- I retired last year and started receiving social security payments. Do I have to pay taxes on my social security benefits?
- What should I do if I made a mistake on my federal return that I've already filed?
- What is a split refund?
- How do I notify the IRS my address has changed?
- Here are ten tips for taxpayers to remember when selecting a preparer:
Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They don’t include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which aren’t taxable. The net amount of social security benefits that you receive from the Social Security Administration is reported in Box 5 of Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, and you report that amount on line 5a of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors PDF. The taxable portion of the benefits that’s included in your income and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year. You report the taxable portion of your social security benefits on line 5b of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
Your benefits may be taxable if the total of (1) one-half of your benefits, plus (2) all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, is greater than the base amount for your filing status.
The base amount for your filing status is:
$25,000 if you’re single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er), $25,000 if you’re married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year,$32,000 if you’re married filing jointly, $0 if you’re married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year.
If you’re married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits. Even if your spouse didn’t receive any benefits, you must add your spouse’s income to yours when figuring on a joint return if any of your benefits are taxable.
Generally, you can figure the taxable amount of the benefits in Are My Social Security or Railroad Retirement Tier I Benefits Taxable?, on a worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR or in Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits. However, if you made contributions to a traditional Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) for 2019 and you or your spouse were covered by a retirement plan at work or through self-employment, use the worksheets in Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to see if any of your social security benefits are taxable and to figure your IRA deduction.
It depends on the type of mistake you made:
Many mathematical errors are caught during the processing of the tax return and corrected by the IRS, so you may not need to correct these mistakes.
If you didn’t claim the correct filing status or you need to change your income, deductions, or credits, you should file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
When filing an amended or corrected return:
Include copies of any forms and/or schedules that you’re changing or didn’t include with your original return.
To avoid delays, file Form 1040-X only after you’ve filed your original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040-X within 3 years after the date you timely filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
Allow the IRS up to 16 weeks to process the amended return.
Tax Topic 308 — Amended Returns
Should I File an Amended Return?
Instructions for Form 1040-X, Amended U.S.
Individual Income Tax Return
Subcategory: Amended Returns & Form 1040X
Category: IRS Procedures
A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds into up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions. Use Part I of Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases) to request to have your refund split. The accounts must be in your name. You may also use part or all of your refund to buy up to $5,000 in paper or electronic U.S. Series I Savings Bonds for yourself or someone else by using Part II of Form 8888.
There are several ways to tell us your address has changed:
Methods to Change Your Address
Tell us in person or by telephone. We’ll need you to verify your identity and the address we have on file for you. Please have ready your:
date of birth
social security number, ITIN or EIN
We may request additional information to verify your identity.
IRS form Use Form 8822, Change of Address or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party – Business Tax return Use your new address when you file Written statement
Send us a signed written statement with your:
date of birth
social security number, ITIN or EIN
Mail your signed statement to the address where you filed your last return.
If you filed a joint return and are still residing with the same spouse, both you and your spouse should provide your names, social security numbers, new address and signatures on the form or statement.
If you filed a joint return and you now have separate addresses, each of you should notify us of your new, separate addresses.
Authorized representatives filing a form or written statement to change an address for a taxpayer must attach a copy of their power of attorney or Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. Unauthorized third parties can’t change a taxpayer’s address.
Changes of address through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may update your address of record on file with us based on what they retain in their National Change of Address (NCOA) database. However, even when you notify the USPS, not all post offices forward government checks, so you should still notify us.
For changes of address relating to an employment tax return, we issue confirmation notices (Notices 148A and 148B) for the change to both the new and former address.
It can generally take four to six weeks after receipt for a change of address request to fully process.
Revenue Procedure 2010-16
Check the Preparer’s Qualifications. People can use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications. The directory is a searchable and sortable listing of preparers.
Check the Preparer’s History. Taxpayers can ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, people can check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, they can check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, taxpayers can go to the verify enrolled agent status page on IRS.gov or check the directory.
Ask about Service Fees. People should avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of the refund or who boast bigger refunds than their competition. When asking about a preparer’s services and fees, don’t give them tax documents, Social Security numbers or other information.
Ask to e-file. Taxpayers should make sure their preparer offers IRS e-file. The quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to electronically file their federal tax return and use direct deposit.
Make Sure the Preparer is Available. Taxpayers may want to contact their preparer after this year’s April 15 due date. People should avoid fly-by-night preparers.
Provide Records and Receipts. Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer’s records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to figure things like the total income, tax deductions and credits.
Never Sign a Blank Return. Taxpayers should not use a tax preparer who asks them to sign a blank tax form.
Review Before Signing. Before signing a tax return, the taxpayer should review it. They should ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should feel comfortable with the accuracy of their return before they sign it. They should also make sure that their refund goes directly to them – not to the preparer’s bank account. The taxpayer should review the routing and bank account number on the completed return. The preparer should give you a copy of the completed tax return.
Ensure the Preparer Signs and Includes Their PTIN. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN.
Report Abusive Tax Preparers to the IRS.