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Instructions for Schedule J (Form 1040)

General Instructions


Prior Year Tax Returns(p1)

You may need copies of your original or amended income tax returns for 2009, 2010, and 2011 to figure your tax on Schedule J.
If you need copies of your tax returns, use Form 4506. There is a $57 fee (subject to change) for each return requested. If your main home, principal place of business, or tax records are located in a federally declared disaster area, this fee will be waived. If you want a free transcript of your tax return or account, use Form 4506-T. See your Form 1040 instructions to find out how to get these forms.
Keep a copy of your 2012 income tax return to use for income averaging in 2013, 2014, or 2015.

Definitions (p1)

Farming business.(p1)
A farming business is the trade or business of cultivating land or raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity. This includes:
  1. Operating a nursery or sod farm;
  2. Raising or harvesting of trees bearing fruits, nuts, or other crops;
  3. Raising ornamental trees (but not evergreen trees that are more than 6 years old when severed from the roots);
  4. Raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training, and managing animals; and
  5. Leasing land to a tenant engaged in a farming business, but only if the lease payments are (a) based on a share of the tenant's production (not a fixed amount), and (b) determined under a written agreement entered into before the tenant begins significant activities on the land.
A farming business does not include:
Fishing business.(p1)
A fishing business is the trade or business of fishing in which the fish harvested, either in whole or in part, are intended to enter commerce or enter commerce through sale, barter, or trade. This includes:
  1. The catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;
  2. The attempted catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;
  3. Any other activity which can reasonably be expected to result in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;
  4. Any operations at sea in support of, or in preparation for, any activity described in (1) through (3) above;
  5. Leasing a fishing vessel, but only if the lease payments are (a) based on a share of the catch (or a share of the proceeds from the sale of the catch) from the lessee's use of the vessel in a fishing business (not a fixed payment), and (b) determined under a written lease entered into before the lessee begins any significant fishing activities resulting in the catch; and
  6. Compensation as a crew member on a vessel engaged in a fishing business, but only if the compensation is based on a share of the catch (or a share of the proceeds from the sale of the catch).
The word fish means finfish, mollusks, crustaceans, and all other forms of marine animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds.
A fishing business does not include any scientific research activity conducted by a scientific research vessel.
Settlement from Exxon Valdez litigation.(p1)
You will be treated as engaged in a fishing business with respect to any qualified settlement income you received if either of the following applies.
  1. You were a plaintiff in the civil action In re Exxon Valdez, No. 89-095-CV (HRH) (Consolidated) (D. Alaska); or
  2. All of the following apply.
    1. You were a beneficiary of a plaintiff described in (1) above,
    2. You acquired the right to receive qualified settlement income from that plaintiff, and
    3. You were the spouse or an immediate relative of that plaintiff.
Qualified settlement income is any taxable interest and punitive damage awards you received (whether as lump sums or periodic payments) in connection with the Exxon Valdez civil action described above. Qualified settlement income includes all such awards, whether received before or after the judgment and whether related to a settlement or a judgment.

Additional Information(p2)

See Pub. 225 and Regulations section 1.1301-1 for more information.