Before You Fill In Form 1040EZ
For details on these and other changes for 2004 and
you received an envelope with your tax package, please use it. Oth-
2005, see Pub. 553.
erwise, see Where Do You File? on the back cover.
Earned Income Credit (EIC)
You may be able to take the EIC if you earned less than $11,490
($12,490 if married filing jointly). If you were a member of the U.S.
What’s New for 2004
Armed Forces who served in a combat zone, you may be able to
include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income when figur-
Tax Table Expanded
ing the EIC. See the instructions for lines 8a and 8b that begin on
If your taxable income is less than $100,000, you may be able to use
Form 1040EZ. See Who Can Use Form 1040EZ? on page 10.
Health Savings Account (HSA) Deduction
What’s New for 2005
You may be able to take a deduction if contributions (other than
EIC Phaseout Amount Increased for Joint Filers
employer contributions) were made to your HSA for 2004. But you
must use Form 1040 to take the deduction.
The maximum amount of earned income that joint filers can have
Mailing Your Return
and still take the EIC will be $2,000 more than that for other filers.
You may be mailing your return to a different address this year
because the IRS has changed the filing location for several areas. If
These rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.
Do You Have To File?
If you were serving in, or in support of, the U.S. Armed
Forces in a designated combat zone, qualified hazardous
Were you (or your spouse if filing a joint return) age 65 or older at
duty area, or a contingency operation (for example, you
the end of 2004? If you were born on January 1, 1940, you are
were in the Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, or Persian
considered to be age 65 at the end of 2004.
Gulf area), see Pub. 3.
Yes. Use TeleTax topic 351 (see page 6) to find out if you
What If You Cannot File on Time?
must file a return. If you do, you must use Form
1040A or 1040.
You can get an automatic 4-month extension if, no later than April
No. Use Chart A, B, or C on page 9 to see if you must file a
15, 2005, you either file for an extension by phone or you file Form
4868. For details, including how to file by phone, see Form 4868.
However, even if you get an extension, the tax you owe is still
due April 15, 2005. If you make a payment with your extension
Even if you do not otherwise have to file a return, you
request, see the instructions for line 9 on page 18.
should file one to get a refund of any federal income tax
withheld. You should also file if you are eligible for the
earned income credit or the health coverage tax credit.
What If You File or Pay Late?
Have you tried IRS e-file? It’s the fastest way to get
The IRS can charge you interest and penalties on the amount you
your refund and it’s free if you are eligible. Visit
If you file late, the penalty is usually 5% of the amount due for
each month or part of a month your return is late, unless you have a
Exception for children under age 14.
If you are planning to file a
reasonable explanation. If you do, attach it to your return. The pen-
tax return for your child who was under age 14 at the end of 2004
alty can be as much as 25% (more in some cases) of the tax due. We
and certain other conditions apply, you can elect to include your
will charge you interest on the penalty from the due date of the
child’s income on your return. But you must use Form 1040 and
return (including extensions). If your return is more than 60 days
Form 8814 to do so. If you make this election, your child does not
late, the minimum penalty will be $100 or the amount of any tax
have to file a return. For details, use TeleTax topic 553 (see page 6)
you owe, whichever is smaller.
or see Form 8814.
If you pay your taxes late, the penalty is usually
of 1% of the
unpaid amount for each month or part of a month the tax is not paid.
A child born on January 1, 1991, is considered to be age 14 at the
The penalty can be as much as 25% of the unpaid amount. It applies
end of 2004. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.
to any unpaid tax on the return.
These rules also apply to
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.
nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens who were married to U.S.
Are There Other Penalties?
citizens or residents at the end of 2004 and who have elected to be
taxed as resident aliens. Specific rules apply to determine if you are
Yes. Other penalties can be imposed for negligence, substantial un-
a resident or nonresident alien. See Pub. 519 for details.
derstatement of tax, and fraud. We will charge you interest on these
penalties from the due date of the return (including extensions).
Criminal penalties may be imposed for willful failure to file, tax
When Should You File?
evasion, or making a false statement. See Pub. 17 for details.
Not later than April 15, 2005. If you file after this date, you may
In addition to any other penalties, the law imposes a penalty of
have to pay interest and penalties. See below.
$500 for filing a frivolous return. A frivolous return is one that does
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