1040 Forms

Form 1040 Instructions 2020

Tax season is on and if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you shouldn’t miss the April 15 deadline. Unless you file for a tax extension, you will have about three and half months to file your tax return. Everyone who’s going to pay income taxes must use Form 1040. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Form 1040 is much simpler. Even the first time filers can get it done without any issues at all.

Although Form 1040 is going to be used by most taxpayers, there are a few exceptions. Seniors have the option to file Form 1040-SR instead of Form 1040. There isn’t much of a difference between the two though, the only thing that stands out is the size of the boxes the texts. Form 1040-SR is there to help seniors complete their tax returns by themselves.

Also, nonresident aliens must use Form 1040-NR, not Form 1040.

Who doesn’t need to file Form 1040?

Generally, if you’re single and the income you earned for the tax year is less than the standard deduction amount which is $12,400, you don’t need to file a tax return. This goes only for single filers who are under 65 so keep that in mind.

Complete Guide to Form 1040

You can start filing your taxes after January 27 if you received your W-2. You can file either the paper form or file electronically but filing your taxes on paper isn’t recommended by the IRS. Mailing your 1040 will take quite some time to get to the IRS and everything will be handled manually. Also, paper forms are more prone to errors, therefore, the time it takes to process will add up and any errors on your 1040 will result in additional adjustments and your tax refund will be delayed significantly.

So your best bet is to file Form 1040 electronically.

To start off with Form 1040, you first need to select your filing status. Then, enter your personal information such as name, address, Social Security Number(s), etc.

If someone is going to claim you or your spouse as a dependent, check the appropriate box.

Claiming dependents? Enter their first and last name, Social Security Numbers, detail your relationship with them and whether they qualify for child tax credit or credit for other dependents. With that out of the way, you can begin detailing your taxes on Form 1040.

Form 1040 Line by Line

Taxable Income

line 1 through 5

Line 1.

Line 1 is for all the income you earned during the tax year. Make sure to put the right amount as seen on your W-2 and attach it to your Form 1040.

Line 2.

The first part of Line 2 is for tax-exempt interest and the second is for taxable interest. Enter the appropriate amounts. If you had more than $1,500 in taxable interest, you must attach Form 1040 Schedule B.

Line 3.

On Line 3a, enter the amount of qualified dividends and on Line 3b, enter ordinary dividends. You’ll need to attach Schedule B if you have any income from 1099-DIV. So there isn’t a limit for it.

Learn more about Forms 1099 here.

Line 4.

Write down your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) distributions, annuities, or pensions. Then, write the total income from all three and enter the taxable amount.

Line 5.

Enter your Social Security benefits if apply and the taxable amount.

lines 6 through 8

Line 6.

Line 6 is about your capital losses or gains from the previous year. The capital gains usually occur if you sold a house or stock investments. If applicable, you may have received a 1099-B or 1099-S, attach Schedule D to your Form 1040.

Line 7.

Enter the additional income you earned other than the lines included above on Line 7a. Enter your gross income by adding the amounts of the lines up until this point.

Adjustments to Taxable Income

Line 8.

Now you need to write down how much of your income should be adjusted. The income adjustments you can make certain expenses. Commonly, adjustments to income include student loan interest deduction and IRA contributions deduction. Subtract the adjustments from 7a and write it on 8b.

lines 9 through 11

Line 9.

If you’re going to claim the standard deduction, write the standard deduction amount for the 2019 tax year. If you’re going to itemize, complete Form 1040 Schedule A and enter the total amount of your deductions.

See the standard deduction amounts for each filing status here.

Line 10.

Attach Form 8995 or Form 8995-A if you’re going to claim qualified business income deduction.

Line 11.

Add Line 9 and 11, put it on Line 11a. Subtract this amount from Line 8b. If it is zero or less, write 0 on Line 11b.

Annual Tax Bill

Everything beyond this point is on the second page of Form 1040.

lines 12 through 17

Line 12.

