Publication 524 (2019), Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled

For use in preparing 2019 Returns


Publication 524 - Introductory Material

What’s New

Form 1040-SR. Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors has been introduced for use for the 2019 year. This form is essentially the same as Form 1040 and for filing and processing purposes anyone who files Form 1040-SR is considered to have filed a Form 1040. You can use this form if you are age 65 or over at the end of 2019.

Reminders

Future developments. For the latest information about developments related to Pub. 524, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to IRS.gov/Pub524.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Introduction

If you qualify, you may be able to reduce the tax you owe by taking the credit for the elderly or the disabled.

This publication explains:

  • Who qualifies for the credit for the elderly or the disabled, and

  • How to figure the credit.

 

You may be able to take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if:

  • You are age 65 or older at the end of 2019, or

  • You retired on permanent and total disability and have taxable disability income.

 

Comments and suggestions.

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

You can send us comments through IRS.gov/FormComments. Or, you can write to: Internal Revenue Service, Tax Forms and Publications, 1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526, Washington, DC 20224.

Although we can’t respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax forms, instructions, and publications. We can’t answer tax questions sent to the above address.

Tax questions.

If you have a tax question not answered by this publication or How To Get Tax Help section at the end of this publication, go to the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant page at IRS.gov/Help/ITA where you can find topics using the search feature or by viewing the categories listed.

Getting tax forms, instructions, and publications.

Visit IRS.gov/Forms to download current and prior-year forms, instructions, and publications.

Ordering tax forms, instructions, and publications.

Go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to order current forms, instructions, and publications; call 800-829-3676 to order prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 554 Tax Guide for Seniors

Form (and Instructions)

  • Form 1040-SR U.S. Tax Return for Seniors

  • Schedule R (Form 1040 or 1040-SR) Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled

See How To Get Tax Help , near the end of this publication, for information about getting this publication and form.

Publication 524 - Main Contents

Are You Eligible for the Credit?

You can take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if you meet both of the following requirements.

  • You are a qualified individual.

  • Your income isn't more than certain limits.

 

You can use Figure A and Table 1 as guides to see if you are eligible for the credit. Use Figure A first to see if you are a qualified individual. If you are, go to Table 1 to make sure your income isn't too high to take the credit.

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You can take the credit only if you file Form 1040 or 1040-SR. You can't take the credit if you file Form 1040-NR.

Qualified Individual

You are a qualified individual for this credit if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and either of the following applies.

  1. You were age 65 or older at the end of 2019.

  2. You were under age 65 at the end of 2019 and all three of the following statements are true.

    1. You retired on permanent and total disability (explained later).

    2. You received taxable disability income for 2019.

    3. On January 1, 2019, you had not reached mandatory retirement age (defined later under Disability income ).

 

Age 65.

You are considered to be age 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. As a result, if you were born on January 1, 1955, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2019.

Death of taxpayer.

If you are preparing a return for someone who died in 2019, consider the taxpayer to be age 65 at the end of 2019 if he or she was age 65 or older at the time of death.

Note.

A person is considered to reach age 65 on the day before his or her 65th birthday. For example, if the taxpayer was born on February 14, 1954, and died on February 13, 2019, the taxpayer is considered age 65 at the time of death. However, if the taxpayer died on February 12, 2019, the taxpayer isn't considered age 65 at the time of death or at the end of 2019.

U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien

You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien (or be treated as a resident alien) to take the credit. Generally, you can't take the credit if you were a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year.

Exceptions.

You may be able to take the credit if you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the tax year and you and your spouse choose to treat you as a U.S. resident alien. If you make that choice, both you and your spouse are taxed on your worldwide incomes.

If you were a nonresident alien at the beginning of the year and a resident alien at the end of the year, and you were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, you may be able to choose to be treated as a U.S. resident alien for the entire year. In that case, you may be allowed to take the credit.

For information on these choices, see chapter 1 of Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Married Persons

Generally, if you are married at the end of the tax year, you and your spouse must file a joint return to take the credit. However, if you and your spouse didn't live in the same household at any time during the tax year, you can file either a joint return or separate returns and still take the credit.

Head of household.

You can file as head of household and qualify to take the credit, even if your spouse lived with you during the first 6 months of the year, if you meet all the following tests.

  1. You file a separate return.

  2. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home during the tax year.

