Tax guide

What is a tax return?

A tax return is a report of four main pieces of information: how much you earned last year, how much taxes you owed last year, how much taxes you paid, and where you stand after applying any credits and deductions. If you didn’t pay enough taxes, now you pay what was left. If you paid too much tax, the government gives you back the excess.

An individual tax return is a filing obligation administered by the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and most state governments: It’s used to calculate and reconcile your tax liability for the prior tax year (when you file your taxes in 2020, for example, you’re reporting 2019’s information). In the process, you report all income amounts and claim available tax breaks using a series of government-prescribed forms.

Filing a tax return each spring ensures that you’ve paid enough tax over the course of the year. If you’ve overpaid your tax liability, you will have any extra money returned to you in a refund. If you’ve underpaid, you will owe the additional tax to the government by the prescribed due date, usually the 15th day of the 4th month of the filing year, or April 15.

Your main tax return form will be the Form 1040—any other schedules you need can be filled out and attached as needed. When you file with 1040.com, we’ll automatically choose the right form for your tax situation.

Still have questions?

You got it. We’re always here to help.

Here's what we found in our blog for file online with 1040.com:

Keeping You Safe with e-File

E-filing is the safest way to handle your taxes. Here's why.

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Help Before You File

Confused about e-filing your taxes? Speed up your return filing with these tax tips.

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Help Before You File

Some common mistakes on income tax returns - and how to avoid them.

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4 Things to Know About Online Banking

Heard the online banking buzz? Though traditional banks have their strengths, let's see what this online bank trend has to offer.

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How e-File Protects your Tax Refund

Filing your taxes online is actually the safest way to handle your tax return, according to the IRS. Here's why!

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Make Personal Finances Part of Your Online Routine

With the advent of online banking, it ought to be easier than ever to monitor the status of our personal finances. No surprises, right? According to a recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, that's not the case for a significant number of taxpayers. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for the AICPA, found that more than half of the young adults (18 - 34 years old) they checked their social media accounts at least once a day (7.5 times was the average). The downside? Only 17 percent of them checked their bank accounts daily.

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What Do Clean Water and Online Taxes Have in Common?

Both 1040.com and Healing Waters International take the basics to the next level. Check out our video to see how.

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Calculate Your Health Care Costs

Use our handy online calculators to see what your costs will be - and what your costs will be for health insurance - and what your penalty might be if you don't have it.

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It’s not too good to be true. See what others are saying about filing taxes online with 1040.com