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Instructions for Form 1040

Before You Hang Up(p92)

If you do not fully understand the answer you receive, or you feel our representative may not fully understand your question, our representative needs to know this. He or she will be happy to take additional time to be sure your question is answered fully.
By law, you are responsible for paying your share of federal income tax. If we should make an error in answering your question, you are still responsible for the payment of the correct tax. Should this occur, however, you will not be charged any penalty.

Quick and Easy Access to Tax Help and Tax Products(p93)

If you live outside the United States, see Pub. 54  
to find out how to get help and tax products.
You can access 24 hours a day,  
7 days a week.
Online services and help.(p93)
Go to to obtain information on:
View and download products.(p93)
Click on Forms and Publications or go to to:
The Forms and Publications page provides links to access and acquire both electronic and print media. Additionally, the Search function provides basic and advanced search capabilities for published products available on
Online ordering of products.(p93)
To order tax products delivered by mail, go to
To get information, forms, and publications in Spanish, go to
Tax forms and publications.(p93)
Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current and prior year forms, instructions, and publications. You should receive your order within 10 working days.
Tax help and questions.(p93)
Call 1-800-829-1040.
Hearing Impaired TTY/TDD.(p93)
Call 1-800-829-4059.
TeleTax information - 24 hour tax information.(p93)
Call 1-800-829-4477. See pages 90 and 91 for topic numbers and details.
Refund hotline.(p93)
Call 1-800-829-1954.
National Taxpayer Advocate helpline.(p93)
Call 1-877-777-4778.
You can pick up some of the most requested forms, instructions, and publications at many IRS offices, post offices, and libraries. Also, some grocery stores, copy centers, city and county government offices, and credit unions have reproducible tax products available to photocopy or print from a DVD.
You can order forms, instructions, and publications by completing the order blank on page 96. You should receive your order within 10 days after we receive your request.
Buy IRS Pub. 1796, IRS Tax Products DVD, from National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at for $30 (no handling fee) or call 1-877-233-6767 toll-free to buy the DVD for $30 (plus a $6 handling fee). Price and handling fee are subject to change. The first release will ship early January 2011 and the final release will ship early March 2011.
Other ways to get help.(p93)
See page 89 for information.

Disclosure, Privacy Act, and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice(p94)

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 require that when we ask you for information we must first tell you our legal right to ask for the information, why we are asking for it, and how it will be used. We must also tell you what could happen if we do not receive it and whether your response is voluntary, required to obtain a benefit, or mandatory under the law.
This notice applies to all papers you file with us, including this tax return. It also applies to any questions we need to ask you so we can complete, correct, or process your return; figure your tax; and collect tax, interest, or penalties.
Our legal right to ask for information is Internal Revenue Code sections 6001, 6011, and 6012(a), and their regulations. They say that you must file a return or statement with us for any tax you are liable for. Your response is mandatory under these sections. Code section 6109 requires you to provide your identifying number on the return. This is so we know who you are, and can process your return and other papers. You must fill in all parts of the tax form that apply to you. But you do not have to check the boxes for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund or for the third-party designee. You also do not have to provide your daytime phone number.
You are not required to provide the information requested on a form that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act unless the form displays a valid OMB control number. Books or records relating to a form or its instructions must be retained as long as their contents may become material in the administration of any Internal Revenue law.
We ask for tax return information to carry out the tax laws of the United States. We need it to figure and collect the right amount of tax.
If you do not file a return, do not provide the information we ask for, or provide fraudulent information, you may be charged penalties and be subject to criminal prosecution. We may also have to disallow the exemptions, exclusions, credits, deductions, or adjustments shown on the tax return. This could make the tax higher or delay any refund. Interest may also be charged.
Generally, tax returns and return information are confidential, as stated in Code section 6103. However, Code section 6103 allows or requires the Internal Revenue Service to disclose or give the information shown on your tax return to others as described in the Code. For example, we may disclose your tax information to the Department of Justice to enforce the tax laws, both civil and criminal, and to cities, states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. commonwealths or possessions to carry out their tax laws. We may disclose your tax information to the Department of Treasury and contractors for tax administration purposes; and to other persons as necessary to obtain information needed to determine the amount of or to collect the tax you owe. We may disclose your tax information to the Comptroller General of the United States to permit the Comptroller General to review the Internal Revenue Service. We may disclose your tax information to committees of Congress; federal, state, and local child support agencies; and to other federal agencies for the purposes of determining entitlement for benefits or the eligibility for and the repayment of loans. We may also disclose this information to other countries under a tax treaty, to federal and state agencies to enforce federal nontax criminal laws, or to federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat terrorism.
Please keep this notice with your records. It may help you if we ask you for other information. If you have questions about the rules for filing and giving information, please call or visit any Internal Revenue Service office.

We Welcome Comments on Forms(p94)

We try to create forms and instructions that can be easily understood. Often this is difficult to do because our tax laws are very complex. For some people with income mostly from wages, filling in the forms is easy. For others who have businesses, pensions, stocks, rental income, or other investments, it is more difficult.
If you have suggestions for making these forms simpler, we would be happy to hear from you. You can email us at * (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Enter Forms Comment on the subject line. Or you can write to Internal Revenue Service, Tax Products Coordinating Committee, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, 1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526, Washington, DC 20224. Do not send your return to this address. Instead, see the last page of these instructions.

