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Many tax professionals electronically file tax returns for their clients. Tax professionals may charge a fee for IRS e-file. Fees can vary depending on the professional and the specific services rendered. April 17, , is the due date for filing your income tax return if you use the calendar year.

For a quick view of due dates for filing a return with or without an extension of time to file discussed later , see Table If you use a fiscal year a year ending on the last day of any month except December, or a week year , your income tax return is due by the 15th day of the 4th month after the close of your fiscal year.

When the due date for doing any act for tax purposes—filing a return, paying taxes, etc. Your paper return is filed on time if it is mailed in an envelope that is properly addressed, has enough postage, and is postmarked by the due date. If you send your return by registered mail, the date of the registration is the postmark date. The registration is evidence that the return was delivered.

If you send a return by certified mail and have your receipt postmarked by a postal employee, the date on the receipt is the postmark date. The postmarked certified mail receipt is evidence that the return was delivered. If you use a private delivery service designated by the IRS to send your return, the postmark date generally is the date the private delivery service records in its database or marks on the mailing label.

The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of this date. To check for any updates to the list of designated private delivery services, go to IRS. The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date. If you use IRS e-file , your return is considered filed on time if the authorized electronic return transmitter postmarks the transmission by the due date.

An authorized electronic return transmitter is a participant in the IRS e-file program that transmits electronic tax return information directly to the IRS. The electronic postmark is a record of when the authorized electronic return transmitter received the transmission of your electronically filed return on its host system. The date and time in your time zone controls whether your electronically filed return is timely.

If you don't file your return by the due date, you may have to pay a failure-to-file penalty and interest. For more information, see Penalties , later. Also see Interest under Amount You Owe. If you were due a refund but you didn't file a return, you generally must file within 3 years from the date the return was due including extensions to get that refund.

If you are a nonresident alien and earn wages subject to U. The 15th day of the 4th month after the end of your fiscal year if you use a fiscal year. If you don't earn wages subject to U.

The 15th day of the 6th month after the end of your fiscal year, if you use a fiscal year. If you must file a final income tax return for a taxpayer who died during the year a decedent , the return is due by the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the decedent's normal tax year.

You may be able to get an extension of time to file your return. There are three types of situations where you may qualify for an extension:. If you don't pay the tax due by the regular due date April 15 for most taxpayers , you will owe interest.

You may also be charged penalties, discussed later. Using IRS e-file electronic filing , or. There are two ways you can use e-file to get an extension of time to file. Complete Form to use as a worksheet. If you think you may owe tax when you file your return, use Part II of the form to estimate your balance due. E-file using your personal computer or a tax professional. You can use a tax software package with your personal computer or a tax professional to file Form electronically. You will need to provide certain information from your tax return.

If you wish to make a payment by direct transfer from your bank account, see Pay online under How To Pay , later, in this chapter. E-file and pay by credit or debit card or by direct transfer from your bank account.

You can get an extension by paying part or all of your estimate of tax due by using a credit or debit card or by direct transfer from your bank account. You can do this by phone or over the Internet. You don't file Form See Pay online under How To Pay , later, in this chapter. You can get an extension of time to file by filing a paper Form Mail it to the address shown in the form instructions. If you want to make a payment with the form, make your check or money order payable to "United States Treasury.

You must request the automatic extension by the due date for your return. You can file your return any time before the 6-month extension period ends. Enter any payment you made related to the extension of time to file on Form , line Also enter "Form " and the amount paid in the space to the left of line 9 or line You are allowed an automatic 2-month extension, without filing Form until June 15, , if you use the calendar year , to file your return and pay any federal income tax due if:.

You are living 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; or. However, if you pay the tax due after the regular due date April 15 for most taxpayers , interest will be charged from that date until the date the tax is paid.

If you served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area, you may be eligible for a longer extension of time to file. See Individuals Serving in Combat Zone , later, for special rules that apply to you. If you file a joint return, only one spouse has to qualify for this automatic extension. If you and your spouse file separate returns, this automatic extension applies only to the spouse who qualifies. To use this automatic extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining what situation qualified you for the extension.

See the situations listed under 2 , earlier. File Form and check the box on line 8. An extension of more than 6 months will generally not be granted.

However, if you are outside the United States and meet certain tests, you may be granted a longer extension. The deadline for filing your tax return, paying any tax you may owe, and filing a claim for refund is automatically extended if you serve in a combat zone.

