Take Charge of Your Income Taxes

Be prepared for your taxes with our guide to understanding tax forms, the lingo, tax credits and our tips for finding deductions that can save you money.

File the Right Tax Forms

Don’t know which papers to fill out? Follow this guide to fill out the right tax forms!

Make sure you file the correct form

SITUATION #1: I don’t have any special expenses that add up to more than the standard deduction. 

USE: 1040EZ

This form is the simplest way to file your taxes only if your combined income is less than $100,000 and you don’t have any dependents or qualify for any income adjustments, itemized deductions or credits.


SITUATION #2: I qualify for some adjustments (above-the-line deductions), but itemizing doesn’t make sense for me. 

USE: 1040A

With this form you can take the standard deduction, plus it provides 12 possible adjustments that reduce your taxes without itemizing.


SITUATION #3: My deductions add up to more than the standard deduction.


You should get the money that’s due you by filling out the longer 1040 form. There are more adjustments available to taxpayers on the 1040 than there are on the 1040A. Fill out your itemized deductions on Schedule A and file it along with Form 1040.


SITUATION #4: My personal deductions don’t add up to more than the standard deduction, but I do have a part-time side business cleaning houses.


Whether or not you itemize or take the standard deduction, you must fill out Form 1040 if you are claiming a business, even if it doesn’t show a profit. Record business expenses and your final profit or loss on Schedule C. If you made a profit of $400 or more, you must compute Schedule SE to calculate your self-employment tax. Report this amount in the Other Taxes section of Form 1040.