1040 Forms

1040 Tax Form Instructions

Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return must be filed by April 15 to report your income to the Internal Revenue Service. A taxpayer can either file Form 1040 online through a tax software or mail it to the IRS. Given it takes longer for the IRS to process mailed tax returns, we suggest filing electronically. Especially if you’re expecting a refund as it will be issued to you much earlier.

Regardless of how you file a Form 1040, you must do it by April 15. You can also choose to file an extension to push the tax filing deadline to October 15. This will give you additional time to gather your tax documents. However, if you owe any taxes by April 15, you must pay them. With that said, if you’re going to file an extension, estimate taxes and pay the IRS so you don’t pay late fees and interest.

When filing Form 1040, there might be a few lines that is hard to wrap your head around. Without a doubt, Form 1040 is the most complicated IRS tax form that there is. Below, you can see the instructions for it line by line to help you do taxes.

Form 1040 Line by Line Instructions

Follow our instructions line by line to file Form 1040 on paper or electronically. As long as you have the tax documents that is necessary you file a tax return, it shouldn’t take you more than half an hour to file Form 1040.

Filing Status

filing status form 1040 instructions

Check the appropriate box according to your filing status. Your filing status can be:

  • Single
  • Married Filing Separately
  • Married Filing Jointly
  • Head of Household
  • Qualifying Widow(er)

Proceed to enter your personal information; you and your spouse’s full name if filing jointly, address, your Social Security Number and your spouse’s if filing jointly,

Standard Deduction and Dependents

standard deduction form 1040 instructions

State whether or not someone claims you or your spouse as a dependent, blindness, age, and list dependents you claim. For the dependents you claim on your tax return, you may be qualified for child tax credit or other credits for dependents. If you’re going to claim a tax credit for having dependents, check the box(es) right next to their relationship to you.

Lines 1 to 11 (First Page Instructions)

Line 1. Enter your wages, salaries, and tips. The amount of wages, salaries, and tips can be found on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement issued to you by your employer.

Line 2. Enter tax-exempt interest on 2a and taxable interest on 2b.

Line 3. Enter your qualified dividends and ordinary dividends.

Line 4. Enter IRA distributions on 4a and taxable amount on 4b. On 4c, enter pensions and annuities and taxable amount. You can find the taxable amount of pensions on Form 1099-R issued to you by retirement company.

Line 5. Enter Social Security benefits you received during the course of the tax year and the taxable amount.

Line 6. Enter capital gains or losses. If required, you must attach Schedule D. If not, check the box on Line 6.

Line 7. Enter other income from Line 9 of Schedule 1. This is the total amount of income coming from rents, gains, alimony, unemployed compensation, farm income, taxable refunds, credits, etc. Add the amounts from Form 1040 Line 1 through 7 and enter it on 7b.

Line 8. Enter the adjustments you made to your income. Use Schedule 1 to determine this. Add lines 10 through 21 on Schedule 1 and enter the results on Line 8b of Form 1040.

Line 9. If you’re going to take the standard deduction, enter the amount for that tax year. If itemizing, enter the total itemized deductions on Schedule A.

Line 10. Enter qualified business income deduction and attach Forms 8995 or 8995-A.

Line 11. Add lines 9 and 10 to figure out taxable income. Then, subtract line 11a from 8b. If the result is zero or less, enter 0 on 11b.

Lines 12 to 19 (Second Page Instructions)

Line 12. Calculate how much tax you owe on your taxable income. If your income is less than $100,000 use Form 1040 tax table to see how much you owe. On Line 12b, enter the total of Schedule 2 line 3 and line 12a.

Line 13. Enter the amount child tax credit or credit for other dependents. On Line 13b, enter the total amount on Schedule 3 Line 7 and Line 13a.

Line 14. Subtract the Line 13b from Line 12b. If the amount is zero or less enter 0 on Line 14.

Line 15. Enter other taxes from Schedule 2, Line 10.

Line 16. Add Lines 14 and 15 to figure out the total taxes owed.

Taxes Withheld and Tax Credits

Line 17. Enter federal income tax withheld from Forms W-2 and 1099.

Line 18. Refundable Credits and Other Payments

a. Enter earned income tax credit

b. Enter additional child tax credit and attach Schedule 8812.

c. Enter American opportunity tax credit from Line 8 of Form 8853.

d. Enter Line 14 of Schedule 3

e. Add lines 18a to 18d. This amount is your total refundable credits and other payments.

Line 19. Add lines 17 and 18e. This amount is your total tax payments.

Tax Refund and Owed Tax

refunds form 1040 instructions

Line 20. Subtract Line 16 from Line 19 if Line 16 is less. This amount is how much you overpaid.

Line 21. Enter the amount on Line 20 and this is your tax refund. If you attached Form 8888, check the box. Line 21b, enter routing number. Line 21c, enter the account type whether it be checking or savings. Line 21d, enter account number .

Line 22. If you want to pay for your next year’s taxes with a portion of your tax refund, enter the amount.

Line 23. Subtract the amount on Line 19 from Line 16 and enter it on Line 23.

Line 24. Enter estimated tax penalty according to the IRS guidelines.

Enter your signature, date, occupation, and IRS identity protection PIN if required. If filing jointly, your spouse also needs to enter these.

The bottom of Form 1040 is used by third-party designee and paid preparers only. Once Form 1040 is complete, staple other tax documents such as W-2, Schedule 1, Schedule A, etc. and mail your tax return to the following addresses.

Keep in mind that you must mail your tax return with USPS. Any shipping service other than USPS will be considered as Private Delivery Service and your return may be returned back to you.

IRS Mailing Addresses (for paper returns)

State of ResidenceWith PaymentWithout Payment
Alabama, North Carolina, South CarolinaInternal Revenue Service
P O Box 1214
Charlotte, NC 28201-1214
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Kansas City, MO 64999-0002
Alaska, California, Hawaii, WashingtonInternal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 7704
San Francisco, CA 94120-7704
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0002
Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, WyomingInternal Revenue Service
P O Box 802501
Cincinnati, OH 45280-2501
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0002
Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, VirginiaInternal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 931000
Louisville, KY 40293-1000
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Kansas City, MO 64999-0002
Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, Rhode Island, West VirginiaInternal Revenue Service
P. O. Box 931000
Louisville, KY 40293-1000
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0002
Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, VermontDepartment of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Kansas City, MO 64999-0002
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37008
Hartford, CT 06176-7008
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, TexasInternal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1214
Charlotte, NC 28201-1214
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301-0002
PennsylvaniaInternal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37008
Hartford, CT 06176-7008
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0002
IRS Form 1040 – Form 1040-SR Mailing Addresses

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