What is a 1040 Form?

The 1040 form is an important tax form that helps taxpayers everywhere file their taxes each year and calculate what they might owe.

If you're new to filing taxes then you might be wondering where to begin. The very first thing you need to become familiar with is the most basic tax form, the 1040 tax form. There are many different kinds of tax forms but the 1040 form is one of the most basic ones you'll want to be familiar with. 

What is a 1040 Form? 

1040 is the name of a basic tax form. It is used by taxpayers to calculate and file their taxes each year. Specifically, the 1040 tax form is used to file your annual income tax return for the IRS. 

This form will include things like the taxpayer's total income and tax deductions. All of this information helps taxpayers calculate how much they owe in taxes and how much they might receive in a tax refund. 

Versions of the 1040 Form

Did you know that there are different kinds of 1040 forms? There are four different types you might need to know about: 

The first type is Form 1040. This is the one most taxpayers use. It reports basic income and tax returns. 

The second type is Form 1040-SR, This is the form for senior taxpayers. You qualify as a senior taxpayer if you are 65 years old or older. 

The third type is Form 1040-NR. This is the form for people who are not US citizens and do not have a green card. 

The fourth and final is Form 1040-X. This is the form taxpayers use when they need to make amendments to previous tax returns. 

Instructions to Fill Out a 1040 Form

1040 tax form Instructions are easiest when you use a tax preparation service like Check City's Tax Services because Check City's tax professionals will fill out all the tax forms for you. 

First things first, you'll want to determine which 1040 form you need to use. After you have that figured out you can get a copy of the form you need from the IRS website: Download the 1040 Form Here.

Filing Status Section

The very first section of the 1040 form is the Filing Status section. In this area of the form, you'll want to check the box that fits how you are filing taxes this year. You might be filing Single, Married filing jointly, Married filing separately (MFS), Head of household (HOH), Qualifying widower (QW). 

These filing statuses are fairly self-explanatory. Filing single means you are filing alone, married-filing jointly means that you and your spouse are filing together, married filing separately means you have a spouse but you still want to file an individual income tax return instead of together, head of household means you are not married but you are the head of a household who supports the household, and qualifying widowers are people whose spouse's have passed away and have dependents to care for. 

The rest of this section includes basic personal information like the following: 

  • Your first name, middle initial, last name, and social security number 
  • The first name, middle initial, last name, and social security number of your spouse (only fill this out if you're filing jointly) 
  • Your home address

There are two more questions for you to answer in this section. If you want to donate to the Presidential Election Campaign fund then check the boxes to indicate whether you, your spouse, or you and your spouse want to donate to that fund. 

The last question is "At any time during (year), did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency? For this question, you'll either check the box for yes or no. 

Standard Deduction Section

In this section, you'll outline your tax deductions. The first part of this section has the words Someone can claim: and then you'll check the boxes that apply to you like You as a dependent, Your spouse as a dependent, Spouse itemizes on a separate return or you were a dual-status alien. 

Then you'll also answer for Age/Blindness. Check the first box if you Were born before January 2, 1956, and check the second box if you Are blind. The third and fourth boxes are where you'll answer those same 2 questions for your spouse. 

Dependents Section

Dependents are anyone who relies on you for financial support. This includes people like your children. In this section, you'll put down the first and last names, social security number, and relationship to you of each dependent you have. In the final 2 rows, you'll check the boxes that apply if that dependent qualifies for a Child tax credit or a Credit for other dependents. 

Income Section

In the final section of the 1040 tax form, you'll find a numbered list and a column of numbered boxes that correspond with that list. 

Each item in the numbered list has to do with a type of income so that you can outline all your sources of income and calculate how much you owe in taxes and how much you are owed in a tax refund. Many of these numbers you might be able to find using the W2 employee form that your work gave you or your 1099 employee form if you are self-employed. 

The numbered list of income include: 

(1) income including wages, salaries, tips, etc. 

