What is Form 1040?
Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax form that U.S. taxpayers use to file their income tax returns. It is used to calculate and report gross income and tax liabilities to help an individual determine if he or she owes the government taxes or has a refund.
When to file Form 1040?
The deadline to file Form 1040 is April 15th of every year. In the U.S., the day is called Tax Day. When the deadline falls on a weekday or a holiday, the next business day becomes the new due date.
Do I need to file Form 1040?
To know if you need to file Form 1040, here are the conditions:
Your filing status is...
At the end of 2020, you were...
And your gross income was at least...
65 or older
Married filing jointly
Under 65 (both spouses)
65 or older (one spouse)
65 or older (both spouses)
Married filing separately
Head of household
65 or older
65 or older
If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or freelance, if you received a net earning of at least $400, you need to file Form 1040.
How to fill out Form 1040?
Form 1040 is a two-page tax form. Make sure to compute and provide information accurately to avoid problems with the federal tax agency.
For your convenience, make sure to gather all your tax documents, including your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and applicable 1099 forms.
Answer the following fields:
Check the box to determine your filing status. The options are:
- Married filing jointly
- Married filing separately (MFS) — Also enter the name of your spouse in the entry space provided.
- Head of household (HOH) — Also enter the name of the child in the entry space provided if the qualifying person is a child but not your dependent.
- Qualifying widow(er) (QW) — Also enter the name of the child in the entry space provided if the qualifying person is a child but not your dependent.
Then, provide the applicable information:
- Your full legal name — If filing jointly, also enter the full legal name of your spouse.
- Your social security number — If filing jointly, also enter the social security number of your spouse.
- Home address — If your post office does not deliver mail to your home, use your P.O. box address instead. If you have a foreign address, enter the required information.
If you or your spouse — if filing jointly — wants $3 to go to the Presidential Election Campaign, mark the applicable checkbox.
If at any time during 2020, you received, sold, sent, exchanged, or acquired any financial interest in any virtual currency, mark the appropriate Yes box; otherwise, mark No.
Mark the appropriate box if someone can claim:
- You as a dependent
- Your spouse as a dependent
If you were a dual-status citizen, check the box that says “Spouse itemizes on a separate return or you were a dual-status alien.”
For the Age/Blindness field, mark the applicable boxes to determine your or your spouse’s age or if you or your spouse is blind.
If you have dependents, enter their:
- Full legal names
- Social security numbers
- Relationships to you
Then, mark the applicable box if the dependents qualify for child tax credit or credit for other dependents.
Provide the following information about your income:
Enter your wages, salaries, tips, and other income amounts. Then, attach Form W-2.
Enter tax-exempt interest amount.
Enter taxable interest amount.
Enter qualified dividends amount.
Enter ordinary dividends amount.
Enter IRA distributions amount.
Enter IRA distributions taxable amount.
Enter pension and annuities amount.
Enter pension and annuities taxable amount.
Enter social security benefits amount.
Enter social security benefits taxable amount.
Enter capital gain or loss amount. Then attach Schedule D, if required. Otherwise, mark the box.
Enter other income amounts from Schedule 1, Line 9.
Enter the total income when you add Lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, 5b, 6b, 7, and 8.
Enter adjustments to income:
a. From Schedule 1, Line 22
b. Charitable contributions if you take the standard deduction.
c. Total adjustments to income. To get this, add Lines 10a and 10b.
Enter adjusted gross income. To get this, subtract Line 10c from Line 9.
Enter standard deduction or itemized deductions (from Schedule A).
Enter qualified business income deduction amount. Then, attach Form 8995 or Form 8995-A.
Enter the sum of Lines 12 and 13.
Enter the taxable income amount.
Enter tax amount. Then, check if any from Forms 8814, 4972, or another form that you need to specify.
Enter the amount from Schedule 2, Line 3.
Enter the sum of lines 16 and 17.
Enter child tax credit or credit from other dependents amount.
Enter the amount from Schedule 3, Line 7.
Enter the sum of Lines 19 and 20.
Enter the difference when you subtract Line 21 from Line 18. If zero or less, enter 0.
Enter other taxes amount.
Enter the sum of Lines 22 and 23.
Enter federal income tax withheld from:
a. Form(s) W-2
b. Form(s) 1099
c. Other forms
d. Sum of Lines 25a through 25c
Enter 2020 estimated tax payments and amount applied from 2019 return.
Enter earned income credit (EIC) amount.
Enter additional child tax credit amount. Then, attach Schedule 8812.
Enter American opportunity credit from Form 8863, Line 8.
Enter recovery rebate credit amount.
Enter the amount from Schedule 3, Line 13.
Enter the total other payments and refundable credits amount. To get this, add Lines 27 through 31.
Enter total payments amount. To get this, add Lines 25d, 26, and 32.
Enter overpaid amount. This is when Line 33 is more than Line 24. To get the amount, subtract Line 24 from Line 33.
The amount of Line 34 you want to be refunded to you. Mark the box if Form 8888 is attached. Then provide the following:
b. Routing number
c. Type. Mark if Checking or Savings
d. Account number
Enter the amount of Line 34 you want to be applied to your 2021 estimated tax
Amount You Owe
Enter the total amount you owe. To get this, subtract Line 33 from Line 24.
Enter the estimated tax penalty amount.
Third Party Designee
Mark the box if you want to allow another person to discuss your Form 1040 with the IRS. Then, provide the following designee’s information:
- Phone Number
- Personal identification number (PIN)
Provide the following:
- Your signature
- The date you signed the form
- Your occupation
- Your Identity Protection PIN if the IRS sent one
- Your phone number
- Your email address
If filing a joint return, provide the following:
- Your spouse’s signature
- The date your spouse signed the form
- Your spouse’s occupation
- Your spouse’s Protection PIN if the IRS sent one
Paid Preparer Use Only
Provide the following information if you used a preparer:
- Preparer’s name
- Preparer’s signature
- The date the preparer signed the form
- Preparer’s PTIN
- If the preparer is self-employed, mark the box
- Firm’s name
- Firm’s address
- Phone number
- Firm’s EIN
Where to file Form 1040?
The address to send your Form 1040 depends on your location. Refer to the instructions pages of the form to see the list of addresses.