The information in chapter 3 will tell you if a U.S. income tax return is required for your situation. If a U.S. return is required, your next step is to see if you meet the filing requirements. If you do meet the filing requirements, the information presented in this chapter will help you understand the special procedures involved. This chapter discusses:
- Filing requirements,
- When to file your return,
- Where to send your return,
- How to adjust your deductions and credits if you are excluding income from American Samoa or Puerto Rico,
- How to make estimated tax payments and pay self-employment tax, and
- How to request assistance in resolving instances of double taxation.
If you are not required to file a possession tax return that includes your worldwide income, you must generally file a U.S. income tax return if your gross income is at least the amount shown in Table 4-1, later, for your filing status and age.
If you were a bona fide resident of American Samoa or Puerto Rico and are able to exclude your possession income from your U.S. tax return, your filing requirement may be less than the amount in Table 4-1. For details, see the information under Filing Requirement if Possession Income Is Excluded, below.
Some individuals (such as those who can be claimed as a dependent on another person's return or who owe certain taxes, such as self-employment tax) must file a tax return even though the gross income is less than the amount shown in Table 4-1 for their filing status and age. For more information, see the Form 1040 instructions.taxmap/pubs/p570-013.htm#en_us_publink100097619
If you were a bona fide resident of American Samoa or Puerto Rico and qualify to exclude possession income on your U.S. tax return, you must determine your adjusted filing requirement. Generally, your filing requirement is based on the total of your (and your spouse's if filing a joint return) personal exemption(s) plus your standard deduction.taxmap/pubs/p570-013.htm#en_us_publink100097620
When figuring your filing requirement, your personal exemption is allowed in full. Do not reduce it for this purpose. Do not include exemptions for your dependents.taxmap/pubs/p570-013.htm#en_us_publink100097621
Unless your filing status is married filing separately, the minimum income level at which you must file a return is based, in part, on the standard deduction for your filing status and age. Because the standard deduction applies to all types of income, it must be divided between your excluded income and income from other sources. Multiply the regular standard deduction for your filing status and age (this is zero if you are married filing a separate return; all others, see Form 1040 instructions) by the following fraction:
| ||Gross income subject to U.S. income tax|| |
| ||Gross income from all sources|
(including excluded possession income)
Barbara Spruce, a U.S. citizen, is single, under 65, and a bona fide resident of American Samoa. During 2008, she received $20,000 of income from American Samoa sources (qualifies for exclusion) and $8,000 of income from sources outside the possession (subject to U.S. income tax). Her allowable standard deduction for 2008 is figured as follows:
| || $8,000 |
(regular standard deduction)
Figure your adjusted filing requirement by adding the amount of your allowable standard deduction to the amount of your personal exemption. You must file a U.S. income tax return if your gross income is at least the amount shown on line 3 of the following worksheet.
|1.||Enter the allowable standard deduction you figured earlier under Allowable standard deduction. If your filing status is married filing separately, enter -0- || |
|2.||Personal exemption. If your filing status is married filing jointly, enter $7,000; if someone can claim you as a dependent, enter -0-; otherwise, enter $3,500 || |
|3.||Add lines 1 and 2. You must file a U.S. income tax return if your gross income from sources outside the relevant possession is at least this amount || |
|Table 4-1. 2008 Filing Requirements Chart for Most Taxpayers|
|IF your filing status is...||AND at the end of 2008 you were*...||THEN file a return if your gross income** was at least...|
|single||under 65||$ 8,950 |
|65 or older||$10,300 |
|married filing jointly***||under 65 (both spouses)||$17,900 |
|65 or older (one spouse)||$18,950 |
|65 or older (both spouses)||$20,000 |
|married filing separately||any age||$ 3,500 |
|head of household||under 65||$11,500 |
|65 or older||$12,850 |
|qualifying widow(er) |
with dependent child
|under 65||$14,400 |
|65 or older||$15,450 |
|* If you were born on January 1, 1944, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2008.|
|** Gross income means 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 (even if you can exclude part or all of it). Do not include social security benefits unless (a) you are married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time during 2008, or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income is more than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Publication 915, Social Security Benefits and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits, 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 2008 (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $3,500, you must file a return regardless of your age. |taxmap/pubs/p570-013.htm#en_us_publink100097625
James and Joan Thompson, one over 65, are U.S. citizens and bona fide residents of Puerto Rico during the entire tax year. They file a joint income tax return. During 2008, they received $35,000 of income from Puerto Rican sources (qualifies for exclusion) and $6,000 of income from sources outside Puerto Rico (subject to U.S. income tax). Their allowable standard deduction for 2008 is figured as follows:
| || $6,000 |
|×||$11,950 (regular standard deduction)||=||$1,749|| |
The Thompsons do not have to file a U.S. income tax return because their gross income subject to U.S. tax ($6,000) is less than their allowable standard deduction plus their personal exemptions ($1,749 + $7,000 = $8,749).
Barbara Spruce (see Example under Allowable standard deduction, earlier), however, must file a U.S. income tax return because her gross income subject to U.S. tax ($8,000) is more than her allowable standard deduction plus her personal exemption ($1,557 + $3,500 = $5,057).
If you must file a U.S. income tax return, you may be able to file a paperless return using IRS e-file. See your form instructions or visit our website at www.irs.gov