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Tax cut free Publication 555 - Main Content Table of Contents Domicile Community or Separate Property and Income Identifying Income, Deductions, and CreditsIncome Exemptions Deductions Credits, Taxes, and Payments Community Property Laws DisregardedRequesting relief. Tax cut free Equitable relief. Tax cut free Earned income. Tax cut free Trade or business income. Tax cut free Partnership income or loss. Tax cut free Separate property income. Tax cut free Social security benefits. Tax cut free Other income. Tax cut free End of the Community Preparing a Federal Income Tax ReturnJoint Return Versus Separate Returns Separate Return Preparation How To Get Tax HelpLow Income Taxpayer Clinics Domicile Whether you have community property and community income depends on the state where you are domiciled. Tax cut free If you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) have different domiciles, check the laws of each to see whether you have community property or community income. Tax cut free You have only one domicile even if you have more than one home. Tax cut free Your domicile is a permanent legal home that you intend to use for an indefinite or unlimited period, and to which, when absent, you intend to return. Tax cut free The question of your domicile is mainly a matter of your intention as indicated by your actions. Tax cut free You must be able to show that you intend a given place or state to be your permanent home. Tax cut free If you move into or out of a community property state during the year, you may or may not have community income. Tax cut free Factors considered in determining domicile include: Where you pay state income tax, Where you vote, Location of property you own, Your citizenship, Length of residence, and Business and social ties to the community. Tax cut free Amount of time spent. Tax cut free    The amount of time spent in one place does not always explain the difference between home and domicile. Tax cut free A temporary home or residence may continue for months or years while a domicile may be established the first moment you occupy the property. Tax cut free Your intent is the determining factor in proving where you have your domicile. Tax cut free    Note. Tax cut free When this publication refers to where you live, it means your domicile. Tax cut free Community or Separate Property and Income If you file a federal tax return separately from your spouse, you must report half of all community income and all of your separate income. Tax cut free Likewise, a registered domestic partner must report half of all community income and all of his or her separate income on his or her federal tax return. Tax cut free You each must attach your Form 8958 to your Form 1040 showing how you figured the amount you are reporting on your return. Tax cut free Generally, the laws of the state in which you are domiciled govern whether you have community property and community income or separate property and separate income for federal tax purposes. Tax cut free The following is a summary of the general rules. Tax cut free These rules are also shown in Table 1. Tax cut free Community property. Tax cut free    Generally, community property is property: That you, your spouse (or your registered domestic partner), or both acquire during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership) while you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) are domiciled in a community property state. Tax cut free That you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) agreed to convert from separate to community property. Tax cut free That cannot be identified as separate property. Tax cut free Community income. Tax cut free    Generally, community income is income from: Community property. Tax cut free Salaries, wages, and other pay received for the services performed by you, your spouse (or your registered domestic partner), or both during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership) while domiciled in a community property state. Tax cut free Real estate that is treated as community property under the laws of the state where the property is located. Tax cut free Note Separate property. Tax cut free    Generally, separate property is: Property that you or your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) owned separately before your marriage (or registered domestic partnership). Tax cut free Money earned while domiciled in a noncommunity property state. Tax cut free Property that you or your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) received separately as a gift or inheritance during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership). Tax cut free Property that you or your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) bought with separate funds, or acquired in exchange for separate property, during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership). Tax cut free Property that you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) converted from community property to separate property through an agreement valid under state law. Tax cut free The part of property bought with separate funds, if part was bought with community funds and part with separate funds. Tax cut free Separate income. Tax cut free    Generally, income from separate property is the separate income of the spouse (or the registered domestic partner) who owns the property. Tax cut free    In Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin, income from most separate property is community income. Tax cut free Table 1. Tax cut free General Rules — Property and Income: Community or Separate? Community property is property: That you, your spouse (or your registered domestic partner), or both acquire during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership) while you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) are domiciled in a community property state. Tax cut free (Includes the part of property bought with community property funds if part was bought with community funds and part with separate funds. Tax cut free ) That you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) agreed to convert from separate to community property. Tax cut free That cannot be identified as separate property. Tax cut free Separate property is: Property that you or your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) owned separately before your marriage (or registered domestic partnership). Tax cut free Money earned while domiciled in a noncommunity property state. Tax cut free Property either of you received as a gift or inherited separately during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership). Tax cut free Property bought with separate funds, or exchanged for separate property, during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership). Tax cut free Property that you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) agreed to convert from community to separate property through an agreement valid under state law. Tax cut free The part of property bought with separate funds, if part was bought