When tax time rolls around, what federal tax forms might you receive and what might you need to file? Here are some of the most common tax forms.
The tax-filing process ranks up there with the root canal as something most of us dread. But a little organization and planning can help make filing those federal tax forms a bit more palatable.
Want to save yourself a bit of grief when the next tax season rolls around? Keep an eye out for those bits of paper—and more often these days, digital documents—and be ready to file what needs to be filed. Asking these questions can help:
Around February, you should start receiving the tax forms you need to prepare and complete your federal and state tax returns. These forms should either come in the mail or be sent to you electronically.
What forms might you receive in the mail? If you’re a full-time employee, look for a W-2. Expect a K-1 if you’re involved in a partnership. Own a house and have a mortgage? Watch for the 1098 form, which will list the interest paid.
Expect a 1099 form if you’re an independent contractor, or if you had a refund from a state investment. If you have a brokerage account, you might see a consolidated 1099, which contains all reportable income and transactions for the year. Depending on your account activity, yours may include any or all of the items in the table.
If you’re saving for retirement in a 401(k) or 403(b), the amount you saved will typically show up on your W-2 rather than in a separate form.
Have an individual retirement account (IRA)? Whether it’s a traditional IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Roth IRA, you may receive a Form 5498 each year. However, you don’t need to worry about the tax forms for the first three types—your IRA trustee or issuer is required to file them with the IRS.
There are four types of 1040 forms. You’ll only need to fill out one of them, but which one?
If you’ve ever filled out a 1040, you know about all those schedules, each with a different letter or series of letters (and some with numbers). There’s no cute song to help you remember them, but here’s an overview.
Schedule A forms are for itemized deductions—property tax, charitable donations, and such. But fewer people choose to itemize these days.
Beginning with the 2018 tax year, the standard deduction doubled to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. So, many people who used to itemize deductions have begun taking the standard deduction. The Tax Foundation estimated the percentage of filers itemizing dropped by more than half—from 31% to less than 14%—due to the change.
Yes, you’ll still need to fill out a 1040 federal tax form, but you’re less likely to need a Schedule A form.
For the 2020 tax year, even if you take the standard deduction, you can still get a tax break for qualified charitable contributions—up to $300—thanks to the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). (Learn more about the 2020 changes here.)
Remember that consolidated 1099 above? If you have taxable interest and dividends of more than $1,500, you’ll need to fill out a Schedule B. And Schedule D is where you’ll list capital gains and losses from trading stocks, bonds, or other securities. Remember, if you lost up to $3,000, you may be able to deduct that from your taxes.
And we haven’t forgotten about Schedule C. Small businesses and gig-economy people use it to list their profits, losses, and all expenses related to their business.
Need a little more time to file? Then you’ll want to use Form 4868, which gets you an extension until October. But file it by the April 15 deadline so you’re not hit with fees for filing late. It’s also important to note that using Form 4868 may automatically file an extension with your state authorities—but not in all states, so check to be sure.
And remember: An extension doesn’t buy you extra time to pay up if you owe money to the IRS. You still need to estimate what you owe and send it.
You might never prefer tax filing over a trip to the dentist, but with a little planning and preparation, it might not leave such a bad taste in your mouth. Need a hand keeping it all straight? Download our 2020 Tax Checklist. Or see figure 1 for a handy summary of this article.
TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice. We suggest you consult with a tax-planning professional with regard to your personal circumstances.
Refer to this handy checklist to help you gather the information you need to prepare your 2020 income tax return.
The key to filing taxes is being prepared. TD Ameritrade provides information and resources to help you navigate tax season.
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