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When figuring and assembling my tax return, do I need to include forms and schedules that end up with a $0 bottom line?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on the form. Let's look at a couple.

For example, I have rental activity in which I activly participate, and I meet the requirements for the $25k max loss. Am I required to fill out and file f-8582 to back this up?

I believe the schedule E instructions say you can write something to the effect of qualifies for residential rental real-estate allowance on the top of sched E and then skip the 8582 if this is the only passive activity.

Similarily, f-6251 demonstrates that there is no AMT in excess of my regular tax, and I enter $0 for that line item on 1040. The instruction seems to assert that it should be included.

If you have AMT adjustments or preferences that can't be figured from the rest of the return, and it is these items that mean you have no AMT liability, then I'd definitely include it with the return - just to prove that no AMT was due. If you income is low enough that the AMT exclusion is adequate to cover your income, then you can safely skip it.

AT RISK limitations on f-6198 would be another example.

If you only losing activity is the residential rental, then it's probably OK to omit this. Your at-risk amount is clearly large enough from the depreciation information already there. However, if the losing activity is a partnership (particularly a limited partnership) then I'd include it anyway. Again it's just to head off any questions about the amount that is at risk in the activity.

Comments to this quickie appreciated!

Once you've gone to the trouble of completing these forms, I see no harm in including them, even if the bottom line is zero. You've already done all of the hard work. Copying them is the easiest part of the job.

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