fore death and your income for all of 2015. Enter “Filing as sur-
Foreign Financial Assets
viving spouse” in the area where you sign the return. If someone
If you had foreign financial assets in 2015, you may have to file
else is the personal representative, he or she also must sign.
Form 8938 with your return. If you have to file Form 8938, you
The surviving spouse or personal representative should
must use Form 1040. You cannot use Form 1040EZ. For more
promptly notify all payers of income, including financial institu-
information about foreign financial assets and the requirements
tions, of the taxpayer's death. This will ensure the proper report-
for filing Form 8938, see the Instructions for Form 8938.
ing of income earned by the taxpayer's estate or heirs. A de-
Parent of a Kidnapped Child
ceased taxpayer's social security number should not be used for
tax years after the year of death, except for estate tax return pur-
If your child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have
been kidnapped by someone who is not a family member, you
Claiming a refund for a deceased taxpayer. If you are filing a
may be able to take the child into account in determining your el-
joint return as a surviving spouse, you only need to file the tax
igibility for the head of household or qualifying widow(er) filing
return to claim the refund. If you are a court-appointed represen-
status, the dependency exemption, the child tax credit, and the
tative, file the return and include a copy of the certificate that
earned income credit (EIC). But you have to file Form 1040A or
shows your appointment. All other filers requesting the de-
1040 to claim these benefits. For details, see Pub. 501 (Pub. 596
ceased taxpayer's refund must file the return and attach Form
for the EIC).
For more details, see Tax Topic 356 at
or see Pub. 559.
These rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.
Have you tried IRS e-file? It's the fastest way to get your refund and it's
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Do You Have To File?
Resident aliens. These rules also apply if you were a resident
alien. Also, you may qualify for certain tax treaty benefits. See
Were you (or your spouse if filing a joint return) age 65 or older at
Pub. 519 for details.
the end of 2015? If you were born on January 1, 1951, you are
considered to be age 65 at the end of 2015.
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens. These rules also
apply if you were a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien and
both of the following apply.
Yes. Use Pub. 501 to see if you must file a return. If so, use Form
You were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the
1040A or 1040.
No. Use the Filing Requirement Charts, later in this Section 2, to see
end of 2015.
if you must file a return. See the Tip next if you have earned income.
You elected to be taxed as a resident alien.
See Pub. 519 for details.
Even if you do not have to file a return, you should file
Specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident
one to get a refund of any federal income tax with-
alien, nonresident alien, or dual-status alien. Most
held. You also should file if you are eligible for the
nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens have differ-
earned income credit.
ent filing requirements and may have to file Form
1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Pub. 519 discusses these requirements
Death of taxpayer in 2015. If you are preparing a return for
and other information to help aliens comply with U.S. tax law.
someone who died in 2015, use the Filing Requirement Charts,
later in this section, only if the person died at least 2 days before
his or her 65th birthday. Otherwise, use Pub. 501 to see if you
When Should You File?
must file a return.
File Form 1040EZ by April 18, 2016 (The due date is April 18,
Exception for certain children under age 19 or full-time stu-
instead of April 15, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in
dents. If certain conditions apply, you can elect to include on
the District of Columbia – even if you do not live in the District of
your return the income of a child who was under age 19 at the
Columbia. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until
end of 2015 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of
April 19, 2016, because of the Patriots' Day holiday in those
2015. To do so, use Forms 1040 and 8814. If you make this
states.). If you file after this date, you may have to pay interest
election, your child doesn't have to file a return. For details, see
and penalties. See
What if You Cannot File on Time?
Tax Topic 553 at
or see Form 8814.
4, later, for information on how to get more time to file. There is
A child born on January 1, 1992, is considered to be age 24
also information about interest and penalties.
at the end of 2015. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.
If you were serving in, or in support of, the U.S. Armed Forces
in a designated combat zone or contingency operation, you may
be able to file later. See Pub. 3 for details.
Instructions for Form 1040EZ