You’ll be asked to provide income information for each person when completing your application, including your spouse and all tax dependents. If someone has more than one source of income, you’ll report each source separately.
|Report income from these sources||
Do NOT report income from these sources
Income from a job
Look at a recent pay stub that shows what you usually make. Your income is the amount before taxes are taken out.
Important: Report “federal taxable income.” When you report your income, don’t include money your employer takes out of your paycheck for child care, health insurance, or retirement plans. Each of these should be listed separately on your pay stub. Subtract them from the total income shown on your pay stub and report that number as your income.
If your pay stub shows “federal taxable income,” just use that number.
This is the net income you earn from your own trade or business. For example, any net income (profit) you earn from goods you sell or services you provide to others counts as self-employment income. Self-employment income could also come from a distributive share from a partnership.
Your net self-employment income is generally what you report on Schedule C—Profit or Loss from Business when you file your federal income taxes. Learn how to report if your self-employment income is hard to predict.
If you select “Self-employment,” you’ll describe the kind of work this self-employment is. There’s no special format – simply describe the work. For example, if you clean houses, enter “house cleaning.” If you make jewelry, enter “jewelry making.” If you work on construction projects, enter “construction.” For more information, view Instructions for Schedule C or IRS Publication 334.
To enter the net income from self-employment, you’ll enter either a positive or negative number (positive if you’ve made a profit, negative if you had a loss).
- If your expenses are less than your income, the difference is net income (also known as net profit).
- If your expenses are more than your income, the difference is a net loss. (If you’re a partner, include your distributive share from the partnership.)
Learn about expenses you can deduct from your self-employment income from the IRS.
Unemployment compensation includes any amount you get under an unemployment compensation law of the United States or a state. You usually must include unemployment benefits (including from an employer or union) as income. To see the limited exceptions, see IRS Publication 525 (PDF), page27.
If you select “Unemployment,” you’ll enter the name of the employer or state government providing the benefit, the amount of income you get, and how often you get this amount.
A pension is generally a payment or series of payments made after a person retires from work. Generally, the amount of the income from a pension account distribution depends on the type of pension account, how much was contributed to the pension account, and whether the amounts contributed were already taxed. You don’t have to include a qualified distribution from a designated Roth account as income. For more information, see IRS Publication 575 (PDF).
If you select “Pension,” you’ll be asked how much you get from pension account distributions and how often you get this amount. Enter what you receive as a distribution from your pension, even if you aren’t retired.
Social Security benefits
These are the amounts you get from Social Security disability, retirement (including income from railroad retirement (RRB)), or survivor’s benefits each month.
If you select “Social Security benefits,” you’ll enter the amount you get from Social Security benefits. You’ll also select how often you get this amount: one time only, monthly, or yearly. You can find the amount on the cost-of-living increase letter you get from Social Security each year. Enter the full amount before any deductions, like Medicare premiums, income tax withholding, overpayments, child support, or alimony. Include any non-taxable portion as income.
Don’t include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
If you’re getting an extra payment this month, include it when you enter your monthly amount.
Capital gains are the amount you profit from selling property. For example, if you buy stock for $1,000 and sell it for $1,250, you have a capital gain of $250. You don’t have to include a capital gain if it’s from the sale of the main home you owned for at least 5 years (and the profit is less than $250,000). For more information, see IRS Publication 17 (PDF), page 66 or IRS Publication 544 (PDF).
If you select “Capital gains,” you’ll be asked how much you expect to get from net capital gains this year. Enter your expected capital gains income after subtracting estimated capital losses. The number you enter can be positive to reflect a gain or negative if you expect a loss.
Investment income is the income you get from an investment. Examples of investment income include interest you get from a bank account or dividends from stock. For more information, see IRS Publication 550 (PDF).
If you select “Investment,” you’ll be asked to enter the amount you get from investment income, like interest and dividends, and how often you get it. Include any non-taxable interest income.
A retirement benefit is generally a payment or series of payments made after someone retires from work. Generally, the amount of the income from a retirement account distribution depends on the type of retirement account, how much was contributed to the retirement account, and whether the amounts contributed were already taxed. You don’t have to include a qualified distribution from a designated Roth account as income. For more information, see IRS Publication 575 (PDF).
If you select “Retirement,” you’ll be asked how much you get from retirement account distributions. You’ll also be asked how often you get this amount. Enter what you receive as a distribution from retirement investment, even if you aren’t retired.
