What is a '1040 Form'

Form 1040 is the standard Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that individuals use to file their annual income tax returns. The form contains sections that require taxpayers to disclose their financial income for the year in order to ascertain whether additional taxes are owed or whether the taxpayer is due a tax refund.

BREAKING DOWN '1040 Form'

Also known as the U.S. individual income tax return or the long form, Form 1040 needs to be filed with the IRS by April 15, and everyone who earns income over a certain threshold must file an income tax return with the IRS. Individuals file one of several versions of Form 1040, while businesses have different forms to report their profits.

What Information Does Form 1040 Require?

Form 1040 prompts tax filers for information on their filing status and number of dependents. It has an income section where the filer can note wages, salary, taxable interest, capital gains and other types of income. It also allows filers to claim deductions for education expenses, eligible moving expenses, retirement account contributions and several other categories. Based on the details on this two-page form, the IRS determines an individual's tax liability.

However, taxpayers may need to fill out extra sections called schedules. For example, if a taxpayer receives dividends that total more than $1,500, he needs to fill out Schedule B, which is the section for reporting interest and ordinary dividends. Similarly, if someone wants to claim itemized deductions on his 1040, he has to complete schedule A. The IRS also has a number of worksheets to help taxpayers calculate the value of certain credits or deductions.

Are There Different Types of 1040 Forms?

There are several variations of Form 1040 depending on the tax filer's individual tax situation. The standard version is the 1040, outlined above. Taxpayers who possess very simple taxation circumstances can fill out Form 1040EZ, which is a less comprehensive form. To qualify to use the 1040EZ, tax filers must have no dependents, earn less than $100,000 per year, and be single or married filing jointly. The 1040A falls in between these two extremes, and to file a 1040A, the tax filer must have less than $100,000 in income and must claim the standard deduction, rather than itemizing.

For example, imagine two taxpayers each have $9,000 in income but only one of the filers has a child. In this case, the filer with the child or dependent must fill out Form 1040, but the filer with no dependent can submit Form 1040EZ.

Form 1040NR is reserved for nonresident aliens who are engaged in trade or business in the United States, and the 1040NR-EZ is a simplified version of this form. Finally, if a tax filer makes a mistake or forgets to include information on any of his 1040 forms, he can use Form 1040X for making changes to previously filed 1040s.

To learn more about the types of Form 1040s, read What's the difference between IRS Forms 1040EZ and 1040A.

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    IRS Form 1040EZ is the simplest form for filing your taxes, but you must meet certain qualifications to use it. Read Answer >>
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    Two of the forms used for filing individual federal income tax returns are IRS Form 1040A and IRS Form 1040EZ (the third ... Read Answer >>
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    Filing your taxes with Form 1040EZ may simplify the process, but it could also reduce the refund you're eligible to receive. Read Answer >>
  5. When would I need to use IRS Form 1040X when filing my tax return?

    If you've made a mistake on your tax return, you'll need to file a Form 1040X. Learn the details of what you need to do. Read Answer >>
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