Form 1040 is among the most commonly filed tax forms in the United States. It is an official document for U.S taxpayers to file the income tax return annually. It has various variations, and few changes have also been made to it.
Overall, the form is divided into two sections. In the Form, the taxpayer reports the income and the deductions to estimate the liable tax amount and the possible refund the taxpayer expects to receive. There are also additional Forms, known as schedules, attached with Form 1040, depending upon the type of income reported.
As many people need to fill it out every year, you must know where to find it and what is its purpose.
How can you get Form 1040?
The PDF version of this form is available on the IRS website that you can download and fill out manually.
The best way is to use a good software program to help you fill out the form, add any necessary schedule, and do the math to know the liable tax. When you use any software program, you have to access Form 1040 online.
While you fill it online, you answer the questions that convert into entries on it. After you have filled it out, you must download a copy to keep the record.
How to get a prior year tax return form?
You can access your prior year’s tax return forms from your e-filing provider. For this, you have to log in to your account and go to “My Account” to find your previous year’s form.
If you file through a tax preparer or CPA, you can ask them for a printed or electronic copy of your prior-year tax returns being filed.
Different Versions of Form 1040
The IRS has updated many forms because of new laws or guidelines, corrections, or clarifications. Currently, there are four versions of this form in use. 1040A and 1040EZ are no longer in use.
The majority of taxpayers use this form to report their annual income and determine the tax and refund they expect to receive.
This is for the senior citizens of the U.S (age 65 or above). It is somewhat identical to the original but printed in a larger font and includes a chart to determine the taxpayer’s standard deductions.
This form is specifically for non-US citizens who don’t have green cards. It is several pages longer than other Form 1040 versions.
Taxpayers use this form to make any amendments to their previous tax return after they have filed their tax return on Form 1040.
Why do you need this form?
Taxpayers file their annual tax returns on Form 1040. You can use this form to calculate your taxable income and tax on the income. You can report all incomes, expenses, and credits on this Form and must report it to the IRS by April 15 of every year.
Most Americans report their tax return on it. Whether you are a freelancer, employee, independent contractor, or live off from investment, you must file it.
The first step to this is to calculate Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For this, you first report total income and then claim any above-the-line deductions or adjustments you are eligible for.
AGI is reported on line 11 of Form 1040. You can reduce AGI further by either using standard deduction or itemized deduction reported on Schedule A. If the itemized deductions are lesser than standard deductions, the taxable income will be lower if you claim the standard deduction.
Various online tax calculators are available that can help you know whether a standardized deduction is better or itemized deduction for the best results.