The standard Form 1040 (or “long-form”) is the basic individual income tax return form used by United States citizens and residents to report their previous year’s income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although there are a host of variations that are available to people with given circumstances, the standard Form 1040 is the most common one used by most people making itemized deductions and trying to minimize the amount owed to the IRS or maximize the amount to be returned.
As is the case with many government forms used by the general public today, there is a concerted push to move away from physical paper and replace it with electronic filing. In 2010 the IRS is offering three different ways of filing your Form 1040 electronically.
The first option available in 2010 is the IRS e-file system. This option is provided by a myriad of professional tax preparers and is also an integrated element of many popular “off the self” tax software suites. You can file the full Form 1040 and all of its associated schedules in this way and receive a speedy confirmation from the IRS that your return has been received.
It is worth shopping around because although some providers charge for the e-file service, it is also widely available for free. More comprehensive information can be found by visiting the IRS website at www.irs.gov/efile.
The second option is to use the FreeFile option at no cost and directly from the IRS as opposed to going through a service provider or buying a software suite. FreeFile is only available to filers that had an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $57,000 in 2009, but if you meet this condition there is no reason not to use this service.
FreeFile is available in both English and Spanish and can be accessed directly from the IRS website: www.irs.gov.
The Free File Fillable Forms program is another free option that can be accessed directly from the IRS website. This is more for people who are comfortable with filling out their own tax returns. Unlike FreeFile (see above), there is no income conditions to use the service and the Free File Fillable Forms system includes almost all of the most common forms used for filing individual returns.
Not the mention the online interface also does the basic math calculations automatically, making the process even quicker and easier for users. As is the case with the FreeFile option, this service can be found directly at the IRS website, www.irs.gov
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