  3. Your spouse didn't live in your home at any time during the last 6 months of the tax year and the absence wasn't temporary. See Temporary absences under Head of Household in Pub. 501, Dependents, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

  4. Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or an eligible foster child for more than half the year. An eligible foster child is a child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

  5. The child is your dependent, or would be your dependent except that the noncustodial parent is entitled to claim the child as their dependent under the special rule for children of divorced or separated parents. See Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) in Pub. 501.

For more information, see the Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR or Pub. 501.

Figure A. Are You a Qualified Individual?

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figure a

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Under Age 65

If you are under age 65 at the end of 2019, you can qualify for the credit only if you are retired on permanent and total disability (discussed next) and have taxable disability income (discussed later under Disability income ). You are retired on permanent and total disability if:

  • You were permanently and totally disabled when you retired, and

  • You retired on disability before the close of the tax year.

 

Even if you don't retire formally, you may be considered retired on disability when you have stopped working because of your disability.

If you retired on disability before 1977, and weren't permanently and totally disabled at the time, you can qualify for the credit if you were permanently and totally disabled on January 1, 1976, or January 1, 1977.

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You are considered to be under age 65 at the end of 2019 if you were born after January 1, 1955.

Permanent and total disability.

You have a permanent and total disability if you can't engage in any substantial gainful activity because of your physical or mental condition. A qualified physician must certify that the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for 12 months or more, or that the condition can be expected to result in death. See Physician's statement , later.

Substantial gainful activity.

Substantial gainful activity is the performance of significant duties over a reasonable period of time while working for pay or profit, or in work generally done for pay or profit. Full-time work (or part-time work done at your employer's convenience) in a competitive work situation for at least the minimum wage conclusively shows that you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Note.

Information on minimum wage rates is available at www.dol.gov/general/topic/wages/minimumwage.

Substantial gainful activity isn't work you do to take care of yourself or your home. It isn't unpaid work on hobbies, institutional therapy or training, school attendance, clubs, social programs, and similar activities. However, the nature of the work you perform may show that you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

The fact that you haven't worked or have been unemployed for some time isn't, of itself, conclusive evidence that you can't engage in substantial gainful activity.

The following examples illustrate the tests of substantial gainful activity.

Example 1.

Trisha, a sales clerk, retired on disability. She is 53 years old and now works as a full-time babysitter for the minimum wage. Even though Trisha is doing different work, she is able to do the duties of her new job in a full-time competitive work situation for the minimum wage. She can't take the credit because she is able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Example 2.

Tom, a bookkeeper, retired on disability. He is 59 years old and now drives a truck for a charitable organization. He sets his own hours and isn't paid. Duties of this nature generally are performed for pay or profit. Some weeks he works 10 hours, and some weeks he works 40 hours. Over the year he averages 20 hours a week. The kind of work and his average hours per week conclusively show that Tom is able to engage in substantial gainful activity. This is true even though Tom isn't paid and he sets his own hours. He can't take the credit.

Example 3.

John, who retired on disability, took a job with a former employer on a trial basis. The purpose of the job was to see if John could do the work. The trial period lasted for 6 months during which John was paid the minimum wage. Because of John's disability, he was assigned only light duties of a nonproductive "make-work" nature. The activity was gainful because John was paid at least the minimum wage. But the activity wasn't substantial because his duties were nonproductive. These facts don't, by themselves, show that John is able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Example 4.

Joan, who retired on disability from a job as a bookkeeper, lives with her sister who manages several motel units. Joan helps her sister for 1 or 2 hours a day by performing duties such as washing dishes, answering phones, registering guests, and bookkeeping. Joan can select the time of day when she feels most fit to work. Work of this nature, performed off and on during the day at Joan's convenience, isn't activity of a "substantial and gainful" nature even if she is paid for the work. The performance of these duties doesn't, of itself, show that Joan is able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Sheltered employment.

Certain work offered at qualified locations to physically or mentally impaired persons is considered sheltered employment. These qualified locations include work centers that are certified by the Department of Labor (formerly referred to as sheltered workshops), hospitals and similar institutions, homebound programs, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sponsored homes.

Compared to commercial employment, pay is lower for sheltered employment. Therefore, one usually doesn't look for sheltered employment if he or she can get other employment. The fact that one has accepted sheltered employment isn't proof of the person's ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Physician's statement.

