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Reporting Your Income to the IRS

There are many different kinds of income for which you might be responsible at tax time. Besides your W2, you may receive other income forms, the contents of which have to be reported to the IRS. We show you how.

This guide:

  • Lists the major types of taxable income

  • Describes how each type of income is taxed

  • Explains how to report your income, whether you e-file or not

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A Look at The Major Types Taxable Income

The average taxpayer receives at least one W2 form every year. This form lists income, local and federal taxes withheld, social security taxes, etc.

But most people's returns are far more complicated than that: most taxpayers receive income from more than one source, and sometimes it is tough to figure out what is taxable, and how.

To help you figure out what income must be reported, and how it is all taxed, we've created this guide to income types.

Just click on the following links for more in-depth information about each type of taxable income, and for advice on reporting it at tax time:

Your Sources of Income, And How They Are Taxed:

  • W2 wages. Your W-2 form is the most basic tax form that almost everyone receives.

  • Self-Employment Income and Income From IRS Form 1099-MISC. If you were self-employed in 2017 and earned money either by billing clients directly or were paid by a company that issued you a 1099, read on.

  • Alimony and Child Support. If you paid or received alimony payments last year, you report this to the IRS.

  • Unemployment Benefits. Unemployment compensation benefits are considered to be fully taxable income.

  • Social Security Benefits. Social security benefits are considered taxable income, although not entirely.

  • Retirement Plan Distributions Most of these benefits are considered to be taxable income.

  • Taxable Interest Income. Interest paid to you is taxable, and must be reported.

  • How to Report Your Interest Income. Which forms you'll need to file.

  • Investment Dividends Income. If a company paid dividends to you, that is income, and you must report it.

  • Taxable Interest on Bonds. Interest earned from corporate and government bonds is almost always taxable.

  • "Other" Taxable Income. Miscellaneous income that does not fit into any of the above general categories.

  • Tax-Exempt Income. There are several types of income that are not taxed by the IRS.

Related IRS Publications

You can get more information about your taxable income directly from the IRS, in the form of Publication 525.

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