What is a 1040 form?

Printed tax forms are filled out with the help of a calculator and laptop.

Learn what the 1040 tax form is, which attachments you need, and how you can fill and sign your tax forms digitally.

Walk through our complete guide on the IRS 1040 form.

Both individuals and businesses need to file their taxes correctly to avoid incurring penalty fees or worse, litigation. But the mountains of different tax documents can make the job challenging. Here, we’ll look at Form 1040, what it is, and how you can make completing it easier.

What is a 1040 form used for?

Form 1040 — officially titled “U.S. Individual Income Tax Return” — is an IRS-issued tax form for reporting personal federal income tax returns. It’s the main tax form for individuals who are residents of the United States.

You use this form to calculate how much you owe in taxes or how big a tax refund you can expect. The two-page 1040 form is always due on the year’s Tax Day.

Who needs to file an IRS 1040 form?

All United States citizens and permanent residents earning at least the minimum income for their filing status must file a 1040 form. The minimum differs depending on whether you are over or under 65 years old, and it could change each year. Visit the IRS website to find out the minimum income depending on whether you are single, head of household, married filing jointly or separately, or a qualifying surviving spouse.

Why is Form 1040 an important IRS form?

The 1040 form is one of the primary forms required for filing your taxes. If you’re required to file and you don’t, you might have to pay a penalty or even be criminally prosecuted.

According to the IRS, the benefits of filing include the chance that you’ll get money back, avoid interest and penalties, be able to apply for financial aid, build social security benefits, obtain an accurate picture of your income, and of course, have the peace of mind that you’re following the law.

How often do I need to file the 1040 tax form?

You’ll need to file the 1040 form every year before the tax filing deadline, which is usually April 15.

What are the different schedules used with the 1040 form?

Tax schedules are attachment forms that may be required to calculate and report different sources of income or deductions. There are 20 possible schedules, each designed for different kinds of information. For example, if you don’t want to take the standard deduction, you can use Schedule A to itemize deductions.

What is the Schedule 1 tax form?

Because the 1040 form doesn’t have many lines for reporting different income types, some taxpayers need an additional form to list income from different sources, such as unemployment compensation, alimony, farm income, or gambling winnings.

What is the Schedule 2 tax form?

With Schedule 2, you can report any additional taxes you owe, like self-employment tax or taxes on retirement plans.

What is the Schedule 3 tax form?

This schedule is for claiming tax credits you didn’t claim on the 1040 form, like foreign tax credit or general business credit.

How do I access the 1040 tax form?

You can download a PDF of the 1040 tax form on the IRS website. If you hire a tax preparer to help you, they might also provide the form. You can also create an online account with the IRS to access your tax record, which may include 1040 forms from previous years.

How to fill out a 1040 form.

The IRS website has detailed instructions for how to fill in Form 1040. You can also download a PDF version of 1040 that you can fill with PDF editing software like Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open the 1040 PDF form in Acrobat and type in your information.
  2. Remember also to check the correct tick boxes.
  3. Once you’ve finished filling out the form, you can sign it digitally with the Fill and Sign tool.

You can also easily fill and sign a PDF of your 1040 with Adobe Acrobat online services.

How is a 1099 form different from a 1040 form?

The 1040 helps calculate the tax you owe based on your entire income. In contrast, a 1099 form is used for each separate source of income. If you are a contractor or self-employed, you’ll receive payments from different entities rather than a single employer. You’ll need a separate 1099 for each source, but you’ll add it all together in the 1040 form.

More resources for finances and tax forms.

After learning what a 1040 form is, explore these additional tax-related resources:

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