skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help


Main Topics
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z #


FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics


Comments
About Tax Map

previous pagePrevious Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Presidential Election Campaign Fund
next pageNext Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Exemptions
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for these Instructions
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP7cb2f574

Filing Status(p17)


rule
spacer

Check only the filing status that applies to you. The ones that will usually give you the lowest tax are listed last.
taxtip
More than one filing status can apply to you. Choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP41d78f68

Line 1(p17)


rule
spacer

taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP5d371cc3

Single(p17)


rule
spacer

You can check the box on line 1 if any of the following was true on December 31, 2008.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP533434cf

Line 2(p17)


rule
spacer

taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP5c172e69

Married Filing Jointly(p17)


rule
spacer

You can check the box on line 2 if any of the following apply.
For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and 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.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP5aa9e4e3

Joint and several tax liability.(p18)

rule
spacer

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. However, see Innocent spouse relief on page 71.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP5430fde0

Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.(p18)

rule
spacer

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 2008, you may elect to be treated as a resident alien and file a joint return. See Pub. 519 for details.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP5dea66bd

Line 3(p18)


rule
spacer

taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP46bee1df

Married Filing Separately(p18)


rule
spacer

If you are married and file a separate return, 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.
Generally, you report only your own income, exemptions, deductions, and credits. Different rules apply to people in community property states. See page 23.
Be sure to enter you spouse's SSN or ITIN on Form 1040A unless your spouse does not have and is not required to have an SSN or ITIN.
taxtip
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 2008. See Married persons who live apart on this page.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP03b768be

Line 4(p18)


rule
spacer

taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP300c34d6

Head of Household(p18)


rule
spacer

taxtip
Special rules may apply for people who had to relocate because of Midwestern storms, tornadoes, or flooding. For details, see Pub. 4492-B.
This filing status is for unmarried individuals who provide a home for certain other persons. (Some married persons who live apart are considered unmarried. See Married persons who live apart on this page. If you are married to a nonresident alien, you may also be considered unmarried. See Nonresident alien spouse on page 19.) You can check the box on line 4 only if you were unmarried or legally separated (according to your state law) under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance at the end of 2008 and either Test 1 or Test 2 next applies.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP2340752a

Test 1.(p18)

rule
spacer

You paid over half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for all of 2008 of your parent whom you can claim as a dependent, except under a multiple support agreement (see page 22). Your parent did not have to live with you.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP543b0e10

Test 2.(p18)

rule
spacer

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 on this page).
  1. Any person whom you can claim as a dependent. But do not include:
    1. Your qualifying child (as defined in Step 1 on page 20) whom you claim as your dependent based on the rule for that begins on page 21,
    2. Any person who is your dependent only because he or she lived with you for all of 2008, or
    3. Any person you claimed as a dependent under a multiple support agreement. See page 22.
  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 2008 return.
  4. Your child who is neither your dependent nor your qualifying child because of the rule for that begins on page 21.
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.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP6980bc03

Dependent.(p18)

rule
spacer

To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c that begin on page 20.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP337bc835

Exception to time lived with you.(p18)

rule
spacer

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 on page 22, if applicable.
If the person for whom you kept up a home was born or died in 2008, you can still file as head of household as long as the home was that person's main home for the part of the year he or she was alive.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP3590bbd3

Keeping up a home.(p18)

rule
spacer

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.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP7110ab7e

Married persons who live apart.(p18)

rule
spacer

Even if you were not divorced or legally separated at the end of 2008, you are considered unmarried if all of the following apply.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP6b33ec2c

Adopted child.(p18)
spacer

An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP57d912dd

Foster child.(p18)
spacer

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.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP7dd44e8b

Nonresident alien spouse.(p19)

rule
spacer

You are considered unmarried for head of household filing status if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you do not choose to treat him or her as a resident alien. To claim head of household filing status, you must also meet Test 1 or Test 2 on page 18.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP1759e085

Line 5(p19)


rule
spacer

taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP18d04644

Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child(p19)


rule
spacer

taxtip
Special rules may apply for people who had to relocate because of Midwestern storms, tornadoes, or flooding. For details, see Pub. 4492-B.
You can check the box on line 5 and use joint return tax rates for 2008 if all of the following apply.
If your spouse died in 2008, you cannot file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Instead, see the instructions for line 2 that begin on page 17.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP5558eb49

Adopted child.(p19)

rule
spacer

An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP653e7cee

Dependent.(p19)

rule
spacer

To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c that begin on page 20.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP2b2518bb

Exception to time lived with you.(p19)

rule
spacer

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 on page 22, if applicable.
A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2008 if the child was born or died in 2008 and your home was the child's home for the entire time he or she was alive.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-011.htm#TXMP7ee0b17b

Keeping up a home.(p19)

rule
spacer

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.
previous pagePrevious Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Presidential Election Campaign Fund
next pageNext Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Exemptions
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for these Instructions