What is a '1040 Form'

Form 1040 is the standard Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that taxpayers use to file their annual income tax returns. The form contains sections that require taxpayers to disclose their taxable income for the year in order to ascertain whether additional taxes are owed or whether the filer 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 in most years. 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 (this deduction ends in 2018, under the new tax bill), retirement account contributions and several other categories. Based on the details on this two-page form, the IRS determines an individual's tax liability.

Taxpayers may also need to fill out extra sections called schedules. For example, taxpayers who receive dividends that total more than $1,500 must file Schedule B, which is the section for reporting taxable interest and ordinary dividends. Similarly, those who want to claim itemized deductions on their 1040 have to complete Schedule A. The IRS also has several worksheets to help taxpayers calculate the value of certain credits or deductions. 

Other 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 qualify can fill out Form 1040EZ, which is a less comprehensive form. To qualify to use the 1040EZ, tax filers must claim no dependents, have a taxable income that is 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. They are permitted certain deductions and tax credits, however. 
  • 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.

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 or 1040A, but the filer with no dependents can submit Form 1040EZ. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Tax Benefit

    A tax benefit is an allowable deduction on a tax return intended ...
  2. IRS Form 4868

    IRS Form 4868 is a form for taxpayers who wish to extend their ...
  3. Separate Return

    A separate return is an annual tax form filed by a married taxpayer ...
  4. Itemized Deduction

    Itemized deductions allow taxpayers to take out more from their ...
  5. Form 1098

    Form 1098 is a form filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ...
  6. Form 1040X

    A Form 1040X is a form used by taxpayers who have to amend their tax ...
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    How & Where to File Form 1040 (And Which Version)

    All taxpayers need to know three things when filing a 1040: which form to use, how to file and where to file. After reading this, you'll know all three.
  2. Taxes

    What's IRS Form 1040 For?

    Most U.S. taxpayers will be familiar with the 1040. By the end of filling it out, you'll know how much tax you owe, or what your refund is.
  3. Taxes

    Anticipating Trump: How to Adjust Tax Planning Now

    President-elect Trump's proposed tax plan means your tax situation could change next year. What to do now.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Top Alternatives to the File and Suspend Strategy

    Although the file and suspend strategy has ended there are a few other options that can still increase the amount of retirement benefits received.
  5. Taxes

    How are Qualified and Nonqualified Dividends Taxed?

    Dividends are taxed differently based on if they are qualified or nonqualified.
  6. Taxes

    Late with Your Taxes? Grab IRS Form 4868

    Fill out this form to get a few more months to file your tax return. But remember, April 15 (17, in 2018) is still the payment due date if you owe taxes.
  7. Taxes

    9 Ways the New Tax Law Affects Millennials

    The new tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, includes some important changes for Millennials.
  8. Investing

    H&R Block Offers Interest-Free Loans to Tax Filers

    The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, has deemed tax refund anticipation loans as being akin to payday loans. Many tax preparation companies offer filers the option of receiving ...
  9. Retirement

    2017 COLA Adjustments: An Overview

    These are the key cost of living adjustments you need to know for 2017.
  10. Taxes

    5 Groups That Don't Pay Taxes

    Now that you've paid your share, find out who didn't have to pay taxes this year.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What's the difference between IRS Forms 1040EZ and 1040A?

    Anyone can file Form 1040; however, you have to meet certain requirements to use 1040EZ or 1040A. Here is how these IRS tax ... Read Answer >>
  2. What's the difference between a tax rate and a tax bracket?

    These two terms are often incorrectly used interchangeably. Find out the difference between your tax rate and your tax bracket. ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center