While the 1040 is one of the most common tax forms — if you ask almost any tax-paying American, you’ll likely see a glimmer of recognition — it’s also deceptively complex. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 1040 instructions PDF document is over 100 pages.
Those complex Form 1040 instructions can be an especially large headache for small business owners and the self-employed. When the end of the tax year rolls around, the process of trying to figure out taxes can be frustrating, overwhelming and time-consuming.
The goal for most is to get in, get out and move on as quickly as possible. However, slowing down before you start the process of filing federal tax forms for your business can save you both time and money. In the long run, that preparation can put you in a good position for next year’s tax season and ensure you have enough in your savings account for that looming tax payment.
To guide you through what might seem like an inescapable labyrinth of accountant jargon, let’s take a plain-language approach to how the 1040 form is structured, what Schedules you might need, and how to meet the filing requirements.