This applies to members of the Armed Forces, as well as merchant marines serving aboard vessels under the operational control of the Department of Defense, Red Cross personnel, accredited correspondents, and civilians under the direction of the Armed Forces in support of the Armed Forces. For purposes of the automatic extension, the term "combat zone" includes the following areas. The publication also has information about other tax benefits available to military personnel serving in a combat zone.

The deadline for filing your return, paying any tax due, and filing a claim for refund is extended for at least days after the later of: The last day you are in a combat zone or the last day the area qualifies as a combat zone, or. The last day of any continuous qualified hospitalization for injury from service in the combat zone. In addition to the days, your deadline is also extended by the number of days you had left to take action with the IRS when you entered the combat zone.

See Extension of Deadlines in Pub. The rules on the extension for filing your return also apply when you are deployed outside the United States away from your permanent duty station while participating in a designated contingency operation. This section explains how to get ready to fill in your tax return and when to report your income and expenses. It also explains how to complete certain sections of the form. You may find Table helpful when you prepare your paper return. For information you may find useful in preparing an electronic return, see Why Should I File Electronically , earlier.

If you were an employee, you should receive Form W-2 from your employer. You will need the information from this form to prepare your return. Your employer is required to provide or send Form W-2 to you no later than January 31, If it is mailed, you should allow adequate time to receive it before contacting your employer.

If you still don't get the form by February 15, the IRS can help you by requesting the form from your employer. When you request IRS help, be prepared to provide the following information. Your employer's name, address including ZIP code , and phone number. If you received certain types of income, you may receive a Form If it is mailed, you should allow adequate time to receive it before contacting the payer.

If you still don't get the form by February 15 or by March 1, , if furnished by a broker , call the IRS for help. You must figure your taxable income on the basis of a tax year. A "tax year" is an annual accounting period used for keeping records and reporting income and expenses.

You must account for your income and expenses in a way that clearly shows your taxable income. The way you do this is called an accounting method. This section explains which accounting periods and methods you can use. Most individual tax returns cover a calendar year—the 12 months from January 1 through December If you don't use a calendar year, your accounting period is a fiscal year.

A regular fiscal year is a month period that ends on the last day of any month except December. A week fiscal year varies from 52 to 53 weeks and always ends on the same day of the week. You choose your accounting period tax year when you file your first income tax return. For more information on accounting periods, including how to change your accounting period, see Pub. Your accounting method is the way you account for your income and expenses. Most taxpayers use either the cash method or an accrual method.

You choose a method when you file your first income tax return. If you want to change your accounting method after that, you generally must get IRS approval. Use Form to request an accounting method change. If you use this method, report all items of income in the year in which you actually or constructively receive them. Generally, you deduct all expenses in the year you actually pay them. This is the method most individual taxpayers use. Generally, you constructively receive income when it is credited to your account or set apart in any way that makes it available to you.

You don't need to have physical possession of it. For example, interest credited to your bank account on December 31, , is taxable income to you in if you could have withdrawn it in even if the amount isn't entered in your records or withdrawn until If your employer uses your wages to pay your debts, or if your wages are attached or garnisheed, the full amount is constructively received by you.

You must include these wages in income for the year you would have received them. If another person cancels or pays your debts but not as a gift or loan , you have constructively received the amount and generally must include it in your gross income for the year. See Canceled Debts in chapter 12 for more information.

If a third party is paid income from property you own, you have constructively received the income. It is the same as if you had actually received the income and paid it to the third party. Income an agent receives for you is income you constructively received in the year the agent receives it.

If you indicate in a contract that your income is to be paid to another person, you must include the amount in your gross income when the other person receives it.

A valid check that was made available to you before the end of the tax year is constructively received by you in that year. A check that was "made available to you" includes a check you have already received, but not cashed or deposited.

It also includes, for example, your last paycheck of the year that your employer made available for you to pick up at the office before the end of the year. It is constructively received by you in that year whether or not you pick it up before the end of the year or wait to receive it by mail after the end of the year.

There may be facts to show that you didn't constructively receive income. Alice Johnson, a teacher, agreed to her school board's condition that, in her absence, she would receive only the difference between her regular salary and the salary of a substitute teacher hired by the school board.

Therefore, Alice didn't constructively receive the amount by which her salary was reduced to pay the substitute teacher. If you use an accrual method, you generally report income when you earn it, rather than when you receive it. You generally deduct your expenses when you incur them, rather than when you pay them. An advance payment of income is generally included in gross income in the year you receive it.

