How to fill out a form 1040: Types and requirements

The Form 1040 is a document used for the federal income tax return of citizens living in the United States. The purpose of this form is to determine the total taxable income of each taxpayer, in order to subsequently calculate the money to be paid or reimbursed to the local government.

How to fill out a form 1040: Types and requirements

If you want to know all the details about the form 1040, its specifications and who must file it, among other relevant data, continue reading this article and you will be able to clear all your doubts regarding this document.

What is the form 1040 and what is it for?

As we said before, the form 1040 is used to report the taxpayer’s payments. This document only consists of two pages, where 23 lines must be completed with the requested information.

On the first page, the taxpayer must complete the information regarding his marital status. If we look at the right side of the first page, we will find a box dedicated to the verification of the presidential election campaign fund. This allows each citizen to get tax money from the presidential election campaign fund.

In the second one, the income, deductions and credits that the taxpayer can access according to his payment behavior are specified. In addition, the payment for the tax obligation is calculated.

Who must file the form 1040?

So, the form 1040 is the tax document to be filed by individuals who are residents of the United States, or if you are a foreigner living in the country.

Residents of the United States

Citizens who are residents of the United States are required to file Form 1040 for tax purposes.

U.S. Resident Aliens

A U.S. resident alien must have a current green card to be considered a resident alien and pass the substantial presence test.

Nonresident Aliens

On the other hand, those foreign individuals who have taxable income in the country, but do not qualify as resident aliens, must file as nonresident aliens for tax purposes.

These individuals must file Form 1040NR or, alternatively, Form 1040NR-EZ, which will be discussed later. U.S. resident aliens are required to file a return if taxable income is positive.

On the other hand, if individuals file the return in order to receive credits or, for example, a refund of withheld income, it is appropriate to demonstrate this on the return.

Dual-Status Aliens

This form must be completed by those foreigners who present changes in their status during the year.

Which are the types of 1040 forms?

Among the forms that citizens must file for the tax return, we can distinguish between three types of the form 1040: the NR, SR and X. Let’s see, below, what each of them is used for.

How to fill out a form 1040: Types and requirements

Form 1040-NR

This document must be filed, for tax purposes, by taxpayers considered as “non-resident aliens“.

Form 1040-SR

This form must be completed by taxpayers over the age of 65 for tax filing purposes. However, these individuals may continue to use the basic form 1040, as the 1040-SR has been modified in recent years to facilitate this process.

Form 1040-X

This form, called ” Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return “, is used to make modifications that have been filed on the 1040-A and 1040-EZ tax returns.

If you do not have the aforementioned forms, you may file Form 1040-X to make corrections to any of the aforementioned tax forms that were filed in previous years.

How to file the form 1040

There are several methods for filing the form, to facilitate and expedite the process. Below, let’s take a look at each of them.

On paper

This is the most traditional way to file the 1040 form, which can be downloaded from the IRS website (Internal Revenue Service). The form is downloaded in PDF format, you can do it directly from this link.

IMPORTANT: The forms are published at the end of January each year.

How to fill out a form 1040: Types and requirements

Once downloaded, you must print and fill it out and then send it together with the corresponding documents by mail in a single package.

The IRS address to which you should send your mail depends on the state you are in, so we recommend that you enter our website and select the state in which you reside.

There, you will be able to access all the necessary information about these offices, such as office hours, addresses and telephone numbers.

It is worth mentioning that you can complete it electronically from your computer, although it may not always be possible, for example, if you need to add some clarifications. It is not superfluous to reaffirm that the sealing and the necessary signatures cannot be done digitally.

A not minor fact is that the IRS accepts clipped or stapled returns, but this is not the case with any check or payment voucher, and with Form 1040-V. These documents should not be stapled or clipped together, as payments are made separately.

From the IRS website

U.S. residents can file their returns online, and there are three ways to do so. Let’s take a look at each of them below:

  • Free File: People with incomes of less than $66,000 can use the option provided by the IRS on its official site, called Free File. This digital tool is totally free, depending on what documentation you intend to declare. However, there are some deductions or income that have an additional cost.
  • Tax compliance software: The IRS has its own software to be able to file digitally.
  • Tax preparers: In case filing electronically becomes complicated, you have the option of contacting a tax specialist who has been approved by the IRS. These professionals will file returns on behalf of the taxpayer.

How to fill out a form 1040: Types and requirements

In the event that the paper filing option is chosen, it is necessary for the tax preparer to file Form 8948, which explains why the form was not filed electronically.

RECOMMENDATION: You should be careful with whom you carry out this procedure, since there are many people who engage in fraud with these procedures.

More information

If you want to know more about different types of IRS forms, you can clic in here to see all the details among the W-9 form, or the W-2 form. Also, you can enter here to see all the IRS offices, depending on your State.