with community funds and part with separate funds. Tax cut free Community income 1,2,3 is income from: Community property. Tax cut free Salaries, wages, or pay for services of you, your spouse (or your registered domestic partner), or both during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership) while domiciled in a community property state. Tax cut free Real estate that is treated as community property under the laws of the state where the property is located. Tax cut free Separate income 1,2 is income from: Separate property which belongs to the spouse (or registered domestic partner) who owns the property. Tax cut free 1In Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin, income from most separate property is community income. Tax cut free 2Check your state law if you are separated but do not meet the conditions discussed in Spouses living apart all year , later. Tax cut free In some states, the income you earn after you are separated and before a divorce decree is issued continues to be community income. Tax cut free In other states, it is separate income. Tax cut free 3Under special rules, income that can otherwise be characterized as community income may not be treated as community income for federal income tax purposes in certain situations. Tax cut free See Community Property Laws Disregarded , later. Tax cut free Identifying Income, Deductions, and Credits If you file separate returns, you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) each must attach your Form 8958 to your Form 1040 to identify your community and separate income, deductions, credits, and other return amounts according to the laws of your state. Tax cut free Under special rules, income that can otherwise be characterized as community income may not be treated as community income for federal income tax purposes in certain situations. Tax cut free See Community Property Laws Disregarded, later. Tax cut free Check your state law if you are separated but do not meet the conditions discussed in Spouses living apart all year, later. Tax cut free In some states, the income you earn after you are separated and before a divorce decree is issued continues to be community income. Tax cut free In other states, it is separate income. Tax cut free Income The following is a discussion of the general effect of community property laws on the federal income tax treatment of certain items of income. Tax cut free Wages, earnings, and profits. Tax cut free    A spouse's (or your registered domestic partner's) wages, earnings, and net profits from a sole proprietorship are community income and must be evenly split. Tax cut free Dividends, interest, and rents. Tax cut free    Dividends, interest, and rents from community property are community income and must be evenly split. Tax cut free Dividends, interest, and rents from separate property are characterized in accordance with the discussion under Income from separate property , later. Tax cut free Example. Tax cut free If you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) buy a bond that is considered community property under your state laws, half the bond interest belongs to you and half belongs to your spouse. Tax cut free You each must show the bond interest and the split of that interest on your Form 8958, and report half the interest on your Form 1040. Tax cut free Attach your Form 8958 to your Form 1040. Tax cut free Alimony received. Tax cut free    Alimony or separate maintenance payments made prior to divorce are taxable to the payee spouse only to the extent they exceed 50% (his or her share) of the reportable community income. Tax cut free This is so because the payee spouse is already required to report half of the community income. Tax cut free See also Alimony paid , later. Tax cut free Gains and losses. Tax cut free    Gains and losses are classified as separate or community depending on how the property is held. Tax cut free For example, a loss on separate property, such as stock held separately, is a separate loss. Tax cut free On the other hand, a loss on community property, such as a casualty loss to your home held as community property, is a community loss. Tax cut free See Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets, for information on gains and losses. Tax cut free See Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts, for information on losses due to a casualty or theft. Tax cut free Withdrawals from individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Tax cut free    There are several kinds of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). Tax cut free They are traditional IRAs (including SEP-IRAs), SIMPLE IRAs, and Roth IRAs. Tax cut free IRAs and ESAs by law are deemed to be separate property. Tax cut free Therefore, taxable IRA and ESA distributions are separate property, even if the funds in the account would otherwise be community property. Tax cut free These distributions are wholly taxable to the spouse (or registered domestic partner) whose name is on the account. Tax cut free That spouse (or registered domestic partner) is also liable for any penalties and additional taxes on the distributions. Tax cut free Pensions. Tax cut free    Generally, distributions from pensions will be characterized as community or separate income depending on the respective periods of participation in the pension while married (or during the registered domestic partnership) and domiciled in a community property state or in a noncommunity property state during the total period of participation in the pension. Tax cut free See the example under Civil service retirement , later. Tax cut free These rules may vary between states. Tax cut free Check your state law. Tax cut free Lump-sum distributions. Tax cut free    If you were born before January 2, 1936, and receive a lump-sum distribution from a qualified retirement plan, you may be able to choose an optional method of figuring the tax on the distribution. Tax cut free For the 10-year tax option, you must disregard community property laws. Tax cut free For more information, see Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, and Form 4972, Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions. Tax cut free Civil service retirement. Tax cut free    For income tax purposes, community property laws apply to annuities payable under the Civil Service Retirement Act (CSRS) or Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). Tax cut free   Whether a civil service annuity is separate or community income depends on your marital status (or your status as a registered domestic partner) and domicile of the employee when the services were performed for which the annuity is paid. Tax cut free Even if you now live in a noncommunity property state and you receive a civil service annuity, it may be community income if it is based on services you performed while married (or during the registered domestic partnership) and domiciled in a community property state. Tax cut free   If a civil service annuity is a mixture of community income and separate income, it must be divided between the two kinds of