Your method of accounting doesn't matter as long as the income is available to you. An advance payment may include rent or interest you receive in advance and pay for services you will perform later.

A limited deferral until the next tax year may be allowed for certain advance payments. For more information on accounting methods, including how to change your accounting method, see Pub. You must enter your SSN on your return. If you are married, enter the SSNs for both you and your spouse, whether you file jointly or separately. If you are filing a joint return, include the SSNs in the same order as the names.

Use this same order in submitting other forms and documents to the IRS. Check that both the name and SSN on your Form , W-2, and agree with your social security card.

If they don't, certain deductions and credits on your Form 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 you changed your name because of marriage, divorce, etc. This prevents delays in processing your return and issuing refunds. It also safeguards your future social security benefits. You must provide the SSN of each dependent you claim, regardless of the dependent's age. This requirement applies to all dependents not just your children claimed on your tax return. If your child was born and died in and didn't have an SSN, enter "DIED" in column 2 of line 6c Form or A and include a copy of the child's birth certificate, death certificate, or hospital records.

The document must show that the child was born alive. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get an SSN. If you are 12 or older and have never been assigned an SSN, you must appear in person with this proof at an SSA office.

If you have any questions about which documents you can use as proof of age, identity, or citizenship, contact your SSA office. If your dependent doesn't have an SSN by the time your return is due, you may want to ask for an extension of time to file, as explained earlier under When Do I Have To File. If you don't provide a required SSN or if you provide an incorrect SSN, your tax may be increased and any refund may be reduced.

If you are in the process of adopting a child who is a U. You have a child living with you who was placed in your home for legal adoption.

You are eligible to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return. After the adoption is final, you must apply for an SSN for the child. You file a separate return and claim an exemption for your spouse, or. This also applies to an alien spouse or dependent. It usually takes about 7 weeks to get an ITIN. If you are applying for an ITIN for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent in order to file your tax return, attach your completed tax return to your Form W See the Form W-7 instructions for how and where to file.

An ITIN is for federal tax use only. It doesn't entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immigration status under U. See the discussion on Penalties , later, for more information.

This fund helps pay for Presidential election campaigns. The fund also helps pay for pediatric medical research. If you check a box, your tax or refund won't change. 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. 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.

If you are asked to enter the smaller or larger of two equal amounts, enter that amount. If you file a paper return and you need to enter a negative amount, put the amount in parentheses rather than using a minus sign. To combine positive and negative amounts, add all the positive amounts together and then subtract the negative amounts. Depending on the form you file and the items reported on your return, you may have to complete additional schedules and forms and attach them to your paper return.

You may be able to file a paperless return using IRS e-file. There's nothing to attach or mail, not even your Forms W Form W-2 is a statement from your employer of wages and other compensation paid to you and taxes withheld from your pay.

You should have a Form W-2 from each employer. If you file a paper return, be sure to attach a copy of Form W-2 in the place indicated on the front page of your return. Attach it to the front page of your paper return, not to any attachments. For more information, see Form W-2 in chapter 4. If you received a Form R showing federal income tax withheld, and you file a paper return, attach a copy of that form in the place indicated on the front page of your return.

If you file a paper return, attach any forms and schedules behind Form A in order of the "Attachment Sequence Number" shown in the upper right corner of the form or schedule. Then arrange all other statements or attachments in the same order as the forms and schedules they relate to and attach them last.

Don't attach items unless required to do so. If you file a paper return, attach any forms and schedules behind Form in order of the "Attachment Sequence Number" shown in the upper right corner of the form or schedule. You can authorize the IRS to discuss your return with your preparer, a friend, family member, or any other person you choose.

If you check the "Yes" box in the Third party designee area of your tax return and provide the information required, you are authorizing:.

The IRS to call the designee to answer any questions that arise during the processing of your return, and. Call the IRS for information about the processing of your return or the status of your refund or payments;.

Respond to certain IRS notices about math errors, offsets see Refunds , later , and return preparation. The authorization will automatically end no later than the due date without any extensions for filing your tax return. This is April 15, , for most people. You must sign and date your return. If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse must sign the return, even if only one of you had income.

If you file a joint return, both spouses are generally liable for the tax, and the entire tax liability may be assessed against either spouse. If you electronically file your return, you can use an electronic signature to sign your return. If you file a joint return, enter both your occupation and your spouse's occupation. Entering your daytime phone number may help speed the processing of your return. Absent from the United States for a continuous period of at least 60 days before the due date for filing your return, or.

