When it comes to income tax forms there are a lot of them to choose from. This can be very confusing for many people. It is important to use the correct tax form for your particular situation so that you will be able to report your income, make the correct deductions, and apply the appropriate credits on your taxes. In most cases, filing your income tax return starts with the most common types of forms.
The Most Common Income Tax Forms
The most common income tax form is the 1040, which comes with quite a few variations. The Individual Income Tax Return or the 'long form' allows you to report your income, claim as many deductions as you need to and apply all of your credits to report your taxes. The 1040A is also an Individual Income Tax Return, which allows some deductions, and is limited to those with income levels under $100,000 or are self-employed.
For those who will only be using the standard deduction when filing their income tax forms, there is the 1040EZ. This form is for single taxpayers and couples filing jointly with no dependents to claim. It is the simplest of all the forms and is usually completed in just one page.
And the 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ are forms used for non-resident aliens who must report taxes on their income earned while in the US. It is similar to the standard 1040 form but is used for anyone who conducted business or received income from any US sources while living in the country.
Preparation and Filing
With a few exceptions, everyone needs to file their annual income tax forms every year. In addition to the forms you need, you will also need to supply proof of identification, know your filing status, supply your social security number for you and every one of your dependents, provide the date of birth for everyone involved, submit a copy of your past tax return, have your statement of wages, statement of interest or dividends paid, and proof of any tax credits, deductions, or exclusions allowed. If you are expecting a refund, then you should also supply your bank account number and routing number for a Direct Deposit of your tax refund.
If for some reason you aren't able to pull all of your paperwork together then you can file for a tax extension. For this current tax season, all tax returns must be submitted by April 18, 2016. Many take advantage of filing tax extensions when they find that they owe on their taxes but are unable to pay. The extension allows you an additional six months to file without incurring any penalties.
Getting taxes filed can be a hassle for many people, yet it is a necessary obligation that everyone must comply with. However, many have learned that the key to a stress free filing experience is organization and preparation. Whether you plan to prepare your own taxes or to use a tax expert to help you with filing, the more attention you pay to the preparation and gathering of all the necessary information, the easier the whole process will be.