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1040ez Tax Form Instructions

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1040ez Tax Form Instructions

1040ez tax form instructions Publication 936 - Additional Material Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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Understanding Your CP160 Notice

You received this notice to remind you of the amount you owe in tax, penalty and interest.


What you need to do

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 26-Mar-2014

How to get help

  • Call the 1-800 number listed on the top right corner of your notice.
  • Authorize someone (e.g., accountant) to contact the IRS on your behalf using Form 2848.
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The 1040ez Tax Form Instructions

1040ez tax form instructions 5. 1040ez tax form instructions   Recordkeeping Table of Contents How To Prove ExpensesWhat Are Adequate Records? What If I Have Incomplete Records? Separating and Combining Expenses How Long To Keep Records and Receipts Examples of Records If you deduct travel, entertainment, gift, or transportation expenses, you must be able to prove (substantiate) certain elements of expense. 1040ez tax form instructions This chapter discusses the records you need to keep to prove these expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions If you keep timely and accurate records, you will have support to show the IRS if your tax return is ever examined. 1040ez tax form instructions You will also have proof of expenses that your employer may require if you are reimbursed under an accountable plan. 1040ez tax form instructions These plans are discussed in chapter 6 under Reimbursements . 1040ez tax form instructions How To Prove Expenses Table 5-1 is a summary of records you need to prove each expense discussed in this publication. 1040ez tax form instructions You must be able to prove the elements listed across the top portion of the chart. 1040ez tax form instructions You prove them by having the information and receipts (where needed) for the expenses listed in the first column. 1040ez tax form instructions You cannot deduct amounts that you approximate or estimate. 1040ez tax form instructions You should keep adequate records to prove your expenses or have sufficient evidence that will support your own statement. 1040ez tax form instructions You must generally prepare a written record for it to be considered adequate. 1040ez tax form instructions This is because written evidence is more reliable than oral evidence alone. 1040ez tax form instructions However, if you prepare a record on a computer, it is considered an adequate record. 1040ez tax form instructions What Are Adequate Records? You should keep the proof you need in an account book, diary, log, statement of expense, trip sheets, or similar record. 1040ez tax form instructions You should also keep documentary evidence that, together with your record, will support each element of an expense. 1040ez tax form instructions Documentary evidence. 1040ez tax form instructions   You generally must have documentary evidence, such as receipts, canceled checks, or bills, to support your expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions Exception. 1040ez tax form instructions   Documentary evidence is not needed if any of the following conditions apply. 1040ez tax form instructions You have meals or lodging expenses while traveling away from home for which you account to your employer under an accountable plan, and you use a per diem allowance method that includes meals and/or lodging. 1040ez tax form instructions ( Accountable plans and per diem allowances are discussed in chapter 6. 1040ez tax form instructions ) Your expense, other than lodging, is less than $75. 1040ez tax form instructions You have a transportation expense for which a receipt is not readily available. 1040ez tax form instructions Adequate evidence. 1040ez tax form instructions   Documentary evidence ordinarily will be considered adequate if it shows the amount, date, place, and essential character of the expense. 1040ez tax form instructions   For example, a hotel receipt is enough to support expenses for business travel if it has all of the following information. 1040ez tax form instructions The name and location of the hotel. 1040ez tax form instructions The dates you stayed there. 1040ez tax form instructions Separate amounts for charges such as lodging, meals, and telephone calls. 1040ez tax form instructions   A restaurant receipt is enough to prove an expense for a business meal if it has all of the following information. 1040ez tax form instructions The name and location of the restaurant. 1040ez tax form instructions The number of people served. 1040ez tax form instructions The date and amount of the expense. 1040ez tax form instructions If a charge is made for items other than food and beverages, the receipt must show that this is the case. 1040ez tax form instructions Canceled check. 1040ez tax form instructions   A canceled check, together with a bill from the payee, ordinarily establishes the cost. 1040ez tax form instructions However, a canceled check by itself does not prove a business expense without other evidence to show that it was for a business purpose. 1040ez tax form instructions Duplicate information. 1040ez tax form instructions   You do not have to record information in your account book or other record that duplicates information shown on a receipt as long as your records and receipts complement each other in an orderly manner. 1040ez tax form instructions   You do not have to record amounts your employer pays directly for any ticket or other travel item. 1040ez tax form instructions However, if you charge these items to your employer, through a credit card or otherwise, you must keep a record of the amounts you spend. 1040ez tax form instructions Timely-kept records. 1040ez tax form instructions   You should record the elements of an expense or of a business use at or near the time of the expense or use and support it with sufficient documentary evidence. 