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Checklist for preparation of 1040

Form 1040 is the principal federal income tax form that is used to report a person’s annual average income (e.g., money, goods, property, and services). It is also known as “the long form” since it is more extensive and detailed than its subsidiary forms like the 1040A and 1040EZ Tax Forms.

Also unlike the other tax forms, form 1040 allows taxpayers to claim a lot of expenses and tax credits, record deductions, and adjust their income.

Before we delve into the details of this form, let us first see what it means to ‘claim tax’ or ‘tax returns’. A tax return is a form filed with a taxing authority that reports income, expenses, and other important financial tax information. Tax returns allow taxpayers to calculate their tax liability, schedule tax payments, or request refunds for any overpayment of taxes.

Forms like the 1040 form is a tax return form that is used for the purposes mentioned above. And even though 1040 may take longer to complete, it is advantageous to taxpayers as it gives them more opportunities to lower their tax bills.

The 1040 Form is generally due by April 15th of every year, but that is unless you apply for an automatic tax extension. If you fail to file your tax extension by this date, you will be subjected to penalties and late fees. The mentioned tax extension can be requested by submitting the IRS Tax Form 4868 by the original filing deadline (April 15) which will grant the filer a six-month extension.

There are many different ways to obtain Tax Form 1040. One of the fastest and the most convenient option at present is to download the tax form on your computer. There are however other options available as well since most post offices and local libraries carry tax forms during filing season, and forms can also be picked up from any tax centre. In addition, you may request a tax form to be sent to you from the tax centre by the U.S. Mail.

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Before you file the tax form 1040, there are few prerequisites that are required in order to be eligible for filing the tax form 1040. You must file Form 1040 if any of the following apply:

  • You have a taxable income of $100,000 or more
  • You have a self-employment income of $400 or more
  • You have had income tax withheld from paychecks
  • You have made estimated tax payments, or have an over payment of tax that applies to the current tax year
  • You have recorded deductions from your income (e.g., mortgage, interest, or charity)
  • You earn an income from a business, S-corporation, partnership, trust, rental, or farm
  • You have sold a property, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  • You are claiming income adjustments (for tuition, educator expenses, moving expenses, or health savings accounts)
  • You received an advance payment for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from an employer
  • You have a W-2 (another tax form), that shows uncollected tax or a W-2 that shows a code Z (income earned from a 409A nonqualified deferred compensation plan)
  • You owe excise tax on insider stock compensation (from an expatriate corporation)
  • You are a debtor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case (filed after October 16, 2005)
  • You earn foreign wages, are being paid foreign taxes, or are claiming tax treaty benefits
  • You owe any other special taxes (e.g., alternative minimum tax, household employment tax, recapture taxes, etc.)

Once you are eligible to file the tax form 1040, there are few things that need to be taken care of before the filing is proceeded with.

Before you begin filing your 1040 tax form, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Proof of identification
  • Filing status of your tax form and Residency status
  • Social Security Numbers for you (plus your spouse and any other dependents)
  • Dates of birth for you (and your spouse, plus any other dependents)
  • A copy of your past tax return
  • Statements of wages earned (e.g., W-2, W-2G, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-G)
  • Statements of interest/dividends from banks, brokerages, etc.
  • Proof of any tax credits, tax deductions, or tax exclusions
  • Your bank account number and routing number (for Direct Deposit)
  • Capital gain details if any
  • Medical Expenses Paid
  • Dependent date of birth
  • Any child care expenses

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