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2012 1040a Form

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2012 1040a Form

2012 1040a form 1. 2012 1040a form   Definitions You Need To Know Table of Contents Other options. 2012 1040a form Exception. 2012 1040a form Certain terms used in this publication are defined below. 2012 1040a form The same term used in another publication may have a slightly different meaning. 2012 1040a form Annual additions. 2012 1040a form   Annual additions are the total of all your contributions in a year, employee contributions (not including rollovers), and forfeitures allocated to a participant's account. 2012 1040a form Annual benefits. 2012 1040a form   Annual benefits are the benefits to be paid yearly in the form of a straight life annuity (with no extra benefits) under a plan to which employees do not contribute and under which no rollover contributions are made. 2012 1040a form Business. 2012 1040a form   A business is an activity in which a profit motive is present and economic activity is involved. 2012 1040a form Service as a newspaper carrier under age 18 or as a public official is not a business. 2012 1040a form Common-law employee. 2012 1040a form   A common-law employee is any individual who, under common law, would have the status of an employee. 2012 1040a form A leased employee can also be a common-law employee. 2012 1040a form   A common-law employee is a person who performs services for an employer who has the right to control and direct the results of the work and the way in which it is done. 2012 1040a form For example, the employer: Provides the employee's tools, materials, and workplace, and Can fire the employee. 2012 1040a form   Common-law employees are not self-employed and cannot set up retirement plans for income from their work, even if that income is self-employment income for social security tax purposes. 2012 1040a form For example, common-law employees who are ministers, members of religious orders, full-time insurance salespeople, and U. 2012 1040a form S. 2012 1040a form citizens employed in the United States by foreign governments cannot set up retirement plans for their earnings from those employments, even though their earnings are treated as self-employment income. 2012 1040a form   However, an individual may be a common-law employee and a self-employed person as well. 2012 1040a form For example, an attorney can be a corporate common-law employee during regular working hours and also practice law in the evening as a self-employed person. 2012 1040a form In another example, a minister employed by a congregation for a salary is a common-law employee even though the salary is treated as self-employment income for social security tax purposes. 2012 1040a form However, fees reported on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business, for performing marriages, baptisms, and other personal services are self-employment earnings for qualified plan purposes. 2012 1040a form Compensation. 2012 1040a form   Compensation for plan allocations is the pay a participant received from you for personal services for a year. 2012 1040a form You can generally define compensation as including all the following payments. 2012 1040a form Wages and salaries. 2012 1040a form Fees for professional services. 2012 1040a form Other amounts received (cash or noncash) for personal services actually rendered by an employee, including, but not limited to, the following items. 2012 1040a form Commissions and tips. 2012 1040a form Fringe benefits. 2012 1040a form Bonuses. 2012 1040a form   For a self-employed individual, compensation means the earned income, discussed later, of that individual. 2012 1040a form   Compensation generally includes amounts deferred in the following employee benefit plans. 2012 1040a form These amounts are elective deferrals. 2012 1040a form Qualified cash or deferred arrangement (section 401(k) plan). 2012 1040a form Salary reduction agreement to contribute to a tax-sheltered annuity (section 403(b) plan), a SIMPLE IRA plan, or a SARSEP. 2012 1040a form Section 457 nonqualified deferred compensation plan. 2012 1040a form Section 125 cafeteria plan. 2012 1040a form   However, an employer can choose to exclude elective deferrals under the above plans from the definition of compensation. 2012 1040a form The limit on elective deferrals is discussed in chapter 2 under Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension (SARSEP) and in chapter 4. 2012 1040a form Other options. 2012 1040a form   In figuring the compensation of a participant, you can treat any of the following amounts as the employee's compensation. 2012 1040a form The employee's wages as defined for income tax withholding purposes. 2012 1040a form The employee's wages you report in box 1 of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. 2012 1040a form The employee's social security wages (including elective deferrals). 2012 1040a form   Compensation generally cannot include either of the following items. 2012 1040a form Nontaxable reimbursements or other expense allowances. 2012 1040a form Deferred compensation (other than elective deferrals). 2012 1040a form SIMPLE plans. 2012 1040a form   A special definition of compensation applies for SIMPLE plans. 2012 1040a form See chapter 3. 2012 1040a form Contribution. 2012 1040a form   A contribution is an amount you pay into a plan for all those participating in the plan, including self-employed individuals. 2012 1040a form Limits apply to how much, under the contribution formula of the plan, can be contributed each year for a participant. 2012 1040a form Deduction. 2012 1040a form   A deduction is the plan contributions you can subtract from gross income on your federal income tax return. 2012 1040a form Limits apply to the amount deductible. 2012 1040a form Earned income. 2012 1040a form   Earned income is net earnings from self-employment, discussed later, from a business in which your services materially helped to produce the income. 2012 1040a form   You can also have earned income from property your personal efforts helped create, such as royalties from your books or inventions. 2012 1040a form Earned income includes net earnings from selling or otherwise disposing of the property, but it does not include capital gains. 2012 1040a form It includes income from licensing the use of property other than goodwill. 2012 1040a form   Earned income includes amounts received for services by self-employed members of recognized religious sects opposed to social security benefits who are exempt from self-employment tax. 2012 1040a form   If you have more than one business, but only one has a retirement plan, only the earned income from that business is considered for that plan. 2012 1040a form Employer. 