1040ez tax form instructions A timely-kept record has more value than a statement prepared later when generally there is a lack of accurate recall. 1040ez tax form instructions   You do not need to write down the elements of every expense on the day of the expense. 1040ez tax form instructions If you maintain a log on a weekly basis that accounts for use during the week, the log is considered a timely-kept record. 1040ez tax form instructions   If you give your employer, client, or customer an expense account statement, it can also be considered a timely-kept record. 1040ez tax form instructions This is true if you copy it from your account book, diary, log, statement of expense, trip sheets, or similar record. 1040ez tax form instructions Proving business purpose. 1040ez tax form instructions   You must generally provide a written statement of the business purpose of an expense. 1040ez tax form instructions However, the degree of proof varies according to the circumstances in each case. 1040ez tax form instructions If the business purpose of an expense is clear from the surrounding circumstances, then you do not need to give a written explanation. 1040ez tax form instructions Example. 1040ez tax form instructions If you are a sales representative who calls on customers on an established sales route, you do not have to give a written explanation of the business purpose for traveling that route. 1040ez tax form instructions You can satisfy the requirements by recording the length of the delivery route once, the date of each trip at or near the time of the trips, and the total miles you drove the car during the tax year. 1040ez tax form instructions You could also establish the date of each trip with a receipt, record of delivery, or other documentary evidence. 1040ez tax form instructions Confidential information. 1040ez tax form instructions   You do not need to put confidential information relating to an element of a deductible expense (such as the place, business purpose, or business relationship) in your account book, diary, or other record. 1040ez tax form instructions However, you do have to record the information elsewhere at or near the time of the expense and have it available to fully prove that element of the expense. 1040ez tax form instructions What If I Have Incomplete Records? If you do not have complete records to prove an element of an expense, then you must prove the element with: Your own written or oral statement containing specific information about the element, and Other supporting evidence that is sufficient to establish the element. 1040ez tax form instructions If the element is the description of a gift, or the cost, time, place, or date of an expense, the supporting evidence must be either direct evidence or documentary evidence. 1040ez tax form instructions Direct evidence can be written statements or the oral testimony of your guests or other witnesses setting forth detailed information about the element. 1040ez tax form instructions Documentary evidence can be receipts, paid bills, or similar evidence. 1040ez tax form instructions If the element is either the business relationship of your guests or the business purpose of the amount spent, the supporting evidence can be circumstantial rather than direct. 1040ez tax form instructions For example, the nature of your work, such as making deliveries, provides circumstantial evidence of the use of your car for business purposes. 1040ez tax form instructions Invoices of deliveries establish when you used the car for business. 1040ez tax form instructions Table 5-1. 1040ez tax form instructions How To Prove Certain Business Expenses IF you have expenses for . 1040ez tax form instructions . 1040ez tax form instructions THEN you must keep records that show details of the following elements . 1040ez tax form instructions . 1040ez tax form instructions . 1040ez tax form instructions   Amount Time Place or  Description Business Purpose Business Relationship Travel Cost of each separate expense for travel, lodging, and meals. 1040ez tax form instructions Incidental expenses may be totaled in reasonable categories such as taxis, fees and tips, etc. 1040ez tax form instructions Dates you left and returned for each trip and number of days spent on business. 1040ez tax form instructions Destination or area of your travel (name of city, town, or other designation). 1040ez tax form instructions Purpose: Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained. 1040ez tax form instructions    Relationship: N/A Entertainment Cost of each separate expense. 1040ez tax form instructions Incidental expenses such as taxis, telephones, etc. 1040ez tax form instructions , may be totaled on a daily basis. 1040ez tax form instructions Date of entertainment. 1040ez tax form instructions (Also see Business Purpose. 1040ez tax form instructions ) Name and address or location of place of entertainment. 1040ez tax form instructions Type of entertainment if not otherwise apparent. 1040ez tax form instructions (Also see Business Purpose. 1040ez tax form instructions ) Purpose: Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained. 1040ez tax form instructions  For entertainment, the nature of the business discussion or activity. 1040ez tax form instructions If the entertainment was directly before or after a business discussion: the date, place, nature, and duration of the business discussion, and the identities of the persons who took part in both the business discussion and the entertainment activity. 1040ez tax form instructions    Relationship: Occupations or other information (such as names, titles, or other designations) about the recipients that shows their business relationship to you. 1040ez tax form instructions  For entertainment, you must also prove that you or your employee was present if the entertainment was a business meal. 1040ez tax form instructions Gifts Cost of the gift. 1040ez tax form instructions Date of the gift. 1040ez tax form instructions Description of the gift. 1040ez tax form instructions   Transportation Cost of each separate expense. 