2009 Federal Tax Instructions for Form 1040A

| February 16, 2010

Each year taxpayers must file Federal income tax returns. The process can be overwhelming if you don’t approach it correctly. Filing taxes is like eating an elephant. The only way to get it done is to do it one step (or one bite) at a time. If you’re about to file Federal form 1040a, you must have the right instructions and take it one section at a time. Form 1040a is a simple two page tax form that allows taxpayers to report their income to the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Qualify to use form 1040a. If you earn over $100,000, itemize your deductions, are reporting self-employment earnings or are reporting income from the sale of a property, you are not eligible to use form 1040a. You most probably would need to use Federal tax form 1040 instead.
  • Gather all of your tax documentation. It’s easier to complete tax form 1040a when you have all of the necessary documentation in one spot. You’ll need your W-2’s, 1099’s and any other tax documentation mailed to you from your employer or financial institutions.
  • Complete the demographic information. It’s important to correctly insert your name, address, city, state, zip and Social Security number for you and your spouse (if filing jointly). One typo in this section could possibly send your refund check to someone else.
  • Insert filing status and list exemptions. Federal tax form 1040a lists 5 filing statuses from which you may only choose one. After selecting your filing status, list your exemptions, if any. Make sure to include the Social Security number for each exemption. If you don’t have the Social Security number you may not claim that person as an exemption.
  • List your income. Here’s where your W-2’s and other tax documents are needed. Take your total income and insert it on the appropriate lines on 1040a. For example, your salary/wages/tips on line 7, taxable interest on line 8a, IRA distributions on 11a, etc. Total your income on line 15
  • Calculate your adjusted gross income by deducting allowable expenses. Expenses such as tuition and fees, student loan interest and any other expense allowed. Total the expenses and list them on line 20. Subtract line 20 from line 15 to get your adjusted gross income.
  • Reduce your tax liability by deducting allowable tax credits and payments. This is the section of form 1040a where you get to list all of your deductible tax credits such as itemized or standardized deductions and total them on line 37. Then list the taxes you’ve already paid (taken from the withholding taxes from your W-2) and total all tax prepayments on 44.
  • Compare what you should have paid to what you have paid. The two critical entries are line 37 (total tax) and line 44 (total payments). If line 44 is greater than 37, you overpaid and are due a refund. If the opposite is true, then you owe the IRS money.
  • Sign and date form 1040a. Not signing and dating your form is tantamount to not filing. Make sure not to forget this important step.


Give yourself ample time to complete and review tax form 1040a. Reviewing the form will help you to correct errors.


Federal Tax Form 1040A
Federal Tax For 1040A Instructions

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Category: Form 1040A, Tax Forms

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Felicia A. Williams is a wife, mother, freelance writer and owner of Tidbits About Money.

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