Estimates of Taxpayer Burden(p95)

The table below shows burden estimates based on current statutory requirements as of November 15, 2010, for taxpayers filing a 2010 Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ tax return. Time spent and out-of-pocket costs are presented separately. Time burden is broken out by taxpayer activity, with recordkeeping representing the largest component. Out-of-pocket costs include any expenses incurred by taxpayers to prepare and submit their tax returns. Examples include tax return preparation and submission fees, postage and photocopying costs, and tax preparation software costs. While these estimates do not include burden associated with post-filing activities, IRS operational data indicate that electronically prepared and filed returns have fewer arithmetic errors, implying lower post-filing burden.
Reported time and cost burdens are national averages and do not necessarily reflect a typical case. For instance, the estimated average time burden for all taxpayers filing a Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ is 18 hours, with an average cost of $240 per return. This average includes all associated forms and schedules, across all preparation methods and taxpayer activities. The average burden for taxpayers filing Form 1040 is about 23 hours and $300; for taxpayers filing Form 1040A, it is about 9 hours and $130; and for taxpayers filing Form 1040EZ, it is about 7 hours and $60.
Within each of these estimates there is significant variation in taxpayer activity. For example, nonbusiness taxpayers are expected to have an average burden of about 12 hours and $160, while business taxpayers are expected to have an average burden of about 32 hours and $410. Similarly, tax preparation fees and other out-of-pocket costs vary extensively depending on the tax situation of the taxpayer, the type of software or professional preparer used, and the geographic location.
The estimates of burden below do not reflect any future legislative changes after November 15, 2010, that may affect the 2010 tax year. Any changes to burden estimates will be included in the annual Paperwork Reduction Act submission from the IRS to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and will be made publicly available on
If you have comments concerning the time and cost estimates below, you can contact us at either one of the addresses shown under We Welcome Comments on Forms on page 94.

Estimated Average Taxpayer Burden for Individuals by Activity

  Average Time Burden (Hours)
Primary Form Filed or
Type of Taxpayer
of Returns
All taxpayers1001882413$240
Primary forms filed        
Type of taxpayer        
*Detail may not add to total time due to rounding.
**Dollars rounded to the nearest $10.
***You are considered a "business" filer if you file one or more of the following with Form 1040: Schedule C, C-EZ, E, or F or Form 2106 or 2106-EZ. You are considered a "nonbusiness" filer if you did not file any of those schedules or forms with Form 1040 or if you file Form 1040A or 1040EZ.

Order Form for Forms and Publications(p96)

The most frequently ordered forms and publications are listed on the order form below. You will receive two copies of each form, one copy of the instructions, and one copy of each publication you order. To help reduce waste, please order only the items you need to prepare your return.
For faster ways of getting the items you need, go to

How To Use the Order Form(p96)

Circle the items you need on the order form below. Use the blank spaces to order items not listed. If you need more space, attach a separate sheet of paper.
Print or type your name and address accurately in the space provided below to ensure delivery of your order. Enclose the order form in an envelope and mail it to the IRS address shown on this page. You should receive your order within 10 days after receipt of your request.
Do not send your tax return to the address shown on this page. Instead, see the last page of these instructions.

Mail Your Order Form To:(p96)


Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway  
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Order Form for Forms and Publications Text DescriptionOrder Form for Forms and Publications   

Major Categories of Federal Income and Outlays for Fiscal Year 2009(p97)

Federal Budget Text DescriptionFederal Budget   
On or before the first Monday in February of each year, the President is required by law to submit to the Congress a budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins the following October. The budget plan sets forth the President's proposed receipts, spending, and the surplus or deficit for the Federal Government. The plan includes recommendations for new legislation as well as recommendations to change, eliminate, and add programs. After receiving the President's proposal, the Congress reviews it and makes changes. It first passes a budget resolution setting its own targets for receipts, outlays, and the surplus or deficit. Next, individual spending and revenue bills that are consistent with the goals of the budget resolution are enacted.
In fiscal year 2009 (which began on October 1, 2008, and ended on September 30, 2009), federal income was $2.105 trillion and outlays were $3.518 trillion, leaving a deficit of $1.413 trillion.

Footnotes for Certain Federal Outlays(p97)

Note. The percentages on this page exclude undistributed offsetting receipts, which were $93 billion in fiscal year 2009. In the budget, these receipts are offset against spending in figuring the outlay totals shown above. These receipts are for the U.S. Government's share of its employee retirement programs, rents and royalties on the Outer Continental Shelf, and proceeds from the sale of assets.
  1. Social security, Medicare, and other retirement: These programs provide income support for the retired and disabled and medical care for the elderly.
  2. National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs: About 22% of outlays were to equip, modernize, and pay our armed forces and to fund national defense activities; about 3% were for veterans benefits and services; and about 1% were for international activities, including military and economic assistance to foreign countries and the maintenance of U.S. embassies abroad.
  3. Physical, human, and community development: These outlays were for agriculture; natural resources; environment; transportation; aid for elementary and secondary education and direct assistance to college students; job training; deposit insurance, commerce and housing credit, and community development; and space, energy, and general science programs.
  4. Social programs: About 13% of total outlays were for Medicaid, food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, supplemental security income, and related programs; and the remaining outlays were for health research and public health programs, unemployment compensation, assisted housing, and social services.
2010 Tax Rate Schedules Text Description2010 Tax Rate Schedules