If you’re like many Americans, chances are you use a tax professional or a software to file your taxes each year. But even if you never manually fill out endless reams of tax forms, it’s a good idea to know what they are. After all, your tax software or tax preparer is filling out these forms on your behalf.Deal of the Day: Credit Karma Tax offers 100% free Federal and State tax filing with a Maximum Refund Guarantee and Audit Defense. Never pay a penny to file your income taxes. Read the Full Review Here
Here, we’ll cover Form 1040A. This form is one of the three main forms you can use to file your federal income tax return. It basically compiles your most important tax-related information, including:
- Your personal information and filing status
- Your family information and exemptions because of your family
- Your income totals, including W-2 income and 1099-R income
- Your adjusted gross income, which may also require other forms like Form 8917
- Your total tax credits and payments, including child and dependent care expenses and federal income taxes already withheld
- Your refund or amount owed
- Your signature
In short, Form 1040A is where you compile all the important information from a host of other forms your tax preparer or tax software helps you fill out. This form is more streamlined than the full Form 1040, but it’s not as simple as Form 1040EZ.
Table of Contents:
Form 1040A Restrictions
To use this simplified tax filing form, you have to meet a couple of basic qualifications, including:
- Have taxable income of less than $100,000 for the tax filing year
- Claim the standard deduction rather than the itemized deduction
- Only have the following types of income:
- Interest and dividend income
- Capital gains
- IRA, pension, and/or annuity distributions
- Unemployment income
- Alaska permanent fund dividends
- Social Security benefits
This means that if you’re a homeowner, you likely won’t use Form 1040A because the mortgage interest deduction will kick you over to an itemized deduction form. You also can’t use this form if you’re a high wage earner or if you have other types of income, such as income from a business that you run as a sole proprietorship.
A Note on Deductions
As noted above, Form 1040A doesn’t allow for itemized deductions. However, some deductions are allowable even if you’re taking the standard deduction. Some of the deductions found on this form include:
- Education credits
- Credit for the elderly or disabled
- Credit for child and dependent care expenses
- Certain health care expenses
- Nontaxable combat pay election
- Additional child tax credit
- American opportunity credit
- Net premium tax credit
So if you qualify for some of these credits but don’t have enough other deductions to itemize, 1040A can make filing your taxes a bit easier and simpler.
When it comes to the deductions, nearly all of them have their own separate form that you’ll need to fill out. If you are filling out your tax form by hand, you can find the names of the exact forms you need to file for each credit on the line items of the 1040A.
For instance, the education credits in line 33 requires Form 8863, line 19.
It can be helpful if you do need to file your taxes by hand to go through and figure out which credits you might qualify for first. Then you can print off the appropriate forms and schedules and fill them out first. Otherwise you’ll find that you’re constantly having to stop filling out Form 1040A so that you can go find a schedule or form to fill out for one of the totals you need for your 1040A form.
Finding and Filing 1040A
For the most part, even basic online tax filing options are going to allow for form 1040A. You may need to pay for the additional schedules associated with this form. But it won’t be the most expensive option on the list because this is a relatively simple form. But if you do need to see this form in full, you can check it out here.
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