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1040

2011
  Forms and Instructions
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A Message From the Commissioner(p2)

Dear Taxpayer,
As we enter the 2012 tax filing season, the IRS is always looking to find new and innovative ways to help you get your tax questions answered. The newest is our smartphone application, IRS2Go, which can be downloaded for free. You can do a number of things with this app, such as checking the status of your tax refund or subscribing to tax tips.
We also continue to enhance our website, IRS.gov, which is the most convenient way to get tax information. We also post videos on YouTube to help taxpayers understand their tax obligations. Check these out at www.youtube.com/irsvideos. Our news feed on Twitter, @IRSnews, is another excellent source of tax information.
Keep in mind that a number of federal tax incentives that were enacted in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are still in effect for 2011. These include the American opportunity credit and the expanded earned income credit. Make sure to check to see if you qualify for these and other important deductions and credits.
Remember that the fastest, safest and easiest way to get your refund is to e-file and use direct deposit. E-file has become so popular that nearly eight out of 10 individual taxpayers now e-file their return. It’s now the first choice for about 112 million taxpayers.
Taxpayers below a certain income level can qualify to use free tax preparation software through the Free File program. Plus, everyone can e-file for free using a fillable form available at IRS.gov.
We know that it takes time to prepare and file a tax return, but the IRS wants to help you fulfill your tax obligations and will continue to go the extra mile to provide assistance.

Sincerely,

comsig
Douglas H. Shulman

The IRS Mission(p2)

Provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.
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The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here To Help

Taxpayer Advocate Service
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. We offer free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all!

TAS can help if you can’t resolve your problem with the IRS and:
  • Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business.
  • You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action.
  • You’ve tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded to you, or the IRS hasn’t responded by the date promised.

If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You'll be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn. We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Although TAS is independent within the IRS, our advocates know how to work with the IRS to get your problems resolved. And our services are always free.

As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Our online tax toolkit at www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov can help you understand these rights.

If you think TAS might be able to help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and on our website at www.irs.gov/advocate. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778.

TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System at www.irs.gov/advocate.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. Some clinics serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve a tax problem. These clinics provide professional representation before the IRS or in court on audits, appeals, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or for a small fee. Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in many different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. For more information and to find a clinic near you, see the LITC page on www.irs.gov/advocate or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. This publication is also available by calling 1-800-829-3676 or at your local IRS office.
 
Suggestions for Improving the IRS

Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
Have a suggestion for improving the IRS and do not know who to contact? The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) is a diverse group of citizen volunteers who listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayers’ issues, and make suggestions for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction. The panel is demographically and geographically diverse, with at least one member from each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Contact TAP at www.improveirs.org or 1-888-912-1227 (toll-free).
 
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Electronic Filing (e-file) Text DescriptionElectronic Filing (e-file)   
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What's New(p6)

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For information about any additional changes to the 2011 tax law or any other developments affecting Form 1040 or its instructions, go to www.irs.gov/form1040.
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Due date of return.(p6)
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File Form 1040 by April 17, 2012. The due date is April 17, instead of April 15, because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia.
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Capital gains and losses.(p6)
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In most cases, you must report your capital gains and losses on new Form 8949 and report the totals on Schedule D. If you sold a covered security in 2011, your broker will send you a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) that shows your basis. This will help you complete Form 8949. Generally, a covered security is a security acquired after 2010. See the instructions for line 13.
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Self-employed health insurance deduction.(p6)
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This deduction is no longer allowed on Schedule SE. However, you can still take it on Form 1040, line 29. See the instructions for line 29 for more information about this deduction.
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Alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount increased.(p6)
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The AMT exemption amount has increased to $48,450 ($74,450 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er); $37,225 if married filing separately).
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First-time homebuyer credit.(p6)
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To claim the first-time homebuyer credit for 2011, you (or your spouse if married) must have been a member of the uniformed services or Foreign Service or an employee of the intelligence community on qualified official extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010. See the instructions for line 67.
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Repayment of first-time homebuyer credit.(p6)
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If you have to repay the credit, you may be able to do so without attaching Form 5405. See the instructions for line 59b.
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Standard mileage rates.(p6)
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The 2011 rate for business use of your vehicle is increased to 51 cents a mile (551/2 cents a mile after June 30, 2011). The 2011 rate for use of your vehicle to get medical care or to move is increased to 19 cents a mile (231/2 cents a mile after June 30, 2011). In addition, beginning in 2011, you may use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle used for hire, such as a taxicab.
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Roth IRAs.(p6)
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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 must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. Report the amount that is taxable on your 2011 return on line 15b (for conversions from IRAs) or 16b (for rollovers from qualified retirement plans, other than from a designated Roth account). See the instructions for lines 15a and 15b and lines 16a and 16b.
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Designated Roth accounts.(p6)
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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 must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. See the instructions for lines 16a and 16b.
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Health savings accounts (HSAs) and Archer MSAs.(p6)
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The additional tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for qualified medical expenses has increased to 20% for distributions after 2010. See Form 8889 or Form 8853 (and the instructions) for details.
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Foreign financial assets.(p6)
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If you had foreign financial assets in 2011, you may have to file new Form 8938 with your return. Check www.irs.gov/form8938 for details.
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Schedule L.(p6)
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Schedule L is no longer in use. You do not need it to figure your 2011 standard deduction. Instead, see the instructions for line 40.
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Expired tax benefits.(p6)
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The making work pay credit has expired. You cannot claim it on your 2011 return. Schedule M is no longer in use.
You cannot claim the alternative motor vehicle credit for a vehicle you bought after 2010, unless the vehicle is a new fuel cell motor vehicle. See Form 8910 and its instructions.
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Mailing your return.(p6)
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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.