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Form 1040 instructions: the new system and how to properly file your individual tax return in 2018

January 2019 update: get the new IRS Form 1040, which replaces the old 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ forms. Learn more about the new format HERE.

This tax season kicked off with a new tax law, causing a big fuss in the media and among many Americans. Many people were surprised that after so many years of filing taxes the same way the tax system could suddenly go through such drastic changes. The introduction of new tax rates and new tax brackets, which were designed to simplify the system, have led to some confusion among many Americans. Still, the 2018 tax season is on and your individual tax return must be filed despite all of these sweeping changes.


Form 1040 for 2018: what’s new on your individual tax return?

Individual taxpayers have to complete and file Form 1040. This year the form may include new information since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 recently took effect. Here are some of the facts you should know before submitting:

  • The due date for filing your 1040 is April 17th, 2018. It usually falls on April 15th but this year it’s Saturday, and April 16th is Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia.
  • Residents of Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have to file their returns to a different mailing address. Find out where to mail form 1040 for 2018 here.
  • The amounts of standard deductions have increased. In line 40 you have to indicate new standard deductions. Single taxpayers and married couples submitting separately are eligible to deduct up to $6,350. In turn, joint filers can request a deduction of up to $12,700.
  • In line 42, you have to indicate the new exemption amount. The amount of your $4,050 personal exemption may by reduced if your adjusted gross income exceeds $156,900 (married couples who file separately), $261,500 (single taxpayers) or $313,800 (married couples filing jointly).

To learn more about new tax changes and to request additional personal assistance while filing your return, you may contact the IRS by phone.


Can Form 1040 be filed online and what are the benefits of submitting electronically?

A single mistake made while filling out your 1040 by hand can lead to high penalties, delayed refunds and even the rejection of your return. You can’t just cross out a miswritten letter, number or word. If you notice you made a mistake while filling out your form, you should print out a clean copy and fill it out once again. However, by filing electronically, you have the chance to delete those mistakes and simply re-type what you need. It only takes a few seconds.

Another advantage of electronically filing tax forms is that they are received by the IRS immediately. It provides you with more time to request a refund. Once you’ve completed and filed your Form 1040 online, you can easily get back to any work or family responsibilities that you may have. Here you can read about more reasons why you should submit your tax documents electronically for the 2018 tax season.


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What does 1040 Form look like?

IRS Form 1040 is just a usual tax form that must be filed by individual taxpayers. It contains only two pages. PDFfiller allows you to fill out all of the necessary fields in minutes. Easily type required data and place checkmarks where needed using PDFfiller’s many powerful features.


How to complete Form 1040?

In the first block of the form you have to provide the following information: tax period, your filing status, name (and your spouse’s name if filing jointly), current home address, exemptions, social security number (and your spouse’s one if, again, filing jointly).

Once the first block is completed, fill out the next section titled Income. Here you have to indicate the amounts of your salaries, tips, wages, refunds, ordinary and qualified dividends, capital gain/loss, business income/loss, pensions and annuities, etc. In the second section called Adjusted Gross Income, you indicate education expenses, tuition and fees, student loans, IRA deduction, moving expenses, certain business expenses, etc. In the Tax and Credits section, provide the following information: itemized and standard deductions, exemptions, foreign tax credit, child tax credit and other taxable income. There is one more section where you indicate other taxes that you haven’t included in the previous ones and the amount you owe (estimated tax penalty). While completing the form, you have to make some calculations and input results in corresponding fields. So be attentive.

Check twice if you have properly completed Form 1040 and only then date and sign it. Make sure you’ve completed and attached your W-2.

You can read more details on Form 1040 for 2018 here.

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