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Breakdown of Tax Forms: What Do They All Mean?

Every individual and business that pays taxes in the U.S. needs a tax identification number. U.S. citizens and applicable residents can apply for a social security number. Foreign nationals who do not have or qualify for a social security number need an ITIN, or Individual Tax Identification Number. Businesses generally need an Employer Identification Number, or EIN.

Individual Tax Forms 

Most individuals will need to file income taxes with Form 1040. There are different versions depending on your circumstances:

  • Form 1040 – This is the original and known as the long form. It is usually used by those who need to claim several expenses, credits, deductions and other adjustments to their income
  • Form 1040A – This is known as the short form, and it is less complex than the full 1040 form.
  • Form 1040EZ – Those who are single or joint filers with no dependents can fill out this form.
  • Form 1040NR – Nonresident aliens who engaged in any business or received income in the U.S. must fill out the Form 1040NR.
  • Form 1040NR-EZ– Like the 1040EZ, this form is just a simplified version of the 1040NR for those who cannot claim dependents and have a more simple tax return.

Additional Tax Forms to Know 

There are other tax forms you may need to know. This includes:

  • W-2 and W-4: You fill out your W-4 when you are employed, and at the end of the tax year you receive a W-2 with the information about your tax withholdings so you can fill out your tax return.
  • IRS Form W7 – This is the form to apply for an ITIN
  • Form 1099 – There are many different versions of a 1099 form. This is used for different types of additional income. The most common is 1099-MISC, which is for independent contractors.

You may find that you have additional forms to fill out, especially if you run a business. For more questions, you can discuss it with the IRS or a certified third party. If you need an ITIN, you can also apply through a trusted third-party agent.