Tax Laws and Forms
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
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Many tax filers find themselves in the middle of filling out their tax returns when they realize that they have questions about different tax laws and forms. The vast amounts of information on the IRS’s website are useful, but it can be difficult to know where to start. This section will guide you to the appropriate tax forms to use, as well as to the correct places to look for particular provisions of tax codes. It also has a number of useful resources, including a list of frequently requested IRS forms; and links to tax forms, tax codes and taxpayer assistance for all 50 states.
Federal Tax Laws
Federal tax law is more complicated than nearly any other set of laws in the country. However, most taxpayers will not need to worry themselves with large sections of the tax code. The federal tax system is largely built around a set of forms. Most taxpayers qualify to use form 1040 or 1040EZ to file their annual taxes. Additional forms termed "schedules" allow for itemized deductions, the calculation of business profits and losses, the reporting of capital gains and losses, requests for Earned Income Credit, and calculation of self-employment tax.
Some other commonly-used tax forms include the W-2 Wage and Tax statement, a form employers must provide employees to report the amount of wages paid and taxes withheld within the fiscal year. Other forms can request an offer in compromise, an extension of time to file, the application of the alternative minimum tax, or to report a change of address. Findlaw provides links to these and many other useful IRS forms.
State Tax Laws
State tax laws vary greatly. Some states have no income tax, while others have no sales tax. State taxes pay for state services in all cases, but states are permitted to determine what should be taxed, and how much.
The variation between states makes generalization difficult. Alaska and New Hampshire, for example, don't tax sales or income. New Hampshire collects most of its tax revenues from property tax and Alaska taxes petroleum and investment income. Louisiana, on the other hand, has the lowest property tax in the nation, instead taxing income and sales.
This lack of uniformity means that you will need to familiarize yourself with the tax requirements of your state to understand your obligations fully. Our resources can help you learn more about tax in your state and neighboring jurisdictions.
There is a bewildering array of tax forms available. Here you can find both federal and state tax forms that will allow you to file taxes on your income, claim deductions and credits, negotiate compromise where there is a dispute, or receive instruction and information on a broad array of topics. These documents can be a helpful resource to learn more about your rights and obligations as a taxpayer.
In addition to providing links to the most frequently requested forms there are tools to help you locate the form you need by searching the IRS database, which contains more than a thousand publications. There are also links to forms and publications relating to state taxes for all 50 states.
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