WHAT IS '1040PC Form'

The 1040PC form was a way for taxpayers in the US to filer their tax returns through a type of software created by the IRS in 1993. The “PC” in the form’s name stands for personal computer. The IRS created this software as personal computers were becoming commonplace in American homes.

Taxpayers found the 1040PC form appealing because it cut the usual 11-page tax return down to only a couple of pages. It also promised taxpayers that they would receive any tax refund due to them more quickly. Instead of receiving their tax refunds by check in the mail, taxpayers who used the 1040PC form could receive their refund via direct deposit into their bank accounts, which was also novel at the time.

BREAKING DOWN '1040PC Form'

The 1040PC form prepared a person’s tax return using a three column answer-sheet format. It printed only the bottom line number, dollar amount and, for most entries, a brief description called a legend page. The software performed mathematical functions automatically, in order to cut down on errors made by the filer.

In 1997, 8.2 million people filed their tax return with the 1040PC form. The form could be used by any taxpayer who would otherwise file form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Once the taxpayer had completed the form and printed it, they would attach a copy of all of their W2, W2G and 1099R forms, along with any other relevant forms to their return. The taxpayer then mailed all of these forms to the IRS. Many professional accountants offered filing of the 1040PC form during its existence. The 1040PC is no longer used or accepted by the IRS.

 Electronic Filing Today

Since the IRS introduced the ability of taxpayers to file their taxes electronically (e-file), the number of taxpayers doing so has increased every year. In 2016, 122,164,000 tax returns were filed electronically in the US. In 1997, 90 percent of all tax returns filed in the US were filed electronically. The ease and accessibility of e-filing has also led to more people preparing and filing their own tax returns.

There are many options available for people who want to e-file their taxes. Filers with adjusted gross incomes of $66,000 or less may use the IRS’ Free File tool. Qualifying taxpayers may make use of free sites such as the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

There are also many commercial e-filing sites that offer a variety of services to self-preparers. These sites include Free Tax USA, TurboTax and TaxAct.

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