IRS Form 1040 in 2024: what is it, instructions, how to fill it out and where to apply

Form 1040 remains the cornerstone of the personal income tax system. Making sure you file correctly is vital.


Individual taxpayers are typically expected to submit their personal and financial information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when filing their tax returns. This is done using a Form 1040. 

What is an IRS Form 1040? 

An Individual Tax Return Form 1040 is a form with which individual taxpayers report their income, claim tax credits and deductions, and determine the amount owed in taxes or amount of refund due. 

Taxpayers may need to provide additional details about their income, deductions, and credits when filing an IRS Form 1040. This is done using lettered Schedules that serve different purposes and pass distinct information. 

As always with taxes, consider consulting a professional to deal with your personal situation. The following is general information only.

Instructions on how to fill out a Form 1040

Certain personal and financial information is required when filing tax returns on your Form 1040. Here’s how to submit the correct details and properly fill out the form: 

  • Your personal Information: This includes your full name, spouse’s full name (if filing jointly), Social Security Number, and your spouse’s Social Security Number (if filing jointly). 
  • Filing status: Indicate if you are single, Head of Household, married and filing jointly, married and filing separately, or a Qualifying Surviving Spouse. 
  • Digital assets: Pick Yes or No if you received, sold, or exchanged any digital assets in the 2023 tax year 
  • Standard deductions: Indicate if another taxpayer can claim standard deductions with you or your spouse (if filing jointly) as a qualifying dependent. 
  • Dependents:  This is the section where uou can add your qualifying child or qualifying dependent to your income tax return. You can add up to 4 dependents. Fill in their names, Social Security Numbers, and your relationship with them. 
  • Income: This section records every necessary financial detail about you. Fill in your earned income, pensions, Social Security Benefits, standard and itemized deductions, and other financial information requested. You can calculate your total income, adjusted gross income, and taxable income from the information you provide here. Attach Form(s) W-2 here—and Forms W-2G and 1099-R if tax was withheld. 
  • Tax and credits: Fill in the required information in this section to calculate your total tax due. You can also claim your Child Tax Credit here. 
  • Payments: This section calculates your federal income tax withheld from your Form(s) W-2 and 1099. You can report any estimated tax payments made during the year, and claim any refundable credit. 
  • Refunds:  If the amount you get as total payments is more than the amount you get as total tax, you will be eligible for a tax refund of the amount you overpaid. Input your account number and routing number to be refunded via direct deposit.  
  • Amount you owe: If your total payments are less than your total tax, what is left is the amount you owe. 

You can choose to allow a third party to discuss your income tax return with the IRS. However, you will be required to input a Personal Identification Number (PIN) sent beforehand by the IRS. 

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