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About the 1040 Tax Form

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Every taxpayer in America files a 1040

Ben Franklin talked about death and taxes, but he forgot to mention the IRS form 1040. The 1040 form is the only tax form that every American taxpayer needs to know about. Every American adult needs to file a tax return every year. That's the law. And that tax return is called the IRS 1040 form.

Here's what the IRS form 1040 looks like:
1040-form
The 1040 tax form reports your annual income for the year and determines how much of that income is taxable.

Let's save you time, and ideally, money and simplify the process by looking at an overview of the IRS 1040 form.

Table of contents

What is a 1040 form?...Read more

Who needs to file a 1040 form?...Read more

Understanding 1040 Forms for Individual tax returns...Read more

What are the different schedules used with the 1040 Form?...Read more

How do I access the 1040 tax form?...Read more

How to file the IRS form 1040...Read more

What do I need to fill out the IRS Form 1040?...Read more

Where to mail the 1040 tax return?...Read more

What is a 1040 form?

The 1040 tax form is the standard form issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Use the 1040 form to report your tax information. Also, you will need to report any deductions and credits you are eligible to claim on the 1040 form. You may need to attach additional forms based on the income you report. These are known as Schedules.

Who needs to file a 1040 form?

Any American who has an income from just about any source is required to file a tax return each year, and the way to do that is with a 1040 form. Other tax forms that come under the 1040 form might be different depending on a taxpayer's form of employment and other factors, but the 1040 form is universal. Whether you are self-employed, you work for someone else as an employee, or you earn income from investments, interest, etc., you'll report your income on a Form 1040.
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Understanding 1040 Forms for Individual tax returns

There’s no getting around it, once a tax year every taxpayer must fill out Form 1040. Luckily, all taxpayers can use the same Form 1040, which means you’re not alone on your quest to complete it. The only exception to this rule is for nonresident aliens. They will use the 1040-NR Form instead of the 1040 form. There is also the Form 1040-ES, which is used for paying quarterly taxes, but the 1040 form is the most common form and requires the most details. Find out which tax forms apply to you as a self-employed taxpayer with the Tax Form Recommender.

Form 1040-ES

What are the different schedules used with the 1040 Form?

Filling out the IRS 1040 form isn't rocket science, but it does require a basic understanding of the form. It is important to follow the 1040 instructions to ensure a complete and accurate tax return. When completing your IRS 1040 Form, additional forms called Schedules must be completed and submitted along with the 1040. Not everyone needs to attach a Schedule, but in most cases, freelancers will need to at least attach the Schedule C to the 1040 form.

Schedule C: Profit or Loss from business

Schedule SE: Self Employment Tax

Form 8829

How do I access the 1040 tax form?

You can download the 1040 tax form on the IRS website. In addition, you can find printed versions of the 1040 form at your local library or an IRS Tax Assistant Center.
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How to file the IRS form 1040

The IRS form 1040 consists of 2 pages. The first page asks for general information about who you are, including your full legal name, date of birth, address, Social Security number and filing status. If you are filing a joint tax return with your spouse, make sure to add their date of birth and Social Security number. If you are claiming dependents on your tax return, you must add their name, date of birth, Social Security number and their relationship to you (the filer).

Reporting your income on IRS Form 1040

Calculate your AGI

Check for credits and refund

Determine how much you owe

What do I need to fill out the IRS Form 1040?

No one wants to spend time filling out the form more than once. To avoid this, before sitting down to fill out the IRS Form 1040, gather the required information to complete the form in its entirety. Also, be sure to read over the form 1040 instructions before starting, in order to avoid errors.
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Provide your bank details to be used for direct deposit into your account if you receive any refund. The IRS changes and updates its forms regularly, so it’s best to check the IRS website for the 1040 form 2022.

Where to mail the 1040 tax return?

So you’ve followed the 1040 instructions and you’re wondering where to file 1040. The IRS highly recommends you use e-filing for submitting your federal tax forms, including the IRS Form 1040. However, if you wish to mail them by snail mail, there are a few things to keep in mind:
  • The IRS has multiple addresses for printed tax forms.
  • The addresses vary based on your state and whether you include payment. You can find this info on the IRS website under “Where to File.”
  • Mailing addresses also differ per document
  • Use certified mail with a return receipt request
  • FedEx, UPS, DHL Express and USPS are acceptable forms of delivery
  • Mailing your tax return may result in the arrival of your refund in about 6-8 weeks. If filing electronically, it will arrive in about three weeks

Form 1099-MISC VS Form 1099-NEC

Understand what makes these 1099 forms different from each other and what they mean for you as a 1099 freelancer, independent contractor or self-employed individual.

Form 1040-ES

This vital tax form for self-employed individuals and freelancers is how they pay quarterly taxes, which they need to estimate (ES means estimated taxes).

Form 1040 Schedule C

Running a business by yourself? This is the tax return 2022 schedule where you report how much (knock on wood) profit you made or how much you (heaven forbid) lost over the course of the year.

Form 1040 Schedule SE

SE stands for self-employment tax, and this is where people who make a living working for themselves or freelancing pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Form 8829

If you use your home for work, you can deduct things like utilities and supplies used for your home office or storage space used for inventory from your taxes. Use this form to figure out how much you can deduct.

Form 1099

If you're self-employed, this is the form that the people who pay you use to report those payments to the IRS. Here's what you need to know about it.

Losing a 1099 form

If you've lost a 1099 that was sent to you, fear not. Here's what you can do if it happens.

Form 1099-NEC

Entities that pay you for services as a freelancer or independent contractor report those payments to the IRS using this 1099 form.

Form 1099-MISC

Entities that give you other forms of income as a freelancer or independent contractor, such as prize money or money for healthcare, report those payments to the IRS using this 1099 form.

Avoid 1099-Misc

There are ways to lower the amount of tax you pay as a 1099 self-employed individual. Here are five proven strategies.

Form 1099-K

If you receive payments of $600 or more as a self-employed individual through credit card companies and payment services like PayPal, they report those payments to the IRS using this 1099 form.

Paypal

Here's how to receive a 1099-K from PayPal and how to use it to file and pay your 1099 taxes.

Shopify

Here's how to receive a 1099-K from Shopify and how to use it to file and pay your 1099 taxes.

Venmo

Here's how to receive a 1099-K from Venmo and how to use it to file and pay your 1099 taxes.

Form 1099-MISC VS Form 1099-NEC

Understand what makes these 1099 forms different from each other and what they mean for you as a 1099 freelancer, independent contractor or self-employed individual.

Form 1040-ES

This vital tax form for self-employed individuals and freelancers is how they pay quarterly taxes, which they need to estimate (ES means estimated taxes).

Form 1040 Schedule C

Running a business by yourself? This is the tax return 2022 schedule where you report how much (knock on wood) profit you made or how much you (heaven forbid) lost over the course of the year.

Form 1040 Schedule SE

SE stands for self-employment tax, and this is where people who make a living working for themselves or freelancing pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.

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