Form 1040 is the most complex of the three major individual tax forms. However, it offers many tax breaks not available if you file a simpler form, like Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A. You can report all types of income, expenses, and credits on a 1040.
If you receive these types of income, you must file a 1040:
Tips you didn't report to your employer
Income you receive as one of these:
Partner in a partnership
Shareholder in an S corporation
Beneficiary of an estate or trust
Insurance policy dividends more than the premiums you paid
Interest you received or paid on securities transferred between interest payment dates
Distributions from a foreign trust
You also must file a 1040 if any of these apply:
You qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. To learn more, see the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion tax tip.
You qualify to exclude income from sources in Puerto Rico or American Samoa since you were a bona fide resident of either.
You have an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) adjustment on stock you acquired from exercising an incentive stock option.
You owe excise tax on insider stock compensation from an expatriated corporation.
You're reporting an original issue discount (OID) amount that doesn't match the amount on Form 1099-OID. To learn more, see Publication 1212: List of Original Issue Discount Instruments at www.irs.gov.
You owe household employment taxes. To learn more, see Schedule H instructions.
You're eligible for the health coverage credit. To learn more, see the Form 8885 instructions.
You're claiming the adoption credit or you received employer-provided adoption benefits. To learn more, see the Adoption Expenses tax tip.
You're a debtor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed after Oct. 16, 2005.
Your employer didn’t withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your pay.
You had a qualified health savings account (HSA) funding distribution from your IRA.
You have a loss attributable to a federally declared disaster area.
You’re repaying the first-time homebuyer credit.
To learn more, see Publication 525: Taxable and Nontaxable Income at www.irs.gov.