IRS Publication 17
IRS publication 17 deals with general instructions and guidance for people using form 1040. Paying income tax can be daunting but reading this publication will aid you in this process. The materials contained in this publication are the interpretation of the Internal Revenue Service of court decisions, treasury regulations, tax laws, and additions to the tax code. It also deals with general rules and reminders to help you file your return.
IRS publication 17 can be extremely helpful for filing your tax returns. If you are new to the workforce, it can tell you whether you have to file a return and if you do which form to use. It also gives you guidelines as to which records to keep, information on dependents, what is a filing status, and what exactly income is. E filing, how to check the status of a refund, and what to do if you make a mistake are also covered in this publication.
There are many flowcharts, everyday illustrations, and various scenarios of how the tax laws apply to real-life situations. For example IRS publication 17 illustrates tax questions; such as can you claim medical expenses you paid for a deceased spouse if you remarry and file jointly with your new spouse. The answer is yes; you may claim these expenses. It also clarifies charitable donations with an example of a donated coat that originally cost $300 but the charity thrift store sold the coat for $50; the fair market value of the coat would be $50, which could be shown as a charitable contribution. However, if you are self-employed IRS publication 17 is useful but not all-inclusive; there are other publications that will give you further information on various tax laws and forms for business tax filing.
If you have questions about how to file, where to file, or how to determine income or expenses for IRS form 1040, IRS publication 17 should be the first place you look for information.