If you are under age 65, you must have your physician complete a statement certifying that you had a permanent and total disability on the date you retired. You can use the statement in the Instructions for Schedule R.

You don't have to file this statement with your return, but you must keep it for your records.

Veterans.

If the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) certifies that you have a permanent and total disability, you can substitute VA Form 21-0172, Certification of Permanent and Total Disability, for the physician's statement you are required to keep. VA Form 21-0172 must be signed by a person authorized by the VA to do so. You can get this form from your local VA regional office.

Physician's statement obtained in earlier year.

If you got a physician's statement in an earlier year and, due to your continued disabled condition, you were unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity during 2019, you may not need to get another physician's statement for 2019. For a detailed explanation of the conditions you must meet, see the instructions for Schedule R, Part II. If you meet the required conditions, check the box on your Schedule R, Part II, line 2.

If you checked box 4, 5, or 6 in Part I of Schedule R, enter in the space above the box on line 2 in Part II the first name(s) of the spouse(s) for whom the box is checked.

Disability income.

If you are under age 65, you also must have taxable disability income to qualify for the credit. Disability income must meet both of the following requirements.

  1. It must be paid under your employer's accident or health plan or pension plan.

  2. It must be included in your income as wages (or payments instead of wages) for the time you are absent from work because of permanent and total disability.

 

Payments that aren't disability income.

Any payment you receive from a plan that doesn't provide for disability retirement isn't disability income. Any lump-sum payment for accrued annual leave that you receive when you retire on disability is a salary payment and isn't disability income.

For purposes of the credit for the elderly or the disabled, disability income doesn't include amounts you receive after you reach mandatory retirement age. Mandatory retirement age is the age set by your employer at which you would have had to retire, had you not become disabled.

Income Limits

To determine if you can claim the credit, you must consider two income limits. The first limit is the amount of your adjusted gross income (AGI). The second limit is the amount of nontaxable social security and other nontaxable pensions, annuities, or disability income you received. The limits are shown in Table 1.

If your AGI and your nontaxable pensions, annuities, or disability income are less than the income limits, you may be able to claim the credit. See Figuring the Credit Yourself , later.

Table 1. Income Limits
IF your filing status is... THEN, even if you qualify (see Figure A), you CAN'T take the credit if...
  Your adjusted gross income (AGI)* is equal to or more than...     OR the total of your nontaxable social security and other nontaxable pension(s), annuities, or disability income is equal to or more than...  
single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)   $17,500     $5,000  
married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies in Figure A   $20,000     $5,000  
married filing jointly and both spouses qualify in Figure A   $25,000     $7,500  
married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2019   $12,500     $3,750  
* AGI is the amount on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 8b.

 

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If your AGI or your nontaxable pensions, annuities, or disability income are equal to or more than the income limits, you can't take the credit.

Credit Figured for You

You can figure the credit yourself or the IRS will figure it for you. If you want to figure the credit yourself, skip this section and follow the instructions in Figuring the Credit Yourself , later.

If you can take the credit and you want the IRS to figure the credit for you, check the appropriate box in Part I of Schedule R and fill in Part II and lines 11 and 13 of Part III, if they apply to you. Then, check box c on Schedule 3 (Form 1040 or 1040-SR), line 6, and enter "CFE" on the line next to that box. Attach Schedule R to your return.

Table 2. Initial Amounts

IF your filing status is...   THEN enter on line 10 of Schedule R...
single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) and, by the end of 2019, you were    
  65 or older $5,000
  under 65 and retired on permanent and total disability1 $5,000
married filing a joint return and by the end of 2019    
  both of you were 65 or older $7,500
  both of you were under 65 and one of you retired on permanent and total disability1 $5,000
  both of you were under 65 and both of you retired on permanent and total disability2 $7,500
  one of you was 65 or older, and the other was under 65 and retired on permanent
and total disability3
$7,500
  one of you was 65 or older, and the other was under 65 and not retired on permanent
and total disability
$5,000
married filing a separate return and you didn't live with your spouse at any time during the year and, by the end of 2019, you were    
  65 or older $3,750
  under 65 and retired on permanent and total disability1 $3,750
  1 Amount can't be more than the taxable disability income.  
  2 Amount can't be more than your combined taxable disability income.  
  3 Amount is $5,000 plus the taxable disability income of the spouse under age 65, but not more than $7,500.  

