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IRS.gov Website
Publication 17
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170541

How Do I Prepare
My Return?(p11)

rule
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 1-6 helpful when you prepare your paper return.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170544

Table 1-6. Six Steps for Preparing Your Paper Return

1Get your records together for income and expenses.
2Get the forms, schedules, and publications you need.
3Fill in your return.
4Check your return to make sure it is correct.
5Sign and date your return.
6Attach all required forms and schedules.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000284935

Electronic returns.(p11)

rule
For information you may find useful in preparing a paperless return, see Does My Return Have To Be on Paper, earlier.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170546

Substitute tax forms.(p11)

rule
You cannot use your own version of a tax form unless it meets the requirements explained in Publication 1167, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms and Schedules.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170547

Form W-2.(p11)

rule
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. See Form W-2 under Credit for Withholding and Estimated Tax in chapter 4.
Your employer is required to provide or send Form W-2 to you no later than January 31, 2014. If it is mailed, you should allow adequate time to receive it before contacting your employer. If you still do not 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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170549

Form 1099.(p11)

rule
If you received certain types of income, you may receive a Form 1099. For example, if you received taxable interest of $10 or more, the payer is required to provide or send Form 1099 to you no later than January 31, 2014 (or by February 18, 2014, if furnished by a broker). If it is mailed, you should allow adequate time to receive it before contacting the payer. If you still do not get the form by February 18 (or by March 5, 2014, if furnished by a broker), call the IRS for help.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170550

When Do I Report My
Income and Expenses?(p11)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170551

Accounting Periods(p11)

rule
Most individual tax returns cover a calendar year—the 12 months from January 1 through December 31. If you do not use a calendar year, your accounting period is a fiscal year. A regular fiscal year is a 12-month period that ends on the last day of any month except December. A 52-53-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. It cannot be longer than 12 months.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170552

More information.(p11)

rule
For more information on accounting periods, including how to change your accounting period, see Publication 538, Accounting Periods and Methods.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170553

Accounting Methods(p11)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170554

Cash method.(p11)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170555
Constructive receipt.(p11)
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 do not need to have physical possession of it. For example, interest credited to your bank account on December 31, 2013, is taxable income to you in 2013 if you could have withdrawn it in 2013 (even if the amount is not entered in your records or withdrawn until 2014).
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170556
Garnisheed wages.(p11)
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170557
Debts paid for you.(p11)
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170559
Payment to third party.(p11)
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170560
Payment to an agent.(p11)
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170561
Check received or available.(p11)
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170562
No constructive receipt.(p11)
There may be facts to show that you did not constructively receive income.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170563

Example.(p11)

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 did not constructively receive the amount by which her salary was reduced to pay the substitute teacher.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170564

Accrual method.(p11)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170565
Income paid in advance.(p12)
An advance payment of income is generally included in gross income in the year you receive it. Your method of accounting does not 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. See Publication 538 for specific information.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170566

Additional information.(p12)

rule
For more information on accounting methods, including how to change your accounting method, see Publication 538.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170567

Social Security Number (SSN)(p12)

rule
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 1040, W-2, and 1099 agree with your social security card. If they do not, certain deductions and credits on your Form 1040 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 the name or SSN on your social security card is incorrect, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170568

Name change.(p12)

rule
If you changed your name because of marriage, divorce, etc., be sure to report the change to your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office before filing your return. This prevents delays in processing your return and issuing refunds. It also safeguards your future social security benefits.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170569

Dependent's SSN.(p12)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170570
Exception.(p12)
If your child was born and died in 2013 and did not have an SSN, enter "DIED" in column (2) of line 6c (Form 1040 or 1040A) 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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170571

No SSN.(p12)

rule
File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, with your local SSA office to get an SSN for yourself or your dependent. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get an SSN. If you or your dependent is not eligible for an SSN, see Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), later.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must show proof of age, identity, and citizenship or alien status with your Form SS-5. 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.
Form SS-5 is available at any SSA office, on the Internet at www.socialsecurity.gov, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. 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 does not 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 do not provide a required SSN or if you provide an incorrect SSN, your tax may be increased and any refund may be reduced.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170574

Adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN).(p12)

rule
If you are in the process of adopting a child who is a U.S. citizen or resident and cannot get an SSN for the child until the adoption is final, you can apply for an ATIN to use instead of an SSN.
File Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS to get an ATIN if all of the following are true. After the adoption is final, you must apply for an SSN for the child. You cannot continue using the ATIN.
See Form W-7A for more information.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170575

Nonresident alien spouse.(p12)

rule
If your spouse is a nonresident alien, your spouse must have either an SSN or an ITIN if:If your spouse is not eligible for an SSN, see the following discussion on ITINs.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170577

Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).(p12)

rule
The IRS will issue you an ITIN if you are a nonresident or resident alien and you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN. This also applies to an alien spouse or dependent. To apply for an ITIN, file Form W-7 with the IRS. It usually takes about 6 to 10 weeks to get an ITIN. Enter the ITIN on your tax return wherever an SSN is requested.
Deposit
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-7. See the Form W-7 instructions for how and where to file.
EIC
You cannot e-file a return using an ITIN in the calendar year the ITIN is issued; however, you can e-file returns in the following years.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000284938
ITIN for tax use only.(p12)
An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you or your dependent to social security benefits or change the employment or immigration status of either of you under U.S. law.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170580

Penalty for not providing social security number.(p12)

rule
If you do not include your SSN or the SSN of your spouse or dependent as required, you may have to pay a penalty. See the discussion on Penalties, later, for more information.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170582

SSN on correspondence.(p12)

rule
If you write to the IRS about your tax account, be sure to include your SSN (and the name and SSN of your spouse, if you filed a joint return) in your correspondence. Because your SSN is used to identify your account, this helps the IRS respond to your correspondence promptly.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170583

Presidential Election
Campaign Fund(p12)

rule
This fund helps pay for Presidential election campaigns. If you want $3 to go to this fund, check the box. If you are filing a joint return, your spouse can also have $3 go to the fund. If you check a box, your tax or refund will not change.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170584

Computations(p12)

rule
The following information may be useful in making the return easier to complete.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170585

Rounding off dollars.(p12)

rule
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. For example, $1.39 becomes $1 and $2.50 becomes $3.
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170586

Example.(p12)

You receive two Forms W-2: one showing wages of $5,000.55 and one showing wages of $18,500.73. On Form 1040, line 7, you would enter $23,501 ($5,000.55 + $18,500.73 = $23,501.28), not $23,502 ($5,001 + $18,501).
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170587

Equal amounts.(p12)

rule
If you are asked to enter the smaller or larger of two equal amounts, enter that amount.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170588

Example.(p12)

Line 1 is $500. Line 3 is $500. Line 5 asks you to enter the smaller of line 1 or 3. Enter $500 on line 5.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170589

Negative amounts.(p12)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170590

Attachments(p13)

rule
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.
Deposit
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-2. See Does My Return Have To Be on Paper, earlier.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170592

Form W-2.(p13)

rule
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 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., 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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170594

Form 1040EZ.(p13)

rule
There are no additional schedules to file with Form 1040EZ.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170595

Form 1040A.(p13)

rule
If you file a paper return, attach any forms and schedules behind Form 1040A 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. Do not attach items unless required to do so.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170596

Form 1040.(p13)

rule
If you file a paper return, attach any forms and schedules behind Form 1040 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. Do not attach items unless required to do so.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170597

Third Party Designee(p13)

rule
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 2013 tax return and provide the information required, you are authorizing:
  1. The IRS to call the designee to answer any questions that arise during the processing of your return, and
  2. The designee to:
    1. Give information that is missing from your return to the IRS,
    2. Call the IRS for information about the processing of your return or the status of your refund or payments,
    3. Receive copies of notices or transcripts related to your return, upon request, and
    4. 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 2014 tax return. This is April 15, 2015, for most people.
See your form instructions for more information.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170600

Signatures(p13)

rule
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.
EIC
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. See chapter 2.
Deposit
If you e-file your return, you can use an electronic signature to sign your return. See Does My Return Have To Be on Paper, earlier.
If you are due a refund, it cannot be issued unless you have signed your return.
Enter your occupation. 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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170605