2012 1040a form   An employer is generally any person for whom an individual performs or did perform any service, of whatever nature, as an employee. 2012 1040a form A sole proprietor is treated as his or her own employer for retirement plan purposes. 2012 1040a form However, a partner is not an employer for retirement plan purposes. 2012 1040a form Instead, the partnership is treated as the employer of each partner. 2012 1040a form Highly compensated employee. 2012 1040a form   A highly compensated employee is an individual who: Owned more than 5% of the interest in your business at any time during the year or the preceding year, regardless of how much compensation that person earned or received, or For the preceding year, received compensation from you of more than $115,000 (if the preceding year is 2012, 2013, or 2014) and, if you so choose, was in the top 20% of employees when ranked by compensation. 2012 1040a form Leased employee. 2012 1040a form   A leased employee who is not your common-law employee must generally be treated as your employee for retirement plan purposes if he or she does all the following. 2012 1040a form Provides services to you under an agreement between you and a leasing organization. 2012 1040a form Has performed services for you (or for you and related persons) substantially full time for at least 1 year. 2012 1040a form Performs services under your primary direction or control. 2012 1040a form Exception. 2012 1040a form   A leased employee is not treated as your employee if all the following conditions are met. 2012 1040a form Leased employees are not more than 20% of your non-highly compensated work force. 2012 1040a form The employee is covered under the leasing organization's qualified pension plan. 2012 1040a form The leasing organization's plan is a money purchase pension plan that has all the following provisions. 2012 1040a form Immediate participation. 2012 1040a form (This requirement does not apply to any individual whose compensation from the leasing organization in each plan year during the 4-year period ending with the plan year is less than $1,000. 2012 1040a form ) Full and immediate vesting. 2012 1040a form A nonintegrated employer contribution rate of at least 10% of compensation for each participant. 2012 1040a form However, if the leased employee is your common-law employee, that employee will be your employee for all purposes, regardless of any pension plan of the leasing organization. 2012 1040a form Net earnings from self-employment. 2012 1040a form   For SEP and qualified plans, net earnings from self-employment is your gross income from your trade or business (provided your personal services are a material income-producing factor) minus allowable business deductions. 2012 1040a form Allowable deductions include contributions to SEP and qualified plans for common-law employees and the deduction allowed for the deductible part of your self-employment tax. 2012 1040a form   Net earnings from self-employment does not include items excluded from gross income (or their related deductions) other than foreign earned income and foreign housing cost amounts. 2012 1040a form   For the deduction limits, earned income is net earnings for personal services actually rendered to the business. 2012 1040a form You take into account the income tax deduction for the deductible part of self-employment tax and the deduction for contributions to the plan made on your behalf when figuring net earnings. 2012 1040a form   Net earnings include a partner's distributive share of partnership income or loss (other than separately stated items, such as capital gains and losses). 2012 1040a form It does not include income passed through to shareholders of S corporations. 2012 1040a form Guaranteed payments to limited partners are net earnings from self-employment if they are paid for services to or for the partnership. 2012 1040a form Distributions of other income or loss to limited partners are not net earnings from self-employment. 2012 1040a form   For SIMPLE plans, net earnings from self-employment is the amount on line 4 of Short Schedule SE or line 6 of Long Schedule SE (Form 1040), Self-Employment Tax, before subtracting any contributions made to the SIMPLE plan for yourself. 2012 1040a form Qualified plan. 2012 1040a form   A qualified plan is a retirement plan that offers a tax-favored way to save for retirement. 2012 1040a form You can deduct contributions made to the plan for your employees. 2012 1040a form Earnings on these contributions are generally tax free until distributed at retirement. 2012 1040a form Profit-sharing, money purchase, and defined benefit plans are qualified plans. 2012 1040a form A 401(k) plan is also a qualified plan. 2012 1040a form Participant. 2012 1040a form   A participant is an eligible employee who is covered by your retirement plan. 2012 1040a form See the discussions of the different types of plans for the definition of an employee eligible to participate in each type of plan. 2012 1040a form Partner. 2012 1040a form   A partner is an individual who shares ownership of an unincorporated trade or business with one or more persons. 2012 1040a form For retirement plans, a partner is treated as an employee of the partnership. 2012 1040a form Self-employed individual. 2012 1040a form   An individual in business for himself or herself, and whose business is not incorporated, is self-employed. 2012 1040a form Sole proprietors and partners are self-employed. 2012 1040a form Self-employment can include part-time work. 2012 1040a form   Not everyone who has net earnings from self-employment for social security tax purposes is self-employed for qualified plan purposes. 2012 1040a form See Common-law employee and Net earnings from self-employment , earlier. 2012 1040a form   In addition, certain fishermen may be considered self-employed for setting up a qualified plan. 2012 1040a form See Publication 595, Capital Construction Fund for Commercial Fishermen, for the special rules used to determine whether fishermen are self-employed. 2012 1040a form Sole proprietor. 2012 1040a form   A sole proprietor is an individual who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself, including a single member limited liability company that is treated as a disregarded entity for tax purposes. 2012 1040a form For retirement plans, a sole proprietor is treated as both an employer and an employee. 2012 1040a form Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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The 2012 1040a Form