Figuring the Credit Yourself

To figure the credit yourself, first check the box in Part I of Schedule R that applies to you. Only check one box in Part I. If you check box 2, 4, 5, 6, or 9 in Part I, also complete Part II of Schedule R.

Next, figure the amount of your credit using Part III of Schedule R. Steps 1 through 5 in this section can help you figure this amount.

Finally, report the amount from line 22 of Schedule R on your tax return. Then, check box c on Schedule 3 (Form 1040 or 1040-SR), line 6, and enter "Sch R" on the line next to that box. Attach Schedule R to your return.

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There are five steps in Part III to determine the amount of your credit.

 

  1. Determine your initial amount (lines 10–12).

  2. Determine the total of any nontaxable social security and certain other nontaxable pensions, annuities, and disability benefits you received (lines 13a, 13b, and 13c).

  3. Determine your excess adjusted gross income (lines 14–17).

  4. Determine the total of Steps 2 and 3 (line 18).

  5. Determine your credit (lines 19–22).

These steps are discussed in more detail next.

Step 1. Determine Initial Amount

To figure the credit, you must first determine your initial amount using lines 10 through 12. Your initial amount depends on your filing status and, if you are under age 65, the amount of your taxable disability income. Table 2 shows the initial amount for each filing status. The initial amount for qualified individuals under age 65 may be less than the amount shown for a filing status; see Initial amounts for persons under age 65 next.

Initial amounts for persons under age 65.

If you are a qualified individual under age 65, your initial amount can't be more than your taxable disability income. Your initial amount will be the lesser of the initial amount shown on Table 2 for your filing status or your taxable disability income.

Special rules for joint returns.

If you file a joint return and both you and your spouse are qualified individuals, the initial amount you report for yourself and your spouse on Schedule R will depend on whether only one of you is (or both of you are) under age 65.

If only one of you is under age 65, your initial amount can't be more than $5,000 plus the taxable disability income of the spouse who is under age 65.

If both you and your spouse are under age 65, the initial amount for you and your spouse can't be more than your combined taxable disability income.

Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits

Step 2 is to figure the total amount of nontaxable social security and certain other nontaxable payments you received during the year. You must reduce the initial amount you determined in Step 1 by these payments.

Enter these nontaxable payments on lines 13a or 13b and total them on line 13c. If you are married filing jointly, you must enter the combined amount of nontaxable payments both you and your spouse received.

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Worksheets are provided in the Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR to help you determine if any of your social security benefits (or equivalent railroad retirement benefits) are taxable.

Include the following nontaxable payments in the amounts you enter on lines 13a and 13b.

  • Nontaxable social security payments. This is the nontaxable part of the benefits shown in box 5 of Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, before deducting any amounts withheld to pay premiums on supplementary Medicare insurance, and before any reduction because of benefits received under workers' compensation. (Don't include a lump-sum death benefit payment you may receive as a surviving spouse, or a surviving child's insurance benefit payments you may receive as a guardian.)

  • Nontaxable railroad retirement pension payments treated as social security. This is the nontaxable part of the benefits shown in box 5 of Form RRB-1099, Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board.

  • Nontaxable pension or annuity payments or disability benefits that are paid under a law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Don't include amounts received as a pension, annuity, or similar allowance for personal injuries or sickness resulting from active service in the armed forces of any country or in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the Public Health Service, or as a disability annuity under section 808 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980.

  • Pension or annuity payments or disability benefits that are excluded from income under any provision of federal law other than the Internal Revenue Code. Don't include amounts that are a return of your cost of a pension or annuity. These amounts don't reduce your initial amount.

     

 

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You should be sure to take into account all of the nontaxable amounts you receive. These amounts are verified by the IRS through information supplied by other government agencies.

Step 3. Determine Excess Adjusted Gross Income

You also must reduce the initial amount you determined in Step 1 by your excess adjusted gross income. Figure your excess adjusted gross income on lines 14 through 17.

You figure your excess adjusted gross income as follows.

  1. Subtract from your adjusted gross income (Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 8b) the amount shown for your filing status:

    1. $7,500 if you are single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er),

    2. $10,000 if you are married filing jointly, or

    3. $5,000 if you are married filing separately and you and your spouse didn't live in the same household at any time during the tax year.

  2. Divide the result of (1) by 2.

 

Step 4. Determine the Total of Steps 2 and 3

To determine if you can take the credit, you must add (on line 18) the amounts you figured in Step 2 (line 13c) and Step 3 (line 17).

