international and domestic military installations.

Volunteers in this program must adhere to strict quality and ethical standards and pass a certification test each year. The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax return. The TCE Program offers free tax help for all, with priority assistance to people who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors.

Available services. Free electronic filing is offered and volunteers will help you claim the earned income credit, child tax credit, credit for the elderly, and other credits and deductions you can take.

What to bring. These are some of the items to bring to the VITA/TCE site to have your tax return prepared.

  • Proof of identification.
  • Social security cards for you, your spouse, and dependents and/or a social security number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration.
  • Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse, and dependents.
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN.
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse, and any dependents.
  • Form(s) W-2, W-2G, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-R.
  • A copy of your 2011 federal and state returns, if available.
  • A blank check or anything that shows your bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit.
  • Total paid to daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identification number (the provider's social security number or the provider's business employer identification number).
  • To file taxes electronically on a joint return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

Find a site near you and get additional information. For more information on these programs and a location in your community, go to IRS.gov and enter keyword “VITA” in the search box. You may also contact us at 1-800-829-1040. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, visit AARP’s website at www.aarp.org/money/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669.

Everyday tax solutions. You can get face-to-face help solving tax problems most business days in IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. An employee can explain IRS letters, request adjustments to your account, or help you set up a payment plan. To find the number to call your local TAC, go to www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-Your-Local-IRS-Office-1 or look in the phone book under “United States Government, Internal Revenue Service.”

IRS videos. The IRS Video portal www.IRSvideos.gov contains video and audio presentations on topics of interest to small businesses, individuals, and tax professionals. You will find video clips of tax topics, archived versions of live panel discussions and Webinars, as well as audio archives of tax practitioner phone forums.

Help for people with disabilities. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay. Braille materials are available at libraries that have special services for people with disabilities.

Tax services in other languages. To better serve taxpayers whose native language is not English, we have products and services in various languages.

For Spanish speaking taxpayers, we have:

We also offer a Basic Tax Responsibilities CD/DVD in the following languages.

  • Spanish.
  • Chinese.
  • Vietnamese.
  • Korean.
  • Russian.

To get a copy of this CD/DVD, call the National Distribution Center at 1-800-829-3676 and ask for Pub. 4580 in your language.

TIP: The IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers provide over-the-phone interpreter assistance in more than 170 different languages. To find the number, see Everyday tax solutions, earlier.

Interest and Penalties

You do not have to figure the amount of any interest or penalties you may owe. Because figuring these amounts can be complicated, we will do it for you if you want. We will send you a bill for any amount due.

If you include interest or penalties (other than the estimated tax penalty) with your payment, identify and enter the amount in the bottom margin of Form 1040A, page 2. Do not include interest or penalties (other than the estimated tax penalty) in the amount you owe on line 45.

Interest

We will charge you interest on taxes not paid by their due date, even if an extension of time to file is granted. We will also charge you interest on penalties imposed for failure to file, negligence, fraud, substantial valuation misstatements, substantial understatements of tax, and reportable transaction understatements. Interest is charged on the penalty from the due date of the return (including extensions).

Penalties

Late filing. If you do not file your return by the due date (including extensions), the penalty is usually 5% of the amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late, unless you have a reasonable explanation. If you do, include it with your return. The penalty can be as much as 25% of the tax due. The penalty is 15% per month, up to a maximum of 75%, if the failure to file is fraudulent. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty will be $135 or the amount of any tax you owe, whichever is smaller.

Late payment of tax. If you pay your taxes late, the penalty is usually ½ of 1% of the unpaid amount for each month or part of a month the tax is not paid. The penalty can be as much as 25% of the unpaid amount. It applies to any unpaid tax on the return. This penalty is in addition to interest charges on late payments.

Frivolous return. In addition to any other penalties, the law imposes a penalty of $5,000 for filing a frivolous return. A frivolous return is one that does not contain information needed to figure the correct tax or shows a substantially incorrect tax because you take a frivolous position or desire to delay or interfere with the tax laws. This includes altering or striking out the preprinted language above the space where you sign. For a list of positions identified as frivolous, see Notice 2010-33, 2010-17 I.R.B. 609, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2010-17_IRB/ar13.html.

