Form 1040 is the most complex of the three major individual tax forms. However, it offers many tax breaks you can’t get 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:
- Self-employment income
- 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 that are more than the premiums you paid
- Interest you received or paid on securities that were 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 got by exercising an incentive stock option.
- You owe excise tax on insider stock compensation you got 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 premium tax credit. To learn more, see the Form 8962 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.