Do you need to file a 1065? What about an 8828 or a 1099-DIV? Tax forms quickly get confusing. Here’s a breakdown of the most important ones to know based on your circumstances, plus a look into federal withholdings.
Tax forms for the individual
If you’re alive and breathing… file Form 1040.
This is your basic federal tax form, reporting income, claims, and deductions. Depending on your situation, you may also need to file one or more schedules:
- If you want to itemize deductions like charitable donations… file Schedule A.
- If you have taxable interest and dividends over $1,500… file Schedule B.
- If you’re a freelancer reporting additional income or deducting expenses… file Schedule C.
- If you trade stocks or bonds and need to report capital gains and losses… file Schedule D.
If you earn income through a job… file a W-2.
Your W-2 comes through the mail from your employer with income information for you to report.
If you’ve earned any other income… file Form 1099.
1099s cover income earned outside your employer. The main types include:
- 1099-DIV (for dividends and distributions)
- 1099-INT (for interest earned on investments)
- 1099-OID (for bonds or notes bought under face value)
- 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC (for most everything else)
Note: Real estate agents considered self-employed should file Form 1099-MISC.
Small (or medium) business filings
Your company structure largely determines what tax forms you need to file.
- If you run a sole proprietorship or partnership (or an LLC filing as a sole proprietorship or partnership)… file Form 1040. These business structures use an individual income tax return. If you’re a sole business owner, add Schedule C.
- If you run a partnership… file Form 1065. This is the basic information return for a partnership.
- If you run a C corporation… file Form 1120. This is your U.S. corporation income tax return.
- If you run an S corporation (or an LLC filing as an S corporation)… file Form 1120-S. This reports the standard tax information for S corporations.
- If you run a tax-exempt organization, charitable trust, or section 527 political organization… File Form 990. Form 990 shows the IRS that your organization is exempt from income taxes. Watch out for important schedules that may need to accompany this form.
- If you’re a business with employees… file Form 940 and a W-2 for each employee. All employers need to file Form 940 for contributing federal unemployment tax.
If you’re a sole proprietor, partner, or S corporation expecting to owe more than $1,000 in taxes… File Form 1040-ES. This form calculates estimated taxes, required by the IRS at this earning level.
If you’re a C corporation expecting to owe more than $500 in taxes… file Form 1120-W. For C corporations, estimated taxes are required at this level.
Forms for business deductions
- If you’re a small business owner writing off home office purchases… use Form 8829.
- If you’re a sole proprietor, partner, or corporation with over $500 in non-cash charitable gifts… file Form 8283 to claim that deduction.
What to know: federal withholdings
Each year, federal withholding tax tables detail the amount you as an employer must withhold from employee paychecks to account for federal income taxes and more.
You can find the 2023 withholding tax tables here. Which table you use depends on whether your W-4 is from before 2019, and whether your business uses an automated or manual system. In addition to tax assistance, SME CPAs can help your business with payroll and accounting support throughout the year.
Remember your deadlines
- January 16, 2024: Fourth quarter estimated taxes are due.
- January 31, 2024: Employers must send all W-2s (and some 1099s).
- April 1, 2024: If you turned 73 in 2023, your required minimum distribution is due.
- April 15, 2024: File your taxes! (Or request an extension.) First quarter estimated taxes are also due.
Get ready for tax season with SME CPAs
This list will get you on track with the right forms to file and when. But what about determining the best tax strategies for you or your company? Not only can SME CPAs provide a smooth filing experience, we’ll help you reach your lowest tax liability in the process. Reach out for assistance today.