income. Tax cut free The division is based on the employee's domicile and marital status (or registered domestic partnership) in community and noncommunity property states during his or her periods of service. Tax cut free Example. Tax cut free Henry Wright retired this year after 30 years of civil service. Tax cut free He and his wife were domiciled in a community property state during the past 15 years. Tax cut free Since half the service was performed while the Wrights were married and domiciled in a community property state, half the civil service retirement pay is considered to be community income. Tax cut free If Mr. Tax cut free Wright receives $1,000 a month in retirement pay, $500 is considered community income—half ($250) is his income and half ($250) is his wife's. Tax cut free Military retirement pay. Tax cut free    State community property laws apply to military retirement pay. Tax cut free Generally, the pay is either separate or community income based on the marital status and domicile of the couple while the member of the Armed Forces was in active military service. Tax cut free For example, military retirement pay for services performed during marriage and domicile in a community property state is community income. Tax cut free   Active military pay earned while married and domiciled in a community property state is also community income. Tax cut free This income is considered to be received half by the member of the Armed Forces and half by the spouse. Tax cut free Partnership income. Tax cut free    If an interest is held in a partnership, and income from the partnership is attributable to the efforts of either spouse (or registered domestic partner), the partnership income is community property. Tax cut free If it is merely a passive investment in a separate property partnership, the partnership income will be characterized in accordance with the discussion under Income from separate property , later. Tax cut free Tax-exempt income. Tax cut free    For spouses, community income exempt from federal tax generally keeps its exempt status for both spouses. Tax cut free For example, under certain circumstances, income earned outside the United States is tax exempt. Tax cut free If you earned income and met the conditions that made it exempt, the income is also exempt for your spouse even though he or she may not have met the conditions. Tax cut free Registered domestic partners should consult the particular exclusion provision to see if the exempt status applies to both. Tax cut free Income from separate property. Tax cut free    In some states, income from separate property is separate income. Tax cut free These states include Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington. Tax cut free Other states characterize income from separate property as community income. Tax cut free These states include Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin. Tax cut free Exemptions When you file separate returns, you must claim your own exemption amount for that year. Tax cut free (See your tax return instructions. Tax cut free ) You cannot divide the amount allowed as an exemption for a dependent between you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner). Tax cut free When community funds provide support for more than one person, each of whom otherwise qualifies as a dependent, you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner) may divide the number of dependency exemptions as explained in the following example. Tax cut free Example. Tax cut free Ron and Diane White have three dependent children and live in Nevada. Tax cut free If Ron and Diane file separately, only Ron can claim his own exemption, and only Diane can claim her own exemption. Tax cut free Ron and Diane can agree that one of them will claim the exemption for one, two, or all of their children and the other will claim any remaining exemptions. Tax cut free They cannot each claim half of the total exemption amount for their three children. Tax cut free Deductions If you file separate returns, your deductions generally depend on whether the expenses involve community or separate income. Tax cut free Business and investment expenses. Tax cut free    If you file separate returns, expenses incurred to earn or produce community business or investment income are generally divided equally between you and your spouse (or your registered domestic partner). Tax cut free Each of you is entitled to deduct one-half of the expenses on your separate returns. Tax cut free Expenses incurred by a spouse (or registered domestic partner) to produce separate business or investment income is deductible by the spouse (or the registered domestic partner) who earns the corresponding separate business or investment income. Tax cut free    Other limits may also apply to business and investment expenses. Tax cut free For more information, see Publication 535, Business Expenses, and Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses. Tax cut free Alimony paid. Tax cut free    Payments that may otherwise qualify as alimony are not deductible by the payer if they are the recipient spouse's part of community income. Tax cut free They are deductible as alimony only to the extent they are more than that spouse's part of community income. Tax cut free Example. Tax cut free You live in a community property state. Tax cut free You are separated but the special rules explained later under Spouses living apart all year do not apply. Tax cut free Under a written agreement, you pay your spouse $12,000 of your $20,000 total yearly community income. Tax cut free Your spouse receives no other community income. Tax cut free Under your state law, earnings of a spouse living separately and apart from the other spouse continue as community property. Tax cut free On your separate returns, each of you must report $10,000 of the total community income. Tax cut free In addition, your spouse must report $2,000 as alimony received. Tax cut free You can deduct $2,000 as alimony paid. Tax cut free IRA deduction. Tax cut free    Deductions for IRA contributions cannot be split between spouses (or registered domestic partners). Tax cut free The deduction for each spouse (or each registered domestic partner) is figured separately and without regard to community property laws. Tax cut free Personal expenses. Tax cut free   Expenses that are paid out of separate funds, such as medical expenses, are deductible by the spouse who pays them. Tax cut free If these expenses are paid from community funds, divide the deduction equally between you and your spouse. Tax cut free Credits, Taxes, and Payments The following is a discussion of the general effect of community property laws on the treatment of certain credits, taxes, and payments on your separate return. Tax cut free Child tax credit. Tax cut free    You may be entitled to a child tax credit for each of your qualifying children. Tax cut free You must provide the name and identification number (usually the social security number) of each qualifying child on your return. Tax cut free See your tax return instructions for the