2012 1040a form 2. 2012 1040a form   Filing Status Table of Contents What's New Introduction Useful Items - You may want to see: Marital StatusDivorced persons. 2012 1040a form Divorce and remarriage. 2012 1040a form Annulled marriages. 2012 1040a form Head of household or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. 2012 1040a form Considered married. 2012 1040a form Same-sex marriage. 2012 1040a form Spouse died during the year. 2012 1040a form Married persons living apart. 2012 1040a form Single Married Filing JointlyFiling a Joint Return Married Filing SeparatelySpecial Rules Head of HouseholdConsidered Unmarried Keeping Up a Home Qualifying Person Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child What's New Filing status for same-sex married couples. 2012 1040a form  If you have a same-sex spouse whom you legally married in a state (or foreign country) that recognizes same-sex marriage, you and your spouse generally must use the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status on your 2013 return, even if you and your spouse now live in a state (or foreign country) that does not recognize same-sex marriage. 2012 1040a form See Same-sex marriage under Marital Status, later. 2012 1040a form Introduction This chapter helps you determine which filing status to use. 2012 1040a form There are five filing statuses. 2012 1040a form Single. 2012 1040a form Married Filing Jointly. 2012 1040a form Married Filing Separately. 2012 1040a form Head of Household. 2012 1040a form Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. 2012 1040a form If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will give you the lowest tax. 2012 1040a form You must determine your filing status before you can determine whether you must file a tax return (chapter 1), your standard deduction (chapter 20), and your tax (chapter 30). 2012 1040a form You also use your filing status to determine whether you are eligible to claim certain deductions and credits. 2012 1040a form Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 501 Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information 519 U. 2012 1040a form S. 2012 1040a form Tax Guide for Aliens 555 Community Property Marital Status In general, your filing status depends on whether you are considered unmarried or married. 2012 1040a form Unmarried persons. 2012 1040a form   You are considered unmarried for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are unmarried or legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. 2012 1040a form State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. 2012 1040a form Divorced persons. 2012 1040a form   If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year. 2012 1040a form Divorce and remarriage. 2012 1040a form   If you obtain a divorce for the sole purpose of filing tax returns as unmarried individuals, and at the time of divorce you intend to and do, in fact, remarry each other in the next tax year, you and your spouse must file as married individuals in both years. 2012 1040a form Annulled marriages. 2012 1040a form    If you obtain a court decree of annulment, which holds that no valid marriage ever existed, you are considered unmarried even if you filed joint returns for earlier years. 2012 1040a form You must file Form 1040X, Amended U. 2012 1040a form S. 2012 1040a form Individual Income Tax Return, claiming single or head of household status for all tax years that are affected by the annulment and are not closed by the statute of limitations for filing a tax return. 2012 1040a form Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040X within 3 years (including extensions) after the date you filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. 2012 1040a form If you filed your original return early (for example, March 1), your return is considered filed on the due date (generally April 15). 2012 1040a form However, if you had an extension to file (for example, until October 15) but you filed earlier and we received it on July 1, your return is considered filed on July 1. 2012 1040a form Head of household or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. 2012 1040a form   If you are considered unmarried, you may be able to file as a head of household or as a qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child. 2012 1040a form See Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child to see if you qualify. 2012 1040a form Married persons. 2012 1040a form   If you are considered married, you and your spouse can file a joint return or separate returns. 2012 1040a form Considered married. 2012 1040a form   You are considered married for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you and your spouse meet any one of the following tests. 2012 1040a form You are married and living together as a married couple. 2012 1040a form You are living together in a common law marriage recognized in the state where you now live or in the state where the common law marriage began. 2012 1040a form You are married and living apart, but not legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. 2012 1040a form You are separated under an interlocutory (not final) decree of divorce. 2012 1040a form Same-sex marriage. 2012 1040a form   For federal tax purposes, individuals of the same sex are considered married if they were lawfully married in a state (or foreign country) whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, even if the state (or foreign country) in which they now live does not recognize same-sex marriage. 2012 1040a form The term “spouse” includes an individual married to a person of the same sex if the couple is lawfully married under state (or foreign) law. 2012 1040a form However, individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship that is not considered a marriage under state (or foreign) law are not considered married for federal tax purposes. 2012 1040a form For more details, see Publication 501. 2012 1040a form Spouse died during the year. 2012 1040a form   If your spouse died during the year, you are considered married for the whole year for filing status purposes. 2012 1040a form   If you did not remarry before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return for yourself and your deceased spouse. 2012 1040a form For the next 2 years, you may be entitled to the special benefits described later under Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child . 2012 1040a form   If you remarried before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return with your new spouse. 2012 1040a form Your deceased spouse's filing status is married filing separately for that year. 2012 1040a form Married persons living apart. 2012 1040a form   If you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests, you may be able to file as head of household even if you are not divorced or legally separated. 