Tax Prep – What Forms Do I Need to File My Taxes

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It’s almost that time of year again—tax season—and you may already be asking yourself “what forms will I need to file my taxes this year?”

Everyone has their own unique tax situation, but no matter what that situation is, gathering the paperwork you need to file your taxes and organizing your documents now will make things easier when it’s time to file in early 2022.  

What Forms Do You Need To File Your Tax Return?

The first form you need is a 1040 form. Virtually everyone will use the IRS 1040 form to file their taxes. The 1040 form is the IRS’s document that taxpayers use to report their wages, taxes paid, and deductions. 

Think of it as a worksheet to determine if you owe taxes or if you will be receiving a tax return. 

You may also need one of the three main schedules to file with your 1040.

The Three Main Schedules:

  • Schedule 1 is used for additional income and adjustments to income.
  • Schedule 2 for additional taxes.
  • Schedule 3 for additional credits and payment. 

So let’s take a look at some basic tax situations and the paperwork you’ll need to get those taxes filed.

Employer W-2 Forms

If you were employed by an employer you will receive a W-2.

Every employer in America is required to file a W-2 form for each of their employees who grossed $600 or more with the Internal Revenue Service. The purpose of the W-2 is to report the amount of wages paid and the amount of taxes withheld. The IRS W-2 form includes the amount of income tax withheld as well as social security or medicaid tax withheld. 

If you have an uncomplicated tax situation, you most likely will be able to prepare your own taxes using the information provided on your W-2 form with ease. 

The federal government requires all employers to have the W-2’s sent to employees by January 31st of each year. Waiting for a paper W-2 may take longer than getting a digital W-2 because you can often retrieve them as soon as they become available using your company’s W-2 database instead of waiting for them to arrive in the mail. 

Most companies these days offer a free online tool where you can retrieve your W-2’s once they become available so be sure to check your employers website or inquire with your human resources department. 

In addition to your W-2 you will use the 1040 form and any schedules you may need to file.

What Is a Tax Schedule Form? 

A schedule is simply a form the IRS uses in addition to your 1040 when you have certain types of income or deductions like income from interest or charitable contributions. 

Self-Employed and 1099’s

As a self-employed individual, you don’t have an employer withholding federal income tax from your paycheck, which means you are responsible for paying taxes on all of the income you made.

Self-employed individuals fall under one of 3 categories: sole proprietorship, an independent contractor, or a freelancer and it’s up to you to report all sources of income to the IRS.

1099 forms are issued to report money that is earned from a non-employer source such as money earned from interest, dividends, or independent contracts. 

Independent contractors or freelancers should receive 1099 forms from any clients that paid them for jobs done.  

The IRS will match all 1099’s and W-2’s issued to the taxpayer’s return using the individuals social security number or the individuals taxpayer identification number so it’s important to report any and all 1099’s to avoid having to file an amendment

If you’re self-employed, chances are you’ve had multiple contracts throughout the year and will have to be sure you receive and record all 1099’s on your 1040.

Unemployment Tax Form

If you were unemployed for part of the year you will need a 1099-G form issued by the Department of Employment Services.

Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Whether you had taxes withheld or not from your unemployment benefits you will receive a 1099-G form. 

You will use the unemployment compensation information from your 1099-G to file your taxes on your 1040 Schedule 1 form. 

Standard Deduction or Itemized Deduction?

Generally speaking, most people will take a standard deduction vs an itemized deduction, but if your standard dedication is less than your itemized deduction, you may want to do an itemized deduction. If you do an itemized deduction you will need to keep accurate records of money paid. 

Some typical deductions are:

  • Medical and dental fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Employee expenses
  • Business expenses
  • Childcare
  • Charitable gifts

While you’re working on preparing your tax documents and gathering paperwork, now is the perfect time to consider using the Rent Plus program offered to residents. The Rent Plus program reports your rent payments to the credit bureaus which helps build your credit portfolio. If you are already a resident participating in the Rent Plus program, you may want to check to see if you qualify for a possible renters tax credit for rent paid.

Having a good understanding of the basic paperwork you need in order to file your taxes will help reduce tax time stress. If you are owed a refund, direct deposit will be the fastest way to receive a tax return if you’re expecting one, so you’ll need your bank account number and the bank’s routing number as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What forms do I need to file my taxes?

You will need an IRS 1040 form to file your taxes. The form is the essential worksheet to help you calculate your taxable income and determine if you owe the IRS money or if the IRS owes you a refund. 

What forms do I need to file my taxes with unemployment?

If you collected unemployment insurance you will need a 1099-G form sent by the Department of Employment Services to file your taxes. 

What forms do I need to file my taxes as self-employed?

You will need any 1099’s received from contracted or freelance work as well as the 1040 form and any schedules you may need to attach. The Schedule SE form is used to figure out the amount of tax you owe from self employment and the Schedule C (form 1040) is used to report income from your business or sole proprietorship. 

What forms do I need to file my taxes as an independent contractor?

File My Taxes

If you received payment from a business that paid you $600 or more, you will need any 1099-NEC forms sent to you by those businesses as well as 1040 Schedule C. 

If you’re at a loss for which tax forms you’ll need to file your taxes, check out the Internal Revenues free Interactive Tax Assistant tool to answer any other questions you may have. 

We hope this guide was helpful. While you can do your own taxes online from the comforts of home, it’s important to consult a qualified tax advisor or preparer, like a CPA, or the IRS to ensure you have followed all of the applicable IRS  tax laws

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