maximum amount of the credit you can claim for each qualifying child. Tax cut free Limit on credit. Tax cut free    The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income (modified AGI) is above a certain amount. Tax cut free The amount at which the limitation (phaseout) begins depends on your filing status. Tax cut free Generally, your credit is limited to your tax liability unless you have three or more qualifying children. Tax cut free See your tax return instructions for more information. Tax cut free Self-employment tax. Tax cut free    For the effect of community property laws on the income tax treatment of income from a sole proprietorship and partnerships, see Wages, earnings, and profits and Partnership income , earlier. Tax cut free The following rules only apply to persons married for federal tax purposes. Tax cut free Registered domestic partners report community income for self-employment tax purposes the same way they do for income tax purposes. Tax cut free Sole proprietorship. Tax cut free    With regard to net income from a trade or business (other than a partnership) that is community income, self-employment tax is imposed on the spouse carrying on the trade or business. Tax cut free Partnerships. Tax cut free    All of the distributive share of a married partner's income or loss from a partnership trade or business is attributable to the partner for computing any self-employment tax, even if a portion of the partner's distributive share of income or loss is community income or loss that is otherwise attributable to the partner's spouse for income tax purposes. Tax cut free If both spouses are partners, any self-employment tax is allocated based on their distributive shares. Tax cut free Federal income tax withheld. Tax cut free    Report the credit for federal income tax withheld on community wages in the same manner as your wages. Tax cut free If you and your spouse file separate returns on which each of you reports half the community wages, each of you is entitled to credit for half the income tax withheld on those wages. Tax cut free Likewise, each registered domestic partner is entitled to credit for half the income tax withheld on those wages. Tax cut free Estimated tax payments. Tax cut free    In determining whether you must pay estimated tax, apply the estimated tax rules to your estimated income. Tax cut free These rules are explained in Publication 505. Tax cut free   If you think you may owe estimated tax and want to pay the tax separately (registered domestic partners must pay the tax separately), determine whether you must pay it by taking into account: Half the community income and deductions, All of your separate income and deductions, and Your own exemption and any exemptions for dependents that you may claim. Tax cut free   Whether you and your spouse pay estimated tax jointly or separately will not affect your choice of filing joint or separate income tax returns. Tax cut free   If you and your spouse paid estimated tax jointly but file separate income tax returns, either of you can claim all of the estimated tax paid, or you may divide it between you in any way that you agree upon. Tax cut free   If you cannot agree on how to divide it, the estimated tax you can claim equals the total estimated tax paid times the tax shown on your separate return, divided by the total of the tax shown on your return and your spouse's return. Tax cut free   If you paid your estimated taxes separately, you get credit for only the estimated taxes you paid. Tax cut free Earned income credit. Tax cut free    You may be entitled to an earned income credit (EIC). Tax cut free You cannot claim this credit if your filing status is married filing separately. Tax cut free   If you are married, but qualify to file as head of household under rules for married taxpayers living apart (see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information), and live in a state that has community property laws, your earned income for the EIC does not include any amount earned by your spouse that is treated as belonging to you under community property laws. Tax cut free That amount is not earned income for the EIC, even though you must include it in your gross income on your income tax return. Tax cut free Your earned income includes the entire amount you earned, even if part of it is treated as belonging to your spouse under your state's community property laws. Tax cut free The same rule applies to registered domestic partners. Tax cut free    This rule does not apply when determining your adjusted gross income (AGI) for the EIC. Tax cut free Your AGI includes that part of both your and your spouse's (or your registered domestic partner's) wages that you are required to include in gross income shown on your tax return. Tax cut free   For more information about the EIC, see Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC). Tax cut free Overpayments. Tax cut free    The amount of an overpayment on a joint return is allocated under the community property laws of the state in which you are domiciled. Tax cut free If, under the laws of your state, community property is subject to premarital or other separate debts of either spouse, the full joint overpayment may be used to offset the obligation. Tax cut free If, under the laws of your state, community property is not subject to premarital or other separate debts of either spouse, only the portion of the joint overpayment allocated to the spouse liable for the obligation can be used to offset that liability. Tax cut free The portion allocated to the other spouse can be refunded. Tax cut free Community Property Laws Disregarded The following discussions are situations where special rules apply to community property and community income for spouses. Tax cut free These rules do not apply to registered domestic partners. Tax cut free Certain community income not treated as community income by one spouse. Tax cut free    Community property laws may not apply to an item of community income that you received but did not treat as community income. Tax cut free You are responsible for reporting all of that income item if: You treat the item as if only you are entitled to the income, and You do not notify your spouse of the nature and amount of the income by the due date for filing the return (including extensions). Tax cut free Relief from liability arising from community property law. Tax cut free    You are not responsible for the tax relating to an item of community income if all the following conditions are met. Tax cut free You did not file a joint return for the tax year. Tax cut free You did not include an item of community income in gross income. Tax cut free The item of community income you did not include is one of the following: Wages, salaries, and other compensation your spouse (or former spouse) received for services he or she performed as an employee. Tax cut free Income your spouse (or former spouse) derived from a trade or business he or she operated as a sole proprietor. Tax cut free Your spouse's (or former spouse's) distributive share of partnership