2012 1040a form If you qualify to file as head of household instead of married filing separately, your standard deduction will be higher. 2012 1040a form Also, your tax may be lower, and you may be able to claim the earned income credit. 2012 1040a form See Head of Household , later. 2012 1040a form Single Your filing status is single if you are considered unmarried and you do not qualify for another filing status. 2012 1040a form To determine your marital status, see Marital Status , earlier. 2012 1040a form Widow(er). 2012 1040a form   Your filing status may be single if you were widowed before January 1, 2013, and did not remarry before the end of 2013. 2012 1040a form You may, however, be able to use another filing status that will give you a lower tax. 2012 1040a form See Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child , later, to see if you qualify. 2012 1040a form How to file. 2012 1040a form   You can file Form 1040. 2012 1040a form If you have taxable income of less than $100,000, you may be able to file Form 1040A. 2012 1040a form If, in addition, you have no dependents, and are under 65 and not blind, and meet other requirements, you can file Form 1040EZ. 2012 1040a form If you file Form 1040A or Form 1040, show your filing status as single by checking the box on line 1. 2012 1040a form Use the Single column of the Tax Table or Section A of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax. 2012 1040a form Married Filing Jointly You can choose married filing jointly as your filing status if you are considered married and both you and your spouse agree to file a joint return. 2012 1040a form On a joint return, you and your spouse report your combined income and deduct your combined allowable expenses. 2012 1040a form You can file a joint return even if one of you had no income or deductions. 2012 1040a form If you and your spouse decide to file a joint return, your tax may be lower than your combined tax for the other filing statuses. 2012 1040a form Also, your standard deduction (if you do not itemize deductions) may be higher, and you may qualify for tax benefits that do not apply to other filing statuses. 2012 1040a form If you and your spouse each have income, you may want to figure your tax both on a joint return and on separate returns (using the filing status of married filing separately). 2012 1040a form You can choose the method that gives the two of you the lower combined tax. 2012 1040a form How to file. 2012 1040a form   If you file as married filing jointly, you can use Form 1040. 2012 1040a form If you and your spouse have taxable income of less than $100,000, you may be able to file Form 1040A. 2012 1040a form If, in addition, you and your spouse have no dependents, are both under 65 and not blind, and meet other requirements, you can file Form 1040EZ. 2012 1040a form If you file Form 1040 or Form 1040A, show this filing status by checking the box on line 2. 2012 1040a form Use the Married filing jointly column of the Tax Table or Section B of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax. 2012 1040a form Spouse died. 2012 1040a form   If your spouse died during the year, you are considered married for the whole year and can choose married filing jointly as your filing status. 2012 1040a form See Spouse died during the year under Marital Status, earlier, for more information. 2012 1040a form   If your spouse died in 2014 before filing a 2013 return, you can choose married filing jointly as your filing status on your 2013 return. 2012 1040a form Divorced persons. 2012 1040a form   If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year and you cannot choose married filing jointly as your filing status. 2012 1040a form Filing a Joint Return Both you and your spouse must include all of your income, exemptions, and deductions on your joint return. 2012 1040a form Accounting period. 2012 1040a form   Both of you must use the same accounting period, but you can use different accounting methods. 2012 1040a form See Accounting Periods and Accounting Methods in chapter 1. 2012 1040a form Joint responsibility. 2012 1040a form   Both of you may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on your joint return. 2012 1040a form This means that if one spouse does not pay the tax due, the other may have to. 2012 1040a form Or, if one spouse does not report the correct tax, both spouses may be responsible for any additional taxes assessed by the IRS. 2012 1040a form One spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse. 2012 1040a form You may want to file separately if: You believe your spouse is not reporting all of his or her income, or You do not want to be responsible for any taxes due if your spouse does not have enough tax withheld or does not pay enough estimated tax. 2012 1040a form Divorced taxpayer. 2012 1040a form   You may be held jointly and individually responsible for any tax, interest, and penalties due on a joint return filed before your divorce. 2012 1040a form This responsibility may apply even if your divorce decree states that your former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. 2012 1040a form Relief from joint responsibility. 2012 1040a form   In some cases, one spouse may be relieved of joint responsibility for tax, interest, and penalties on a joint return for items of the other spouse that were incorrectly reported on the joint return. 2012 1040a form You can ask for relief no matter how small the liability. 2012 1040a form   There are three types of relief available. 2012 1040a form Innocent spouse relief. 2012 1040a form Separation of liability (available only to joint filers who are divorced, widowed, legally separated, or have not lived together for the 12 months ending on the date the election for this relief is filed). 2012 1040a form Equitable relief. 2012 1040a form    You must file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to request relief from joint responsibility. 2012 1040a form Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief, explains these kinds of relief and who may qualify for them. 2012 1040a form Signing a joint return. 2012 1040a form   For a return to be considered a joint return, both spouses generally must sign the return. 2012 1040a form Spouse died before signing. 2012 1040a form   If your spouse died before signing the return, the executor or administrator must sign the return for your spouse. 2012 1040a form If neither you nor anyone else has yet been appointed as executor or administrator, you can sign the return for your spouse and enter “Filing as surviving spouse” in the area where you sign the return. 