What is the IRS Form 1040? Individual Income Tax Return


What is Form 1040?

Form 1040 is the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.  It is a federal income tax form that people use to report their income to the IRS and claim tax deductions or credits. It is used to calculate their tax refund and tax bill for the year. You may file your tax return online, with tax software, or you can also download Form 1040 directly from the IRS website if you prefer to complete your return by hand.


The IRS Form 1040 is used by US taxpayers to file their annual income tax returns. Formerly called the US Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040 requires taxpayers to report their annual taxable income and deductions in order to determine if taxes are owed. If the IRS approves the return, the taxpayer will be entitled to a refund. You may want to attach schedules, which are additional forms depending on what type of income you have.

If your taxes were simple, you could file Form 1040A and Form 1040EZ in the past. These forms were eliminated starting in the 2018 tax year and replaced by a shorter form.  As a result, there are now fewer boxes on Form 1040 than before, as many lines from the older form have been transferred onto additional schedules.

What is on the 1040 Tax Form?

Lets take an overview of what you will find on the 1040 form.

First, it asks you who you are. The top of Form 1040 collects basic information such as your name, address, social security number, your tax-filing status, and how many tax dependents you have.

Next, you calculate your taxable income by adding up all your income for the year. Your taxable income is the amount of income that is subject to income taxes.  Form 1040 is used to report annual income tax returns. You must report income above a certain threshold.

On page two of the 1040 form, you calculate the taxes you owe, your tax liability.  You can subtract any tax credits you may be eligible for and any taxes that you have already paid via withholding from your paychecks throughout the year.

Finally, you will determine your tax bill or refund.  This will tell you whether you have already paid any or all of the tax bill. The Form 1040 can also help you determine whether tax credits or withholding taxes covered your tax bill. You’ll be eligible for a refund if you have overpaid during the year. 

The tax season normally officially starts in February. You should file Form 1040 to the IRS no later than April 15 in a normal year. In some years, such as in 2022, the date is later due to holidays.  You can normally request a six-month extension to file taxes by October 15 (or later if delayed by a holiday) if you require more time.




Money Instructor does not provide tax, financial, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, financial, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, financial, legal and accounting advisors regarding your own situation.

Categories Taxes

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