Step 5. Determine Your Credit

Subtract the amount determined in Step 4 (line 18) from the initial amount determined in Step 1 (line 12), and multiply the result by 15% (0.15).

In certain cases, the amount of your credit may be limited. See Limit on credit , later.

Example.

You are 66 years old and your spouse is 64. Your spouse isn't disabled. You file a joint return on Form 1040. Your adjusted gross income is $14,630. Together you received $3,200 from social security, which was nontaxable. You figure the credit as follows.

Example applying the 5-step process Amount
(Line references (shown in parentheses) are to Schedule R)    
1. Initial amount (line 12) $5,000
2. Total nontaxable social security
and other nontaxable
pensions (line 13c)
$3,200  
3. Excess adjusted gross income
($14,630 − $10,000) ÷ 2 (line 17)
2,315  
4. Add (2) and (3) (line 18) 5,515
5. Subtract (4) from (1) (line 12 – line 18 = line 19)
(Don't enter less than -0-)
$ -0-

 

You can't take the credit because your nontaxable social security plus your excess adjusted gross income is more than your initial amount.

Limit on credit.

The amount of credit you can claim generally is limited to the amount of your tax. Use the Credit Limit Worksheet in the Instructions for Schedule R to determine if your credit is limited.

Examples

The following examples illustrate the credit for the elderly or the disabled. The initial amounts are taken from Table 2.

Example 1.

James Davis is 58 years old, single, and files Form 1040. In 2017 he retired on permanent and total disability, and he is still permanently and totally disabled. He got the required physician's statement in 2017 and kept it with his tax records. His physician signed on line B of the statement. This year James checks the box in Schedule R, Part II. He doesn't need to get another statement for 2019.

He received the following income for the year.

Nontaxable social security $700
Interest (taxable) 100
Taxable disability pension 13,000
     

 

James' adjusted gross income is $13,100 ($13,000 + $100). He figures the credit on Schedule R as follows.

1. Initial amount based on filing status   $5,000
2. Taxable disability pension   13,000
3. Initial amount (smaller of line 1 or line 2)   5,000
4. Nontaxable social security
benefits
$700    
5. Excess adjusted gross income
($13,100 − $7,500) ÷ 2
2,800    
6. Add lines 4 and 5   3,500
7. Subtract line 6 from line 3
(Don't enter less than -0-.)
  1,500
8. Multiply line 7 by 15% (0.15)   225
9. Enter the amount from the
Credit Limit Worksheet in the
Instructions for Schedule R– Line 21
  91
10. Credit (Enter the smaller of
line 8 or line 9.)
  $91

 

He enters $91 on Schedule 3 (Form 1040), line 6. He checks box c on line 6 and enters "Sch R" on the line next to that box. The Schedule R for James Davis isn't shown.

Example 2.

William White is 53. His wife Helen is 49. William had a stroke 3 years ago and retired on permanent and total disability. He is still permanently and totally disabled because of the stroke. In November, Helen was injured in an accident at work and retired on permanent and total disability.

William received nontaxable social security disability benefits of $2000 during the year and a taxable disability pension of $6,400. Helen earned $16,450 from her job and received a taxable disability pension of $1,700. Their joint return on Form 1040 shows adjusted gross income of $24,550 ($6,400 + $16,450 + $1,700). They don't itemize deductions. They don't have any amounts that would increase their standard deduction.

Helen's doctor completed the physician's statement in the Instructions for Schedule R. Helen isn't required to include the statement with their return, but she must keep it for her records.

William got a physician's statement for the year he had the stroke. His doctor had signed on line B of that physician's statement to certify that William had a permanent and total disability. William has kept the physician's statement with his records. He checks the box on Schedule R, Part II, and writes his first name in the space above the box on line 2.

William and Helen use Schedule R to figure their credit for the elderly or the disabled. If they can claim the credit, they will attach Schedule R to their Form 1040 and enter the amount of the credit on Schedule 3 (Form 1040), line 6. They would check box c on line 6 and enter "Sch R" on the line next to that box. See their filled-in Schedule R and Helen's filled-in physician's statement, later.

