How to fill out an IRS Form 1040

Form 1040 is one of the official IRS documents used by American taxpayers to file their annual tax return. This form calculates the taxpayer’s total taxable income and determines the amount to be paid or reimbursed by the government.

If you want to know more about it, here is a guide with all the relevant information about this document, including who should file it and how to complete the 1040 form step by step.

What is the Form 1040?

As mentioned before, the IRS 1040 form is a document that taxpayers use to calculate their taxable income and the tax on that income.

This form consists of two pages, where taxpayers report their income and deductions to determine the amount of tax due or the refund they can expect to receive.

Who must file a 1040 form?

In general, almost all citizens in the United States are required to file Form 1040, whether they are self-employed, work for someone else, or live off their investment money.

If you were single and under the age of 65 at the end of 2019, and your gross income was at least $12,200, you will need to file Form 1040. You will also need to file Form 1040 if you were single and over the age of 65 at the end of 2019, and your gross income was at least $13,850.

On the other hand, if you were married and filing jointly, the minimum gross income will depend on your personal situation. If you and your partner were under 65 at the end of 2019, and your gross income was at least $24,400, you’ll need to fill out Form 1040.

Then, if one spouse was 65 or older, and your gross income was at least $25,700, you’ll need to file Form 1040. Finally, you’ll need to file Form 1040 if you and your partner were over the age of 65, and your gross income was at least $27,000.

If you’re married filing separately, no matter how old you are, you’ll need to complete Form 1040 if your gross income was at least $5.

If you are the head of household and you are under the age of 65, you will need to file Form 1040 if your gross income was at least $18,350. But if you are over 65, the gross income increases to $20,000.

What are the types of 1040 forms?

There are four varieties of Form 1040 that taxpayers may complete:

  • Form 1040: this form is only two pages long and is the one used by most taxpayers.
  • Form 1040-SR: taxpayers who are 65 years of age or older can use this form. In general, it is much like the basic 1040 form, but it features larger print and a chart to help seniors figure the standard deduction.
  • Form 1040-NR: this form must be completed by nonresident aliens who have US source income.
  • Form 1040X: taxpayers who need to amend their tax return after filing should use this form.

How to file Form 1040 step by step

Before getting started, we recommend that you have all of your tax documents on hand, including your W-2s, 1099s, and other records of your income and deductions.

1.    Fill in your basic information

In the first half of Form 1040 you must provide basic information such as your name and the names of your spouse, marital status, identification, contact information and dependents.

2.    Report your income

On the following lines you must report your different sources of income, including wages, interest and dividends, and retirement income from IRAs, 401(k), pensions, and Social Security.

3.    Claim your deductions

When filing Form 1040, you can choose to itemize or claim the standard deduction. Most taxpayers choose the standard deduction. However, if your total itemized deductions are more than the standard deduction for your filing status, you can itemize by completing Schedule A and attaching it to your 1040 form.

4.    Calculate your tax

On the second page of the form, you will need to calculate your tax. To do this, follow the Form 1040 instructions that include tables to help with the calculations. If you want, you can also use tax software or contact a qualified tax professional who can do the calculation for you.

5.    Claim tax credits

If you have dependents, you can claim the child tax credit or the credit for other dependents. To do this, you must attach Form 2441 or Schedule 8812 (if you are claiming the additional child tax credit) to your 1040 form.

Finally, after completing the form, you must sign to declare that all the information provided is correct. You can file Form 1040 electronically or print it and mail it to the appropriate address. If you have questions about where to send your Form 1040, see the form instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get Form 1040?

To obtain and complete the 1040 form, go to the official IRS website or click here to download it directly.

What is the deadline to file Form 1040?

Your Form 1040 for any given tax year is generally due on or before April 15 of the following year.