Search Frequently Asked Questions
Based on typical issues presented by the Internal Revenue Service, we have provided answers to a number of tax law questions. These include general questions regarding tax deductions, credits, filing requirements, and other issues related to your income taxes. You may use the search feature shown above or any of the categories listed below.
Typical Questions Asked(Click the question to toggle between showing and hiding the collapsible answer content)
• Call us at 800-829-1954 (toll-free) and either use the automated system or speak with an agent.
• However, if you filed a married filing jointly return, you can’t initiate a trace using the automated systems. Download and complete the Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund PDF or the IRS can send you a Form 3911 to get the replacement process started.
Your claim for a missing refund is processed one of two ways:
• If the check wasn't cashed, you'll receive a replacement check once the original check is canceled.
• If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. Follow the instructions for completing the claim package. BFS will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check. The BFS review can take up to six weeks to complete.
Child support payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient. When you calculate your gross income to see if you're required to file a tax return, don't include child support payments received.
Under divorce or separation instruments executed on or before December 31, 2018, alimony payments are deductible by the payer and taxable to the recipient. When you calculate your gross income to see if you’re required to file a tax return, you should include alimony payments received under such an instrument.
However, under divorce or separation instruments executed after December 31, 2018, and under certain instruments executed on or before December 31, 2018 but later modified, if the modification expressly states the repeal of the deduction for alimony applies to the modification, alimony payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient. When you calculate your gross income to see if you’re required to file a tax return, don’t include alimony payments received under such an instrument.
Note: You may also have state and local requirements for estimated tax payments. See your state's individual website for additional information.
• You may be able to claim itemized deductions on a separate return for certain expenses that you paid separately or jointly with your spouse.
• When paid from separate funds, expenses are deductible only by the spouse who pays them.
o For example, if otherwise deductible medical expenses are paid from an account owned by one of the spouses or in a community property state from an account that's the separate property of one of the spouses under the laws of that state, only that spouse may claim a deduction for the expenditure.
• When expenses are paid from funds owned by both spouses, such as from a joint checking account or accounts considered community property under the laws of the state in which the spouses reside, you should generally split the deduction between you and your spouse.
o For example, if amounts are paid from a joint checking account for interest on a residence both you and your spouse own, you would each deduct half of the mortgage interest paid on your separate returns.
o However, if only one of you is eligible for a deduction for an expense (for example, real estate taxes on a property owned only by the eligible spouse), only the spouse who is eligible for the deduction is allowed to claim it, even if the expense is paid from joint funds. Each spouse must maintain records documenting who is considered to have paid the expense.
• If you, your spouse, or your dependent is in a nursing home primarily for medical care, then the entire nursing home cost (including meals and lodging) is deductible as a medical expense.
• If that individual is in a home primarily for non-medical reasons, then only the cost of the actual medical care is deductible as a medical expense, not the cost of the meals and lodging.
To determine if your father qualifies as your dependent for this purpose, refer to Whose Medical Expenses Can You Include and Nursing Home in Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.
• Deduct medical expenses on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions.
• The total of all allowable medical expenses must be reduced by 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
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