2012 1040a form Spouse away from home. 2012 1040a form   If your spouse is away from home, you should prepare the return, sign it, and send it to your spouse to sign so that it can be filed on time. 2012 1040a form Injury or disease prevents signing. 2012 1040a form   If your spouse cannot sign because of disease or injury and tells you to sign for him or her, you can sign your spouse's name in the proper space on the return followed by the words “By (your name), Husband (or Wife). 2012 1040a form ” Be sure to also sign in the space provided for your signature. 2012 1040a form Attach a dated statement, signed by you, to the return. 2012 1040a form The statement should include the form number of the return you are filing, the tax year, and the reason your spouse cannot sign, and should state that your spouse has agreed to your signing for him or her. 2012 1040a form Signing as guardian of spouse. 2012 1040a form   If you are the guardian of your spouse who is mentally incompetent, you can sign the return for your spouse as guardian. 2012 1040a form Spouse in combat zone. 2012 1040a form   You can sign a joint return for your spouse if your spouse cannot sign because he or she is serving in a combat zone (such as the Persian Gulf Area, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, or Afghanistan), even if you do not have a power of attorney or other statement. 2012 1040a form Attach a signed statement to your return explaining that your spouse is serving in a combat zone. 2012 1040a form For more information on special tax rules for persons who are serving in a combat zone, or who are in missing status as a result of serving in a combat zone, see Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide. 2012 1040a form Other reasons spouse cannot sign. 2012 1040a form    If your spouse cannot sign the joint return for any other reason, you can sign for your spouse only if you are given a valid power of attorney (a legal document giving you permission to act for your spouse). 2012 1040a form Attach the power of attorney (or a copy of it) to your tax return. 2012 1040a form You can use Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. 2012 1040a form Nonresident alien or dual-status alien. 2012 1040a form   Generally, a married couple cannot file a joint return if either one is a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year. 2012 1040a form However, if one spouse was a nonresident alien or dual-status alien who was married to a U. 2012 1040a form S. 2012 1040a form citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, the spouses can choose to file a joint return. 2012 1040a form If you do file a joint return, you and your spouse are both treated as U. 2012 1040a form S. 2012 1040a form residents for the entire tax year. 2012 1040a form See chapter 1 of Publication 519. 2012 1040a form Married Filing Separately You can choose married filing separately as your filing status if you are married. 2012 1040a form This filing status may benefit you if you want to be responsible only for your own tax or if it results in less tax than filing a joint return. 2012 1040a form If you and your spouse do not agree to file a joint return, you must use this filing status unless you qualify for head of household status, discussed later. 2012 1040a form You may be able to choose head of household filing status if you are considered unmarried because you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests (explained later, under Head of Household ). 2012 1040a form This can apply to you even if you are not divorced or legally separated. 2012 1040a form If you qualify to file as head of household, instead of as married filing separately, your tax may be lower, you may be able to claim the earned income credit and certain other credits, and your standard deduction will be higher. 2012 1040a form The head of household filing status allows you to choose the standard deduction even if your spouse chooses to itemize deductions. 2012 1040a form See Head of Household , later, for more information. 2012 1040a form You will generally pay more combined tax on separate returns than you would on a joint return for the reasons listed under Special Rules, later. 2012 1040a form However, unless you are required to file separately, you should figure your tax both ways (on a joint return and on separate returns). 2012 1040a form This way you can make sure you are using the filing status that results in the lowest combined tax. 2012 1040a form When figuring the combined tax of a married couple, you may want to consider state taxes as well as federal taxes. 2012 1040a form How to file. 2012 1040a form   If you file a separate return, you generally report only your own income, exemptions, credits, and deductions. 2012 1040a form You can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income, is not filing a return, and was not the dependent of another person. 2012 1040a form You can file Form 1040. 2012 1040a form If your taxable income is less than $100,000, you may be able to file Form 1040A. 2012 1040a form Select this filing status by checking the box on line 3 of either form. 2012 1040a form Enter your spouse's full name and SSN or ITIN in the spaces provided. 2012 1040a form If your spouse does not have and is not required to have an SSN or ITIN, enter “NRA” in the space for your spouse's SSN. 2012 1040a form Use the Married filing separately column of the Tax Table or Section C of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax. 2012 1040a form Special Rules If you choose married filing separately as your filing status, the following special rules apply. 2012 1040a form Because of these special rules, you usually pay more tax on a separate return than if you use another filing status you qualify for. 2012 1040a form   Your tax rate generally is higher than on a joint return. 2012 1040a form Your exemption amount for figuring the alternative minimum tax is half that allowed on a joint return. 2012 1040a form You cannot take the credit for child and dependent care expenses in most cases, and the amount you can exclude from income under an employer's dependent care assistance program is limited to $2,500 (instead of $5,000). 2012 1040a form If you are legally separated or living apart from your spouse, you may be able to file a separate return and still take the credit. 2012 1040a form For more information about these expenses, the credit, and the exclusion, see chapter 32. 2012 1040a form You cannot take the earned income credit. 2012 1040a form You cannot take the exclusion or credit for adoption expenses in most cases. 2012 1040a form You cannot take the education credits (the American opportunity credit and lifetime learning credit), the deduction for student loan interest, or the tuition and fees deduction. 