Each year many of us receive or fill out a lot of tax forms, and each of those forms has a specific purpose. Outlined below are some of the most common. You can find more detailed information by clicking on the form’s name.
The most important of them all, Form 1040 is the basic form on which you file your personal income taxes. There are additional forms and schedules you may need to calculate line items on the main Form 1040, but you can’t file your taxes without it. There are also different versions you may use, depending on your tax situation, such as the 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040X.
If you were employed and had taxes withheld from your paycheck, you receive Form W-2 at the end of the year for each of your jobs. It lists how much you were paid all year, how much was withheld in federal, state, and local taxes, and other information necessary to file. Note that all this information is also supplied to the IRS by each employer.
Each time you start a new job, you need to fill out Form W-4. It tells your employer how much to withhold in taxes from your paycheck, based on your number of qualified dependents and filing status. If you recently got married, divorced, had a baby, or had one leave the nest, update this form to reflect the change. That way, your employer won’t withhold too little or too much.
There are multiple iterations of Form 1098, but all of them provide information on potential tax deductions. Mortgage interest, student loan interest, and tuition payments are common items reported on Form 1098. For instance, if you paid interest on a mortgage loan on your primary residence and also paid student loan interest, you should receive two separate 1098 forms reporting information pertinent to each.
This form reports a wide range of non-salary income. If you’re an independent contractor, received interest or dividend payments, withdrew money from a retirement account, or had a debt canceled, you’ll likely receive a 1099 reporting it. Self-employed earnings are reported on Form 1099-MISC.