Step-By-Step To 1040 Tax Form Definitions

Completing a 1040 Tax Form can be an intimidating prospect, whether you are starting early or have waited until April 14 to get it done. While the IRS has made efforts to streamline tax filing and make it a simpler process, there are still many required forms you may need to complete to keep your tax burden as low as possible.

General Instructions

When you are completing your tax return, the most important thing to remember is to be accurate. If the social security number you list for your child is incorrect, it can cause you to miss out on certain credits. If your own social security number is incorrect, it can cause your entire report to be delayed, possibly racking up late fees for you if you owe the government money. Be sure to take your time and fill out every question on the form as accurately as possible. Using an online filing system can help prevent errors, but if you do prefer to complete the return by hand, be sure you write clearly. Make sure you have gathered the necessary information; your tax forms will ask you about income and interest earned as well as taxes paid, so you need to have your W-2s, 1099s, and other statements available to refer to.

1040 Tax Table

In order to determine the amount of tax you owe in a given year, you will have to look at the tax tables. These tables appear in the back of the 1040 instruction booklet that is available online or through a local government entity such as your post office. The tax tables are broken down in columns by single, married filing jointly, married filing singly, and head of household and in rows by income range. To use the tax table effectively, you find your income on the table and move across to the column you are filing under. Most people file as single or married filing jointly. The number under your identifying column is the amount of tax you owe for that year. For example, if you made more than $25,200 but less than $25,250 in 2008 and you are married filing jointly, your tax rate would be $2,981.

2009 1040 Tax Form

The 1040 tax form is the basic form most wage earners are required to file each year. It is a two page form that assists you in determining your gross income and your adjusted gross income. Your adjusted gross income is used on the second page of the form to determine what tax credits and deductions you may be eligible for, including education and child tax credits.

Schedule A

The schedule A form is required if you are choosing to itemize your tax deductions rather than take the standard deduction. You may need to determine which will decrease your tax burden more before determining which way to go. If your itemized deductions do not add up to more than the standard deduction (line 40 on your form 1040), you may want to simply take the standad deduction. Taking the standard deduction does not prevent you from still taking advantage of certain credits like earned income, education, and investment.