2012 1040a form You cannot exclude any interest income from qualified U. 2012 1040a form S. 2012 1040a form savings bonds you used for higher education expenses. 2012 1040a form If you lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year: You cannot claim the credit for the elderly or the disabled, and You must include in income a greater percentage (up to 85%) of any social security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits you received. 2012 1040a form The following credits and deductions are reduced at income levels half those for a joint return: The child tax credit, The retirement savings contributions credit, The deduction for personal exemptions, and Itemized deductions. 2012 1040a form Your capital loss deduction limit is $1,500 (instead of $3,000 on a joint return). 2012 1040a form If your spouse itemizes deductions, you cannot claim the standard deduction. 2012 1040a form If you can claim the standard deduction, your basic standard deduction is half the amount allowed on a joint return. 2012 1040a form Adjusted gross income (AGI) limits. 2012 1040a form   If your AGI on a separate return is lower than it would have been on a joint return, you may be able to deduct a larger amount for certain deductions that are limited by AGI, such as medical expenses. 2012 1040a form Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). 2012 1040a form   You may not be able to deduct all or part of your contributions to a traditional IRA if you or your spouse were covered by an employee retirement plan at work during the year. 2012 1040a form Your deduction is reduced or eliminated if your income is more than a certain amount. 2012 1040a form This amount is much lower for married individuals who file separately and lived together at any time during the year. 2012 1040a form For more information, see How Much Can You Deduct in chapter 17. 2012 1040a form Rental activity losses. 2012 1040a form   If you actively participated in a passive rental real estate activity that produced a loss, you generally can deduct the loss from your nonpassive income, up to $25,000. 2012 1040a form This is called a special allowance. 2012 1040a form However, married persons filing separate returns who lived together at any time during the year cannot claim this special allowance. 2012 1040a form Married persons filing separate returns who lived apart at all times during the year are each allowed a $12,500 maximum special allowance for losses from passive real estate activities. 2012 1040a form See Limits on Rental Losses in chapter 9. 2012 1040a form Community property states. 2012 1040a form   If you live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin and file separately, your income may be considered separate income or community income for income tax purposes. 2012 1040a form See Publication 555. 2012 1040a form Joint Return After Separate Returns You can change your filing status from a separate return to a joint return by filing an amended return using Form 1040X. 2012 1040a form You generally can change to a joint return any time within 3 years from the due date of the separate return or returns. 2012 1040a form This does not include any extensions. 2012 1040a form A separate return includes a return filed by you or your spouse claiming married filing separately, single, or head of household filing status. 2012 1040a form Separate Returns After Joint Return Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return. 2012 1040a form Exception. 2012 1040a form   A personal representative for a decedent can change from a joint return elected by the surviving spouse to a separate return for the decedent. 2012 1040a form The personal representative has 1 year from the due date of the return (including extensions) to make the change. 2012 1040a form See Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators, for more information on filing a return for a decedent. 2012 1040a form Head of Household You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements. 2012 1040a form You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year. 2012 1040a form See Marital Status , earlier, and Considered Unmarried , later. 2012 1040a form You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year. 2012 1040a form A qualifying person lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). 2012 1040a form However, if the qualifying person is your dependent parent, he or she does not have to live with you. 2012 1040a form See Special rule for parent , later, under Qualifying Person. 2012 1040a form If you qualify to file as head of household, your tax rate usually will be lower than the rates for single or married filing separately. 2012 1040a form You will also receive a higher standard deduction than if you file as single or married filing separately. 2012 1040a form Kidnapped child. 2012 1040a form   A child may qualify you to file as head of household even if the child has been kidnapped. 2012 1040a form For more information, see Publication 501. 2012 1040a form How to file. 2012 1040a form   If you file as head of household, you can use Form 1040. 2012 1040a form If your taxable income is less than $100,000, you may be able to file Form 1040A. 2012 1040a form Indicate your choice of this filing status by checking the box on line 4 of either form. 2012 1040a form Use the Head of a household column of the Tax Table or Section D of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax. 2012 1040a form Considered Unmarried To qualify for head of household status, you must be either unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. 2012 1040a form You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests. 2012 1040a form You file a separate return (defined earlier under Joint Return After Separate Returns ). 2012 1040a form You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year. 2012 1040a form Your spouse did not live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. 2012 1040a form Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. 2012 1040a form See Temporary absences , under Qualifying Person, later. 2012 1040a form Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. 2012 1040a form (See Home of qualifying person , under Qualifying Person, later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year. 2012 1040a form ) You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. 2012 1040a form However, you meet this test if you cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules described in Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child in chapter 3, or in Support Test for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) under Qualifying Relative in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are explained under Exemptions for Dependents in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form If you were considered married for part of the year and lived in a community property state (listed earlier under Married Filing Separately), special rules may apply in determining your income and expenses. 