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Filling Out the IRS 1040 Form 2022 - 2023: Complete Guide

Form 1040 is the standard tax form individuals in the United States use to file their annual income tax returns. This form is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is used to report various types of income, deductions, and credits. If you are a freelancer, contractor, or individual taxpayer with a simple tax situation, you might be able to fill out the form by yourself without hiring a tax professional.

Here are step-by-step instructions to complete a 1040 fillable form along with a simple example:

Step 1: Assemble The Paperwork

Before filling out the 1040 form, collect all the necessary documents and information. These may include:

  • W-2 forms from your employers.
  • 1099 forms for any freelance or contract work.
  • Records of any other income, such as rental income, interest, or dividends.
  • Receipts for deductible expenses, like charitable donations or medical expenses.
  • Information about any tax credits you may be eligible for.

In our example, Jane Doe is a full-time employee who also received interest from her bank deposit, so she needs to gather her W-2 and 1099-INT forms.

Step 2: Get a 1040 Printable Form

To get started, you will need to access the 1040 form PDF. There are two ways to do it:

  1. Go to the official IRS website and download PDF.
  2. Click the “Fill this form” button on this page as PDFLiner always has the current version of the form.

Step 3: Add Personal Information

Enter your filing status, name, address, and Social Security number. If you are married and filing a joint return, you will need to include your spouse's information as well.

Jane Doe is single, so she marks it as her filing status and only adds her information.

Step 4: Additional Information and Dependents

Specify if you received or sold any digital assets during the year. For example, digital assets include NFTs and virtual currencies, such as cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

In the next section, you should provide information about your dependents if you have them. In case you are not dependent or don’t have any dependents leave it blank.

In this example, Jane has no income from digital assets, so she marks the answer “No”. And also she is not a dependent and has no dependents so she leaves the rest blank.

form 1040 filling example steps 3 and 4

Step 5: Report Income

In the next section of your tax return you would need to calculate your total taxable income:

  • Lines 1: If you are an official employee report all your wages and benefits here. Get the information from your W-2 form and forms stated in these lines.
  • Lines 2: If you received tax-exempt or taxable income during the year report it here. Find this information on Forms 1099-INT and 1099-OID.
  • Lines 3: Report all the dividends you received along with Form 1099-DIV.
  • Lines 4 and 5: If you have Form 1099-R report the amount from line 1 on one of these lines depending on the type of income.
  • Lines 6: If you receiving social security benefits use the social security benefits worksheet to see if they are taxable.
  • Line 7: If you sold a capital asset, such as a stock or bond enter here the amount from box 16 of Schedule D.
  • Line 8: Enter here all other income calculated with Schedule 1.
  • Line 9: Calculate total income by adding lines 1z, 2b, 3b, 4b, 5b, 6b, 7, and 8.
  • Line 10: If there are any adjustments from box 26 of Schedule 1 write them here.
  • Line 11: Calculate adjusted gross income by subtracting line 10 from 9.
  • Line 12: Choose to take either the standard deduction or itemize your deductions. The standard deduction is a fixed amount depending on your filing status. Find the amount on the left side of the form. Itemized deductions include expenses such as mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable donations. Compare the standard deduction to your total itemized deductions to determine which option will result in a lower taxable income.
  • Line 13: If your business qualifies for a deduction enter it here.
  • Line 14: Calculate the total deduction by adding lines 12 and 13, or as in most cases just copy the amount from line 12.
  • Line 15: Calculate the taxable income by subtracting line 14 from 11.

Note: Income received by self-employed individuals who get 1099-NEC instead of W-2 is not reported in this section. It should be reported with Schedule C of Form 1040.

Jane only received her wages and bank deposit interest during the year. So she enters $50,000 on lines 1a and 1z (from box 1 of her W-2) and $35 on line 2b (from box 1 of 1099-INT). Her total income is $50,035 (added 1z and 2b) which she enters on lines 9 and 11, because there are no adjustments. She chooses standard deduction, so in 2023 it’s $12,950 that goes on lines 12 and 14. And finally, her taxable income is $37,085 (subtracted 14 from 11).

filled out form 1040 example step 5

Step 6: Calculate Your Tax Liability

Use the tax tables provided by the IRS to determine your tax liability based on your taxable income and filing status. They can be found on page 63 of Form 1040 instructions. Write the amount on line 16.

Calculate some additional taxes using Schedule 2 and write the amount on lines 17 and 23.

