IRS tax forms are used by individuals and organizations to report income and pay taxes to the federal government. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing tax law throughout the United States.
The most widely-used IRS tax form is Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). It is often called ‘the long form’ to distinguish it from the other 1040 tax form variations (1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, etc.). The standard 1040 Form can be used by any full-time U.S. resident, although you may opt to use the simplified versions (Tax Form 1040A or Tax Form 1040EZ) if your tax situation is uncomplicated.
Downloading and Printing Tax Forms
The IRS provides PDF files of nearly every tax form and publication on their website. To download a tax form, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. To print a tax form, use the ‘Print’ button on the left of the Adobe Acrobat toolbar (above the viewing window).
Fill-In Tax Forms
The IRS also offers ‘fill-in’ tax forms which allow you to save (and print) the information you’ve typed in. The fill-in tax forms also require Adobe Acrobat Reader software. To save the data you’ve filled in, use the Adobe Reader’s ‘Save’ function (not the web browser’s ‘Save’ function).
Electronically Filing Tax Forms
The IRS began using electronic filing in 1990. Due to an agreement with tax software vendors, the IRS has not created its own online filing software, and in return, the vendors have provided free e-filing to many Americans. In addition to electronic filing for federal tax forms, most states allow online filing for state tax returns as well.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
VITA is a program created by the IRS to help moderate and low-income taxpayers complete their tax returns for free. VITA centers are located throughout the country and the volunteers are trained by the IRS to help prepare tax forms.