Who Must File a 1040 Income Tax Form for 2010?

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Federal Income Taxes represent a little over one-third of the total revenue of the United States Government. As the driving force behind the entire collection process, publication 1040 is well-known as the most important income tax form. The 1040, with its many sub-form, schedules, and worksheets, forms the basis for income tax calculation and reporting in the United States.

The 1040, along with all other Federal Tax forms, are available online at www.irs.gov, the official website of the Internal Revenue Service. At the IRS website, forms and instructions for those forms are available as separate downloads to make them easier to print and use. Form 1040 packets are also available through the mail by request, at any post office, and sometimes from an employer.

Who Must File the 1040

Whether an individual must file a return is mostly determined by the tax payer’s filing status and the amount of money earned during the tax year. For example, a single tax payer who is under 65 years of age and made less than $9,350 for the 2010 tax year is not required to file a return. This is due to the fact that the standard deduction and personal exemption add up to $9,350. Subtracting this from the amount made during the year results in $0.00 or negative taxable income. However, many people, even if they do not have any residual taxable income after deductions and exemptions, file a return to be able to claim carrybacks and carryforwards on income earned in previous and future tax years. This is only possible under certain conditions, especially for owners of businesses and other situations.

Married couples both under 65 years of age filing jointly must file a return if their combined gross income exceeds $18,700. Other amounts determining the need for file a return are different for people who are married but filing separately, claiming head of household status, or who qualify for widow/widower status with dependents.

If someone can claim you as a dependent, your tax status is different than if this were not the case. Resident aliens are required to file a return as a citizen but these filers may qualify for tax treaty benefits. Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens may be required to file a return if they were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien during the tax year or if they elected to be taxed as a resident alien.


Whether an individual tax payer must file a 1040 tax return is determined by several factors including filing status, the amount earned, age, and whether the tax payer was a resident or nonresident alien during the tax year. Each year, changes to the tax laws, increases or decreases in deductions and exemptions, and other pertinent information is published at the beginning of the 1040 form instructions. Tax payers should pay close attention to this information as it may apply to them. This information can be vital to reducing the tax payer’s taxable income and, consequently, his/her tax liability. Check the latest 1040 instruction packet from the IRS for 2010 to discover these kinds of changes.

Always consult with a tax professional for questions about your tax liability.

This post is part of the series: Federal Income Taxes, the IRS, and the 1040 Tax Form and Schedules

U.S. Federal Income Taxes are a complicated matter to figure. There are numerous forms, sub-forms, and schedules the filing of which are necessary for some and not for others. Learn about income taxes, the 1040, and the 1040’s numerous schedules.

  1. Learn Whether You Must File a 1040 Income Tax Form for the 2010 Tax Year
  2. Qualifying to File a 1040EZ Income Tax Form vs. the 1040
  3. Should You Itemize Your Deductions with Schedules A and B for 2010?
  4. Learn Whether You Need to File a Schedule C with Your Income Taxes
  5. Should You File a Schedule C or C-EZ with Your Federal Tax Form 1040?
  6. Filing for Capital Gains and Losses on Schedule D of Income Tax Form 1040
  7. Filing Tax Schedule E for Supplemental Income or Losses
  8. Find Out Whether you Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Need to File a Schedule EIC
  9. Filing Schedule F with Federal Tax Form 1040 to Report Income or Losses from Farming
  10. Federal Income Tax Schedule R for the Elderly and Disabled
  11. Am I Required to File Schedule SE for Self Employment Income?