Alimony is money you get from a spouse you no longer live with, or former spouse; if it’s paid to you as part of a divorce agreement, separation agreement, or court order. Child support payments or non-taxable property settlements ordered or designated in the agreement aren’t alimony. For more information, see IRS Publication 504 (PDF), page 12.
If you select “Alimony,” you’ll be asked to enter the amount and how often you get it.
If your divorce or separation was finalized:
- Before January 1, 2019: Include alimony as income. You may deduct this as an expense.
- On or after January 1, 2019: Don’t include alimony as income. You can’t deduct this as an expense.
Farming or fishing income
If you have income from farming or fishing, you can enter it as either “farming or fishing” income or “self-employment” income, but you can only enter it once. You’re in the business of farming if you cultivate, operate, or manage a farm for profit, either as owner or tenant. A farm can include livestock, dairy, poultry, fish, or fruit. It can also include plantations, ranches, ranges, and orchards. For more information on farming income, see IRS Publication 225 (PDF). You can find income exclusion information on page 16 of this document.
Fishing income includes amounts you get from catching, taking, harvesting, cultivating, or farming fish, shellfish, crustacean, sponges, seaweeds, or other aquatic forms of animal or vegetable life. It also includes money from patronage dividends and fuel tax credits and refunds. For more information on fishing income, visit the IRS Fishing Tax Center.
If you select “Farming or fishing,” you’ll be asked how much you get from these types of income and how often you get this amount. Enter your net farming or fishing income (your profit after subtracting business expenses). You’ll enter a positive number to reflect a gain or a negative number if you’ve sustained a loss.
If you select “Self-employment” instead, describe the work as “Farming or fishing.” For more information from the IRS, visit Instructions for Schedule C or IRS Publication 334 (PDF). Remember: Each type of income should be reported only once, so report the income as either “Farming or fishing” or “Self-employment,” but not both.
Rental or royalty
Rental income is the amount someone pays you to use your property after you subtract your property expenses. See IRS Publication 17 (PDF), pages 68-75 for more information on rental housing property or pages 91-92 for information on renting personal property such as equipment.
Royalty income includes any payments you get from a patent, copyright, or some other natural resource you own. See IRS Publication 17 (PDF), page 92 for more information.
If you select “Rental or royalty,” you’ll be asked how much you get from these types of income and how often you get this amount. Enter your net rental or royalty income (your profit after subtracting costs) as positive number if you’ve made a profit or as a negative number if you’ve sustained a loss.
You and the people in your household might have other types of income that aren’t listed above. If you do, select “other income.” If you’re a member of the clergy or a religious order, exclude the same income you exclude on your federal income tax return.
- You won’t report all types of income. See “Income you shouldn’t report” below to see what income you should not include on your application.
If you select “Other income,” you’ll be asked to enter the amount of your income and how often you get it.
Here’s a list of “other income” types to report.
- Canceled debts: If you incurred a debt from a loan or from buying something on credit and a portion of the amount you owed was discharged or forgiven, the amount of the forgiven debt is generally counted as income. For more information, see IRS Publication 17 (PDF), pages 88-89.
- Court awards: If you were involved in and got money from a lawsuit, the money you receive may be reportable as taxable income depending on the nature of the claim. Payments to compensate a person for lost wages or punitive damages awards are examples of taxable court awards. For more information, see IRS Publication 17 (PDF), page 94.Examples of money from lawsuits that aren’t taxable are amounts awarded for personal physical injury or sickness and an amount you get as compensation for damages to your property if the payment is less than the amount paid for the property.
- Jury duty pay: If you’re being paid for jury duty service, enter how much you’re getting, including reimbursement for transportation. If the money you get from jury duty goes straight to your employer, don’t enter it here.
- Cash support: Enter this income type only if someone who isn’t your parent or spouse claims you as a dependent on their tax return, and they’re including you on their application for health coverage. If so, enter the amount that you get from the person who claims you as a tax dependent. For example, if the tax filer gives you $200 per month to help pay for rent or other living costs, include that amount here. Don’t include in-kind support that the tax filer provides like the value of room and board, or clothes purchased by the tax filer.
- Gambling, prizes, or awards: This includes lottery winnings. It doesn’t include prizes that aren’t taxable, like most academic scholarships.
- Taxable scholarships and grants: If you get income from a taxable scholarship or grant award, enter the amount and how often you get it. This won’t count as income for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as long as you’re using the scholarship or grant to pay for expenses like tuition and books. You’ll also enter any income you get from a work-study job.
For more information on income reporting, see IRS Publication 17 (PDF).