income. Tax cut free Income from your spouse's (or former spouse's) separate property (other than income described in (a), (b), or (c)). Tax cut free Use the appropriate community property law to determine what is separate property. Tax cut free Any other income that belongs to your spouse (or former spouse) under community property law. Tax cut free You establish that you did not know of, and had no reason to know of, that community income. Tax cut free Under all facts and circumstances, it would not be fair to include the item of community income in your gross income. Tax cut free Requesting relief. Tax cut free    For information on how and when to request relief from liabilities arising from community property laws, see Community Property Laws in Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief. Tax cut free Equitable relief. Tax cut free    If you do not qualify for the relief discussed earlier under Relief from liability arising from community property law and are now liable for an underpaid or understated tax you believe should be paid only by your spouse (or former spouse), you may request equitable relief. Tax cut free To request equitable relief, you must file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief. Tax cut free Also see Publication 971. Tax cut free Spousal agreements. Tax cut free    In some states a married couple may enter into an agreement that affects the status of property or income as community or separate property. Tax cut free Check your state law to determine how it affects you. Tax cut free Nonresident alien spouse. Tax cut free    If you are a U. Tax cut free S. Tax cut free citizen or resident alien and you choose to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a U. Tax cut free S. Tax cut free resident for tax purposes and you are domiciled in a community property state or country, use the community property rules. Tax cut free You must file a joint return for the year you make the choice. Tax cut free You can file separate returns in later years. Tax cut free For details on making this choice, see Publication 519, U. Tax cut free S. Tax cut free Tax Guide for Aliens. Tax cut free   If you are a U. Tax cut free S. Tax cut free citizen or resident alien and do not choose to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a U. Tax cut free S. Tax cut free resident for tax purposes, treat your community income as explained next under Spouses living apart all year. Tax cut free However, you do not have to meet the four conditions discussed there. Tax cut free Spouses living apart all year. Tax cut free    If you are married at any time during the calendar year, special rules apply for reporting certain community income. Tax cut free You must meet all the following conditions for these special rules to apply. Tax cut free You and your spouse lived apart all year. Tax cut free You and your spouse did not file a joint return for a tax year beginning or ending in the calendar year. Tax cut free You and/or your spouse had earned income for the calendar year that is community income. Tax cut free You and your spouse have not transferred, directly or indirectly, any of the earned income in condition (3) above between yourselves before the end of the year. Tax cut free Do not take into account transfers satisfying child support obligations or transfers of very small amounts or value. Tax cut free If all these conditions are met, you and your spouse must report your community income as discussed next. Tax cut free See also Certain community income not treated as community income by one spouse , earlier. Tax cut free Earned income. Tax cut free    Treat earned income that is not trade or business or partnership income as the income of the spouse who performed the services to earn the income. Tax cut free Earned income is wages, salaries, professional fees, and other pay for personal services. Tax cut free   Earned income does not include amounts paid by a corporation that are a distribution of earnings and profits rather than a reasonable allowance for personal services rendered. Tax cut free Trade or business income. Tax cut free    Treat income and related deductions from a trade or business that is not a partnership as those of the spouse carrying on the trade or business. Tax cut free Partnership income or loss. Tax cut free    Treat income or loss from a trade or business carried on by a partnership as the income or loss of the spouse who is the partner. Tax cut free Separate property income. Tax cut free    Treat income from the separate property of one spouse as the income of that spouse. Tax cut free Social security benefits. Tax cut free    Treat social security and equivalent railroad retirement benefits as the income of the spouse who receives the benefits. Tax cut free Other income. Tax cut free    Treat all other community income, such as dividends, interest, rents, royalties, or gains, as provided under your state's community property law. Tax cut free Example. Tax cut free George and Sharon were married throughout the year but did not live together at any time during the year. Tax cut free Both domiciles were in a community property state. Tax cut free They did not file a joint return or transfer any of their earned income between themselves. Tax cut free During the year their incomes were as follows:   George Sharon Wages $20,000 $22,000 Consulting business 5,000   Partnership   10,000 Dividends from separate property 1,000 2,000 Interest from community property 500 500 Total $26,500 $34,500 Under the community property law of their state, all the income is considered community income. Tax cut free (Some states treat income from separate property as separate income—check your state law. Tax cut free ) Sharon did not take part in George's consulting business. Tax cut free Ordinarily, on their separate returns they would each report $30,500, half the total community income of $61,000 ($26,500 + $34,500). Tax cut free But because they meet the four conditions listed earlier under Spouses living apart all year , they must disregard community property law in reporting all their income (except the interest income) from community property. Tax cut free They each report on their returns only their own earnings and other income, and their share of the interest income from community property. Tax cut free George reports $26,500 and Sharon reports $34,500. Tax cut free Other separated spouses. Tax cut free    If you and your spouse are separated but do not meet the four conditions discussed earlier under Spouses living apart all year , you must treat your income according to the laws of your state. Tax cut free In some states, income earned after separation but before a decree of divorce continues to be community income. Tax cut free In other states, it is separate income. Tax cut free End of the Community The marital community may end in several ways. Tax cut free When the marital community ends, the community assets (money and property) are divided between the spouses. Tax cut free Similarly, a registered domestic partnership may end in several ways and the community assets