A return signed by an agent in any of these cases must have a power of attorney POA attached that authorizes the agent to sign for you. You can use a POA that states that the agent is granted authority to sign the return, or you can use Form Part I of Form must state that the agent is granted authority to sign the return. If you are a court-appointed conservator, guardian, or other fiduciary for a mentally or physically incompetent individual who has to file a tax return, sign your name for the individual.

If the taxpayer is mentally competent but physically unable to sign the return or POA, a valid "signature" is defined under state law. It can be anything that clearly indicates the taxpayer's intent to sign. For example, the taxpayer's "X" with the signatures of two witnesses might be considered a valid signature under a state's law.

If your spouse is unable to sign for any reason, see Signing a joint return in chapter 2. Generally, anyone you pay to prepare, assist in preparing, or review your tax return must sign it and fill in the other blanks, including their Preparer Tax Identification Number PTIN , in the paid preparer's area of your return.

Many preparers are required to e-file the tax returns they prepare. They sign these e-filed returns using their tax preparation software. However, you can choose to have your return completed on paper if you prefer. In that case, the paid preparer can sign the paper return manually or use a rubber stamp or mechanical device.

The preparer is personally responsible for affixing his or her signature to the return. If the preparer is self-employed that is, not employed by any person or business to prepare the return , he or she should check the self-employed box in the Paid Preparer Use Only space on the return. If you prepare your own return, leave this area blank. If another person prepares your return and doesn't charge you, that person shouldn't sign your return.

When you complete your return, you will determine if you paid more income tax than you owed. If so, you can get a refund of the amount you overpaid or, if you file Form or Form A, you can choose to apply all or part of the overpayment to your next year's estimated tax. If your refund for is large, you may want to decrease the amount of income tax withheld from your pay in See chapter 4 for more information.

Instead of getting a paper check, you may be able to have your refund deposited directly into your checking or savings account, including an individual retirement arrangement. Follow the form instructions to request direct deposit. Don't request a deposit of any part of your refund to an account that isn't in your name. Don't allow your tax preparer to deposit any part of your refund into his or her account.

The number of direct deposits to a single account or prepaid debit card is limited to three refunds a year. After this limit is exceeded, paper checks will be sent instead.

Learn more at IRS. You must establish the IRA at a bank or financial institution before you request direct deposit. Treasury marketable securities and savings bonds. For more information, go to www.

Complete Form and attach it to your return. If your overpayment is less than one dollar, you won't get a refund unless you ask for it in writing. Cash your tax refund check soon after you receive it. Checks expire the last business day of the 12th month of issue. If your check has expired, you can apply to the IRS to have it reissued. If you receive a check for more than the refund you claimed, don't cash the check until you receive a notice explaining the difference.

If your refund check is for less than you claimed, it should be accompanied by a notice explaining the difference. Cashing the check doesn't stop you from claiming an additional amount of refund. If you didn't receive a notice and you have any questions about the amount of your refund, you should wait 2 weeks. This includes past-due federal income tax, other federal debts such as student loans , state income tax, child and spousal support payments, and state unemployment compensation debt.

You will be notified if the refund you claimed has been offset against your debts. When a joint return is filed and only one spouse owes a past-due amount, the other spouse can be considered an injured spouse. An injured spouse should file Form , Injured Spouse Allocation, if both of the following apply and the spouse wants a refund of his or her share of the overpayment shown on the joint return.

You made and reported tax payments such as federal income tax withheld from your wages or estimated tax payments , or claimed a refundable tax credit see the credits listed under Who Should File , earlier. If the injured spouse's residence was in a community property state at any time during the tax year, special rules may apply. See the Instructions for Form You should receive your refund within 14 weeks from the date the paper return is filed or within 11 weeks from the date the return is filed electronically.

If you filed your joint return and your joint refund was offset, file Form by itself. When filed after offset, it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your refund. Don't attach the previously filed tax return, but do include copies of all Forms W-2 and W-2G for both spouses and any Forms that show income tax withheld.

A separate Form must be filed for each tax year to be considered. An injured spouse claim is different from an innocent spouse relief request. An injured spouse uses Form to request the division of the tax overpayment attributed to each spouse.

An innocent spouse uses Form , Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to request relief from joint liability for tax, interest, and penalties on a joint return for items of the other spouse or former spouse that were incorrectly reported on the joint return.

