IRS Pub. 17, Your Federal Income Tax
This publication can help you prepare your tax return by taking you
through each part of the return. It supplements the information in
your tax form instruction booklet. It explains the tax law and will
help you understand your taxes so that you pay only as much tax as you
owe and no more.
The publication begins with the rules for filing a tax return. It
explains who must file a return, which tax form to use, when the
return is due, and other general information. It will help you
identify which filing status you qualify for, whether you can claim
any dependents, and whether the income you are receiving is taxable.
The publication goes on to explain the standard deduction, the kinds
of expenses you may be able to deduct, and the various kinds of
credits you may be able to take to reduce your tax.
Throughout the publication are examples showing how the tax law
applies in typical situations. Sample forms and schedules show you how
to report certain items on your return. Also throughout the
publication are flowcharts and tables that present tax information in
an easy-to-understand manner.
The index in the back of the publication will help you find the
information you need.
Some material that you may find helpful is not included in this
publication but can be found in your tax form instruction booklet. It
includes the following information.
- List of where to report certain items listed on information
- List of mailing addresses for where to file returns.
- List of recorded tax information topics (TeleTax).
If you operate your own business or have other self-employment
income, such as babysitting or selling crafts, see the following
publications for more information.
For information on how you can get free IRS publications and forms,
see How To Get More Information in the back of this
publication. Also see the front cover of this publication for
information on using your computer or fax machine to get forms.
We welcome your suggestions for future editions of this
publication. Please send your ideas to the following address.
Internal Revenue Service
Washington, DC 20224
We respond to many letters by telephone.
Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your area code and
daytime phone number along with your return address.
All material in this publication may be reprinted freely. A
citation to Your Federal Income Tax (1998) would be
The explanations and examples in this publication reflect the
interpretation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of:
- Tax laws enacted by Congress,
- Treasury regulations, and
- Court decisions.
However, the information given does not cover every situation
and is not intended to replace the law or change its meaning.
This publication covers some subjects on which a court may have
made a decision more favorable to taxpayers than the interpretation by
the IRS. Until these differing interpretations are resolved by higher
court decisions or in some other way, this publication will continue
to present the interpretation by the IRS.
All taxpayers have important rights when working with the IRS.
These rights are described in Your Rights as a Taxpayer in
the back of this publication.
The IRS Mission. Provide America's taxpayers top quality
service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities
and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.
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