must be divided between the registered domestic partners. Tax cut free Death of spouse. Tax cut free    If you own community property and your spouse dies, the total fair market value (FMV) of the community property, including the part that belongs to you, generally becomes the basis of the entire property. Tax cut free For this rule to apply, at least half the value of the community property interest must be includible in your spouse's gross estate, whether or not the estate must file a return (this rule does not apply to registered domestic partners). Tax cut free Example. Tax cut free Bob and Ann owned community property that had a basis of $80,000. Tax cut free When Bob died, his and Ann's community property had an FMV of $100,000. Tax cut free One-half of the FMV of their community interest was includible in Bob's estate. Tax cut free The basis of Ann's half of the property is $50,000 after Bob died (half of the $100,000 FMV). Tax cut free The basis of the other half to Bob's heirs is also $50,000. Tax cut free   For more information about the basis of assets, see Publication 551, Basis of Assets. Tax cut free    The above basis rule does not apply if your spouse died in 2010 and the spouse's executor elected out of the estate tax, in which case section 1022 will apply. Tax cut free See Publication 4895, Tax Treatment of Property Acquired From a Decedent Dying in 2010, for additional information. Tax cut free Divorce or separation. Tax cut free    If spouses divorce or separate, the (equal or unequal) division of community property in connection with the divorce or property settlement does not result in a gain or loss. Tax cut free For registered domestic partners, an unequal division of community property in a property settlement may result in a gain or loss. Tax cut free For information on the tax consequences of the division of property under a property settlement or divorce decree, see Publication 504. Tax cut free   Each spouse (or each registered domestic partner) is taxed on half the community income for the part of the year before the community ends. Tax cut free However, see Spouses living apart all year , earlier. Tax cut free Any income received after the community ends is separate income. Tax cut free This separate income is taxable only to the spouse (or the registered domestic partner) to whom it belongs. Tax cut free   An absolute decree of divorce or annulment ends the marital community in all community property states. Tax cut free A decree of annulment, even though it holds that no valid marriage ever existed, usually does not nullify community property rights arising during the “marriage. Tax cut free ” However, you should check your state law for exceptions. Tax cut free   A decree of legal separation or of separate maintenance may or may not end the marital community. Tax cut free The court issuing the decree may terminate the marital community and divide the property between the spouses. Tax cut free   A separation agreement may divide the community property between you and your spouse. Tax cut free It may provide that this property, along with future earnings and property acquired, will be separate property. Tax cut free This agreement may end the community. Tax cut free   In some states, the marital community ends when the spouses permanently separate, even if there is no formal agreement. Tax cut free Check your state law. Tax cut free   If you are a registered domestic partner, you should check your state law to determine when the community ends. Tax cut free Preparing a Federal Income Tax Return The following discussion does not apply to spouses who meet the conditions under Spouses living apart all year , discussed earlier. Tax cut free Those spouses must report their community income as explained in that discussion. Tax cut free Joint Return Versus Separate Returns Ordinarily, filing a joint return will give you a greater tax advantage than filing a separate return. Tax cut free But in some cases, your combined income tax on separate returns may be less than it would be on a joint return. Tax cut free This discussion concerning joint versus separate returns does not apply to registered domestic partners. Tax cut free The following rules apply if your filing status is married filing separately. Tax cut free You should itemize deductions if your spouse itemizes deductions, because you cannot claim the standard deduction. Tax cut free You cannot take the credit for child and dependent care expenses in most instances. Tax cut free You cannot take the earned income credit. Tax cut free You cannot exclude any interest income from qualified U. Tax cut free S. Tax cut free savings bonds that you used for higher education expenses. Tax cut free You cannot take the credit for the elderly or the disabled unless you lived apart from your spouse all year. Tax cut free You may have to include in income more of any social security benefits (including any equivalent railroad retirement benefits) you received during the year than you would on a joint return. Tax cut free You cannot deduct interest paid on a qualified student loan. Tax cut free You cannot take the education credits. Tax cut free You may have a smaller child tax credit than you would on a joint return. Tax cut free You cannot take the exclusion or credit for adoption expenses in most instances. Tax cut free Figure your tax both on a joint return and on separate returns under the community property laws of your state. Tax cut free You can then compare the tax figured under both methods and use the one that results in less tax. Tax cut free Separate Return Preparation If you file separate returns, you and your spouse must each report half of your combined community income and deductions in addition to your separate income and deductions. Tax cut free Each of you must complete and attach Form 8958 to your Form 1040 showing how you figured the amount you are reporting on your return. Tax cut free On the appropriate lines of your separate Form 1040, list only your share of the income and deductions on the appropriate lines of your separate tax returns (wages, interest, dividends, etc. Tax cut free ). Tax cut free The same reporting rule applies to registered domestic partners. Tax cut free For a discussion of the effect of community property laws on certain items of income, deductions, credits, and other return amounts, see Identifying Income, Deductions, and Credits , earlier. Tax cut free Attach your Form 8958 to your separate return showing how you figured the income, deductions, and federal income tax withheld that each of you reported. Tax cut free Form 8958 is used for married spouses in community property states who choose to file married filing separately. Tax cut free Form 8958 is also used for registered domestic partners who are domiciled in Nevada, Washington, or California. Tax cut free A registered domestic partner in Nevada, Washington, or California must follow state community property laws and report half the combined community income of the individual and his or her registered domestic partner. Tax cut free Extension of time