How to Organize Your Taxes and Money

What Tax Forms You Need

Pile of tax forms.
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Before you start the tax preparation process, you need the correct forms from the Internal Revenue Service.

Before filing your taxes, you need the correct forms from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here is a list of some of the most commonly used tax forms. Everyone won't need all of these forms, so pick and choose based on your financial situation. You can download these forms (and others) from the Forms and Publications section of the IRS Web site.

As long as you meet the minimum recommended income, which is $9,350 for an individual filer and $18,700 for a couple filing jointly (under age 65), you'll need to fill out:

Form 1040/1040A: U.S. Individual Tax Return for Employees and the Self-employed
Form 1040EZ:
Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependants

Here are the other forms you might need:

If you: You'll need this form:
Invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and/or get interest from banking accountsForm 1040, Schedule B - Interest and Ordinary Dividends
Form 1040, Schedule D - Capital Gains and Losses
Own a small businessForm 1040, Schedule C - Profit or Loss from Business
Form 1040, Schedule C-EZ - Net Profit from Business
Are self-employedForm 1040, Schedule SE - Self-Employment Tax
Form 1099 MISC - Miscellaneous Income
Own rental property, estates, trusts, partnerships, or S corporationsForm 1040, Schedule E - Supplemental Income and Loss
Own a farmForm 1040, Schedule F - Profit or Loss from Farming
Employ workers in your household (such as a housekeeper)
Form 1040, Schedule H - Household Employment Taxes
Are retired and are receiving funds from an IRA, pension plan, annuity, or profit-sharing plan
Form 1099-R

The following forms are for deductions and credits:

Form 1040, Schedule AItemized Deductions
Form 1040, Schedule EICEarned Income Credit
Form 1040, Schedule RCredit for the Elderly or Disabled
Form 1040, Schedule MMaking Work Pay Credit
Form 8812Additional Child Tax Credit
Form 8863Education Credits
Form 8917Tuition and Fees Deduction

If you haven't organized well enough and are running behind on your taxes, you can file Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return).

If you need to itemize your tax deductions, you have a bit more work to do. Find out what you need to round up on the next page.