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IRS.gov Website
Instructions for Form 1040
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP1c0798f7

Filing Status(p12)

rule
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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP0df7c985

Line 1(p12)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP497935d2

Single(p12)

rule
You can check the box on line 1 if any of the following was true on December 31, 2010.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP767ecb6e

Line 2(p12)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP6353a287

Married Filing Jointly(p12)

rule
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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP40f07215
Joint and several tax liability.(p13)
rule
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 87.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP42dd823b
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.(p13)
rule
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 2010, you may elect to be treated as a resident alien and file a joint return. See Pub. 519 for details.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP0af5f352

Line 3(p13)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP4d1fbbc2

Married Filing Separately(p13)

rule
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 19.
Be sure to enter your spouse's SSN or ITIN on Form 1040 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 2010. See Married persons who live apart on this page.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP44052b47

Line 4(p13)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP21735abb

Head of Household(p13)

rule
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. Check the box on line 4 only if you are unmarried (or considered unmarried) and either Test 1 or Test 2 applies.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP34684f4d
Test 1.(p13)
rule
You paid over half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for all of 2010 of your parent whom you can claim as a dependent, except under a multiple support agreement (see page 17). Your parent did not have to live with you.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP58aee0ab
Test 2.(p13)
rule
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 whom you claim as your dependent because of the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents that begins on page 16,
    2. Any person who is your dependent only because he or she lived with you for all of 2010, or
    3. Any person you claimed as a dependent under a multiple support agreement. See page 17.
  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 2010 return.
  4. Your child who, even though you are the custodial parent, is neither your dependent nor your qualifying child because of the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents that begins on page 16.
    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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP4780724e
Qualifying child.(p13)
rule
To find out if someone is your qualifying child, see Step 1 on page 15.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP6684b040
Dependent.(p13)
rule
To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c that begin on page 15.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP653ddac2
Exception to time lived with you.(p13)
rule
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 17, if applicable.
If the person for whom you kept up a home was born or died in 2010, 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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP21ec0456
Keeping up a home.(p13)
rule
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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP05aa6b37
Married persons who live apart.(p13)
rule
Even if you were not divorced or legally separated at the end of 2010, you are considered unmarried if all of the following apply.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP4a122abb
Adopted child.(p13)
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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP2022a692
Foster child.(p13)
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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP21c10a86

Line 5(p13)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP1e513e7b

Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child(p13)

rule
You can check the box on line 5 and use joint return tax rates for 2010 if all of the following apply.
If your spouse died in 2010, you cannot file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Instead, see the instructions for line 2 that begin on page 12.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP683981a2
Adopted child.(p14)
rule
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/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP41bcf2c3
Dependent.(p14)
rule
To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c that begin on page 15.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP25bc3e93
Exception to time lived with you.(p14)
rule
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 17, if applicable.
A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2010 if the child was born or died in 2010 and your home was the child's home for the entire time he or she was alive.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#TXMP0acd374f
Keeping up a home.(p14)
rule
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.