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What is IRS Form 1040?

As a business owner or employee in the United States, calculating, deducting, and paying tax is a mandatory regulation that must be taken seriously. It does not matter if you are a sole proprietor, contract-based employee, or a freelance worker. If you own a business or work for a registered or incorporated business in the United States, you need to file your tax return. 

Filing a tax return means documenting or outlining your income, credits, deductions, expenses, and other tax-related information and submitting it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

To appropriately file your income tax as a sole proprietor or employee in the United States, you need to familiarize yourself with IRS form 1040. 

In this post, you will find answers to the important questions about IRS form 1040 that every employee is searching for.


What is IRS Form 1040?

Now that you understand what filing a tax return is, understanding what an IRS form 1040 is will seem a lot easier. IRS form 1040 is what an individual taxpayer uses to file their annual income tax returns with the IRS. 

You would not be calling the IRS to explain your income and other tax-related information over the phone; instead, they are documented in the form IRS 1040 and sent to the IRS or your state department of revenue for proper evaluation. 

The IRS form 1040 is split into different sections where you can fill your income and deductions to help the IRS determine the amount of tax you owe or the refund you are qualified to receive. 

Is a 1040 IRS Form the same as a W2?

There are quite a few other forms that can get mixed up with the IRS 1040 form when it comes to tax-related issues. A 1040 form is used to file your personal tax return to the IRS, while the W2 form is used by your employer to report your wages to you and the IRS and is often attached to your personal return. 

How Can I Get a Form 1040?

Getting a personal income IRS form 1040 is pretty straightforward and comes with no hassle at all. To get your IRS form 1040, visit the IRS official website's instructions and publications page and download yourself a PDF copy of the IRS 1040. Choosing to download your IRS 1040 form online would mean that you will be making your tax return documentation manually. 

This may not be a bad idea, but you can also employ a payroll service provider to automatically help you file and submit your IRS form 1040. 

What are the Types of 1040: U.S. Individual Tax Return Form?

Taxpayers can either fill the standard version of the IRS form or a different variant. Whether you'll need to fill the standard or variant of the 1040 form depends on individual taxpayer's situation, which is always affected by different factors. 

The following are the common variants of the IRS 1040 and how each one can apply to different taxpayers.

  1. Form 1040-NR:
    For the year 2019 and earlier years, tax filers may have filed their returns using the 1040NR-EZ, which has now been replaced by form 1040-NR. Hence, tax years 2020 and later filers will use form 1040-NR instead. The form 1040 N-R should be filed by:

    - Representatives of an estate or trust that had to file a 1040-NR.
    - Anyone representing a deceased person who would have had to file a Form 1040-NR.
  2. 2. Form 1040 E-S:
    Taxes on earnings not subjected to withholdings such as pension income, the taxable portion of Social Security benefits, and earnings from interest, dividends, self-employment, and rents are calculated using Form 1040 E-S. 
  3.  Form 1040X:
    If mistakes slip through a taxpayer's IRS 1040 form or a piece of information is omitted, Form 1040X is used to make corrections to the previously filed IRS 1040s income tax form. 
  4. Form 1040-SR: The IRS introduced this form in 2019 to make filing tax forms a lot easier for seniors. Form 1040 has larger fonts for more clarity and a standard deduction chart that includes the extra standard deduction for seniors.

How Do I fill out Form 1040? 

To fill out the IRS form 1040 appropriately, you need to start with gathering necessary information such as all of your tax documents, including W-2s, 1099s, and other records of your income and deductions.

Once your information is ready and verified to be accurate, filling your 1040 tax return form can be done in three simple ways. 

  • Do it yourself using IRS Free File
  • Employ the service of commercial tax software.
  • Hire a reputable and skilled tax preparer to do it for you.

What is The Deadline for Filing Form 1040?

The deadline for submitting your IRS Form 1040 to the IRS is April 15, 2021. If you feel that you may not meet up with this deadline, you can request an extension following the guide on IRS's official page. 

It may also interest you to know that the deadline for the year 2020 has been extended to May 17, 2021, by the IRS due to the coronavirus pandemic and the winter storm that hit Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana in February 2021.

Aside from filing to document and report your salary, wages, social security, pension, or other types of income, the 1040 IRS form also allows filers to claim the new higher standard deduction introduced with the Tax and Job Cuts Act for 2020. 

Wrapping it up 

It is important that you file and report your 1040 IRS form on or before the deadline as failure to do this can attract penalty charges which can continue to accumulate over time. 

Form 1040X can only save you from mistakes made on your 1040 IRS form, which are not more than three years from the date you file your federal income tax return. 

For taxpayers who may prefer to file their tax returns manually, you will need to mail your document to the IRS.  You can check out the Instructions For IRS Form 1040 to find the mailing address used by your state. 

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