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What is Form 1040?

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Form 1040 is one of the most commonly filled out tax forms in the U.S. tax system. Because so many people need to fill it out on a yearly basis, it’s important to understand IRS Form 1040 instructions, including a full understanding of the basics of the 1040 form.

Form 1040

What is a 1040 Form?

With a Form 1040, you can report all types of income, expenses, and credits.

Previously, the IRS offered different types of Form 1040 – the 1040A and 1040 EZ.

New Form 1040 Instructions

Here are the new 1040 form instructions as of 2019 from the IRS:

You will use the redesigned Form 1040, which now has three new numbered schedules in addition to the existing schedules such as Schedule A. Many people will only need to ­use Form 1040 and none of the new numbered schedules. However, if your return is more complicated (for example, you claim certain deductions or credits or owe additional taxes), you will need to complete one or more of the new numbered schedules. Below is a general guide to which schedule(s) you will need to ­use based on your circumstances. See the 1040 instructions for the schedules for more information. If you e-file your return, you generally won’t notice much of a change and the software will generally determine which schedules you need.

1040 Schedules

Who Should File a 1040 Tax Form?

If you receive these types of income or losses, you may need to file a 1040 tax form:

  • Self-employment income of $400 or more
  • Income you receive as one of these:
    • Partner in a partnership
    • Shareholder in an S corporation
    • Beneficiary of an estate or trust
  • Insurance policy dividends that are more than the premiums you paid
  • Interest you received or paid on securities that were transferred between interest payment dates.
  • You’re reporting an original issue discount (OID) amount that doesn’t match the amount on Form 1099-OID.
  • You have a loss attributable to a federally declared disaster area.
  • You had a qualified health savings account (HSA) funding distribution from your IRA.
  • You’re claiming the Adoption Credit or you received employer-provided adoption benefits.
  • You owe excise tax on insider stock compensation you got from an expatriated corporation.

You must file a Form 1040 if you have any of these:

  • Tips you didn’t report to your employer.
  • You owe Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
  • You owe household employment taxes.
  • You’re eligible for the premium tax credit.
  • Your employer didn’t withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your pay.
  • You’re repaying the first-time homebuyer credit.
  • You have a foreign account.
  • You received distributions from a foreign trust.
  • You qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion.
  • You qualify to exclude income from sources in Puerto Rico or American Samoa since you were a bona fide resident of either.

More 1040 Tax Form Help

Want more 1040 tax form guidance? View H&R Block’s tax filing options to fit with your unique tax situation.

Whether you make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable tax pros or choose one of our online tax filing products, you can count on H&R Block to help you complete your Form 1040.

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