1040ez tax form instructions For car expenses, the cost of the car and any improvements, the date you started using it for business, the mileage for each business use, and the total miles for the year. 1040ez tax form instructions Date of the expense. 1040ez tax form instructions For car expenses, the date of the use of the car. 1040ez tax form instructions Your business destination. 1040ez tax form instructions Purpose: Business purpose for the expense. 1040ez tax form instructions    Relationship: N/A Sampling. 1040ez tax form instructions   You can keep an adequate record for parts of a tax year and use that record to prove the amount of business or investment use for the entire year. 1040ez tax form instructions You must demonstrate by other evidence that the periods for which an adequate record is kept are representative of the use throughout the tax year. 1040ez tax form instructions Example. 1040ez tax form instructions You use your car to visit the offices of clients, meet with suppliers and other subcontractors, and pick up and deliver items to clients. 1040ez tax form instructions There is no other business use of the car, but you and your family use the car for personal purposes. 1040ez tax form instructions You keep adequate records during the first week of each month that show that 75% of the use of the car is for business. 1040ez tax form instructions Invoices and bills show that your business use continues at the same rate during the later weeks of each month. 1040ez tax form instructions Your weekly records are representative of the use of the car each month and are sufficient evidence to support the percentage of business use for the year. 1040ez tax form instructions Exceptional circumstances. 1040ez tax form instructions   You can satisfy the substantiation requirements with other evidence if, because of the nature of the situation in which an expense is made, you cannot get a receipt. 1040ez tax form instructions This applies if all the following are true. 1040ez tax form instructions You were unable to obtain evidence for an element of the expense or use that completely satisfies the requirements explained earlier under What Are Adequate Records . 1040ez tax form instructions You are unable to obtain evidence for an element that completely satisfies the two rules listed earlier under What If I Have Incomplete Records . 1040ez tax form instructions You have presented other evidence for the element that is the best proof possible under the circumstances. 1040ez tax form instructions Destroyed records. 1040ez tax form instructions   If you cannot produce a receipt because of reasons beyond your control, you can prove a deduction by reconstructing your records or expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions Reasons beyond your control include fire, flood, and other casualties. 1040ez tax form instructions    Table 5-2. 1040ez tax form instructions Daily Business Mileage and Expense Log Name:       Odometer Readings Expenses Date Destination  (City, Town, or Area) Business Purpose Start Stop Miles  this trip Type  (Gas, oil, tolls, etc. 1040ez tax form instructions ) Amount                                                                                                                   Weekly  Total             Total Year-to-Date             Separating and Combining Expenses This section explains when expenses must be kept separate and when expenses can be combined. 1040ez tax form instructions Separating expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions   Each separate payment is generally considered a separate expense. 1040ez tax form instructions For example, if you entertain a customer or client at dinner and then go to the theater, the dinner expense and the cost of the theater tickets are two separate expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions You must record them separately in your records. 1040ez tax form instructions Season or series tickets. 1040ez tax form instructions   If you buy season or series tickets for business use, you must treat each ticket in the series as a separate item. 1040ez tax form instructions To determine the cost of individual tickets, divide the total cost (but not more than face value) by the number of games or performances in the series. 1040ez tax form instructions You must keep records to show whether you use each ticket as a gift or entertainment. 1040ez tax form instructions Also, you must be able to prove the cost of nonluxury box seat tickets if you rent a skybox or other private luxury box for more than one event. 1040ez tax form instructions See Entertainment tickets in chapter 2. 1040ez tax form instructions Combining items. 1040ez tax form instructions   You can make one daily entry in your record for reasonable categories of expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions Examples are taxi fares, telephone calls, or other incidental travel costs. 1040ez tax form instructions Meals should be in a separate category. 1040ez tax form instructions You can include tips for meal-related services with the costs of the meals. 1040ez tax form instructions   Expenses of a similar nature occurring during the course of a single event are considered a single expense. 1040ez tax form instructions For example, if during entertainment at a cocktail lounge, you pay separately for each serving of refreshments, the total expense for the refreshments is treated as a single expense. 1040ez tax form instructions Car expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions   You can account for several uses of your car that can be considered part of a single use, such as a round trip or uninterrupted business use, with a single record. 1040ez tax form instructions Minimal personal use, such as a stop for lunch on the way between two business stops, is not an interruption of business use. 1040ez tax form instructions Example. 1040ez tax form instructions You make deliveries at several different locations on a route that begins and ends at your employer's business premises and that includes a stop at the business premises between two deliveries. 1040ez tax form instructions You can account for these using a single record of miles driven. 