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The Ultimate Guide to Download 2020 Form 1040 and File Your Tax Return


How to Download 2020 Form 1040




If you are a U.S. citizen or resident who earned income in 2020, you may need to file a federal income tax return using Form 1040. This form is used to report your income, deductions, credits, and taxes for the year. In this article, we will explain what Form 1040 is, who needs to file it, what are the changes for 2020, how to download it from the IRS website, how to fill it out, and how to submit it.


What is Form 1040?




Form 1040 is the main form that individual taxpayers use to file their federal income tax return. It has several schedules and worksheets that you may need to attach depending on your situation. You can find all the forms and instructions on the IRS website.




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Who needs to file Form 1040?




You need to file Form 1040 if you are a U.S. citizen or resident who had any of the following in 2020:


  • Gross income of at least $12,400 if you are single or married filing separately, $24,800 if you are married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er), or $18,650 if you are head of household.



  • Self-employment income of at least $400.



  • Net earnings from self-employment of at least $108.28 if you are a church employee.



  • Unearned income of more than $1,100 if you are under age 19 (or under age 24 if a full-time student) and your parents can claim you as a dependent.



  • Received advance payments of the premium tax credit or health coverage tax credit.



  • Owe any special taxes, such as alternative minimum tax, household employment tax, additional Medicare tax, net investment income tax, etc.



  • Received distributions from a health savings account (HSA), Archer medical savings account (MSA), or Medicare Advantage MSA.



  • Had a health care individual responsibility payment for yourself or another person.



  • Received a coronavirus economic impact payment that was less than your recovery rebate credit.



  • Have a foreign bank account or trust that you need to report.



You may also want to file Form 1040 if you are eligible for any credits or refunds, such as earned income credit, child tax credit, education credit, etc.


What are the changes in Form 1040 for 2020?




The IRS has made some changes in Form 1040 for 2020 to reflect the new tax laws and relief measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the changes are:


  • The standard deduction amounts have increased to $12,400 for single or married filing separately, $24,800 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er), and $18,650 for head of household.



  • The recovery rebate credit is a new line on page 2 of Form 1040. It allows you to claim any additional amount of the coronavirus economic impact payment that you did not receive in advance.



  • The charitable contributions deduction is a new line on page 1 of Form 1040. It allows you to deduct up to $300 of cash donations to qualified charities if you take the standard deduction.The virtual currency question is a new line on page 1 of Form 1040. It asks you if you received, sold, exchanged, or otherwise acquired any financial interest in any virtual currency in 2020.



  • The Form 1040-SR for seniors has been discontinued. Instead, there is a larger font option for Form 1040 that you can use if you are age 65 or older.



How to download Form 1040 from the IRS website?




One of the easiest ways to get Form 1040 and its instructions is to download them from the IRS website. Here are the steps to do that:


Step 1: Go to the IRS website




Visit the IRS website at [www.irs.gov] and click on the "Forms & Instructions" tab at the top of the page. You will see a list of featured forms and publications that you can access online.


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Step 2: Choose the form type and year




Scroll down to the section that says "Form 1040 and 1040-SR" and click on the link that says "U.S. Individual Income Tax Return". You will be taken to a page that shows the current and prior year versions of Form 1040 and its schedules. Choose the year 2020 and click on the link that says "Form 1040 PDF" or "Form 1040 (Large Print) PDF" depending on your preference. You can also click on the link that says "Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR PDF" to download the instructions for the form.


Step 3: Download or print the form and instructions




You will see a PDF file of Form 1040 or its instructions open in your browser. You can save it to your computer by clicking on the download icon at the top right corner of the screen. You can also print it by clicking on the print icon next to the download icon. Alternatively, you can right-click on the link and choose "Save link as" or "Print target" from the menu.


How to fill out Form 1040?




Once you have downloaded or printed Form 1040 and its instructions, you can start filling it out. You will need some information and documents to complete the form, such as your Social Security number, your income statements (such as W-2s, 1099s, etc.), your receipts and records of your deductions and credits, your bank account information (if you want direct deposit of your refund), etc. Here are the main sections of Form 1040 and what you need to do in each one:


Basic information




This section is on page 1 of Form 1040 and asks for your personal information, such as your name, address, filing status, dependents, etc. You need to fill in this section carefully and accurately, as it affects your tax liability and eligibility for certain benefits. You also need to check the appropriate boxes if you or someone on your return is blind, over age 65, or had health care coverage in 2020.


Income and adjustments




This section is on page 2 of Form 1040 and asks for your income from various sources, such as wages, salaries, tips, interest, dividends, business income, retirement income, unemployment compensation, etc. You need to report all your income for the year, even if you did not receive a form or statement for it. You also need to subtract certain adjustments from your income, such as educator expenses, IRA deductions, student loan interest deductions, etc. You can find more details about these adjustments in Schedule 1 and its instructions.


Standard deduction or itemized deductions




This section is on page 2 of Form 1040 and asks you to choose between taking the standard deduction or itemizing your deductions. The standard deduction is a fixed amount that reduces your taxable income based on your filing status. The itemized deductions are specific expenses that you can deduct from your income if they exceed a certain threshold. Some examples of itemized deductions are mortgage interest, state and local taxes, medical expenses, charitable contributions, etc. You can find more details about these deductions in Schedule A and its instructions.


Tax, credits, and payments




This section is on page 2 of Form 1040 and asks you to calculate your tax liability, claim any credits that you are eligible for, and report any payments that you have made or received during the year. Some examples of credits are child tax credit, earned income credit, education credit, etc. Some examples of payments are federal income tax withheld from your paychecks or other sources, estimated tax payments, excess social security tax withheld, etc. You can find more details about these credits and payments in Schedule 3 and its instructions.


Refund or amount you owe




This section is on page 2 of Form 1040 and asks you to compare your total tax liability with your total payments and determine if you are due a refund or if you owe any additional tax. If you are due a refund, you can choose to receive it by direct deposit,


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