Line 12a is about calculating your annual tax bill. If the Line 11 amount which is your taxable income is less than $100,000, use 2019 Tax Table to see how much tax you owe. The rest can use the Tax Computation Worksheet.

If you used Schedule 2, add the total with Line 12a, and Line 3 to determine your tax liability. Add your tax liability on Line 12b.

Credits, Final Adjustments and Tax Refund

Line 13.

Line 13 is used for child tax credit and credit for dependents. Enter the credit total credit amounts and enter it on Line 13a.

Line 14.

Subtract Line 13 from Line 12 and enter the amount on Line 14. Since this is a credit, it directly reduces your tax bill.

Line 15.

Additional taxes owed must be detailed on Line 15. Any tax that you detail on Line 15 of Form 1040 will require attaching appropriate form for it.

Line 16.

Add Line 14 and 15, enter the result on Line 16. This is also the total amount of tax you owe this year.

Line 17.

Enter income taxes withheld from Forms W-2 and 1099. Check your W-2 to complete this section of Form 1040.

lines 18 through 19

Line 18.

If qualified, enter the tax credits below on Line 18.

1. Earned Income Credit
2. American Opportunity Tax Credit (attach Form 8853)
3. Earned Income Credit
4. Additional Child Tax Credit (attach Schedule 8812)

Line 19.

Add Line 17 and 18, and enter the result on Line 19.

Tax Refund

If you withheld more tax than your total tax bill, you’ll receive a tax refund. To see if you’re going to receive a refund, follow the final parts of Form 1040.

lines 20 through 22

Line 20.

If your tax withholding (Line 19) is more than your total tax bill (Line 16), subtract Line 16 from 19 and enter the result on Line 20. This is your tax refund amount.

Line 21.

Write your bank routing number, bank account number, and what type of bank account it is. You can opt for a paper check to get your refund with Form 8888 or divide the refund among multiple bank accounts.

Line 22.

If you want to apply for using some or all of your refund for the next year’s estimated taxes, you can complete Line 22.

lines 23 through 24

Line 23.

If you’re not going to get a tax refund, enter the result from subtracting Line 19 from Line 16.

Line 24.

If you have any penalty that you owe on Line 23, enter the penalty amount on Line 24.

It’s now almost done, sign Form 1040. On joint returns, both you and your spouse’s signature must be on Form 1040. Detail your phone number and e-mail address, congratulations! You’ve completed your 2019 federal income tax return. Below, you can see the mailing addresses for each state if you’re filing a paper form.

Mailing Your Tax Refund

Every taxpayer has the option to file a paper form. If you’re going to file a paper form, you must mail it to the right mailing address. Depending on which state you reside in and whether you will receive a refund or not, the mailing address is going to be different.

2019 Income Tax Return Mailing Address

Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana Residents

If you’re getting a refund, mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301-0002

If you’re NOT getting a refund, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1214
Charlotte, NC 28201-1214

Connecticut, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, and West Virginia Residents

If you’re getting a refund, mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0002

If you’re NOT getting a refund, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37910
Hartford, CT 06176-7910

Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia Residents

If you’re getting a refund, mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Kansas City, MO 64999-0002

If you’re NOT getting a refund, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 931000
Louisville, KY 40293-1000

New Mexico, Idaho, WyomingNevada, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, California, Utah, and Colorado Residents

If you’re getting a refund, mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0002

If you’re NOT getting a refund, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 7704
San Francisco, CA 94120-7704

North Dakota, Oklahoma, WisconsinSouth Dakota, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, and Michigan Residents

If you’re getting a refund, mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0002

If you’re NOT getting a refund, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 802501
Cincinnati, OH 45280-2501

Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, VermontNew York, Massachusetts, and Delaware Residents

If you’re getting a refund, mail it to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Kansas City, MO 64999-0002

If you’re not getting a refund, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37008
Hartford, CT 06176-7008

Can’t find your state? Use CTRL+F or Command+F to search.

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