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Which Tax Form Should I Use?

Your coffee's poured, there's soothing music in the background and you even fit in a morning yoga session. You're relaxed and ready to get started on your taxes. The first step is making sure you have the right paperwork. After all, nothing ruins the zen mind more than getting halfway through your taxes only to realize you've been using the wrong form. Here you'll find helpful information that will help you determine which one is right for you.

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law in December 2017, you could use three types of tax forms: the 1040A, 1040 EZ, and the 1040 forms.

Now when preparing your individual tax returns, you must use form 1040 or 1040-SR (for seniors). 

The 1040 form asks for basic information about you including your:

  • Name and address
  • Social Security number    
  • Filing status
  • Income
  • Health care coverage
  • Dependents

If you are a senior born before January 2, 1956, you can use the 1040-SR form when filing your taxes. If you are filing a joint married tax return, only one spouse must be age 65 or older.

The 1040-SR is very similar to the 1040 form. The notable difference from the 1040 include:

  • Larger and clearer fonts, and
  • A senior-friendly chart that shows the additional standard deduction they are entitled to 

Additional Forms You Might Need

The 1040 form also asks you to attach other forms and schedules. These new schedules contain information that used to be in the old tax forms. These are:

Schedule 1: Here you will disclose all non-wage taxable income that has not been reported on your W-2.

Schedule 2: This is where you report other taxes like household employment and self-employment taxes.

Schedule 3: You will include this if you are claiming a number of nonrefundable credits like child care expenses and education credits.

Schedule A: You include this if you intend to itemize deductions.

Don’t Forget State Tax Forms

Many states require residents to file a state tax return. If you live in one of these states, you will have to submit additional forms when filing your state taxes. Each state will have its own rules regarding the paperwork required. Therefore, it is important to do your research to figure out which forms you need.  

Don't Rely on Guesswork: Get Help From an Experienced Tax Professional

Tax forms, and the process itself, can get convoluted as sometimes it's hard to know which form to use, let alone which exemptions to claim. Reviewing your financial situation with an experienced tax attorney can not only give you peace of mind, but also help you minimize your tax exposure. Reach out to an experienced tax law attorney in your area today.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified tax attorney to help you navigate your federal and/or state tax issues.

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