Other. Other penalties can be imposed for negligence, substantial understatement of tax, reportable transaction understatements, filing an erroneous refund claim, and fraud. Criminal penalties may be imposed for willful failure to file, tax evasion, or making a false statement, or identity theft. See Pub. 17 for details on some of these penalties.

Refund Information

Where is my refund? Visit IRS.gov and click on Where's My Refund? 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Information about your return will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. But if you filed Form 8379 with your return, allow 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically) before checking your refund status.

To use Where's My Refund? have a copy of your tax return handy. You will need to provide the following information from your return:

  • Your social security number (or individual taxpayer identification number),
  • Your filing status, and
  • The exact whole dollar amount of your refund.

Where's My Refund? has a new look this year! The tool will include a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) return received, (2) refund approved, and (3) refund sent. Where's My Refund? will provide an actual personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund.

TIP: Updates to refund status are made once a day–usually at night.

If you do not have Internet access, many services are available by phone:

  • You can check the status of your refund on the new IRS phone app. Download the free IRS2Go app by visiting the iTunes app store or the Android Marketplace. IRS2Go is a new way to provide you with information and tools.
  • You can call 1-800-829-4477 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for automated refund information.

Do not send in a copy of your return unless asked to do so.

To get a refund, you generally must file your return within 3 years from the date the return was due (including extensions).

Where's My Refund? does not track refunds that are claimed on an amended tax return.

Refund information also is available in Spanish at www.irs.gov/espanol and 1-800-829-4477.

What Is TeleTax?

Recorded Tax Information. Recorded tax information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Select the number of the topic you want to hear. Then, call 1-800-829-4477. Have paper and pencil handy to take notes.

Topics by Internet. TeleTax topics are also available through the IRS website at www.irs.gov/taxtopics.

Calling the IRS

If you cannot find the answer to your question in these instructions or online, please call us for assistance. See Making the Call below. You will not be charged for the call unless your phone company charges you for toll-free calls. Our normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time. Assistance provided to callers from Alaska and Hawaii will be based on the hours of operation in the Pacific time zone. Callers from Puerto Rico will receive assistance from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time

TIP: If you want to check the status of your 2012 refund, see Refund Information, earlier.

Before You Call

IRS representatives care about the quality of the service provided to you, our customer. You can help us provide accurate, complete answers to your questions by having the following information available.

  • The tax form, schedule, or notice to which your question relates.
  • The facts about your particular situation. The answer to the same question often varies from one taxpayer to another because of differences in their age, income, whether they can be claimed as a dependent, etc.
  • The name of any IRS publication or other source of information that you used to look for the answer.

To maintain your account security, you may be asked for the following information, which you should also have available.

  • Your social security number.
  • The amount of refund and filing status shown on your tax return.
  • The “Caller ID Number” shown at the top of any notice you received.
  • Your personal identification number (PIN) if you have one.
  • Your date of birth.
  • The numbers in your street address.
  • Your ZIP code.

If you are asking for an installment agreement to pay your tax, you will be asked for the highest amount you can pay each month and the date on which you can pay it.

Evaluation of services provided. The IRS uses several methods to evaluate our telephone service. One method is to record telephone calls for quality purposes only. A random sample of recorded calls is selected for review through the quality assurance process. Other methods include listening to live calls in progress and random selection of customers for participation in a customer satisfaction survey.

Making the Call

Call 1-800-829-1040. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay. Our menu allows you to speak your responses or use your keypad to select a menu option. After receiving your menu selection, the system will direct your call to the appropriate assistance.

Before You Hang Up

If you do not fully understand the answer you receive, or you feel our representative may not fully understand your question, our representative needs to know this. He or she will be happy to take additional time to be sure your question is answered fully.

By law, you are responsible for paying your share of federal income tax. If we should make an error in answering your question, you are still responsible for the payment of the correct tax. Should this occur, however, you will not be charged any penalty.

Quick and Easy Access to Tax Help and Tax Forms and Publications

If you live outside the United States, see Pub. 54 to find out how to get help and tax forms and publications.

