IRS Publication 17 contains a whole host of information on filing your 2011 individual federal income taxes. It is the number one source for basic tax filing information, especially handy for those who plan on filing their taxes themselves (without hiring professional help). This publication has been around for over 60 years, but was recently updated for the 2012 filing season. In a nutshell, Pub 17 covers the topics of Income, figuring you income, deductions, and credits. But there is also information on taxpayer rights and how to obtain tax relief if you cannot pay what you owe.
But wait, before you click on the link and hit “Print,” you should be aware that this is a lengthy document. The index alone is over 20 pages long. The total page count is just over 300, so you’d be better off just saving the link. Besides, if you print it then you lose some of its functionality — Pub 17, in its electronic form, is full of links that (1) help you navigate those 300 pages quickly, (2) help you find additional information on key topics, and (3) take you to other forms and publications you may need when preparing your 2011 taxes.
Preparing your taxes yourself is not always the right choice for everyone. But if you do, you should definitely consider reading Pub 17 or at least keep it on hand as a reference tool.