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Aarp tax help locations 5. Aarp tax help locations   Recordkeeping Table of Contents How To Prove ExpensesWhat Are Adequate Records? What If I Have Incomplete Records? Separating and Combining Expenses How Long To Keep Records and Receipts Examples of Records If you deduct travel, entertainment, gift, or transportation expenses, you must be able to prove (substantiate) certain elements of expense. Aarp tax help locations This chapter discusses the records you need to keep to prove these expenses. Aarp tax help locations If you keep timely and accurate records, you will have support to show the IRS if your tax return is ever examined. Aarp tax help locations You will also have proof of expenses that your employer may require if you are reimbursed under an accountable plan. Aarp tax help locations These plans are discussed in chapter 6 under Reimbursements . Aarp tax help locations How To Prove Expenses Table 5-1 is a summary of records you need to prove each expense discussed in this publication. Aarp tax help locations You must be able to prove the elements listed across the top portion of the chart. Aarp tax help locations You prove them by having the information and receipts (where needed) for the expenses listed in the first column. Aarp tax help locations You cannot deduct amounts that you approximate or estimate. Aarp tax help locations You should keep adequate records to prove your expenses or have sufficient evidence that will support your own statement. Aarp tax help locations You must generally prepare a written record for it to be considered adequate. Aarp tax help locations This is because written evidence is more reliable than oral evidence alone. Aarp tax help locations However, if you prepare a record on a computer, it is considered an adequate record. Aarp tax help locations What Are Adequate Records? You should keep the proof you need in an account book, diary, log, statement of expense, trip sheets, or similar record. Aarp tax help locations You should also keep documentary evidence that, together with your record, will support each element of an expense. Aarp tax help locations Documentary evidence. Aarp tax help locations   You generally must have documentary evidence, such as receipts, canceled checks, or bills, to support your expenses. Aarp tax help locations Exception. Aarp tax help locations   Documentary evidence is not needed if any of the following conditions apply. Aarp tax help locations You have meals or lodging expenses while traveling away from home for which you account to your employer under an accountable plan, and you use a per diem allowance method that includes meals and/or lodging. Aarp tax help locations ( Accountable plans and per diem allowances are discussed in chapter 6. Aarp tax help locations ) Your expense, other than lodging, is less than $75. Aarp tax help locations You have a transportation expense for which a receipt is not readily available. Aarp tax help locations Adequate evidence. Aarp tax help locations   Documentary evidence ordinarily will be considered adequate if it shows the amount, date, place, and essential character of the expense. Aarp tax help locations   For example, a hotel receipt is enough to support expenses for business travel if it has all of the following information. Aarp tax help locations The name and location of the hotel. Aarp tax help locations The dates you stayed there. Aarp tax help locations Separate amounts for charges such as lodging, meals, and telephone calls. Aarp tax help locations   A restaurant receipt is enough to prove an expense for a business meal if it has all of the following information. Aarp tax help locations The name and location of the restaurant. Aarp tax help locations The number of people served. Aarp tax help locations The date and amount of the expense. Aarp tax help locations If a charge is made for items other than food and beverages, the receipt must show that this is the case. Aarp tax help locations Canceled check. Aarp tax help locations   A canceled check, together with a bill from the payee, ordinarily establishes the cost. Aarp tax help locations However, a canceled check by itself does not prove a business expense without other evidence to show that it was for a business purpose. Aarp tax help locations Duplicate information. Aarp tax help locations   You do not have to record information in your account book or other record that duplicates information shown on a receipt as long as your records and receipts complement each other in an orderly manner. Aarp tax help locations   You do not have to record amounts your employer pays directly for any ticket or other travel item. Aarp tax help locations However, if you charge these items to your employer, through a credit card or otherwise, you must keep a record of the amounts you spend. Aarp tax help locations Timely-kept records. Aarp tax help locations   You should record the elements of an expense or of a business use at or near the time of the expense or use and support it with sufficient documentary evidence. Aarp tax help locations A timely-kept record has more value than a statement prepared later when generally there is a lack of accurate recall. Aarp tax help locations   You do not need to write down the elements of every expense on the day of the expense. Aarp tax help locations If you maintain a log on a weekly basis that accounts for use during the week, the log is considered a timely-kept record. Aarp tax help locations   If you give your employer, client, or customer an expense account statement, it can also be considered a timely-kept record. Aarp tax help locations This is true if you copy it from your account book, diary, log, statement of expense, trip sheets, or similar record. Aarp tax help locations Proving business purpose. Aarp tax help locations   You must generally provide a written statement of the business purpose of an expense. Aarp tax help locations However, the degree of proof varies according to the circumstances in each case. Aarp tax help locations If the business purpose of an expense is clear from the surrounding circumstances, then you do not need to give a written explanation. Aarp tax help locations Example. Aarp tax help locations If you are a sales representative who calls on customers on an established sales route, you do not have to give a written explanation of the business purpose for traveling that route. Aarp tax help locations You can satisfy the requirements by recording the length of the delivery route once, the date of each trip at or near the time of the trips, and the total miles you drove the car during the tax year. Aarp tax help locations You could also establish the date of each trip with a receipt, record of delivery, or other documentary evidence. Aarp tax help locations Confidential information. Aarp tax help locations   You do not need to put confidential information relating to an element of a deductible expense (such as the place, business purpose, or business relationship) in your account book, diary, or other record. Aarp tax help locations However, you do have to record the information elsewhere at or near the time of the expense and have it available to fully prove that element of the expense. Aarp tax help locations What If I Have Incomplete Records? If you do not have complete records to prove an element of an expense, then you must prove the element with: Your own written or oral statement containing specific information about the element, and Other supporting evidence that is sufficient to establish the element. Aarp tax help locations If the element is the description of a gift, or the cost, time, place, or date of an expense, the supporting evidence must be either direct evidence or documentary evidence. Aarp tax help locations Direct evidence can be written statements or the oral testimony of your guests or other witnesses setting forth detailed information about the element. Aarp tax help locations Documentary evidence can be receipts, paid bills, or similar evidence. Aarp tax help locations If the element is either the business relationship of your guests or the business purpose of the amount spent, the supporting evidence can be circumstantial rather than direct. Aarp tax help locations For example, the nature of your work, such as making deliveries, provides circumstantial evidence of the use of your car for business purposes. Aarp tax help locations Invoices of deliveries establish when you used the car for business. Aarp tax help locations Table 5-1. Aarp tax help locations How To Prove Certain Business Expenses IF you have expenses for . Aarp tax help locations . Aarp tax help locations THEN you must keep records that show details of the following elements . Aarp tax help locations . Aarp tax help locations . Aarp tax help locations   Amount Time Place or  Description Business Purpose Business Relationship Travel Cost of each separate expense for travel, lodging, and meals. Aarp tax help locations Incidental expenses may be totaled in reasonable categories such as taxis, fees and tips, etc. Aarp tax help locations Dates you left and returned for each trip and number of days spent on business. Aarp tax help locations Destination or area of your travel (name of city, town, or other designation). Aarp tax help locations Purpose: Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained. Aarp tax help locations    Relationship: N/A Entertainment Cost of each separate expense. Aarp tax help locations Incidental expenses such as taxis, telephones, etc. Aarp tax help locations , may be totaled on a daily basis. Aarp tax help locations Date of entertainment. Aarp tax help locations (Also see Business Purpose. Aarp tax help locations ) Name and address or location of place of entertainment. Aarp tax help locations Type of entertainment if not otherwise apparent. Aarp tax help locations (Also see Business Purpose. Aarp tax help locations ) Purpose: Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained. Aarp tax help locations  For entertainment, the nature of the business discussion or activity. Aarp tax help locations If the entertainment was directly before or after a business discussion: the date, place, nature, and duration of the business discussion, and the identities of the persons who took part in both the business discussion and the entertainment activity. Aarp tax help locations    Relationship: Occupations or other information (such as names, titles, or other designations) about the recipients that shows their business relationship to you. Aarp tax help locations  For entertainment, you must also prove that you or your employee was present if the entertainment was a business meal. Aarp tax help locations Gifts Cost of the gift. Aarp tax help locations Date of the gift. Aarp tax help locations Description of the gift. Aarp tax help locations   Transportation Cost of each separate expense. Aarp tax help locations For car expenses, the cost of the car and any improvements, the date you started using it for business, the mileage for each business use, and the total miles for the year. Aarp tax help locations Date of the expense. Aarp tax help locations For car expenses, the date of the use of the car. Aarp tax help locations Your business destination. Aarp tax help locations Purpose: Business purpose for the expense. Aarp tax help locations    Relationship: N/A Sampling. Aarp tax help locations   You can keep an adequate record for parts of a tax year and use that record to prove the amount of business or investment use for the entire year. Aarp tax help locations You must demonstrate by other evidence that the periods for which an adequate record is kept are representative of the use throughout the tax year. Aarp tax help locations Example. Aarp tax help locations You use your car to visit the offices of clients, meet with suppliers and other subcontractors, and pick up and deliver items to clients. Aarp tax help locations There is no other business use of the car, but you and your family use the car for personal purposes. Aarp tax help locations You keep adequate records during the first week of each month that show that 75% of the use of the car is for business. Aarp tax help locations Invoices and bills show that your business use continues at the same rate during the later weeks of each month. Aarp tax help locations Your weekly records are representative of the use of the car each month and are sufficient evidence to support the percentage of business use for the year. Aarp tax help locations Exceptional circumstances. Aarp tax help locations   You can satisfy the substantiation requirements with other evidence if, because of the nature of the situation in which an expense is made, you cannot get a receipt. Aarp tax help locations This applies if all the following are true. Aarp tax help locations You were unable to obtain evidence for an element of the expense or use that completely satisfies the requirements explained earlier under What Are Adequate Records . Aarp tax help locations You are unable to obtain evidence for an element that completely satisfies the two rules listed earlier under What If I Have Incomplete Records . Aarp tax help locations You have presented other evidence for the element that is the best proof possible under the circumstances. Aarp tax help locations Destroyed records. Aarp tax help locations   If you cannot produce a receipt because of reasons beyond your control, you can prove a deduction by reconstructing your records or expenses. Aarp tax help locations Reasons beyond your control include fire, flood, and other casualties. Aarp tax help locations    Table 5-2. Aarp tax help locations Daily Business Mileage and Expense Log Name:       Odometer Readings Expenses Date Destination  (City, Town, or Area) Business Purpose Start Stop Miles  this trip Type  (Gas, oil, tolls, etc. Aarp tax help locations ) Amount                                                                                                                   Weekly  Total             Total Year-to-Date             Separating and Combining Expenses This section explains when expenses must be kept separate and when expenses can be combined. Aarp tax help locations Separating expenses. Aarp tax help locations   Each separate payment is generally considered a separate expense. Aarp tax help locations For example, if you entertain a customer or client at dinner and then go to the theater, the dinner expense and the cost of the theater tickets are two separate expenses. Aarp tax help locations You must record them separately in your records. Aarp tax help locations Season or series tickets. Aarp tax help locations   If you buy season or series tickets for business use, you must treat each ticket in the series as a separate item. Aarp tax help locations To determine the cost of individual tickets, divide the total cost (but not more than face value) by the number of games or performances in the series. Aarp tax help locations You must keep records to show whether you use each ticket as a gift or entertainment. Aarp tax help locations Also, you must be able to prove the cost of nonluxury box seat tickets if you rent a skybox or other private luxury box for more than one event. Aarp tax help locations See Entertainment tickets in chapter 2. Aarp tax help locations Combining items. Aarp tax help locations   You can make one daily entry in your record for reasonable categories of expenses. Aarp tax help locations Examples are taxi fares, telephone calls, or other incidental travel costs. Aarp tax help locations Meals should be in a separate category. Aarp tax help locations You can include tips for meal-related services with the costs of the meals. Aarp tax help locations   Expenses of a similar nature occurring during the course of a single event are considered a single expense. Aarp tax help locations For example, if during entertainment at a cocktail lounge, you pay separately for each serving of refreshments, the total expense for the refreshments is treated as a single expense. Aarp tax help locations Car expenses. Aarp tax help locations   You can account for several uses of your car that can be considered part of a single use, such as a round trip or uninterrupted business use, with a single record. Aarp tax help locations Minimal personal use, such as a stop for lunch on the way between two business stops, is not an interruption of business use. Aarp tax help locations Example. Aarp tax help locations You make deliveries at several different locations on a route that begins and ends at your employer's business premises and that includes a stop at the business premises between two deliveries. Aarp tax help locations You can account for these using a single record of miles driven. Aarp tax help locations Gift expenses. Aarp tax help locations   You do not always have to record the name of each recipient of a gift. Aarp tax help locations A general listing will be enough if it is evident that you are not trying to avoid the $25 annual limit on the amount you can deduct for gifts to any one person. Aarp tax help locations For example, if you buy a large number of tickets to local high school basketball games and give one or two tickets to each of many customers, it is usually enough to record a general description of the recipients. Aarp tax help locations Allocating total cost. Aarp tax help locations   If you can prove the total cost of travel or entertainment but you cannot prove how much it cost for each person who participated in the event, you may have to allocate the total cost among you and your guests on a pro rata basis. Aarp tax help locations To do so, you must establish the number of persons who participated in the event. Aarp tax help locations   An allocation would be needed, for example, if you did not have a business relationship with all of your guests. Aarp tax help locations See Allocating between business and nonbusiness in chapter 2. Aarp tax help locations If your return is examined. Aarp tax help locations    If your return is examined, you may have to provide additional information to the IRS. Aarp tax help locations This information could be needed to clarify or to establish the accuracy or reliability of information contained in your records, statements, testimony, or documentary evidence before a deduction is allowed. Aarp tax help locations    THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL INTERNAL REVENUE FORM Table 5-3. Aarp tax help locations Weekly Traveling Expense and Entertainment Record From: To: Name: Expenses Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total 1. Aarp tax help locations Travel Expenses: Airlines                                 Excess Baggage                                 Bus – Train                                 Cab and Limousine                                 Tips                                 Porter                                 2. Aarp tax help locations Meals and Lodging:  Breakfast                                 Lunch                                 Dinner                                 Hotel and Motel  (Detail in Schedule B)                                 3. Aarp tax help locations Entertainment  (Detail in Schedule C)                                 4. Aarp tax help locations Other Expenses:  Postage                                 Telephone & Telegraph                                 Stationery & Printing                                 Stenographer                                 Sample Room                                 Advertising                                 Assistant(s)                                 Trade Shows                                 5. Aarp tax help locations Car Expenses: (List all car expenses - the division between business and personal expenses may be made at the end of the year. Aarp tax help locations ) (Detail mileage in Schedule A. Aarp tax help locations ) Gas, oil, lube, wash                                 Repairs, parts                                 Tires, supplies                                 Parking fees, tolls                                 6. Aarp tax help locations Other (Identify)                                 Total                                 Note: Attach receipted bills for (1) ALL lodging and (2) any other expenses of $75. Aarp tax help locations 00 or more. Aarp tax help locations Schedule A – Car Mileage: End                 Start                 Total                 Business Mileage                 Schedule B – Lodging Hotel or Motel Name                 City                 Schedule C – Entertainment Date Item Place Amount Business Purpose Business Relationship                                             WEEKLY REIMBURSEMENTS:     Travel and transportation expenses     Other reimbursements     TOTAL   How Long To Keep Records and Receipts You must keep records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Aarp tax help locations Generally, this means you must keep records that support your deduction (or an item of income) for 3 years from the date you file the income tax return on which the deduction is claimed. Aarp tax help locations A return filed early is considered filed on the due date. Aarp tax help locations For a more complete explanation of how long to keep records, see Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records. Aarp tax help locations You must keep records of the business use of your car for each year of the recovery period. Aarp tax help locations See More-than-50%-use test in chapter 4 under Depreciation Deduction. Aarp tax help locations Reimbursed for expenses. Aarp tax help locations   Employees who give their records and documentation to their employers and are reimbursed for their expenses generally do not have to keep copies of this information. Aarp tax help locations However, you may have to prove your expenses if any of the following conditions apply. Aarp tax help locations You claim deductions for expenses that are more than reimbursements. Aarp tax help locations Your expenses are reimbursed under a nonaccountable plan. Aarp tax help locations Your employer does not use adequate accounting procedures to verify expense accounts. Aarp tax help locations You are related to your employer as defined under Per Diem and Car Allowances , in chapter 6. Aarp tax help locations Reimbursements , adequate accounting , and nonaccountable plans are discussed in chapter 6. Aarp tax help locations Examples of Records Table 5-2 and Table 5-3 are examples of worksheets which can be used for tracking business expenses. Aarp tax help locations Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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