Internet

You can access IRS.gov 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Online services and help. Go to IRS.gov to obtain information on:

  • Free File - Use free tax software to prepare and e-file your tax return at www.irs.gov/freefile .
  • Interactive Tax Assistant - Provides answers to tax law questions using a probe and response process.
  • Online Services - Conduct business with the IRS electronically.
  • Taxpayer Advocate Service - Helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS.
  • Where's My Refund - Your refund status anytime from anywhere.
  • Free Tax Return Preparation - Locate the site nearest you.
  • Recent Tax Changes
  • Tax information for Innocent Spouses
  • Disaster Tax Relief
  • Identity Theft and Your Tax Records
  • Online Payment Agreement (OPA) Application
  • Applying for Offers in Compromise

View and download tax forms and publications. Click on " Forms & Pubs " or go to www.irs.gov/formspubs to:

  • View or download current and previous year tax forms and publications.
  • Order current year tax forms and publications online.

Online ordering of tax forms and publications. To order tax forms and publications delivered by mail, go to www.irs.gov/formspubs .

  • For current year tax forms and publications, click on " Forms and publications by U.S. mail. "
  • For tax forms and publications on a DVD, click on " Tax products DVD (Pub. 1796). "

TIP: To get information, forms, and publications in Spanish, go to www.irs.gov/espanol

Phone

TeleTax information - 24 hour tax information. Call 1-800-829-4477. See the earlier list of tax topic numbers and details.

Tax forms and publications. Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current and prior year forms, instructions, and publications. You should receive your order within 10 working days.

Tax help and questions. Call 1-800-829-1040. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

National Taxpayer Advocate helpline. Call 1-877-777-4778.

Walk-In

You can pick up some of the most requested forms, instructions, and publications at many IRS offices, post offices, and libraries. Also, some grocery stores, copy centers, city and county government offices, and credit unions have reproducible tax forms and publications available to photocopy or print from a DVD.

Mail

You can order forms, instructions, and publications by completing the order blank, later. You should receive your order within 10 days after we receive your request.

DVD

Buy IRS Pub. 1796, IRS Tax Products DVD, from National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at www.irs.gov/cdorders for $30 (no handling fee) or call 1-877-233-6767 toll-free to buy the DVD for $30 (plus a $6 handling fee). Price and handling fee are subject to change. The first release will ship early January 2012 and the final release will ship early March 2013.

Disclosure, Privacy Act, and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 require that when we ask you for information we must first tell you our legal right to ask for the information, why we are asking for it, and how it will be used. We must also tell you 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.

This notice applies to all papers you file with us, including this tax return. It also applies to any questions we need to ask you so we can complete, correct, or process your return; figure your tax; and collect tax, interest, or penalties.

Our legal right to ask for information is Internal Revenue Code sections 6001, 6011, and 6012(a), and their regulations. They say that you must file a return or statement with us for any tax you are liable for. Your response is mandatory under these sections. Code section 6109 requires you to provide your identifying number on the return. This is so we know who you are, and can process your return and other papers. You must fill in all parts of the tax form that apply to you. But, you do not have to check the boxes for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund or for the third-party designee. You also do not have to provide your daytime phone number.

You are not required to provide the information requested on a form that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act unless the form displays a valid OMB control number. Books or records relating to a form or its instructions must be retained as long as their contents may become material in the administration of any Internal Revenue law.

We ask for tax return information to carry out the tax laws of the United States. We need it to figure and collect the right amount of tax.

If you do not file a return, do not provide the information we ask for, or provide fraudulent information, you may be charged penalties and be subject to criminal prosecution. We may also have to disallow the exemptions, exclusions, credits, deductions, or adjustments shown on your tax return. This could make the tax higher or delay any refund. Interest may also be charged.

Generally, tax returns and return information are confidential, as stated in Code section 6103. However, Code section 6103 allows or requires the Internal Revenue Service to disclose or give the information shown on your tax return to others as described in the Code. For example, we may disclose your tax information to the Department of Justice to enforce the tax laws, both civil and criminal, and to cities, states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. commonwealths or possessions to carry out their tax laws. We may disclose your tax information to the Department of Treasury and contractors for tax administration purposes; and to other persons as necessary to obtain information needed to determine the amount of or to collect the tax you owe. We may disclose your tax information to the Comptroller General of the United States to permit the Comptroller General to review the Internal Revenue Service. We may disclose your tax information to committees of Congress; federal, state, and local child support agencies; and to other federal agencies for the purposes of determining entitlement for benefits or the eligibility for and the repayment of loans. We may also disclose this information to other countries under a tax treaty, to federal and state agencies to enforce federal nontax criminal laws, or to federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat terrorism.