For information on innocent spouses, see Relief from joint responsibility under Filing a Joint Return in chapter 2. When you complete your return, you will determine if you have paid the full amount of tax that you owe.

If you owe additional tax, you should pay it with your return. If the IRS figures your tax for you, you will receive a bill for any tax that is due.

You should pay this bill within 30 days or by the due date of your return, if later. If you don't pay your tax when due, you may have to pay a failure-to-pay penalty. See Penalties , later. For more information about your balance due, see Pub. If the amount you owe for is large, you may want to increase the amount of income tax withheld from your pay or make estimated tax payments for You can pay online, by phone, by mobile device, in cash, or by check or money order.

Don't include any estimated tax payment for in this payment. Instead, make the estimated tax payment separately. This penalty also applies to other forms of payment if the IRS doesn't receive the funds. Paying online is convenient and secure and helps make sure we get your payments on time.

To pay your taxes online or for more information, go to IRS. Paying by phone is another safe and secure method of paying electronically. Use one of the following methods. To pay using a debit or credit 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.

For the latest details on how to pay by phone, go to IRS. To make a cash payment, you must first be registered online at www. Make your check or money order payable to "United States Treasury" for the full amount due. Don't attach the payment to your return. Show your correct name, address, SSN, daytime phone number, and the tax year and form number on the front of your check or money order. If you are filing a joint return, enter the SSN shown first on your tax return. Don't include any estimated tax payment in the payment for your income tax return.

See chapter 4 for information on how to pay estimated tax. Interest is charged on tax you don't pay by the due date of your return. Interest is charged even if you get an extension of time for filing. If the IRS figures your tax for you, to avoid interest for late payment, you must pay the bill within 30 days of the date of the bill or by the due date of your return, whichever is later. Interest is charged on the failure-to-file penalty, the accuracy-related penalty, and the fraud penalty from the due date of the return including extensions to the date of payment.

All or part of any interest you were charged can be forgiven if the interest is due to an unreasonable error or delay by an officer or employee of the IRS in performing a ministerial or managerial act. A ministerial act is a procedural or mechanical act that occurs during the processing of your case. A managerial act includes personnel transfers and extended personnel training. A decision concerning the proper application of federal tax law isn't a ministerial or managerial act.

Interest and certain penalties may also be suspended for a limited period if you filed your return by the due date including extensions and the IRS doesn't provide you with a notice specifically stating your liability and the basis for it before the close of the month period beginning on the later of:.

However, you will be charged interest and may be charged a late payment penalty on the tax not paid by the date your return is due, even if your request to pay in installments is granted. If your request is granted, you must also pay a fee.

To limit the interest and penalty charges, pay as much of the tax as possible with your return. But before requesting an installment agreement, you should consider other less costly alternatives, such as a bank loan or credit card payment. To apply for an installment agreement online, go to IRS. You can also use Form In addition to paying by check or money order, you can use a credit or debit card or direct payment from your bank account to make installment agreement payments.

See How To Pay , earlier. You can make a contribution gift to reduce debt held by the public. If you wish to do so, make a separate check payable to "Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

Or, enclose your separate check in the envelope with your income tax return. Don't add this gift to any tax you owe. For information on making this type of gift online, go to www. You may be able to deduct this gift as a charitable contribution on next year's tax return if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form After you have completed your return, fill in your name and address in the appropriate area of Form , Form A, or Form EZ.

If your post office doesn't deliver mail to your street address and you have a P. If your address is outside the United States or its possessions or territories, enter the city name on the appropriate line of your return.

Don't enter any other information on that line, but also complete the line listing: Follow the country's practice for entering the postal code and the name of the province, county, or state.

After you complete your return, you must send it to the IRS. You can mail it or you may be able to file it electronically. Mail your paper return to the address shown in your tax return instructions. After you send your return to the IRS, you may have some questions. This section discusses concerns you may have about recordkeeping, your refund, and what to do if you move. This part discusses why you should keep records, what kinds of records you should keep, and how long you should keep them.

You must keep records so that you can prepare a complete and accurate income tax return. The law doesn't require any special form of records. However, you should keep all receipts, canceled checks or other proof of payment, and any other records to support any deductions or credits you claim. If you file a claim for refund, you must be able to prove by your records that you have overpaid your tax. This part doesn't discuss the records you should keep when operating a business.

For information on business records, see Pub. Identify sources of income. Your records can identify the sources of your income to help you separate business from nonbusiness income and taxable from nontaxable income.

