All income is taxable unless the law excludes it. Here are some basic rules you should know to help you file an accurate tax return:

  • Taxed income.  Taxable income includes money you earn, like wages and tips. It also includes bartering, an exchange of property or services. The fair market value of property or services received is taxable.

Some types of income are not taxable except under certain conditions, including:

  • Life insurance.  Proceeds paid to you because of the death of the insured person are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount that you get that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable.
  • Qualified scholarship.  In most cases, income from this type of scholarship is not taxable. This means that amounts you use for certain costs, such as tuition and required books, are not taxable. On the other hand, amounts you use for room and board are taxable.
  • State income tax refund.  If you got a state or local income tax refund, the amount may be taxable. You should have received a 2014 Form 1099-G from the agency that made the payment to you. If you didn't get it by mail, the agency may have provided the form electronically. Contact them to find out how to get the form. Report any taxable refund you got even if you did not receive Form 1099-G.

Here are some types of income that are usually not taxable:

  • Gifts and inheritances
  • Child support payments
  • Welfare benefits
  • Damage awards for physical injury or sickness
  • Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy
  • Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses
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Upcoming Tax Dates

December 10 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of November.

December 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during November, report them to your employer Details

December 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 15 days of November.

December 15 — Corporations
Deposit the fourth installment of estimated income tax for 2016 Details

December 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in November.

December 15 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in November.

December 25 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Christmas Day) Details

December 28 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 15 days of November.

December 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of December.

View More Tax Dates