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The Who, What, When, and How of the Form 1040.

If you are an individual you are likely to be required to file an annual income tax return. Most people who earn income must file a federal income tax return. You need to file a tax return if any of the following is true:


  1. Your gross income was over $10,000 as a single filer

  2. Your gross income was over $20,000 as a married couple filing jointly

  3. You earned over $400 from being self-employed

  4. You sold your home during the tax year

  5. You owe taxes because of your retirement account (e.g., distributions or contributions)

  6. You owe Social Security or Medicare taxes on unreported tips or other wages.

The IRS Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return is broken down into sections where you can report income and deductions.


You must file tax return Form 1040 if you receive the following types of income:

  1. Regular employee income

  2. Self-employment income

  3. Unreported tips

  4. Income received as a partner in a partnership

  5. Income received as a shareholder in an S-Corp

  6. Beneficiary income of an estate or trust

  7. Distributions

  8. Retirement account funds or other contributions (e.g., types of IRA plans)

  9. Insurance policy dividends

  10. Interest received


The deadline to file and pay individual tax returns is April 15. In 2021, that deadline was moved to May 17 for calendar year 2020 taxes. If April 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day. You can request an automatic tax extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. An extension gives you an additional six months to file your income tax return. However, if you owe money, your tax payment is still due April 15. If you can not pay taxes on time, we can help you with applying for a payment plan or an IRS installment agreement.


This post was written by Charles Prescott.

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