Keep track of expenses. You can use your records to identify expenses for which you can claim a deduction. This helps you determine if you can itemize deductions on your tax return.

Keep track of the basis of property. You need to keep records that show the basis of your property. This includes the original cost or other basis of the property and any improvements you made. You need records to prepare your tax return. Support items reported on tax returns. The IRS may question an item on your return. Your records will help you explain any item and arrive at the correct tax.

The IRS doesn't require you to keep your records in a particular way. Keep them in a manner that allows you and the IRS to determine your correct tax. You can use your checkbook to keep a record of your income and expenses. You also need to keep documents, such as receipts and sales slips, that can help prove a deduction. In this section you will find guidance about basic records that everyone should keep.

The section also provides guidance about specific records you should keep for certain items. All requirements that apply to hard copy books and records also apply to electronic storage systems that maintain tax books and records.

When you replace hard copy books and records, you must maintain the electronic storage systems for as long as they are material to the administration of tax law. You should keep copies of your tax returns as part of your tax records. They can help you prepare future tax returns, and you will need them if you file an amended return or are audited.

Copies of your returns and other records can be helpful to your survivor or the executor or administrator of your estate. If necessary, you can request a copy of a return and all attachments including Form W-2 from the IRS by using Form There is a charge for a copy of a return. For information on the cost and where to file, see the Instructions for Form If you just need information from your return, you can order a transcript in one of the following ways. There is no fee for a transcript.

For more information, see Form T. Basic records are documents that everybody should keep. These are the records that prove your income and expenses.

If you own a home or investments, your basic records should contain documents related to those items. Your basic records prove the amounts you report as income on your tax return. Your income may include wages, dividends, interest, and partnership or S corporation distributions.

If you receive a Form W-2, keep Copy C until you begin receiving social security benefits. This will help protect your benefits in case there is a question about your work record or earnings in a particular year. Your basic records prove the expenses for which you claim a deduction or credit on your tax return.

Your deductions may include alimony, charitable contributions, mortgage interest, and real estate taxes. You also may have child care expenses for which you can claim a credit. Your basic records should enable you to determine the basis or adjusted basis of your home. You need this information to determine if you have a gain or loss when you sell your home or to figure depreciation if you use part of your home for business purposes or for rent.

Your records should show the purchase price, settlement or closing costs, and the cost of any improvements. They also may show any casualty losses deducted and insurance reimbursements for casualty losses. For detailed information on basis, including which settlement or closing costs are included in the basis of your home, see chapter When you sell your home, your records should show the sales price and any selling expenses, such as commissions.

For information on selling your home, see chapter Your basic records should enable you to determine your basis in an investment and whether you have a gain or loss when you sell it.

Investments include stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Your records should show the purchase price, sales price, and commissions. They may also show any reinvested dividends, stock splits and dividends, load charges, and original issue discount OID. For information on stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, see chapters 8 , 13 , 14 , and One of your basic records is proof of payment. You should keep these records to support certain amounts shown on your tax return. Proof of payment alone isn't proof that the item claimed on your return is allowable.

You also should keep other documents that will help prove that the item is allowable. Generally, you prove payment with a cash receipt, financial account statement, credit card statement, canceled check, or substitute check. If you make payments in cash, you should get a dated and signed receipt showing the amount and the reason for the payment.

If you make payments using your bank account, you may be able to prove payment with an account statement. You may be able to prove payment with a legible financial account statement prepared by your bank or other financial institution.

You may have deductible expenses withheld from your paycheck, such as union dues or medical insurance premiums. You should keep your year-end or final pay statements as proof of payment of these expenses.

You must keep your records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, this means you must keep records that support items shown on your return until the period of limitations for that return runs out. The period of limitations is the period of time in which you can amend your return to claim a credit or refund or the IRS can assess additional tax. Table contains the periods of limitations that apply to income tax returns.

Unless otherwise stated, the years refer to the period beginning after the return was filed. Returns filed before the due date are treated as being filed on the due date. Keep records relating to property until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property in a taxable disposition. You must keep these records to figure your basis for computing gain or loss when you sell or otherwise dispose of the property.

Generally, if you received property in a nontaxable exchange, your basis in that property is the same as the basis of the property you gave up. You must keep the records on the old property, as well as the new property, until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the new property in a taxable disposition.

