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Tax Forms: Find Out What Tax Return Forms You Need

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Must-Have Tax Forms for Families

Determine the paperwork needed to complete your family’s federal tax forms

Filing taxes can be confusing, especially since the IRS has more than 1,000 tax forms that can be used to report various deductions and income. For most families, you’ll only need to use a few of these tax return forms. Consult our list of below to understand which income tax forms your family needs to file this year.

The 1040 Family of Tax Return Forms

Families use the same forms as individuals to complete their tax return forms. A married couple can choose to file jointly or separately. Children, called dependents on tax forms, can only be claimed on one form. The IRS and tax experts agree in most cases, having a married couple file jointly results in more tax benefits than filing separate federal tax forms. Whether you are filing jointly or separately, you’ll start with one of the following forms:


1040EZ tax forms are for individuals who have no dependents, are younger than 65, make less than $100,000 and have no plan to claim any itemized deductions.


Tax return forms are best suited for individuals or married couples who earn less than $100,000 and don’t have any self-employment income. 1040A tax forms allow you to make adjustments to taxable income for student loan interest and child tax credits, but they won’t allow you to itemize deductions.


1040 tax forms are used by individuals or married couples who make more than $100,000 or have self-employment income. These federal tax forms are also used if you plan to itemize deductions.

Income Tax Forms

Be sure to collect the various documents that report your income, then attach them to your income tax forms. These include income from an employer, payment from a business and interest earned on various accounts. The most common documents attached to income tax forms include:


Your employer will provide you with a copy of your W2s that reflect your wages and taxes paid. Attach these to your tax return forms.


These tax forms report any interest paid on a mortgage or student loan, as well as college tuition paid in the past year.

1099 Series

These income tax forms reflect any income that wasn’t paid as salary, wages or tips. For example, you’ll receive a 1099 form if you worked as an independent contractor or freelancer earning more than $600. 1099 forms also report income earned from interest on investments.

Once you have an understanding of the basic tax forms used to file your family’s taxes, you’re one step closer to successfully filing your taxes. There are also a variety of accounting and financial software programs available to help you file taxes. Having a foundation of these basic federal tax forms will help you through the process.


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