Attorney at Law

Which Tax Form Should I Use?

Lia Kopin-Green
March 12, 2023

Whether you are a first-time taxpayer or an experienced business owner, filing your taxes can be an incredibly overwhelming process. However, failing to fulfill your tax responsibilities can result in harsh consequences such as penalties, fines and even jail time.

With so many different tax forms available, it can be difficult to choose which form best suits your situation. Nonetheless, choosing the wrong form can lead to errors, delays, and even tax penalties. In this article, we will review some of the most common types of tax forms to help you determine which one to use.

1. Form 1040 and 1040-SR

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 is the standard federal income tax form used by most US taxpayers to report their income and claim deductions. You are also required to declare your filing status and claim lucrative credits on the 1040 form. It is available in various different versions, such as the regular 1040 and 1040-SR, which is used for seniors who are over 65 years old. The standard 1040 and 1040-SR are fairly similar in nature, although seniors may experience fewer complications and improved readability with the 1040-SR form. The 1040-SR also makes it simple to include relevant sources of income such as Social Security, investment income and IRA distributions.

2. Form 1040-A

Taxpayers with straightforward tax situations may have the option to use the 1040-A, which is a simplified version of the 1040 form designed for less complex tax scenarios.  It is important to keep in mind, however, that you are not able to use Form 1040-A for tax situations for 2018 and beyond. According to United States tax law, you may file a Form 1040A if:

  • Your taxable income, or combined incomes, does not exceed $100,000.
  • You have capital gain distributions, but no capital gains or losses.
  • You do not itemize deductions.

On Form 1040-A, you are also given the opportunity to claim several adjustments such as educator expenses, student loan interest and certain IRA contributions.

3. Form 1040-EZ

Form 1040-EZ is the most simplified version of the 1040. It should be noted that similar to the Form 1040-A, the Form 1040-EZ is no longer available for the 2018 tax year and beyond. Moreover, if you previously filed Form 1040-EZ, but purchased health insurance through federal exchange, you can no longer use this form. Considering the aforementioned limitations, Form 1040-EZ is intended for single and joint filers with no dependents.

4. Schedule C

The Schedule C tax form is used to report income or loss from a sole proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is a business operated by a sole person and is not set up as a separate business entity. Moreover, a Schedule C form may also be required from a single-member limited liability company (LLC). It must be filed annually alongside the taxpayer’s relevant Form 1040. The Schedule C should detail any business income, expenses or deductions for the tax year. Additionally, it should include deductible business expenses such as rent, utilities, travel expenses, office supplies, and employee wages. 

5. Form W2

Form W2 is given to you at the end of the calendar year from your employer to show the total amount of income, Medicare tax and social security that was withheld from your paycheck. The Form W2 will also detail how much income you have made for the year. Your employer must mail out our Form W2 on or before January 31st, giving you at least three months to prepare your income taxes accordingly before the tax due date. In most cases, your employer is also required to provide a copy of your W2 to the IRS and Social Security Administration. Since the Form W2 is generally filed on your behalf by your employer, you do not need to file it along with your tax return.

6. Form W4

Often confused with Form W2, the Form W4 is used to determine how much federal income will be withheld from your paycheck by your employer. It may also be referred to as the Employee’s Withholding Certificate. You will typically be asked to complete a Form W4 when you start a new job. The form should include information about the employee’s filing status, the number of dependents they have, and any additional income they may receive. Further, the form should be updated from time to time when major life changes occur, such as a marriage or divorce. 

7. Form 1099-MISC

The Form 1099-MISC is filed to report miscellaneous income that is not subject to withholding tax. These forms are common among independent contractors, freelancers and other types of non-employees. Generally, it replaces the Form W2 you would receive if you were working for a traditional employer. The form reports the total earnings you have received over the year and may detail payments made for services such as consulting, rent, and royalties. It is crucial to note that self-employment income after 2020 may be reported on a new yet similar form, the 1099-NEC.

8. Form 1099-INT

If you have been paid a certain amount of interest on your deposits from banks or other financial institutions, you may receive a Form 1099-INT in the mail. This form is used to report interest earned on various deposits or investments such as savings accounts and bonds. Any interest income reported on the form must be included on the recipient’s tax return. The Form 10990-INT is due by January 31st of each year, which allows the taxpayer sufficient time to report his or her income before the tax due date. 

Seeking Legal Support

We understand that tax season can be overwhelming, and understanding which type of tax form to use is complicated. One of our experienced tax attorneys is here to help ensure a stress-free tax season. Get in touch with an exceptional tax lawyer in your area today with Attorney At Law.

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