What Is the 1040 Tax Form? How to Fill It Out

1040 form meaning

There’s also room for your spouse’s information in case you’re filing a joint return. If you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of an SSN, enter that on the SSN line. Once you’ve written down all of your income, it’s time to make any necessary adjustments to that income. They receive this title because you have to remove them from your total income before you can get your AGI. Your AGI is the income figure that the federal government uses to determine how much you owe in income tax. Individual tax returns might also be filed for certain local tax jurisdictions, though these taxes can often be paid and accounted for as part of state tax filings.

  • For example, if you have a side hustle or are thinking of starting your own business, you may want to consider whether or not to make that a pass-through entity.
  • Each line asks you to enter the amount you made from a different type of income.
  • Review these steps to validate and sign an electronically filed return.
  • The IRS recommends that all eligible taxpayers file their returns electronically because it’s easier, more convenient, and more secure than paper filing.

Virgin Islands who have net self-employment income and do not have to file Form 1040 with the U.S. Form 1040-PR is the Spanish-language 1040 form meaning equivalent of Form 1040-SS. Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia.

Schedules and extra forms

It’s easier because online filing software can guide you through the filing process even if you don’t know a lot about taxes. The IRS estimates that 21% of paper returns have errors, while fewer than 1% of e-filed returns have mistakes. You can also e-file amended tax returns starting with your 2020 taxes.

You will need to attach either Form 8995 or Form 8995-A to take the QBI deduction. The section on your dependents has room for each of their SSNs, their relationship to you, and then a box you can check if the dependent qualifies you for the child tax credit or credit for other dependents. SmartAsset Advisors, LLC (“SmartAsset”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Financial Insight Technology, is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an investment adviser. SmartAsset does not review the ongoing performance of any RIA/IAR, participate in the management of any user’s account by an RIA/IAR or provide advice regarding specific investments.

How to file Form 1040

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1040 form meaning

That often means filing Schedule C to report business income and expenses, all of which get filed with other individual forms as part of an individual tax return. An individual tax return is a tax filing made by individuals, including married couples, as opposed to separate business entities. This generally applies to income taxes for federal and state tax returns. Not everyone needs to attach Schedule 1 to their federal income tax return. The IRS trimmed down and simplified the old Form 1040, allowing people to add on forms as needed. You only need to file Schedule 1 if you have any of the additional types of income or adjustments to income mentioned above.


Next, line 12b is for the charitable contribution deduction, which is worth up to $300 ($600 for married individuals filing jointly) if you claim the standard deduction. There are a few sections at the beginning for personal and filing information, followed by 38 numbered lines and then a signature section. You will need to add other forms to report some types of income and to claim certain tax credits or deductions. If you’re e-filing, your filing service should walk you through the entire process, but it’s still useful to understand exactly what you’re doing when you file. A tax return consists of the forms and paperwork tax filers use to report their taxable income and determine whether they owe taxes or are due money back.

1040 form meaning

Looking down the lines of Schedule 1, you may notice that some of these items also require an additional form or schedule. For example, if you have income or loss from a business, you’ll also need to attach Schedule C to your return. If you need to report rent or royalties as income, you’ll also have to attach Schedule E. The next five lines are where you write in the total amount of your refund or tax bill. If the total tax you paid (line 33) is more than the total tax you owed (line 24), you will get a refund. Calculate your refund amount by subtracting line 24 from 33 and then writing the result on line 34.

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