After adding your taxes, review any tax credits you may be eligible for. Tax credits directly reduce the amount of tax you owe, so it's essential to claim all the credits you qualify for. 

Common tax credits include the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and education credits. Calculate them using forms Schedule 8812 and Schedule 3. Enter these amounts on lines 19 and 20.

At the end of the section calculate the total tax liability and enter it on line 24.

In our example, Jane’s tax liability is $4,244 (according to tax tables 2023) as her income is more than $37,050 but less than $37,100 and her filing status is single.

tax table usage example

This amount goes to lines 16, 18, 22, and 24 because Jane has no additional taxes or credits.

Step 7: Report Payments

In this section, you should report all payments you made to the IRS during the year. In most cases you would need to provide the following info:

  • Line 25a is for employees who receive W-2s. Copy the amount from box 2 of W-2.
  • Line 25b is for non-employees who receive 1099s. The amount withheld is shown in box 4 of your 1099.
  • Line 25c is for all other taxes withheld. For example, reported on box 4 of Form W-2G.
  • Line 25d is a total federal income tax withheld.
  • Line 26 is to report the total amount of estimated payments (Form 1040ES) and the amount applied from the previous return.
  • Line 33 is the total payments made to the IRS during the tax year. If you don’t have any other payments and refundable credits, this is the same amount as on 25d.

Jane reports withholdings made by her employer and her bank on lines 25a and 25b. It’s $4,400 and $5 accordingly. So she adds these amounts and writes $4,405 on lines 25d and 33.

filling out 1040 form example steps 6 and 7

Step 8: Determine Your Refund or Amount Owed

Subtract the total tax liability (24) from total payments (33) to determine whether you should get a refund or owe some taxes. 

If you have an overpayment, specify whether you need the IRS to issue a refund or if you would like to apply this amount to the next return.

If you owe something, you might also see the instructions to calculate the penalties you should pay along with the taxes you owe.

In this example, Jane gets a $161 refund and would like to receive it in her savings account.

Step 9: Sign and Submit the Form

After completing all the necessary sections, review the form for accuracy. Sign and date the form once you are satisfied that everything is correct. If filing jointly, your spouse must also sign. To download the 1040 form click the Done button.

filling out form 1040 example steps 8 and 9

Finally, submit the completed tax return to the IRS by mailing it or electronically filing it through an approved e-file provider.

Organizations, working with 1040 form in 2022 - 2023


Related Form 1040 Tax Documents

IRS 1040 Form Resources

How to Sign Fillable 1040 Form Using PDFLiner?

Step 1: Click on the sign field at the end of the second page.
Step 2: Choose a signing method — for example, type.
Step 3: Create your signature by typing your name and choosing a font.

signing form 1040 steps 1, 2 and 3
Step 4: Click the Sign button.

Form Versions

2021 Fillable Form 1040 for 2021 tax year Fill Out Form
2020 Fillable Form 1040 for 2020 tax year Fill Out Form
2019 Fillable Form 1040 for 2019 tax year Fill Out Form
2018 Fillable Form 1040 for 2018 tax year Fill Out Form
2017 Fillable Form 1040 for 2017 tax year Fill Out Form

FAQ: Let’s Go Through Form 1040 Popular Questions

  • Where to file form 1040?

    Taxpayers can file 1040 electronically. To file it by regular mail, you’ll have to check the instructions for the form. There are the list of addresses on the last page, where you can select the address required according to your state of residence.

  • Where can I get a blank 1040 form?

    There are 2 ways of getting a blank 1040 form:

    1. Download the fillable one on the official Internal Revenue Service website
    2. On most PDF editors. For example, PDFLiner provides its users with access to the online library with all kinds of templates. We provide the latest versions of tax forms. You can find and fill out 1040 there.
  • Where to find child support on a 1040 form?

    You won’t find it on your 1040 since it isn’t there. You don’t need to report child support payments on 1040. In fact, neither the payer nor the recipient does not have to include child support payments in their tax forms.

  • What is line 37 on a 1040 form?

    Line 37 in printable IRS form 1040 is where you have to fill the amount you owe. To calculate this amount, you’ll have to subtract your total payments from total tax (lines 24, 33).

  • Where can I find my income tax on 1040?

    To calculate the amount of your income tax, it's necessary to subtract the number on line 46 of the Schedule 2 from line 13 of the 1040.

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