How To Assemble Your 1040 Income Tax Return

If you are filing an old tax return, then unfortunately, it must be sent to the Internal Revenue Service via paper (versus electronically).  As we’ve become accustomed to E-Filing returns, sometimes it seems that the nuances of assembling a paper return have become something of a lost art (even for us practitioners).  The IRS processes paper tax returns in a specific manner, but don’t worry about decoding their system.  After you’ve finished preparing your return, it will take you just a few minutes (by following the steps below) to have your tax forms organized and ready for mailing/processing.

Step 1
Check your return for completeness and errors.  We recommend reviewing the following:

  1. All of your personal information (e.g. name, address, etc)
  2. Be sure your Social Security number is entered correctly
  3. Ensure only one filing status is checked
  4. Ensure that an allowable exemption is entered for each dependent you are claiming
  5. Ensure that you’ve included a daytime phone number

Step 2
Sign your return. The IRS won’t accept your return for processing unless it’s signed. If you’re married and file a joint return, both of you must sign it. The person whose name appears first on the tax return must sign in the “Your Signature” box, and the spouse listed second signs in the “Spouse’s Signature” box.

Step 3
Prepare your refund or payment information. If you’re due a refund and want direct deposit, include your bank account information in the “Refund” section above the signature boxes. If you owe taxes, prepare Form 1040-V, the voucher used to make a payment.  Just make sure not to staple your payment or voucher to the return.

Step 4
Gather your tax forms and schedules for assembly. Place you