1040ez tax form instructions Gift expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions   You do not always have to record the name of each recipient of a gift. 1040ez tax form instructions A general listing will be enough if it is evident that you are not trying to avoid the $25 annual limit on the amount you can deduct for gifts to any one person. 1040ez tax form instructions For example, if you buy a large number of tickets to local high school basketball games and give one or two tickets to each of many customers, it is usually enough to record a general description of the recipients. 1040ez tax form instructions Allocating total cost. 1040ez tax form instructions   If you can prove the total cost of travel or entertainment but you cannot prove how much it cost for each person who participated in the event, you may have to allocate the total cost among you and your guests on a pro rata basis. 1040ez tax form instructions To do so, you must establish the number of persons who participated in the event. 1040ez tax form instructions   An allocation would be needed, for example, if you did not have a business relationship with all of your guests. 1040ez tax form instructions See Allocating between business and nonbusiness in chapter 2. 1040ez tax form instructions If your return is examined. 1040ez tax form instructions    If your return is examined, you may have to provide additional information to the IRS. 1040ez tax form instructions This information could be needed to clarify or to establish the accuracy or reliability of information contained in your records, statements, testimony, or documentary evidence before a deduction is allowed. 1040ez tax form instructions    THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL INTERNAL REVENUE FORM Table 5-3. 1040ez tax form instructions Weekly Traveling Expense and Entertainment Record From: To: Name: Expenses Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total 1. 1040ez tax form instructions Travel Expenses: Airlines                                 Excess Baggage                                 Bus – Train                                 Cab and Limousine                                 Tips                                 Porter                                 2. 1040ez tax form instructions Meals and Lodging:  Breakfast                                 Lunch                                 Dinner                                 Hotel and Motel  (Detail in Schedule B)                                 3. 1040ez tax form instructions Entertainment  (Detail in Schedule C)                                 4. 1040ez tax form instructions Other Expenses:  Postage                                 Telephone & Telegraph                                 Stationery & Printing                                 Stenographer                                 Sample Room                                 Advertising                                 Assistant(s)                                 Trade Shows                                 5. 1040ez tax form instructions Car Expenses: (List all car expenses - the division between business and personal expenses may be made at the end of the year. 1040ez tax form instructions ) (Detail mileage in Schedule A. 1040ez tax form instructions ) Gas, oil, lube, wash                                 Repairs, parts                                 Tires, supplies                                 Parking fees, tolls                                 6. 1040ez tax form instructions Other (Identify)                                 Total                                 Note: Attach receipted bills for (1) ALL lodging and (2) any other expenses of $75. 1040ez tax form instructions 00 or more. 1040ez tax form instructions Schedule A – Car Mileage: End                 Start                 Total                 Business Mileage                 Schedule B – Lodging Hotel or Motel Name                 City                 Schedule C – Entertainment Date Item Place Amount Business Purpose Business Relationship                                             WEEKLY REIMBURSEMENTS:     Travel and transportation expenses     Other reimbursements     TOTAL   How Long To Keep Records and Receipts You must keep records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. 1040ez tax form instructions Generally, this means you must keep records that support your deduction (or an item of income) for 3 years from the date you file the income tax return on which the deduction is claimed. 1040ez tax form instructions A return filed early is considered filed on the due date. 1040ez tax form instructions For a more complete explanation of how long to keep records, see Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records. 1040ez tax form instructions You must keep records of the business use of your car for each year of the recovery period. 1040ez tax form instructions See More-than-50%-use test in chapter 4 under Depreciation Deduction. 1040ez tax form instructions Reimbursed for expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions   Employees who give their records and documentation to their employers and are reimbursed for their expenses generally do not have to keep copies of this information. 1040ez tax form instructions However, you may have to prove your expenses if any of the following conditions apply. 1040ez tax form instructions You claim deductions for expenses that are more than reimbursements. 1040ez tax form instructions Your expenses are reimbursed under a nonaccountable plan. 1040ez tax form instructions Your employer does not use adequate accounting procedures to verify expense accounts. 1040ez tax form instructions You are related to your employer as defined under Per Diem and Car Allowances , in chapter 6. 1040ez tax form instructions Reimbursements , adequate accounting , and nonaccountable plans are discussed in chapter 6. 1040ez tax form instructions Examples of Records Table 5-2 and Table 5-3 are examples of worksheets which can be used for tracking business expenses. 1040ez tax form instructions Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications