Pub 4491

Publication 4491 is the IRS informal booklet that details Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly and guides those that are looking to assist taxpayers. 

These are essentially the IRS programs – VITA and TCE – for those who want to get a better understanding of how federal income taxes work. It runs you through preparing a federal income tax return and everything that goes into it, such as figuring out filing status, gross income, adjusted gross income, taxable income, tax owed, tax liability, tax refund, and more. 

The following is a summary of the things you’ll find in Publication 4491 for the 2021 tax year, which taxpayers file a federal income tax return for in 2022. 

Content of Pub. 4491

  • Getting Started
    • A quick recap of the important tax changes compared to the previous tax season.
  • Filing Status and Exemptions
    • A rundown of how to figure out the correct filing status, claiming dependents, and unique filing situations like being able to retain the married filing jointly status after the death of a spouse, also known as qualifying widow(er)
  • Taxable Income
    • Guidance on figuring out taxable income and calculating the income earned from wages, interest, self-employed income, capital gains, and other income sources.
  • Adjusted Gross Income
    • Guidance on figuring out adjusted gross income to help whether or not you qualify for certain deductions and if there is a reduction that apply to them.
  • Tax Owed and Credits
    • An outline of calculating the tax owed and comparing it with the tax credits and withholdings/estimated payments. 
  • Other Taxes and Total Tax
    • Help on applying other taxes where applicable and calculating the total tax.
  • Refundable Credits and Refund/Payment
    • Some tax credits are refundable; some aren’t. Help on how refundable credits are added to the taxpayer’s tax refund and how to figure out the tax liability.
  • Completing and Filing the Return
    • An explanation of the final steps of preparing the tax return and filing it with the IRS. 
  • Amending Tax Return
    • In some cases, the originally filed tax return may have errors. In that situation, the tax return must be amended to correct out the wrongly entered information. This last step walks you through how to amend a tax return.

Download Publication 4491 as a booklet

Publication 4491 is a pretty long resource that you can read through the entire 399 pages in about a few days. If you’re serious about learning more about how taxes work and how to prepare and file a federal income tax return, we highly recommend utilizing it in your research. 

Plus, Publication 4491 is written by the Internal Revenue Service means it’s a trustworthy resource that you won’t need to worry about any wrong statements.

Download Pub 4491 as a PDF on the IRS website.

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