to file. Tax cut free    An extension of time for filing your separate return does not extend the time for filing your spouse's (or your registered domestic partner's) separate return. Tax cut free If you and your spouse file a joint return, you cannot file separate returns after the due date for filing either separate return has passed. Tax cut free How To Get Tax Help Whether it's help with a tax issue, preparing your tax return or a need for a free publication or form, get the help you need the way you want it: online, use a smart phone, call or walk in to an IRS office or volunteer site near you. Tax cut free Free help with your tax return. Tax cut free    You can get free help preparing your return nationwide from IRS-certified volunteers. Tax cut free The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers. Tax cut free The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Tax cut free Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. Tax cut free In addition, some VITA and TCE sites provide taxpayers the opportunity to prepare their own return with help from an IRS-certified volunteer. Tax cut free To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. Tax cut free gov, download the IRS2Go app, or call 1-800-906-9887. Tax cut free   As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program. Tax cut free To find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, visit AARP's website at www. Tax cut free aarp. Tax cut free org/money/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669. Tax cut free For more information on these programs, go to IRS. Tax cut free gov and enter “VITA” in the search box. Tax cut free Internet. Tax cut free    IRS. Tax cut free gov and IRS2Go are ready when you are —24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tax cut free Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. Tax cut free Use it to check your refund status, order transcripts of your tax returns or tax account, watch the IRS YouTube channel, get IRS news as soon as it's released to the public, subscribe to filing season updates or daily tax tips, and follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, to get the latest federal tax news, including information about tax law changes and important IRS programs. Tax cut free Check the status of your 2013 refund with the Where's My Refund? application on IRS. Tax cut free gov or download the IRS2Go app and select the Refund Status option. Tax cut free The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Tax cut free Using these applications, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after we receive your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Tax cut free You will also be given a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Tax cut free The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. Tax cut free Use the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) to research your tax questions. Tax cut free No need to wait on the phone or stand in line. Tax cut free The ITA is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides you with a variety of tax information related to general filing topics, deductions, credits, and income. Tax cut free When you reach the response screen, you can print the entire interview and the final response for your records. Tax cut free New subject areas are added on a regular basis. Tax cut free  Answers not provided through ITA may be found in Tax Trails, one of the Tax Topics on IRS. Tax cut free gov which contain general individual and business tax information or by searching the IRS Tax Map, which includes an international subject index. Tax cut free You can use the IRS Tax Map, to search publications and instructions by topic or keyword. Tax cut free The IRS Tax Map integrates forms and publications into one research tool and provides single-point access to tax law information by subject. Tax cut free When the user searches the IRS Tax Map, they will be provided with links to related content in existing IRS publications, forms and instructions, questions and answers, and Tax Topics. Tax cut free Coming this filing season, you can immediately view and print for free all 5 types of individual federal tax transcripts (tax returns, tax account, record of account, wage and income statement, and certification of non-filing) using Get Transcript. Tax cut free You can also ask the IRS to mail a return or an account transcript to you. Tax cut free Only the mail option is available by choosing the Tax Records option on the IRS2Go app by selecting Mail Transcript on IRS. Tax cut free gov or by calling 1-800-908-9946. Tax cut free Tax return and tax account transcripts are generally available for the current year and the past three years. Tax cut free Determine if you are eligible for the EITC and estimate the amount of the credit with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Assistant. Tax cut free Visit Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter to get answers to questions about a notice or letter you received from the IRS. Tax cut free If you received the First Time Homebuyer Credit, you can use the First Time Homebuyer Credit Account Look-up tool for information on your repayments and account balance. Tax cut free Check the status of your amended return using Where's My Amended Return? Go to IRS. Tax cut free gov and enter Where's My Amended Return? in the search box. Tax cut free You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. Tax cut free It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. Tax cut free Make a payment using one of several safe and convenient electronic payment options available on IRS. Tax cut free gov. Tax cut free Select the Payment tab on the front page of IRS. Tax cut free gov for more information. Tax cut free Determine if you are eligible and apply for an online payment agreement, if you owe more tax than you can pay today. Tax cut free Figure your income tax withholding with the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS. Tax cut free gov. Tax cut free Use it if you've had too much or too little withheld, your personal situation has changed, you're starting a new job or you just want to see if you're having the right amount withheld. Tax cut free Determine if you might be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax by using the Alternative Minimum Tax Assistant on IRS. Tax cut free gov. Tax cut free Request an Electronic Filing PIN by going to IRS. Tax cut free gov and entering Electronic Filing PIN in the search box. Tax cut free Download forms, instructions and publications, including accessible versions for people with disabilities. Tax cut free Locate the nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) using the Office Locator tool on IRS. Tax cut free gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices. Tax cut free An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. Tax cut free Before you visit, check the Office Locator on IRS. Tax cut free gov, or Local Offices under Contact Us on IRS2Go to confirm the address, phone number, days and hours of operation, and the