Information for IRS Tax Form 1040

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

IRS Tax Form 1040 is the standard federal income tax form used to report an individual’s gross income (e.g., money, goods, property, and services). It is also known as “the long form” because it is more extensive than the shorter 1040A and 1040EZ Tax Forms. Also unlike the other tax forms, IRS Form 1040 allows taxpayers to claim numerous expenses and tax credits, itemize deductions, and adjust income.

While the 1040 may take longer to complete, it benefits taxpayers by giving them more opportunities to lower their tax bills.

You must file IRS Tax Form 1040 if any of the following apply:

  • You have taxable income of $100,000 or more
  • You have self-employment income of $400 or more
  • You had income tax withheld from paychecks
  • You made estimated tax payments, or have overpayment that applies to the current tax year
  • You have itemized deductions (e.g., mortgage, interest, or charity)
  • You earn income from a business, S-corporation, partnership, trust, rental, or farm
  • You have sold property, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  • You are claiming income adjustments (for tuition, educator expenses, moving expenses, or health savings accounts)
  • You received an advance payment for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from an employer
  • You have a W-2 that shows uncollected tax (from tips or group term life insurance), or a W-2 that shows a code Z (income earned from a 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan)
  • You owe excise tax on insider stock compensation (from an expatriated corporation)
  • You are a debtor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case (filed after October 16, 2005)
  • You earn foreign wages, paid foreign taxes, or are claiming tax treaty benefits
  • You owe any other special taxes (e.g., alternative minimum tax, household employment tax, recapture taxes, etc.)

There are many different ways to obtain an IRS 1040 Tax Form. The fastest and most convenient option is to download the tax form on your computer. Most post offices and local libraries carry forms around tax time, and forms can also be picked up from a tax center or an IRS office. In addition, you may request a tax form to be sent to you by U.S. Mail.

Before you begin filing IRS Tax Form 1040, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Proof of identification
  • Filing status and residency status
  • Social Security Numbers for you, your spouse, and any dependents
  • Dates of birth for you, your spouse, and any dependents
  • A copy of your past tax return
  • Statements of wages earned (e.g., W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, etc.)
  • Statements of interest/dividends from banks, brokerages, etc.
  • Proof of any tax credits, tax deductions, or exclusions
  • Your bank account number and routing number (for Direct Deposit)

IRS Tax Form 1040, with payment, is due by April 15th. A six-month tax extension may be granted (with IRS Tax Form 4868) for late filing, but payments must still be made by April 15th.

You may file Form 1040 by paper mail, by using IRS e-file, or through an approved tax preparer. Filing taxes online is generally safer, faster, and easier ― and you will get your tax refund much sooner if you choose the Direct Deposit option. Consider a website like 1040.com where you can complete, print and e-file your federal tax return.

While there are several tax forms to choose from when filing your federal income taxes, a safe bet is to use IRS Form 1040 if you are unsure whether or not you qualify for the 1040A or 1040EZ.

The basic rule is: When in doubt, file IRS Tax Form 1040.

Click HERE to file your income tax form online.