You can go online to check the status of your refund 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return, or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. If you filed Form with your return, allow 14 weeks 11 weeks if you filed electronically before checking your refund status. Be sure to have a copy of your tax return handy because you will need to know the filing status, the first SSN shown on the return, and the exact whole-dollar amount of the refund.

To check on your refund, do one of the following. If the refund is made within 45 days after the due date of your return, no interest will be paid. If you file your return after the due date including extensions , no interest will be paid if the refund is made within 45 days after the date you filed. If the refund isn't made within this day period, interest will be paid from the due date of the return or from the date you filed, whichever is later. Accepting a refund check doesn't change your right to claim an additional refund and interest.

File your claim within the period of time that applies. See Amended Returns and Claims for Refund , later. If you don't accept a refund check, no more interest will be paid on the overpayment included in the check. All or part of any interest you were charged on an erroneous refund generally will be forgiven.

Any interest charged for the period before demand for repayment was made will be forgiven unless: You, or a person related to you, caused the erroneous refund in any way; or. If you have moved, file your return using your new address. If you move after you filed your return, you should give the IRS clear and concise notification of your change of address.

The notification may be written, electronic, or oral. Send written notification to the Internal Revenue Service Center serving your old address. You can use Form , Change of Address. If you are expecting a refund, also notify the post office serving your old address. This will help in forwarding your check to your new address unless you chose direct deposit of your refund.

For more information, see Revenue Procedure , I. Errors may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you. If you discover an error, you can file an amended return or claim for refund. You should have claimed a different filing status. However, an executor may be able to make this change for a deceased spouse. If you need a copy of your return, see Copies of tax returns under Kinds of Records To Keep , earlier, in this chapter.

Use Form X to correct a return you have already filed. On Form X, enter your income, deductions, and credits as you originally reported them on your return; the changes you are making; and the corrected amounts. Then figure the tax on the corrected amount of taxable income and the amount you owe or your refund.

If you owe tax, pay the full amount with Form X. The tax owed won't be subtracted from any amount you had credited to your estimated tax. See Installment Agreement , earlier. If you overpaid tax, you can have all or part of the overpayment refunded to you, or you can apply all or part of it to your estimated tax. If you choose to get a refund, it will be sent separately from any refund shown on your original return. When completing Form X, don't forget to show the year of your original return and explain all changes you made.

Be sure to attach any forms or schedules needed to explain your changes. Mail your Form X to the Internal Revenue Service Center serving the area where you now live as shown in the instructions to the form. However, if you are filing Form X in response to a notice you received from the IRS, mail it to the address shown on the notice. Generally, you must file your claim for a credit or refund within 3 years after the date you filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

Returns filed before the due date without regard to extensions are considered filed on the due date even if the due date was a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. These time periods are suspended while you are financially disabled , discussed later. If the last day for claiming a credit or refund is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, you can file the claim on the next business day.

If you don't file a claim within this period, you may not be entitled to a credit or a refund. Generally, a protective claim is a formal claim or amended return for credit or refund normally based on current litigation or expected changes in tax law or other legislation. You file a protective claim when your right to a refund is contingent on future events and may not be determinable until after the statute of limitations expires.

A valid protective claim doesn't have to list a particular dollar amount or demand an immediate refund. However, a valid protective claim must: Mail your protective claim for refund to the address listed in the instructions for Form X under Where To File. Generally, the IRS will delay action on the protective claim until the contingency is resolved.

This time period is suspended while you are financially disabled , discussed later. Payments, including estimated tax payments, made before the due date without regard to extensions of the original return are considered paid on the due date. For example, income tax withheld during the year is considered paid on the due date of the return, April 15 for most taxpayers.

The situation is the same as in Example 1 , except you filed your return on October 30, , 2 weeks after the extension period ended.

You filed your tax return on April 15, The time periods for claiming a refund are suspended for the period in which you are financially disabled.

For a joint income tax return, only one spouse has to be financially disabled for the time period to be suspended. You are financially disabled if you are unable to manage your financial affairs because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

To claim that you are financially disabled, you must send in the following written statements with your claim for refund. The physician's medical opinion that the impairment prevented you from managing your financial affairs;. The physician's medical opinion that the impairment was or can be expected to result in death, or that its duration has lasted, or can be expected to last, at least 12 months;.

The specific time period to the best of the physician's knowledge ; and. The following certification signed by the physician: A statement made by the person signing the claim for credit or refund that no person, including your spouse, was authorized to act on your behalf in financial matters during the period of disability or the exact dates that a person was authorized to act for you.

