Form 1040

Individual Income Tax Return

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IRS Form 1040

IRS Form 1040 is an official tax document citizens or residents of the United States use to file their annual income tax return.

For many years, taxpayers had the ability to use either Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ. However, this all changed in 2018 when the IRS redesigned Form 1040.

Now, all taxpayers will use the same Form 1040. If you have a straightforward tax situation, you only need to file this form. For those required to provide supplemental information, there are various schedules for doing so. 

Why the Change?

After so many years of the old system, many taxpayers and tax professionals wondered why a change was necessary. The Treasury made this decision to make life easier both on taxpayers and the IRS.

Here’s an excerpt from the IRS website explaining the transition:

“Treasury approved a new approach that provides flexibility in how IRS will be able to manage future changes to the Form 1040 and reduce the number of 1040 forms from which taxpayers must choose, to one basic Form 1040 that all taxpayers will use. This form uses a "building block" ap­proach so taxpayers with straightforward tax situations only need to file Form 1040, while those who need to provide supplemental information can use the new numbered sched­ules they need.”

Although it was a big adjustment in the first year, most taxpayers are now familiar with how to efficiently and accurately complete and file Form 1040.

What are the New Schedules?

Many people only need to complete Form 1040 to file a final return. For those with more complex situations, the following six schedules are used:

  • Form 1040 (Schedule 1), Additional Income and Adjustments to Income: Taxpayers use this schedule to report income such as capital gains, award money, gambling winnings, and unemployment. It’s also used to claim deductions, such as for self-employment tax, educator expenses, and student loan interest.
  • Form 1040 (Schedule 2), Tax: This schedule is used to report amounts owed for the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Form 1040 (Schedule 3), Non-refundable Credits: Schedule 3 is used to claim any nonrefundable credit other than the child tax credit or those designed for other dependents, such as education credits.
  • Form 1040 (Schedule 4), Other Taxes: Taxpayers use Schedule 4 to report other taxes they’re required to pay, such as household employment taxes and self-employment tax.
  • Form 1040 (Schedule 5), Other Payments and Refundable Credits: This schedule is used to claim a refundable credit, with exception of the earned income credit.
  • Form 1040 (Schedule 6), Foreign Address and Third-Party Designee: Schedule 6 is designed for taxpayers with a foreign address or those who use a third-party designee (other than a tax professional) to file their taxes.

Information to Include on Form 1040

The easiest way to understand Form 1040 is to personally review the details. You can do so by visiting this page of the IRS website.

Some (but not all) of the required information includes:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Dependents
  • Wages, salaries, tips
  • Total income
  • Standard deduction
  • Qualified business income deduction
  • Federal income tax withheld

Even though Form 1040 was redesigned with ease of use in mind, you may still run into challenges along the way. If you require any assistance completing and filing Form 1040, among others, consult with a tax professional.