Instructions for Physician's Statement

   
Taxpayer Physician
If you retired after 1976, enter the date you retired in the space provided on the statement below. A person is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply.
  1. He or she can't engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.
  2. A physician determines that the disability has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.
Physician's Statement  
 
I certify that Helen A. White
Name of disabled person
was permanently and totally disabled on January 1, 1976, or January 1, 1977, or was permanently and totally disabled on the date he or she retired. If retired after 1976, enter the date retired ▶ November 1, 2019
 
Physician: Sign your name on either A or B below.
A. The disability has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year  
  Physician's signature Date
B. There is no reasonable probability that the disabled condition will ever improve Ayden D. Doctor 2/8/20
  Physician's signature Date
Physician's name Physician's address
Ayden D. Doctor 1900 Green St., Hometown, MD 20000
   
   

 

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Page 1 of Schedule R for the Whites

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Page 2 of Schedule R for the Whites

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How To Get Tax Help

If you have questions about a tax issue, need help preparing your tax return, or want to download free publications, forms, or instructions, go to IRS.gov and find resources that can help you right away.

Preparing and filing your tax return.

After receiving your wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-MISC) from all employers and interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099), you can find free options to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your local community if you qualify.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people with low-to-moderate incomes, persons with disabilities, and limited-English-speaking taxpayers who need help preparing their own tax returns. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. TCE volunteers specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

You can go to IRS.gov to see your options for preparing and filing your return, which include the following.

  • Free File. Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see if you qualify to use brand-name software to prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free.

  • VITA. Go to IRS.gov/VITA, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 800-906-9887 to find the nearest VITA location for free tax return preparation.

  • TCE. Go to IRS.gov/TCE, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 888-227-7669 to find the nearest TCE location for free tax return preparation.

 

Employers can register to use Business Services Online.

The SSA offers online service for fast, free, and secure online W-2 filing options to CPAs, accountants, enrolled agents, and individuals who process Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Forms W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement. Employers can go to SSA.gov/employer for more information.

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Getting answers to your tax questions. On IRS.gov, get answers to your tax questions anytime, anywhere.

  • Go to IRS.gov/Help for a variety of tools that will help you get answers to some of the most common tax questions.

  • Go to IRS.gov/ITA for the Interactive Tax Assistant, a tool that will ask you questions on a number of tax law topics and provide answers. You can print the entire interview and the final response for your records.

  • Go to IRS.gov/Forms to search for our forms, instructions, and publications. You will find details on 2019 tax changes and hundreds of interactive links to help you find answers to your questions.

  • You may also be able to access tax law information in your electronic filing software.

 

Tax reform.

Tax reform legislation affects individuals, businesses, tax-exempt and government entities. Go to IRS.gov/TaxReform for information and updates on how this legislation affects your taxes.

IRS social media.

Go to IRS.gov/SocialMedia to see the various social media tools the IRS uses to share the latest information on tax changes, scam alerts, initiatives, products, and services. At the IRS, privacy and security are paramount. We use these tools to share public information with you. Don’t post your social security number or other confidential information on social media sites. Always protect your identity when using any social networking site.

The following IRS YouTube channels provide short, informative videos on various tax-related topics in English, Spanish, and ASL.

 

Watching IRS videos.

The IRS Video portal (IRSVideos.gov) contains video and audio presentations for individuals, small businesses, and tax professionals.

Getting tax information in other languages.

For taxpayers whose native language isn’t English, we have the following resources available. Taxpayers can find information on IRS.gov in the following languages.

 

The IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) provide over-the-phone interpreter service in over 170 languages, and the service is available free to taxpayers.

Getting tax forms and publications.

Go to IRS.gov/Forms to view, download, or print all of the forms, instructions, and publications you may need. You can also download and view popular tax publications and instructions (including the 1040 and 1040-SR instructions) on mobile devices as an eBook at no charge at IRS.gov/eBooks. Or you can go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to place an order and have them mailed to you within 10 business days.

Access your online account (individual taxpayers only).

Go to IRS.gov/Account to securely access information about your federal tax account.

  • View the amount you owe, pay online, or set up an online payment agreement.

  • Access your tax records online.

  • Review the past 24 months of your payment history.

  • Go to IRS.gov/SecureAccess to review the required identity authentication process.

 

Using direct deposit.

The fastest way to receive a tax refund is to combine direct deposit and IRS e-file. Direct deposit securely and electronically transfers your refund directly into your financial account. Eight in 10 taxpayers use direct deposit to receive their refund. The IRS issues more than 90% of refunds in less than 21 days.

