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Luke White
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Download 2020 IRS Form 1040: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


How to Download 2020 IRS Form 1040




If you are a U.S. citizen or resident who earned income in 2020, you may need to file a federal income tax return using Form 1040. This form is the standard way to report your income, deductions, credits, and taxes for the year. In this article, we will show you how to download Form 1040 and its instructions, how to fill it out correctly, how to file it with the IRS, and how to avoid common mistakes. We will also explain the benefits of filing Form 1040 and answer some frequently asked questions.


What is Form 1040 and Why Do You Need It?




Form 1040 Explained




Form 1040 is a two-page form that summarizes your income, adjustments, deductions, credits, taxes, and refund or payment for the tax year. It also includes information about your filing status, dependents, health coverage, virtual currency transactions, foreign accounts, and stimulus payments. You may need to attach additional schedules or forms to Form 1040 depending on your situation.




download 2020 irs form 1040



Filing Requirements for Form 1040




Generally, you must file a federal income tax return if your gross income for the year was at least the amount shown on the filing requirements table in the instructions for Form 1040. The table varies by filing status, age, and type of income. However, even if you are not required to file a tax return, you may still want to file one if you are eligible for a refund or a stimulus payment.


How to Download Form 1040 and Instructions




Download from the IRS Website




The easiest way to download Form 1040 and its instructions is from the IRS website. You can find the current and prior year versions of Form 1040 . You can also download other related forms and schedules from the same page. You can view, print, or save the PDF files on your computer or mobile device.


Download from Other Online Sources




You can also download Form 1040 and its instructions from other online sources, such as tax software providers, online tax preparation services, or third-party websites. However, you should make sure that the source is reliable and up-to-date before using it. You should also compare the downloaded form and instructions with the official ones from the IRS website to ensure accuracy.


Request a Paper Copy by Mail or Phone




If you prefer to have a paper copy of Form 1040 and its instructions mailed to you, you can request one from the IRS by mail or phone. To order by mail, you can fill out and send Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to the address shown in the form. You can also write a letter with your name, address, Social Security number, phone number, and the forms and publications you need. To order by phone, you can call 1-800-829-3676 and follow the prompts. You should allow 10 business days for your request to be processed.


How to Fill Out Form 1040




Gather Your Documents and Information




Before you start filling out Form 1040, you should gather all the documents and information you need to complete it. These may include:


  • Your Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter



  • Your W-2 forms from your employers



  • Your 1099 forms from your banks, brokers, payers, or other sources of income



  • Your receipts, invoices, statements, or records of your expenses, deductions, or credits



  • Your bank account number and routing number if you want to receive your refund by direct deposit or pay your tax by electronic funds withdrawal



  • Your prior year tax return for reference



Choose Your Filing Status and Dependents




The next step is to choose your filing status and list your dependents on Form 1040. Your filing status determines your tax rates, standard deduction, and eligibility for certain deductions and credits. You can choose from five filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. You should choose the one that best suits your situation and gives you the lowest tax liability.


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Your dependents are the people you support financially and who meet certain tests. You can claim them on Form 1040 to reduce your taxable income and qualify for certain benefits. You can claim two types of dependents: qualifying children and qualifying relatives. You should list their names, Social Security numbers or ITINs, and relationship to you on Form 1040.


Report Your Income and Adjustments




After choosing your filing status and dependents, you should report your income and adjustments on Form 1040. Your income is the money you received from various sources during the year, such as wages, salaries, tips, interest, dividends, business income, capital gains, pensions, annuities, unemployment compensation, alimony, social security benefits, etc. You should report your income on lines 1 through 8 of Form 1040 and attach any required schedules or forms.


Your adjustments are the amounts you can subtract from your income to lower your adjusted gross income (AGI). Your AGI is the amount of income that is subject to tax after adjustments. Some common adjustments are student loan interest deduction, educator expenses deduction, IRA deduction, health savings account deduction, self-employment tax deduction, etc. You should report your adjustments on lines 10 through 22 of Form 1040.


Claim Your Deductions and Credits




Once you have calculated your AGI, you can claim your deductions and credits on Form 1040. Your deductions are the amounts you can subtract from your AGI to lower your taxable income. Your taxable income is the amount of income that is subject to tax after deductions. You can choose between two types of deductions: standard deduction or itemized deductions. The standard deduction is a fixed amount based on your filing status that reduces your taxable income without requiring any proof of expenses. The itemized deductions are specific expenses that you can deduct if they exceed the standard deduction and if you have the necessary records to support them. Some common itemized deductions are mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable contributions, medical expenses, etc. You should report your deductions on lines 24 through 38 of Form 1040 and attach Schedule A if you itemize.


Your credits are the amounts you can subtract from your tax to lower your tax liability or increase your refund. Your tax liability is the amount of tax you owe after deductions and before credits. Your refund is the amount of money you get back from the IRS if your tax payments exceed your tax liability. Some common credits are child tax credit, earned income credit, education credit, child and dependent care credit, retirement savings contribution credit, etc. You should report your credits on lines 40 through 46 of Form 1040 and attach any required schedules or forms.


Calculate Your Tax and Refund or Payment




The final step is to calculate your tax and refund or payment on Form 1040. Your tax is the amount of federal income tax you owe for the year based on your taxable income and filing status. You can use the tax tables or the tax computation worksheet in the instructions for Form 1040 to find your tax. You should report your tax on line 47 of Form 1040.


Your refund or payment is the difference between your tax and your total payments. Your total payments are the amount of money you paid or had withheld for federal income tax during the year, plus any refundable credits or additional taxes. You should report your total payments on lines 48 through 54 of Form 1040.


If your total payments are more than your tax, you have a refund and you can choose how to receive it. You can have it deposited directly into your bank accou


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