2012 1040a form See Publication 555 for more information. 2012 1040a form Nonresident alien spouse. 2012 1040a form   You are considered unmarried for head of household purposes if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you do not choose to treat your nonresident spouse as a resident alien. 2012 1040a form However, your spouse is not a qualifying person for head of household purposes. 2012 1040a form You must have another qualifying person and meet the other tests to be eligible to file as a head of household. 2012 1040a form Choice to treat spouse as resident. 2012 1040a form   You are considered married if you choose to treat your spouse as a resident alien. 2012 1040a form See Publication 519. 2012 1040a form Keeping Up a Home To qualify for head of household status, you must pay more than half of the cost of keeping up a home for the year. 2012 1040a form You can determine whether you paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home by using Worksheet 2–1. 2012 1040a form Worksheet 2-1. 2012 1040a form Cost of Keeping Up a Home   Amount You Paid Total Cost Property taxes $ $ Mortgage interest expense     Rent     Utility charges     Repairs/maintenance     Property insurance     Food consumed on the premises     Other household expenses     Totals $ $ Minus total amount you paid   () Amount others paid   $ If the total amount you paid is more than the amount others paid, you meet the requirement of paying more than half the cost of keeping up the home. 2012 1040a form Costs you include. 2012 1040a form   Include in the cost of keeping up a home expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance on the home, repairs, utilities, and food eaten in the home. 2012 1040a form   If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of keeping up your home, you cannot count them as money you paid. 2012 1040a form However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you paid over half the cost. 2012 1040a form Costs you do not include. 2012 1040a form   Do not include the costs of clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, or transportation. 2012 1040a form Also, do not include the rental value of a home you own or the value of your services or those of a member of your household. 2012 1040a form Qualifying Person See Table 2-1 to see who is a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form Any person not described in Table 2-1 is not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form Table 2-1. 2012 1040a form Who Is a Qualifying Person Qualifying You To File as Head of Household?1 Caution. 2012 1040a form See the text of this chapter for the other requirements you must meet to claim head of household filing status. 2012 1040a form IF the person is your . 2012 1040a form . 2012 1040a form . 2012 1040a form   AND . 2012 1040a form . 2012 1040a form . 2012 1040a form   THEN that person is . 2012 1040a form . 2012 1040a form . 2012 1040a form qualifying child (such as a son, daughter, or grandchild who lived with you more than half the year and meets certain other tests)2   he or she is single   a qualifying person, whether or not you can claim an exemption for the person. 2012 1040a form   he or she is married and you can claim an exemption for him or her   a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form   he or she is married and you cannot claim an exemption for him or her   not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form 3 qualifying relative4 who is your father or mother   you can claim an exemption for him or her5   a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form 6   you cannot claim an exemption for him or her   not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form qualifying relative4 other than your father or mother (such as a grandparent, brother, or sister who meets certain tests)   he or she lived with you more than half the year, and he or she is related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in chapter 3 and you can claim an exemption for him or her5   a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form   he or she did not live with you more than half the year   not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form   he or she is not related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in chapter 3 and is your qualifying relative only because he or she lived with you all year as a member of your household   not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form   you cannot claim an exemption for him or her   not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form 1A person cannot qualify more than one taxpayer to use the head of household filing status for the year. 2012 1040a form 2The term “qualifying child” is defined in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form Note. 2012 1040a form If you are a noncustodial parent, the term “qualifying child” for head of household filing status does not include a child who is your qualifying child for exemption purposes only because of the rules described under Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form If you are the custodial parent and those rules apply, the child generally is your qualifying child for head of household filing status even though the child is not a qualifying child for whom you can claim an exemption. 2012 1040a form 3This person is a qualifying person if the only reason you cannot claim the exemption is that you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return. 2012 1040a form 4The term “ qualifying relative ” is defined in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form 5If you can claim an exemption for a person only because of a multiple support agreement, that person is not a qualifying person. 2012 1040a form See Multiple Support Agreement in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form 6See Special rule for parent . 2012 1040a form Example 1—child. 2012 1040a form Your unmarried son lived with you all year and was 18 years old at the end of the year. 2012 1040a form He did not provide more than half of his own support and does not meet the tests to be a qualifying child of anyone else. 2012 1040a form As a result, he is your qualifying child (see Qualifying Child in chapter 3) and, because he is single, your qualifying person for you to claim head of household filing status. 2012 1040a form Example 2—child who is not qualifying person. 2012 1040a form The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your son was 25 years old at the end of the year and his gross income was $5,000. 2012 1040a form Because he does not meet the age test (explained under Qualifying Child in chapter 3), your son is not your qualifying child. 2012 1040a form Because he does not meet the gross income test (explained later under Qualifying Relative in chapter 3), he is not your qualifying relative. 2012 1040a form As a result, he is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes. 2012 1040a form Example 3—girlfriend. 2012 1040a form Your girlfriend lived with you all year. 2012 1040a form Even though she may be your qualifying relative if the gross income and support tests (explained in chapter 3) are met, she is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes because she is not related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in chapter 3. 2012 1040a form See Table 2-1. 2012 1040a form Example 4—girlfriend's child. 2012 1040a form The facts are the same as in Example 3 except your girlfriend's 10-year-old son also lived with you all year. 2012 1040a form He is not your qualifying child and, because he is your girlfriend's qualifying child, he is not your qualifying relative (see Not a Qualifying Child Test in chapter 3). 2012 1040a form As a result, he is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes. 2012 1040a form Home of qualifying person. 2012 1040a form   Generally, the qualifying person must live with you for more than half of the year. 2012 1040a form Special rule for parent. 2012 1040a form   If your qualifying person is your father or mother, you may be eligible to file as head of household even if your father or mother does not live with you. 2012 1040a form However, you must be able to claim an exemption for your father or mother. 2012 1040a form Also, you must pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for the entire year for your father or mother. 2012 1040a form   You are keeping up a main home for your father or mother if you pay more than half the cost of keeping your parent in a rest home or home for the elderly. 2012 1040a form Death or birth. 2012 1040a form   You may be eligible to file as head of household even if the individual who qualifies you for this filing status is born or dies during the year. 2012 1040a form If the individual is your qualifying child, the child must have lived with you for more than half the part of the year he or she was alive. 2012 1040a form If the individual is anyone else, see Publication 501. 2012 1040a form Temporary absences. 2012 1040a form   You and your qualifying person are considered to live together even if one or both of you are temporarily absent from your home due to special circumstances such as illness, education, business, vacation, or military service. 2012 1040a form It must be reasonable to assume the absent person will return to the home after the temporary absence. 2012 1040a form You must continue to keep up the home during the absence. 2012 1040a form Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child If your spouse died in 2013, you can use married filing jointly as your filing status for 2013 if you otherwise qualify to use that status. 2012 1040a form The year of death is the last year for which you can file jointly with your deceased spouse. 2012 1040a form See Married Filing Jointly , earlier. 2012 1040a form You may be eligible to use qualifying widow(er) with dependent child as your filing status for 2 years following the year your spouse died. 2012 1040a form For example, if your spouse died in 2012, and you have not remarried, you may be able to use this filing status for 2013 and 2014. 2012 1040a form This filing status entitles you to use joint return tax rates and the highest standard deduction amount (if you do not itemize deductions). 2012 1040a form It does not entitle you to file a joint return. 2012 1040a form How to file. 2012 1040a form   If you file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, you can use Form 1040. 2012 1040a form If you also have taxable income of less than $100,000 and meet certain other conditions, you may be able to file Form 1040A. 2012 1040a form Check the box on line 5 of either form. 2012 1040a form Use the Married filing jointly column of the Tax Table or Section B of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax. 2012 1040a form Eligibility rules. 2012 1040a form   You are eligible to file your 2013 return as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child if you meet all of the following tests. 2012 1040a form You were entitled to file a joint return with your spouse for the year your spouse died. 2012 1040a form It does not matter whether you actually filed a joint return. 2012 1040a form Your spouse died in 2011 or 2012 and you did not remarry before the end of 2013. 2012 1040a form You have a child or stepchild for whom you can claim an exemption. 2012 1040a form This does not include a foster child. 2012 1040a form This child lived in your home all year, except for temporary absences. 2012 1040a form See Temporary absences , earlier, under Head of Household. 2012 1040a form There are also exceptions, described later, for a child who was born or died during the year and for a kidnapped child. 2012 1040a form You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year. 2012 1040a form See Keeping Up a Home , earlier, under Head of Household. 2012 1040a form Example. 2012 1040a form John's wife died in 2011. 2012 1040a form John has not remarried. 2012 1040a form During 2012 and 2013, he continued to keep up a home for himself and his child, who lives with him and for whom he can claim an exemption. 2012 1040a form For 2011 he was entitled to file a joint return for himself and his deceased wife. 2012 1040a form For 2012 and 2013, he can file as qualifying widower with a dependent child. 2012 1040a form After 2013 he can file as head of household if he qualifies. 2012 1040a form Death or birth. 2012 1040a form    You may be eligible to file as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child if the child who qualifies you for this filing status is born or dies during the year. 2012 1040a form You must have provided more than half of the cost of keeping up a home that was the child's main home during the entire part of the year he or she was alive. 2012 1040a form Kidnapped child. 2012 1040a form   A child may qualify you for qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, even if the child has been kidnapped. 2012 1040a form See Publication 501. 2012 1040a form    As mentioned earlier, this filing status is available for only 2 years following the year your spouse died. 2012 1040a form Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications