Frequently Asked Questions

What's New from the IRS?

Excerpts from IRS Publication 17

When will I get my tax refund?

Go to http://www.irs.gov and click on "Where's My Refund?" for the most up to date information or download the approximate dates here:
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IRS Refund Cycle Chart


Do I need to file?

The IRS has generally changed its income thresholds. See the following chart from IRS Publication 17 which applies in MOST cases.

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Filing Requirements



Who qualifies for Earned Income Credit?

First, check the basic rules for EIC. See the following chart from IRS Publication 17.

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EIC Basics

Then, check if the child qualifies foir EIC. See the following chart from IRS Publication 17.

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EIC Chart



I am a dependent, do I need to file?

See the following chart from IRS Publication 17.

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Dependent Chart

Due date of returns

File Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by April 17, 2012. The due date is April 17, instead of April 15, because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia.

Reporting capital gains and losses on new Form 8949

In most cases, you must report your capital gains and losses on new Form 8949. Then you report certain totals from that form on Schedule D (Form 1040). See chapter 16.

Standard mileage rates

The 2011 rate for business use of your car is 51 cents a mile for miles driven before July 1, 2011, and 55 1/2 cents a mile for miles driven after June 30, 2011. See chapter 26. The 2011 rate for use of your car to get medical care is 19 cents a mile for miles driven before July 1, 2011, and 23 1/2 cents a mile for miles driven after June 30, 2011. See chapter 21. The 2011 rate for use of your car to move is 19 cents a mile for miles driven before July 1, 2011, and 23 1/2 cents a mile for miles driven after June 30, 2011. See Publication 521, Moving Expenses.

Standard deduction increased

The standard deduction for some taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) is higher for 2011 than it was for 2010. The amount depends on your filing status. See chapter 20.

Exemption amount

The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased. It was $3,650 for 2010. It is $3,700 for 2011. See chapter 3.

Self-employed health insurance deduction

This deduction is no longer allowed on Schedule SE (Form 1040). However, you can still take it on Form 1040, line 29. See chapter 21.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount increased

The AMT exemption amount has increased to $48,450 ($74,450 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er); $37,225 if married filing separately).

Health savings accounts (HSAs) and Archer MSAs

For distributions after 2010, the additional tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for qualified medical expenses has increased to 20%. Also beginning in 2011, amounts paid for medicine or a drug are qualified medical expenses only if the medicine or drug is a prescribed drug or is insulin. See the instructions for Form 8889 or Form 8853 for details.

Roth IRAs

If you converted or rolled over an amount to a Roth IRA in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. See Publication 575 for details.

Designated Roth accounts

If you rolled over an amount from a 401(k) or 403(b) plan to a designated Roth account in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. See Publication 575 for details.

Alternative motor vehicle credit

You cannot claim the alternative motor vehicle credit for a vehicle you bought in 2011, unless the vehicle is a new fuel cell motor vehicle. See chapter 36.

First-time homebuyer credit

To claim the first-time homebuyer credit for 2011, you (or your spouse if married) must have been a member of the uniformed services or Foreign Service or an employee of the intelligence community on qualified official extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010. See chapter 36.

Repayment of first time homebuyer credit

If you have to repay the credit, you may be able to do so without attaching Form 5405. See chapter 36.

Nonbusiness energy property credit

This credit is figured differently for 2011 than it was for 2010. See chapter 36 for details.

Health coverage tax credit

This credit has been extended, and the amount has changed. See chapter 36 for details.

Foreign financial assets

If you had foreign financial assets in 2011, you may have to file new Form 8938 with your return. Check www.IRS.gov/form8938 for details.

Schedule L

Schedule L is no longer in use. You do not need it to figure your 2011 standard deduction. Instead, see chapter 20 for information about your 2011 standard deduction.

Making work pay credit

The making work pay credit has expired. You cannot claim it on your 2011 return. Schedule M is no longer in use.

Mailing your return

If you are filing a paper return, you may be mailing it to a different address this year because the IRS has changed the filing location for several areas. See Where To File near the end of this publication for a list of IRS addresses.