- What tax form do I use?
- What is a 1040ES?
- What is a 1040X?
- What is a Form 4868?
- How do I obtain tax forms?
- What are some of the more popular IRS tax forms?
- What are some small business tax forms?
Tax Forms: 1040EZ vs. 1040A
Form 1040EZ is for single, or married filing jointly with taxable incomes less than $100,000. Also, taxpayers under the age of 65 and not blind as of January 1, 2012 can file a 1040EZ. 1040EZ income includes only wages, interest received (up to $1,500), unemployment compensation, and earned income credit (does not apply if you received any advanced earned income credit payments.) You are not allowed to claim any dependent exemptions when using Form 1040EZ.
*Taxpayers using Form 1040EZ cannot itemize deductions. They need to use the standard deduction.
Form 1040A is the go-between as far as tax forms go. It includes many more items than Form 1040EZ, but less than the Form 1040. It applies to all filing statuses: single, head of household, married filing jointly, married filing separately, and widow or widower.
Form 1040A is for any taxpayer making less than $100,000 in taxable income. Individuals with self-employment income can not use a 1040A. Other features of using form Form 1040A include:
1) Any taxpayer receiving income from the following sources cannot use 1040A:
- IRA distributions,
- state tax refunds,
- rents and royalties,
- gain and losses from property sales
2) Any taxpayer paying the following expenses cannot file a Form 1040A:
- self-employed health insurance
- self-employment tax
- Archer MSA deduction
- penalty for early savings withdrawal
- any deduction for retirement plans (KEOGH, SEP, SIMPLE),
- an alternative minimum tax
- Roth conversion IRA
- IRA penalty tax
- household employee taxes and
- “Kiddie” tax on child’s return
3) Any taxpayer claiming the following credits can file Form 1040A:
- Credit for child and dependent care
- Earned income credit
- Credit for elderly and totally disabled
- Child tax credit or additional child tax credit
- Adoption credit
- Retirement savings and contributions credit
- Education credit
Self-employed individuals cannot use 1040A.
Form 1040 is for those taxpayers with a taxable income of more than $100,000. All income, credits, deductions, expenses can be used while using this tax return.
Form 1040-ES is known as the Estimated Tax Payment Voucher. It is the form that businesses and taxpayers use to pay into their quarterly (usual frequency) installment amounts. Four categories of taxpayers who should be paying estimated payments include:
- People whose non-wage income is increasing in the current year (or expected to increase)
- People who have profited from the stock market
- Individuals who have received a healthy inheritance, with income-producing assets
Paying estimated taxes helps make your life less stressful. Instead of scrambling at tax preparation time for the amount due, you have been paying all along. It also helps increase your business success and budget process. Of course, paying estimated taxes throughout the year (usually quarterly) happens only when you have a profit from your business operations, if you operate a business.
After filing your tax return, if you find that you did not report some income or claimed an excessive deduction amount, you may file an amended return on Form 1040X. This will limit interest charges and possible tax penalties.
- You may also file an amended return on Form 1040X to change the status of your return from a separate return to a joint return. You cannot, however, switch from a joint return to a separate return after the due date of the return.
- An amended return may also be filed if you want to change from itemized deductions to the standard deduction method. Or, you can do this in a vice versa manner.
The amended return is considered a substitute for the original return. Therefore, you will not be charged interest or penalties based on the original return if you filed early and then file an amended return showing additional taxes due by the filing due date.
You must pay the additional tax due as shown on Form 1040X. The IRS will not reduce the refund check to cover the additional tax due.
If you cannot file your return on time, apply by the due date of the return for an extension of time to file. Use Form 4868 to apply for the extension request. Send the form to your IRS office where you file your tax return.
You may get an extension without waiting for the IRS to act on your request. You will receive an automatic six-month extension for your return if you file Form 4868 by April 15. The extension gives you until October 15 to file your return. A later filing penalty will not be imposed if you fail to submit a payment with Form 4868 provided you make a good faith estimate of your liability based upon available information at filing time. You will be subject to interest charges and possible penalties, however.
Your extension can be requested either by phone or over the Internet. You must use a credit card to make a tax payment. If you pay using a credit card, Form 4868 does not have to be filed (if you do your transaction over the phone). There will be a service fee for the phone transaction, however. Form 4868 instructions have phone numbers and web addresses of service providers.
If you cannot pay the tax due, you should file your return and attach Form 9465 to request an installment arrangement.
It's also important to note that even if you are expecting a refund, you must still file an extension form if you won't be able to file your taxes on time.
Check out the Taxbrain Extension Center for more information.
How to Obtain Tax Forms
There are a variety of ways to obtain tax forms. Depending on your individual situation, some can be obtained very conveniently, while others need some footwork. Obtaining tax forms online has become the latest and most convenient way for many people to file their taxes.
If you file your tax return online, the tax forms will be included within the tax provider through which you file your return. The IRS Web site has a variety of online partners who will help you with filing your return. This is one of the best, if not the best, places to obtain a tax form. The files are in the PDF format, which requires that your computer have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. Files can be downloaded onto your system, or printed from the IRS site.
Most Popular Tax Forms
Below is a list of the most popular tax forms that you will most likely use in your tax filing:
There is the primary set of tax forms:
- 1040: This is for reporting individual income taxes. Also included within this category is the 1040EZ and
- 1040A: The 1040 all need to have appropriate income documents attached to them when submitting the tax return via mail.
Incidental forms include:
- W-4: Employee withholding allowance certificate. Whenever someone is hired by a company, they need to fill out this tax form. It records the amount of withholdings the individual is claiming and can be changed throughout the year.
- I-9: Request for taxpayer identification number and verification. Upon hiring, individuals are required to fill out this tax form to verify they are who they say they are. The individual must provide identification from two of three categories. Basically, this shows that the individual is legally qualified to work in the U.S.
- 8822: Change of address or name change. This popular tax form is to be filled out and sent to the IRS for proper record keeping anytime a taxpayer changes their address or name. Keep a copy for your own files.
- Extensions: These forms allow you to apply for additional time to file your taxes. However, if you owe taxes, you're still required to pay by April 15.
- 8453: This form is the signature document for e-file returns.
- Offers in Compromise: This is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer's liabilities for less than the full amount that is owed. If it's possible for the taxpayer to make payments in installment, it's unlikely the IRS will grant an Offer in Compromise.
- Payment Plans: In the event that a taxpayer cannot make the full payment at once, the IRS will install a payment plan. This gives the taxpayer the opportunity to pay what is owed a period of time.
- 1040X: This is an amended tax form. It allows you to make changes to your file and should be attached with a new 1040 form.
- 1040ES: This form is used to file estimated taxes.
- 1040V: This is a statement that you send along with your check or money order for the amount you owe.
Small Business Tax Forms
For those owning a small business, there are a number of tax forms you need to have on file for consistent reporting. Small business tax reporting is done at both the state and federal level.
State payroll taxes. If you have employees, you will need payroll tax forms. Register with your state’s payroll tax department if you do plan to have employees. Each state has their own payroll tax forms that business owners need to file regularly.
State income tax registration. Usually, this is required whenever your business is any form other than a sole proprietor.
Sales tax. You must collect sales taxes if you are selling products to end-users. Know the applicable state laws. Some states might also charge sales tax on services. Check with your state’s Department of Revenue, or its equivalent.
Federal payroll forms needed by the IRS include the following:
941 – Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return
941-V – Payment Voucher (used to submit the quarterly taxes)
940 – Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return (FUTA)
940-V Payment Voucher
Form 8109, Federal Tax Deposit Coupon
Form 8809 – Request for Extension of Time to File Information