Please keep this notice with your records. It may help you if we ask you for other information. If you have any questions about the rules for filing and giving information, please call or visit any Internal Revenue Service office.

We welcome comments on forms. We try to create forms and instructions that can be easily understood. Often this is difficult to do because our tax laws are very complex. For some people with income mostly from wages, filling in the forms is easy. For others who have businesses, pensions, stocks, rental income, or other investments, it is more difficult. If you have suggestions for making these forms simpler, we would be happy to hear from you. You can email us at taxforms@irs.gov. Please put “Forms Comment” on the subject line. You can also send us comments from www.irs.gov/formspubs. Click on “More Information” and then on “Comment on Tax Forms and Publications.” Or you can write to Internal Revenue Service, Individual and Specialty Forms and Publications Branch, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:I, 1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526, Washington, DC 20224. Do not send your return to this address. Instead, see the addresses at the end of these instructions. Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax forms and instructions.

Estimates of Taxpayer Burden

The table below shows burden estimates based upon current statutory requirements as of January 2013 for taxpayers filing a 2012 Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ tax return. Time spent and out-of-pocket costs are presented separately. Time burden is broken out by taxpayer activity, with record keeping representing the largest component. Out-of-pocket costs include any expenses incurred by taxpayers to prepare and submit their tax returns. Examples include tax return preparation and submission fees, postage and photocopying costs, and tax preparation software costs. While these estimates do not include burden associated with post-filing activities, IRS operational data indicate that electronically prepared and filed returns have fewer arithmetic errors, implying lower post-filing burden.

Reported time and cost burdens are national averages and do not necessarily reflect a “typical” case. Most taxpayers experience lower than average burden, with taxpayer burden varying considerably by taxpayer type. For instance, the estimated average time burden for all taxpayers filing a Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ is 13 hours, with an average cost of $210 per return. This average includes all associated forms and schedules, across all preparation methods and taxpayer activities. The average burden for taxpayers filing Form 1040 is about 16 hours and $270; the average burden for taxpayers filing Form 1040A is about 7 hours and $90; and the average for Form 1040EZ filers is about 4 hours and $40.

Within each of these estimates there is significant variation in taxpayer activity. For example, non-business taxpayers are expected to have an average burden of about 8 hours and $120, while business taxpayers are expected to have an average burden of about 23 hours and $420. Similarly, tax preparation fees and other out-of-pocket costs vary extensively depending on the tax situation of the taxpayer, the type of software or professional preparer used, and the geographic location.

If you have comments concerning the time and cost estimates below, you can contact us at either one of the addresses shown under We welcome comments on forms.

Estimated Average Taxpayer Burden for Individuals by Activity

Primary Form Filed or Type of Taxpayer
Percentage of Returns
Total Time*
Record Keeping
Tax Planning
Form Completion and Submission
All Other
Average Cost (Dollars)**
All taxpayers
100
13
6
2
4
1
$230
Primary forms filed

1040

69
16
8
2
4
1
290

1040A

19
7
3
1
3
1
120

1040EZ

12
4
1
***
2
1
50
Type of taxpayer

Nonbusiness****

70
8
3
1
3
1
150

Business****

30
23
13
3
6
1
410

*Detail may not add to total time due to rounding.

**Dollars rounded to the nearest $10.

***Rounds to less than one dollar.

****You are considered a “business” filer if you file one or more of the following with Form 1040: Schedule C, C-EZ, E, or F or Form 2106 or 2106-EZ. You are considered a “nonbusiness” filer if you did not file any of those schedules or forms with Form 1040 or if you file Form 1040A or 1040EZ.

Order Form for Forms and Publications

Introduction The most frequently ordered forms and publications are listed on the order form below. You will receive two copies of each form, one copy of the instructions, and one copy of each publication you order. To help reduce waste, please order only the items you need to prepare your return.

TIP: For faster ways of getting the items you need, go to www.irs.gov/formspubs .

How To Use the Order Form

Circle the items you need on the order form below. Use the blank spaces to order items not listed. If you need more space, attach a separate sheet of paper.

Print or type your name and address accurately in the space provided below to ensure delivery of your order. Enclose the order form in an envelope and mail it to the IRS address shown here. You should receive your order within 10 days after receipt of your request.

Do not send your tax return to the address shown here. Instead, see the addresses at the end of these instructions.

Mail Your Order Form To:

Internal Revenue Service
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613