When someone can sign for you.(p13)

rule
You can appoint an agent to sign your return if you are:
  1. Unable to sign the return because of disease or injury,
  2. Absent from the United States for a continuous period of at least 60 days before the due date for filing your return, or
  3. Given permission to do so by the IRS office in your area.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170606
Power of attorney.(p13)
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 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. Part I of Form 2848 must state that the agent is granted authority to sign the return.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170607

Court-appointed, conservator, or other fiduciary.(p13)

rule
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. File Form 56.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000284939
Unable to sign.(p13)
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170608

Spouse unable to sign.(p13)

rule
If your spouse is unable to sign for any reason, see Signing a joint return in chapter 2.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170610

Child's return.(p13)

rule
If a child has to file a tax return but cannot sign the return, the child's parent, guardian, or another legally responsible person must sign the child's name, followed by the words "By (your signature), parent for minor child."
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170611

Paid Preparer(p13)

rule
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.
The preparer must give you a copy of your return in addition to the copy filed with the IRS.
If you prepare your own return, leave this area blank. If another person prepares your return and does not charge you, that person should not sign your return.
If you have questions about whether a preparer must sign your return, contact any IRS office.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170612

Refunds(p13)

rule
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 1040 or Form 1040A, you can choose to apply all or part of the overpayment to your next year's (2014) estimated tax. You cannot have your overpayment applied to your 2014 estimated tax if you file Form 1040EZ.
EIC
If you choose to have a 2013 overpayment applied to your 2014 estimated tax, you cannot change your mind and have any of it refunded to you after the due date (without extensions) of your 2013 return.
Follow the form instructions to complete the entries to claim your refund and/or to apply your overpayment to your 2014 estimated tax.
Deposit
If your refund for 2013 is large, you may want to decrease the amount of income tax withheld from your pay in 2014. See chapter 4 for more information.
Deposit
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.
If the direct deposit cannot be done, the IRS will send a check instead.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000250805

TreasuryDirect®.(p14)

rule
You can request a deposit of your refund to a TreasuryDirect® online account to buy U.S. Treasury marketable securities and savings bonds. For more information, go to www.treasurydirect.gov.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170617

Split refunds.(p14)

rule
If you choose direct deposit, you may be able to split the refund and have it deposited among two or three accounts or buy up to $5,000 in paper series I savings bonds. Complete Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), and attach it to your return.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170618

Overpayment less than one dollar.(p14)

rule
If your overpayment is less than one dollar, you will not get a refund unless you ask for it in writing.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170619

Cashing your refund check.(p14)

rule
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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170620

Refund more or less than expected.(p14)

rule
If you receive a check for a refund you are not entitled to, or for an overpayment that should have been credited to estimated tax, do not cash the check. Call the IRS.
If you receive a check for more than the refund you claimed, do not 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 does not stop you from claiming an additional amount of refund.
If you did not receive a notice and you have any questions about the amount of your refund, you should wait 2 weeks. If you still have not received a notice, call the IRS.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170621

Offset against debts.(p14)

rule
If you are due a refund but have not paid certain amounts you owe, all or part of your refund may be used to pay all or part of the past-due amount. 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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170622
Joint return and injured spouse.(p14)
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 8379, 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.
  1. You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount.
  2. 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).
Note.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 8379.
If you have not filed your joint return and you know that your joint refund will be offset, file Form 8379 with your return. 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 8379 by itself. When filed after offset, it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your refund. Do not attach the previously filed tax return, but do include copies of all Forms W-2 and W-2G for both spouses and any Forms 1099 that show income tax withheld. The processing of Form 8379 may be delayed if these forms are not attached, or if the form is incomplete when filed.
A separate Form 8379 must be filed for each tax year to be considered.
EIC
An injured spouse claim is different from an innocent spouse relief request. An injured spouse uses Form 8379 to request the division of the tax overpayment attributed to each spouse. An innocent spouse uses Form 8857, 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.
taxmap/pub17/p17-006.htm#en_us_publink1000170626

Amount You Owe(p14)

rule
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.
Deposit
You do not have to pay if the amount you owe is under $1.
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). See Tax Figured by IRS in chapter 30.
EIC
If you do not 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 Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process.
Deposit
If the amount you owe for 2013 is large, you may want to increase the amount of income tax withheld from your pay or make estimated tax payments for 2014. See chapter 4 for more information.
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How To Pay(p14)

rule
You can pay online, by phone, or by check or money order. Do not include any estimated tax payment for 2014 in this payment. Instead, make the estimated tax payment separately.
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Bad check or payment.(p14)

rule
The penalty for writing a bad check to the IRS is $25 or 2% of the check, whichever is more. This penalty also applies to other forms of payment if the IRS does not receive the funds.
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Pay online.(p14)

rule
Paying online is convenient and secure and helps make sure we get your payments on time.
You can pay using either of the following electronic payment methods.
To pay your taxes online or for more information, go to www.irs.gov/e-pay.
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Pay by phone.(p14)

rule
Paying by phone is another safe and secure method of paying electronically. Use one of the following methods.
To pay by direct transfer from your bank account, call 1-800-555-4477 (English) or 1-800-244-4829 (Espanol). People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-733-4829.
To pay using a credit or debit 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.

WorldPay
1-888-9-PAY-TAXTM (1-888-972-9829)
www.payUSAtax.com




Official Payments Corporation
1-888-UPAY-TAXTM (1-888-872-9829)
www.officialpayments.com




Link2Gov Corporation
1-888-PAY-1040TM (1-888-729-1040)
www.PAY1040.com


For the latest details on how to pay by phone, go to www.irs.gov/e-pay.
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Pay by check or money order.(p14)

rule
Make your check or money order payable to "United States Treasury" for the full amount due. Do not send cash. Do not 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.
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Estimated tax payments.(p14)

rule
Do not include any 2014 estimated tax payment in the payment for your 2013 income tax return. See chapter 4 for information on how to pay estimated tax.
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Interest(p14)

rule
Interest is charged on tax you do not pay by the due date of your return. Interest is charged even if you get an extension of time for filing.
Deposit
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. For information, see Tax Figured by IRS in chapter 30.
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Interest on penalties.(p15)

rule
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. Interest on other penalties starts on the date of notice and demand, but is not charged on penalties paid within 21 calendar days from the date of the notice (or within 10 business days if the notice is for $100,000 or more).
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Interest due to IRS error or delay.(p15)

rule
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 is not a ministerial or managerial act.
The interest can be forgiven only if you are not responsible in any important way for the error or delay and the IRS has notified you in writing of the deficiency or payment. For more information, see Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund.
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 does not provide you with a notice specifically stating your liability and the basis for it before the close of the 36-month period beginning on the later of: For more information, see Publication 556.
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Installment Agreement(p15)

rule
If you cannot pay the full amount due with your return, you can ask to make monthly installment payments for the full or a partial amount. 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 ask for an installment agreement, you can apply online or use Form 9465.
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.
To apply online, go to IRS.gov and click on "Tools" and then Online Payment Agreement.
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Gift To Reduce Debt
Held by the Public(p15)

rule
Due date
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 Public Debt."
Send your check to:

Bureau of the Public Debt
ATTN: Department G
P.O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188


Or, enclose your separate check in the envelope with your income tax return. Do not add this gift to any tax you owe.
Go to www.publicdebt.treas.gov for information on how to make this type of gift online.
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 1040).
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Name and Address(p15)

rule
After you have completed your return, fill in your name and address in the appropriate area of the Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ.
EIC
You must include your SSN in the correct place on your tax return.
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P.O. box.(p15)

rule
If your post office does not deliver mail to your street address and you have a P.O. box, enter your P.O. box number on the line for your present home address instead of your street address.
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Foreign address.(p15)

rule
If your address is outside the United States or its possessions or territories, enter the city name on the appropriate line of your return. Do not enter any other information on that line, but also complete the line listing:
  1. Foreign country name,
  2. Foreign province/state/county, and
  3. Foreign postal code.
Follow the country's practice for entering the postal code and the name of the province, county, or state.