services provided. Tax cut free If you have a special need, such as a disability, you can request an appointment. Tax cut free Call the local number listed in the Office Locator, or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service. Tax cut free Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Tax cut free Go to IRS. Tax cut free gov and enter Apply for an EIN in the search box. Tax cut free Read the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, or other official guidance. Tax cut free Read Internal Revenue Bulletins. Tax cut free Sign up to receive local and national tax news and more by email. Tax cut free Just click on “subscriptions” above the search box on IRS. Tax cut free gov and choose from a variety of options. Tax cut free    Phone. Tax cut free You can call the IRS, or you can carry it in your pocket with the IRS2Go app on your smart phone or tablet. Tax cut free Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. Tax cut free Call to locate the nearest volunteer help site, 1-800-906-9887 or you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. Tax cut free gov, or download the IRS2Go app. Tax cut free Low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers can get free help with their tax return from the nationwide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Tax cut free The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Tax cut free Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing. Tax cut free Some VITA and TCE sites provide IRS-certified volunteers who can help prepare your tax return. Tax cut free Through the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program; call 1-888-227-7669 to find the nearest Tax-Aide location. Tax cut free Call the automated Where's My Refund? information hotline to check the status of your 2013 refund 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-829-1954. Tax cut free If you e-file, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after the IRS receives your tax return or 4 weeks after you've mailed a paper return. Tax cut free The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Tax cut free Where's My Refund? will give you a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Tax cut free Before you call this automated hotline, have your 2013 tax return handy so you can enter your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Tax cut free The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. Tax cut free Note, the above information is for our automated hotline. Tax cut free Our live phone and walk-in assistors can research the status of your refund only if it's been 21 days or more since you filed electronically or more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return. Tax cut free Call the Amended Return Hotline, 1-866-464-2050, to check the status of your amended return. Tax cut free You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. Tax cut free It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. Tax cut free Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current-year forms, instructions, publications, and prior-year forms and instructions (limited to 5 years). Tax cut free You should receive your order within 10 business days. Tax cut free Call TeleTax, 1-800-829-4477, to listen to pre-recorded messages covering general and business tax information. Tax cut free If, between January and April 15, you still have questions about the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ (like filing requirements, dependents, credits, Schedule D, pensions and IRAs or self-employment taxes), call 1-800-829-1040. Tax cut free Call using TTY/TDD equipment, 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or order forms and publications. Tax cut free The TTY/TDD telephone number is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. Tax cut free These individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service. Tax cut free    Walk-in. Tax cut free You can find a selection of forms, publications and services — in-person. Tax cut free Products. Tax cut free You can walk in to some post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Tax cut free Some IRS offices, libraries, and city and county government offices have a collection of products available to photocopy from reproducible proofs. Tax cut free Services. Tax cut free You can walk in to your local TAC for face-to-face tax help. Tax cut free An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. Tax cut free Before visiting, use the Office Locator tool on IRS. Tax cut free gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices for days and hours of operation, and services provided. Tax cut free    Mail. Tax cut free You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the address below. Tax cut free You should receive a response within 10 business days after your request is received. Tax cut free Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. Tax cut free Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613   The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here to Help You. Tax cut free The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. Tax cut free Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights. Tax cut free   What can TAS do for you? We can offer you free help with IRS problems that you can't resolve on your own. Tax cut free We know this process can be confusing, but the worst thing you can do is nothing at all! TAS can help if you can't resolve your tax problem and: Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business. Tax cut free You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action. Tax cut free You've tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn't responded by the date promised. Tax cut free   If you qualify for our help, you'll be assigned to one advocate who'll be with you at every turn and will do everything possible to resolve your problem. Tax cut free Here's why we can help: TAS is an independent organization within the IRS. Tax cut free Our advocates know how to work with the IRS. Tax cut free Our services are free and tailored to meet your needs. Tax cut free We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Tax cut free   How can you reach us? If you think TAS can help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your local directory and at www. Tax cut free irs. Tax cut free gov/advocate, or call us toll-free at 1-877-777-4778. Tax cut free   How else does TAS help taxpayers?  TAS also works to resolve large-scale, systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. Tax cut free If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System at www. Tax cut free irs. Tax cut free gov/sams. Tax cut free Low Income Taxpayer Clinics Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems such as audits, appeals and tax collection disputes. Tax cut free Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Tax cut free Visit www. Tax cut free irs. Tax cut free gov/litc or see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. Tax cut free Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications