Tax Form FAQs
Q. What tax form do I use to claim unreimbursed employee business expenses?
- The IRS will let you deduct employee business expenses that your employer will not reimburse you for. The form you need to fill out to claim these write-offs is IRS Form 2106, Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses. Among the most common deductions claimed on this form are the use of your car to perform your job, work-related travel expenses and business meals. You can choose to file a regular Form 2106, or you may qualify for the shorter and simpler Form 2106-EZ.
Q. How can I tell if I should use a 1040EZ for filing my tax return?
- Form 1040EZ is the simplest of the forms to use. You can use Form 1040EZ if you meet all of the following requirements:
- Your filing status is single or married filing jointly
- You (and your spouse if married filing a joint return) are not 65 or older or blind
- You do not claim any dependents
- Your taxable income is less than $50,000. Your income is only from wages, salaries, tips, unemployment compensation, taxable scholarship and fellowship grants, and taxable interest of $400 or less
- You did not receive any advance earned-income credit payments
- If you were a nonresident alien at any time in the year, your filing status is married filing jointly
- If you are married filing jointly and either you or your spouse worked for more than one employer, the total wages of that person were not over $62,700
- If you do not itemize deductions, claim any adjustments to income or tax credits other than the earned-income credit, or owe any taxes other than the amount from the tax table.
If you do not meet these requirements, you must use a Form 1040 or 1040A.
Q. How can I tell if I should use a 1040A to file my tax return?
- 1040EZ is the simplest form to use while 1040 is the long and more complicated form. 1040A lies somewhere in between these two extremes. To use it, your total taxable income must be less than $50,000, but your taxable interest and dividends can be more than $400. This form does not allow you to itemize, but it does permit you to deduct an IRA contribution and claim the child-care credit.
Q. How can I tell if I need to use a 1040 long form to file my tax return?
- Of the three tax forms, the 1040 is the longest, most used and least simple of all. This is the form that allows for itemized deductions to be claimed. You'll be required to fill out the 1040 if your taxable income is $50,000 or more, or you receive certain types of income such as rent or capital gains. In order to itemize on the 1040, you must fill out an additional form called Schedule A, which will help you figure out the value of your itemized deductions.
Q. If I sell investments, what tax forms will I receive from my brokers?
- If you sold property such as stocks, bonds or certain commodities through a broker, the broker should provide you with IRS Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. You should receive the form by Jan. 31. It shows the gross proceeds from sales for the previous year. A copy will also be sent directly to the IRS.
Q. What tax form will I receive if I invest in a partnership?
- If you have invested in a partnership, its managers will likely send you Internal Revenue Service Form 1065, Partner's Instructions for Schedule K-1. The form is designed to help you report your share of the partnership's income, credits, deductions and tax-preference items. You don't have to attach Form 1065 to your income tax returns. Keep it for your records.
Q. What happens if I don't fill out a W-4 form when I start a new job?
- The IRS expects you to fill out IRS Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, soon after your start a new job. The W-4 helps to calculate how much tax should be withheld from each of your paychecks. If you don't fill out a W-4, the IRS requires your employer to withhold taxes at the highest rate, which is as a single taxpayer with no allowances for dependents. If the employer failed to withhold taxes at this rate, the IRS could penalize him.
Q. What tax schedule do self-employed individual fill out?
- Nearly every self-employed person must complete Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, and attach a copy to their federal income tax return. There are two version of the Schedule SE, the Short and the Long versions. It's usually better to file the latter, even though it will take a bit longer to complete. Both are designed to help you determine how much self-employment tax you must pay.
Q. What tax form do I use to report nondeductible IRA contributions?
- If you have a nondeductible Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you must still report any contributions to it to the IRS by completing IRS Form 8606, Nondeductible IRAs (Contributions, Distributions, and Basis). You must also file Form 8606 if you have received IRA distributions during the tax year and you have ever made nondeductible contributions to any of your IRAs. A Form 8606 must be completed and filed with the IRS even if you don't have to file a tax return for the year in question.
Q. What tax form will I receive if I have received interest income?
- Interest income is generally reported to you on IRS Form 1099-INT by banks, savings and loans, and other financial institutions. This form shows you the interest you received during the year. You must declare all of your interest earnings even if you do not receive a Form 1099-INT.
Q. What tax schedule do I use to report interest and dividend income?
- If you received more than $400 in dividend or interest income for the year, your tax return will have to be accompanied by Schedule B, Interest and Dividend Income. Schedule B is broken down into three parts. Part I is where you list all your interest income. Part II is where you list all the information about your dividend income. Part III asks about any foreign accounts or foreign trusts that you might be involved with.
Q. What tax schedule do I use to report capital gains and losses?
- If you sold or exchanged any securities or certain other property during the tax year, you will probably have to complete Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses. Schedule D can be highly annoying, especially if you are an active investor who buys and sells often. Beginning in 1998, if you sell your principal home and can exclude all of the gain (up to $500,000 for married couples filing a joint return and $250,000 for single filers), you do not need to report the sale on your tax return. If you cannot exclude all of the gain, you must report the sale on Schedule D.
Q. What tax schedule do I use to report supplemental income and loss?
- Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss, is one of the IRS' most difficult forms. Unfortunately, you will probably have to fill it out and attach it to your federal tax return if you were involved with rental real estate, invested in a partnership, had certain other investments or income, or were involved in a trust or "S corporation."
Q. What tax form must I complete to amend my tax return?
- You should use IRS Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ that you have already filed. The IRS says you should file a 1040X if you did not report all of your income, you claimed deductions or credits you should not have claimed, or you should have claimed a different filing status. If you're thinking of filing a 1040X because you forgot to claim a legitimate deduction or credit, make sure the refund would offset the time and cost involved in filing.
Q. Where can I find IRS tax forms and publications?
- If the IRS does not automatically mail you all the forms you need, you can download many of the forms and publications you may need from our website. In addition, many post offices, public libraries and banks keep a stock of tax forms on hand.
Q. What tax form will I receive if I am paid investment dividends or distributions?
- If you own stock or some other investment that pays more than $10 in dividends or distributions over the course of a year, the company that pays you the money must also send you IRS Form 1099-DIV. You must declare all the dividends and distributions you receive even if the company fails to send its 1099-DIV. A copy is also sent to the IRS.
Q. What tax form do I use to request an extension for filing?
- You must complete IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return by April 15th. You do not have to explain why you are asking for the extension and the IRS will contact you about your extension only if your request is denied. Remember that while you are not required to send a payment with Form 4868, if you don't pay at least 90% of your tax bill by April 15, you'll have to pay penalties and interest when you do file the return.
If the 4-month extension does not give you enough time, you can ask for additional time later but you will need a good reason and it is subject to IRS approval. To ask for the additional time, you must either: 1) file Form 2688, Application for Additional Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or 2) explain your reason in a letter.
Q. What tax form do I use if I need to pay in installments?
- If you cannot pay the full amount you owe the IRS, you can request to make monthly installment payments using IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. The form allows you to choose the date your monthly payment is due. For example, if your rent or mortgage payment is due on the first of the month, you may want to make your installment payments on the 15th. Remember, however, that you will be charged interest and possibly a penalty on the amount that you have not paid by April 15.
Q. Why did I receive a Form 1099-R?
- If you receive a distribution from a pension plan, IRA or other retirement accounts, annuity or insurance contract, the company that makes the payment will send you a Form 1099-R.
Q. What tax form will I receive to tell me my total wages and tax withheld for the year?
- Internal Revenue Service Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, is a statement from your employer of the wages and other compensation paid to you in a given year and the taxes that were withheld from your pay. If you have more than one employer, each one is responsible for sending you its own W-2. You must attach one copy to the front of your federal tax return, one to your state tax return, and keep one for your own records..
Q. What tax form do I use to pay estimated tax?
- IRS Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, is the form you must use to pay your estimated tax. You pay estimated taxes when you have income that is not subject to withholding.