Getting a transcript or copy of a return.

The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to go to IRS.gov/Transcripts. Click on either “Get Transcript Online” or “Get Transcript by Mail” to order a copy of your transcript. If you prefer, you can order your transcript by calling 800-908-9946.

Using online tools to help prepare your return.

Go to IRS.gov/Tools for the following.

  • The Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant (IRS.gov/EITCAssistant) determines if you’re eligible for the EIC.

  • The Online EIN Application (IRS.gov/EIN) helps you get an employer identification number.

  • The Tax Withholding Estimator (IRS.gov/W4app) makes it easier for everyone to pay the correct amount of tax during the year. The Estimator replaces the Withholding Calculator. The redesigned tool is a convenient, online way to check and tailor your withholding. It’s more user-friendly for taxpayers, including retirees and self-employed individuals. The new and improved features include the following.

    • Easy to understand language;

    • The ability to switch between screens, correct previous entries, and skip screens that don’t apply;

    • Tips and links to help you determine if you qualify for tax credits and deductions;

    • A progress tracker;

    • A self-employment tax feature; and

    • Automatic calculation of taxable social security benefits.

 

 

Resolving tax-related identity theft issues.

 

  • The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email or telephone to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

  • Go to IRS.gov/IDProtection for information.

  • If your SSN has been lost or stolen or you suspect you’re a victim of tax-related identity theft, visit IRS.gov/IdentityTheft to learn what steps you should take.

 

Checking on the status of your refund.

 

  • Go to IRS.gov/Refunds.

  • The IRS can’t issue refunds before mid-February 2020 for returns that claimed the EIC or the ACTC. This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits.

  • Download the official IRS2Go app to your mobile device to check your refund status.

  • Call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.

 

Making a tax payment.

The IRS uses the latest encryption technology to ensure your electronic payments are safe and secure. You can make electronic payments online, by phone, and from a mobile device using the IRS2Go app. Paying electronically is quick, easy, and faster than mailing in a check or money order. Go to IRS.gov/Payments to make a payment using any of the following options.

  • IRS Direct Pay: Pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you.

  • Debit or Credit Card: Choose an approved payment processor to pay online, by phone, and by mobile device.

  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal: Offered only when filing your federal taxes using tax return preparation software or through a tax professional.

  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: Best option for businesses. Enrollment is required.

  • Check or Money Order: Mail your payment to the address listed on the notice or instructions.

  • Cash: You may be able to pay your taxes with cash at a participating retail store.

  • Same-Day Wire: You may be able to do same-day wire from your financial institution. Contact your financial institution for availability, cost, and cut-off times.

 

What if I can’t pay now?

Go to IRS.gov/Payments for more information about your options.

  • Apply for an online payment agreement (IRS.gov/OPA) to meet your tax obligation in monthly installments if you can’t pay your taxes in full today. Once you complete the online process, you will receive immediate notification of whether your agreement has been approved.

  • Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier to see if you can settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. For more information on the Offer in Compromise program, go to IRS.gov/OIC.

 

Checking the status of an amended return.

Go to IRS.gov/WMAR to track the status of Form 1040-X amended returns. Please note that it can take up to 3 weeks from the date you filed your amended return for it to show up in our system, and processing it can take up to 16 weeks.

Understanding an IRS notice or letter.

Go to IRS.gov/Notices to find additional information about responding to an IRS notice or letter.

Contacting your local IRS office.

Keep in mind, many questions can be answered on IRS.gov without visiting an IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC). Go to IRS.gov/LetUsHelp for the topics people ask about most. If you still need help, IRS TACs provide tax help when a tax issue can’t be handled online or by phone. All TACs now provide service by appointment so you’ll know in advance that you can get the service you need without long wait times. Before you visit, go to IRS.gov/TACLocator to find the nearest TAC, check hours, available services, and appointment options. Or, on the IRS2Go app, under the Stay Connected tab, choose the Contact Us option and click on “Local Offices.”

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Is Here To Help You

What Is TAS?

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Their job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

How Can You Learn About Your Taxpayer Rights?

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights describes 10 basic rights that all taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS. Go to TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov to help you understand what these rights mean to you and how they apply. These are your rights. Know them. Use them.

What Can TAS Do For You?