If you file a claim for one of the items in the following list, the dates and limits discussed earlier may not apply. These items, and where to get more information, are as follows.

See Nonbusiness Bad Debts in chapter See Worthless securities in chapter Claim based on an agreement with the IRS extending the period for assessment of tax. Claims are usually processed 8—12 weeks after they are filed.

Your claim may be accepted as filed, disallowed, or subject to examination. If a claim is examined, the procedures are the same as in the examination of a tax return. If your claim is disallowed, you will receive an explanation of why it was disallowed. You can sue for a refund in court, but you must first file a timely claim with the IRS.

If the IRS disallows your claim or doesn't act on your claim within 6 months after you file it, you can then take your claim to court. For information on the burden of proof in a court proceeding, see Pub.

You are filing a claim for a credit or refund based solely on contested income tax or on estate tax or gift tax issues considered in your previously examined returns, and. When you file your claim with the IRS, you get the direct method by requesting in writing that your claim be immediately rejected. A notice of claim disallowance will be sent to you.

You have 2 years from the date of mailing of the notice of claim disallowance to file a refund suit in the United States District Court having jurisdiction or in the United States Court of Federal Claims. If you receive a refund because of your amended return, interest will be paid on it from the due date of your original return or the date you filed your original return, whichever is later, to the date you filed the amended return.

However, if the refund isn't made within 45 days after you file the amended return, interest will be paid up to the date the refund is paid. Your refund may be reduced by an additional tax liability that has been assessed against you.

Also, your refund may be reduced by amounts you owe for past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or certain other federal nontax debts, such as student loans.

If your spouse owes these debts, see Offset against debts under Refunds , earlier, for the correct refund procedures to follow. If your return is changed for any reason, it may affect your state income tax liability. This includes changes made as a result of an examination of your return by the IRS. Contact your state tax agency for more information. If you don't file your return and pay your tax by the due date, you may have to pay a penalty. You may also have to pay a penalty if you substantially understate your tax, understate a reportable transaction, file an erroneous claim for refund or credit, file a frivolous tax submission, or fail to supply your SSN or individual taxpayer identification number.

If you provide fraudulent information on your return, you may have to pay a civil fraud penalty. If you don't file your return by the due date including extensions , you may have to pay a failure-to-file penalty. The penalty is based on the tax not paid by the due date without regard to extensions.

You won't have to pay the penalty if you show that you failed to file on time because of reasonable cause and not because of willful neglect. The monthly rate of the failure-to-pay penalty is half the usual rate 0. You must have filed your return by the due date including extensions to qualify for this reduced penalty.

You won't have to pay the penalty if you can show that you had a good reason for not paying your tax on time. You may have to pay an accuracy-related penalty if you underpay your tax because: You claim tax benefits for a transaction that lacks economic substance, or. The penalty won't be figured on any part of an underpayment on which the fraud penalty discussed later is charged. The term "negligence" includes a failure to make a reasonable attempt to comply with the tax law or to exercise ordinary and reasonable care in preparing a return.

Negligence also includes failure to keep adequate books and records. You won't have to pay a negligence penalty if you have a reasonable basis for a position you took. The term "disregard" includes any careless, reckless, or intentional disregard. You can avoid the penalty for disregard of rules or regulations if you adequately disclose on your return a position that has at least a reasonable basis.

See Disclosure statement , later. Oregon, for one, made major legislative changes to its marijuana tax structure after voters approved legalization in Cities and counties each were supposed to get 10 percent of the total revenue collected.

In its bid to start collecting a sales tax on internet purchases, Colorado could run afoul of the Supreme Court's ruling. The once-quiet place reserved for technical experts is increasingly being held hostage in political fights. The annual National League of Cities report signals potentially more challenging times ahead for many localities.

The IRS has moved to block high-tax states from circumventing GOP limits on tax deductions -- but not in every way possible. In a year when the federal government is dialing back financial regulations, Colorado could become the 16th state to limit the notoriously high interest rates on payday loans.

This website uses cookies in order to offer you the most relevant information. As Towns Ban Pot, States Withhold Legalization's Profits Massachusetts is deciding whether to keep marijuana tax revenue from anti-pot municipalities, stirring a debate that some states have already settled and others may face in the future.

Some states just say no. Liz Farmer lfarmer governing. States' Capital Budgets Have Become Partisan Battlegrounds The once-quiet place reserved for technical experts is increasingly being held hostage in political fights.

A Troubling Trend for Cities:

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