(2a) tax-exempt interest

(2b) taxable interest

(3a) qualified dividends

(3b) ordinary dividends

(4a) IRA distributions (also known as retirement distributions) 

(4b) the taxable amount of IRA distributions 

(5a) pensions and annuities

(5b) the taxable amount of pensions and annuities 

(6a) social security benefits 

(6b) the taxable amount of social security benefits 

(7) capital gain or loss (Schedule D)

(8) other income from schedule 1, line 9

(9) now you'll add up the numbers from lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, 5b, 6b, 7, and 8 and list that calculation here as your total income 

(10a) the items in number 10 have to do with any adjustments to your income. Item a lists adjustments to total income from Schedule 1, line 22

(10b) charitable contributions. Attach Schedule D if required. 

(10c) now you'll add up the numbers from 10a and 10b and list that calculation here as your total adjustments to income. 

(11) now you'll subtract the number in box 10c from box 9 and list this calculation here as your adjusted gross income. 

(12) standardized deduction or itemized deductions from Schedule A 

(13) any qualified business income deductions. Attach Form 8995 or Form 8995-A if this item applies to you. 

(14) now you'll add up the numbers from boxes 12 and 13 and list that calculation here. 

(15) now you'll subtract the number in box 14 from the number in box 11 and list that calculation here as your taxable income. 

On the second page, this section continues until item number 33. This section continues to help you outline every aspect of your income as it pertains to taxes, tax deductions, and tax credits. 

Refund Section

This section is meant to help you calculate how much you overpaid in taxes and thus how much you are owed in a tax refund. This section will also provide a chance for you to give the information the IRS needs to send your tax refund through direct deposit. Otherwise, your tax refund will be mailed to you using the address you provided at the beginning of the form in the Filing Status section. 

(34) if the number in box 33 is bigger than the number in box 24, then do the following calculation: subtract the number in box 24 from the number in box 33 and list that calculation here as the amount you overpaid in taxes that year. 

(35a) in this box, list the amount of the number in box 34 you want to be refunded to you. 

(35b) list your bank account's routing number for direct deposit. 

(35c) check whether the bank account you want to use for direct deposit is a checking account or a savings account. 

(35d) list your bank account's account number for direct deposit. 

(36) list your estimated tax penalty

Get your tax refund right away by taking out a tax refund advance at Check City. 

Amount You Owe Section 

At the end of the income section, you'll finally come to the last numbers in the numbered list. Here you'll calculate the final amount of taxes you owe.  

Third-Party Designee Section

A third-party designee is someone that has your permission to talk with the IRS about your tax return on your behalf. In this section you'll include, the Desingee's name, Phone no., and Personal identification number (PIN). 

Sign Here Section

This section will include your signature, the date, your occupation, and your Identity Protection PIN if applicable. If you are filing jointly with your spouse they will also need to sign and provide this same information. Then there is also space for you to add your phone number and email address. 

Prepaid Preparer Use Only

This final section will only be filled out if you use a professional tax preparer to fill out your IRS form 1040. If you do your taxes then this section will remain blank. 

Here your tax preparer can include their name, signature, the date, PTIN, whether they are self-employed, their phone number, and the name, address, and EIN of the company or firm they work for. 

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on the 1040 Form Explained 

Looking for the Adjusted Gross Income on the 1040 form? You'll find what line the AGI is on in 1040 on line 10 under the Income section of the 1040 form where you can outline your adjusted income in the column of numbered boxes. 

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is calculated by taking your total income and subtracting it from your deductions. 

Total Income - Tax Deductions = Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Adjusted Gross Income is important because the amount of income you want to count toward what you owe in taxes is sometimes less than what you make throughout the entire year. This is because some amount of your total income may have gone toward things like work, business, charities, education, or medical costs that are tax-deductible. 

Common Questions About the 1040 Form

A great place to go for answers about IRS tax forms is the IRS website itself. There you will find answers to all kinds of questions like how to notify the IRS your address changed or whether you can file the 1040 form electronically.

In Conclusion, 

Filing taxes each doesn't have to be a hassle. Let Check City's tax professionals manage all the tax form hassle for you by taking advantage of our trained tax preparers. They've been filing taxes for our customers for 30+ years and know what they are doing. 

*This material is not intended to be a substitute for individual tax, legal, or accounting advice. We encourage you to seek the competent counsel of tax professionals to make sure your return is accurate and appropriately filed.