TAS can help you resolve problems that you can’t resolve with the IRS. And their service is free. If you qualify for their assistance, you will be assigned to one advocate who will work with you throughout the process and will do everything possible to resolve your issue. TAS can help you if:

  • Your problem is causing financial difficulty for you, your family, or your business;

  • You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action; or

  • You’ve tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn’t responded by the date promised.

 

How Can You Reach TAS?

TAS has offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Your local advocate’s number is in your local directory and at TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/Contact-Us. You can also call them at 877-777-4778.

How Else Does TAS Help Taxpayers?

TAS works to resolve large-scale problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to them at IRS.gov/SAMS.

TAS also has a website, Tax Reform Changes, which shows you how the new tax law may change your future tax filings and helps you plan for these changes. The information is categorized by tax topic in the order of the IRS Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Go to TaxChanges.us for more information.

TAS for Tax Professionals

TAS can provide a variety of information for tax professionals, including tax law updates and guidance, TAS programs, and ways to let TAS know about systemic problems you’ve seen in your practice.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)

LITCs are independent from the IRS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. In addition, clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. To find a clinic near you, visit IRS.gov/LITC or see IRS Pub. 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Publication 524 - Additional Material

Index

A

Adjusted gross income (AGI)
Income limits for, Income Limits
Age
Age 65, Age 65.
Mandatory retirement age, Payments that aren't disability income.
Assistance (see Tax help)

C

Citizenship requirement, U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien
Credit figured by IRS, Credit Figured for You
Credit figured for you, Credit Figured for You

D

Disability benefits
Nontaxable by law, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Disability income, Disability income.
Disability, permanent and total disability, Qualified Individual, Permanent and total disability.

E

Eligibility for credit, Are You Eligible for the Credit?
Employer's accident or health plans or pension plans
Disability income from, Disability income.
Excess adjusted gross income, Step 3. Determine Excess Adjusted Gross Income

F

Figuring the credit yourself, Figuring the Credit Yourself
Determine excess AGI, Step 3. Determine Excess Adjusted Gross Income
Determine initial amount, Step 1. Determine Initial Amount
Determine the credit, Step 5. Determine Your Credit
Determine the total of Steps 2 and 3, Step 4. Determine the Total of Steps 2 and 3
Total certain nontaxable pensions and benefits, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Foreign military service
Pension, annuity, or disability benefit from, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Foreign Service
Pension, annuity, or disability benefit from, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Form RRB-1099
Payments by Railroad Retirement Board, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Form SSA-1099
Social security benefit statement, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits

H

Head of household, Head of household.

I

Identity theft, Resolving tax-related identity theft issues.
Income limits, Income Limits
Initial amounts for persons under age 65, Initial amounts for persons under age 65.

J

Joint returns, Married Persons

L

Limit on credit, Limit on credit.
Lump-sum payments
Accrued annual leave, Payments that aren't disability income.
Death benefits paid to surviving spouse or child, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits

M

Mandatory retirement age, Payments that aren't disability income.
Married taxpayers, Married Persons
Mentally impaired persons
Sheltered employment for, Sheltered employment.
Missing children
Photographs of, Reminders

N

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Pension, annuity, or disability benefit from, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Nonresident aliens, Exceptions.
Nontaxable payments, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits

P

Pension or annuity payments
Nontaxable by law, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Permanent and total disability, Qualified Individual, Permanent and total disability.
Physician certification, Permanent and total disability., Physician's statement.
Public Health Service
Pension, annuity, or disability benefit from, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits
Publications (see Tax help)

Q

Qualified individual, Qualified Individual
Age 65 or older, Qualified Individual
Death of taxpayer, Qualified Individual
Under age 65 and retired on permanent and total disability, Qualified Individual, Under Age 65

R

Residence requirement, U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien

T

Tables and figures
Figure A, Qualified individual determination, Figure A. Are You a Qualified Individual?
Table 1, Income limits, Table 1. Income Limits
Table 2, Initial amounts, Table 2. Initial Amounts
Tax help, How To Get Tax Help

U

U.S. citizens and resident aliens, U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien

V

VA Form 21-0172
Certification of permanent and total disability, Veterans.
Veterans
Certification by VA of permanent and total disability, Veterans.
Exclusion of nontaxable pension or annuity payment or disability benefits, Step 2. Total Certain Nontaxable Pensions and Benefits