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What Forms Do I Need to File My Taxes?

Tax Day is fast approaching. As you get ready to prepare Form 1040, the individual federal income tax return, here are a few of the forms you may need to have on hand. You’ll need most of these forms if you’re required to file a state income tax return as well.

Forms W-2 and W-2G

You’ll receive a W-2 from each employer you had last year. It includes the wages you earned and taxable benefits you received, along with the amount of tax that was withheld from your wages. Employers are required to send out W-2 forms no later than January 31 each year. Most make them available online through a payroll provider.

If you had any gambling winnings last year you’ll receive a W-2G form. It will include the amount of your winnings along with how much federal income tax was withheld from them.

Forms 1099-NEC and 1099-MISC

The 1099-NEC form includes earnings from freelance or gig work — it’s basically the equivalent of a W-2 form for contract workers. If you earned more than $600 of this kind of income from any one source last year, you should receive a 1099-NEC from the payor detailing these payments.

In addition, Form 1099-MISC is also used to report several other types of taxable income such as awards, prizes, and rent. If you won cash or prizes on a TV game show, for example, you’d receive this form.

Form 1099-INT

If you earned more than $10 in interest on a savings or money market account or a Certificate of Deposit (CD), you’ll receive a 1099-INT reporting the amount of taxable interest you earned. You will add this interest on the appropriate line on Form 1040.

If you earned more than $1,500 in interest last year, you also must file Schedule B listing the name of each institution that paid you interest and how much interest you earned.

Form 1099-G

If you collected any unemployment benefits last year, your state agency will send you Form 1099-G to report how much was sent to you and how much, if any, was withheld for taxes.

Form 1098

There are four variations of this form. You’ll receive one if you paid more than $600 in interest on a mortgage (1098) or a student loan (1098-E), received college tuition assistance (1098-T), or donated a car, boat, or plane to charity last year (1098-C).

Which Forms Should I Use to File My Taxes?

Here are the forms you, or your tax professional, will use to complete your tax return and submit it to the IRS.

Forms 1040 and 1040-SR

Also called the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, this is the basic tax form used by most Americans when preparing their federal tax return.

  • Form 1040: Individual tax filers use this form to report their income to the IRS. You won’t fill in this form directly if you use tax software to do your taxes. Instead you’ll go through a question-and-answer process that populates the form for you. Once you submit your return, you’ll be able to download a completed copy of the form for your records.
  • Form 1040-SR: This is the senior-friendly version of Form 1040. It has a larger font size and bigger boxes for reporting numbers and can only be used by people age 65 and older.
  • Basic personal information you need for Form 1040:
    • Name and address
    • Social Security number
    • Filing status
    • Income and taxes paid — this will come from the tax documents you receive from employers, banks, and other entities who paid you during the year
    • Names and Social Security numbers of dependents

In the past, you could choose to file Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ instead of Form 1040 if your taxes were relatively simple. But starting with the 2018 tax year, these forms have been eliminated in favor of a shorter Form 1040.

There are fewer boxes to fill in on Form 1040 than there were before because many lines from the old form have been moved onto additional schedules. So while your Form 1040 may be shorter, you may end up having to file other IRS forms that you didn’t before.

Other Forms You May Need for Your 1040

The supplemental forms required to be filed alongside Form 1040 are called Schedules. Each one correlates to a certain type of income or deduction.

Here’s a list of the most common Schedules and their purpose:

  • Schedule A: For reporting itemized deductions, such as mortgage interest or gifts to charity.
  • Schedule B: For reporting interest or ordinary dividends.
  • Schedule C: For reporting income or losses as a sole proprietor.
  • Schedule D: For reporting capital gains and losses not reported on another form or schedule, nonbusiness bad debts, and gains from involuntary conversions of nonbusiness capital assets.
  • Schedule E: For reporting income or losses from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, estates, trusts, and residual interest in real estate mortgage investment conduits.
  • Schedule EIC: For reporting information about qualifying children to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Schedule F: To report farm income and expenses.
  • Schedule H: To report taxes on cash wages paid to a household employee.
  • Schedule J: To elect to calculate your income taxes from a farming or fishing business using a three-year average.
  • Schedule R: To calculate a credit for the eldery or disabled.
  • Schedule SE: To calculate the tax on net earnings from self-employment.
  • Schedule 8812: To calculate various child tax credits, report Child Tax Credit advance payments from 2021, and calculate any additional tax owed due to overpayment.
  • Schedule 1: To report income that isn’t listed on Form 1040, including income or loss from a business and unemployment compensation.
  • Schedule 2: To report additional taxes, such as alternative minimum tax, any excess premium tax credit for health insurance, and self-employment taxes.
  • Schedule 3: To report additional tax payments and nonrefundable tax credits.

Read More: Guide to Filing Your Taxes in 2022



Author is not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and is compensated as a freelance writer.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. Compensation not to exceed $500. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.

Tanza is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and former resident CFP® for Business Insider. She breaks down personal finance news and writes about taxes, investing, retirement, wealth building, and debt management. Tanza is the author of two ebooks, A Guide to Financial Planners and "The One-Month Plan to Master your Money."
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